• Jonathan Angus‘s profile was updated 4 years, 2 months ago

  • With just a week to go before Budget 2016 is announced, Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) is urging Government to invest in fair, innovative and individualised disability supports and services.
    Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, is calling for a significant investment in disability supports in Budget 2016, making up for the drastic cuts and complete lack of investment in the rights of people with disabilities over the past seven years.  Since 2008, spending on disability services has been cut by close to 10%, amounting to almost €160 million.

    “ÁT urges Government to listen to the voices of people with disabilities and our families who want support services which empower us to live independently – and with dignity and choice –  in our homes and local communities.  We can no longer accept people with disabilities being treated as vulnerable and marginalised; it is time that each of us is recognised as the valuable, dynamic individuals that we are and that the support we are entitled to reflects that”.

    Government has committed to promoting community inclusion for people with disabilities and establishing individualised funding models which support this.  

    Martin explained, “ÁT’s model of Direct Payments represents the kind of innovative and progressive approach which should be explored and invested in, as it drives the shift towards personalised models of support that give power back to the person, in line with Government policy and Health Service Executive (HSE) commitments”.  

    “It is growing ever clearer just how things can be improved, and it is not by pumping money into residential centres as, according to recent reports, Government plans to do to the tune of €450 million.  People with disabilities and our families are the best experts in our own lives; we can and should be supported to make decisions for ourselves about the supports we need and choose, without reliance on the discretion of others.  This is why it is so important that Budget 2016 invests in models of self-directed living supports for people with disabilities, such as Direct Payments, instead of burying more tax-payers money in services that are often dysfunctional.”  

    In this light, ÁT has published a document outlining how its model of Direct Payment achieves Government’s vision of progressive, inclusive disability policy.  This is available by clicking the following link: Exploring Direct Payments and Government Policy.

    Martin concluded, “The time has never been better to make the final push for the status, rights, resources, supports and funding models that can make Ireland the best place to live as a person with a disability.  We call on Government to use Budget 2016 as a key opportunity to make change happen”. 

    For more information, please contact Orlaith Grehan, ÁT Communications Officer, on 086 183 1502 or by emailing orlaith@theatnetwork.com
    Image by  m_bartosch used with courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

  • A new, once-off documentary, set to be screened on TV3 this weekend, asks some of Ireland’s top rugby players to experience first-hand the everyday challenges of being physically disabled in Ireland.
    “Rugby’s Wheelchair Challenge” will see four rugby stars – including vice-captain of the Ireland team, Jamie Heaslip – making their way from Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to Limerick’s Thomond Park, all while using a wheelchair.  Narrated by sports broadcaster Ger Gilroy, the documentary will show their experiences as they try to access and use buses, trains and taxis – as well as pure muscle – to journey on a road less traveled. 

    The programme is the brainwave of Stephen Cluskey, accessibility advocate and founder of GoAccessible365.com.  Stephen uses a wheelchair himself, following an accident at the age of eighteen, and aims to raise awareness of accessibility issues for people with disabilities in Ireland through the documentary.

    Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) is an official partner of GoAccessible365.com.  It enables wheelchair users across Ireland to source reliable, accessible travel options, and campaigns to raise accessibility standards across public and private transport.

    Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, said, “we’re really looking forward to seeing the accessibility issues faced by people with disabilities every day being explored in such a unique and open way.  It’s absolutely crucial that awareness of these issues is continually strengthened so that we can generate understanding and bring about positive change together.  We wish Stephen and all involved with the production the very best of luck!”.

    “Rugby’s Wheelchair Challenge will be screened at 10.30pm on TV3 this Friday, 9th October.  You can catch a teaser trailer for the documentary below:

    To find out more about GoAccessible365.com, please click here.

     

  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny launched the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities (CES) at an event in Farmleigh House this morning.
    Built across a ten-year period, the CES aims to provide a cross-Government, coordinated approach to support people with disabilities to progress into employment.  It sets out six strategic priorities:

    Build skills, capacity and independence
    Provide bridges and supports into work
    Make work pay
    Promote job retention and re-entry to work
    Provide co-ordinated and seamless support
    Engage employers.

    Among the key outlined decisions, Government plans to increase the public service engagement target of people with disabilities from 3% to 6%, and establish an employer helpline, with the assistance of the National Disability Authority (NDA), to provide guidance and mentoring to employers on hiring staff with disabilities. 

    An independent implementation group, chaired by Fergus Finlay, will be set up to monitor the six strategic priorities and to ensure that each Government department fulfills their obligations towards it.

    Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), Martin Naughton, said, “while we welcome the long-overdue publication of the CES, a number of shortcomings within the strategy are already evident”.

    He continued, “it is concerning that a strategy on employment is excluded from the remit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, where it belongs.  Even though the CES falls under the Department of Justice, it was announced today that the Department of Social Protection is forming a technical group to explore work and employment of disabilities.  Such confusion and complexity does not bode well for the interests of people with disabilities”.

    “The lack of ambition within the strategy – such as its proposal to double an already extremely low public service employment target over a relatively long time period – is also disappointing, as is the lack of recognition for supports – such as Personal Assistant (PA) services – which would strengthen employment opportunities for the disability community.  More concrete plans, solid goals and meaningful engagement are needed in order to truly progress the employment of people with disabilities in this country”.

    Just one in five people with disabilities over the age of 15 in Ireland are in employment, compared to one in two of the general population of the same age.

    Click here to view the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024.

     

  • All of us here in Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) would like to remember and pay tribute to Joe T Mooney, a leader of the disability movement in Ireland who very sadly passed away last week.
    A proud Donegal native, Joe […]

  • Disability protesters are back on the street today to continue their campaign, but this time in front of Dáil Eireann on Kildare Street, where they will hold a press conference at 2 pm today.

    They suspended their campaign for 12 hours overnight, following what they described as a “disappointing meeting” with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Minister of State for Primary Care, Mental Health and Disability, Kathleen Lynch TD

    Martin Naughton, one of the campaign leaders and Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), thanked An Taoiseach and the Minister for taking the time to meet with them, but said that there was frustration amongst the group of disability activists at their lack of understanding and appreciation of the need to move towards systems and policies that allow people to live independently in their own homes and communities.

    He said that the focus of the conversation remained within the realm of “the same old models that haven’t and don’t work.”

    “There didn’t seem to be much vision around the rights and preferences, contributions and potential of people with disabilities in a modern society,” he said.

    “If the Government continues to go down the route of refurbishing and building home care and residential settings, as they have announced, they will have to put people into those homes.  We need to get away from this model of incarceration and move towards a system of self-directed living supports and Direct Payments.  Sadly, we didn’t leave Government Buildings last night with a sense that this had been appreciated or taken on board seriously.”

    He said that, after over two full days of campaigning, the disability activists had become stronger in their resolve to make disability a key issue in the next election.  He said that public support and media support had been overwhelmingly encouraging.

    The group will be holding a major planning meeting in early October and will be using social media to ask the Irish public to “lend us your vote to change the lives of people with disabilities and their families for once and for all.”

    The outdoor campaign will finish up after the press conference.

     

  • People with disabilities who have spent nearly 36 hours on the street so far have decided to suspend their outdoor campaign for 12 hours so that it can be re-ignited.
    It will resume tomorrow at 10 am outside the gates of Dáil Eireann on Kildare Street in Dublin.  Up to now, the protesters have been located outside Government Buildings on nearby Merrion Street.

    The decision to suspend the campaign was taken after what lead campaigner and Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), Martin Naughton, described as a disappointing outcome to the group’s meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.  After several hours of discussion, Mr Kenny said that he would meet the campaigners again in three months.  Naughton said that this sends a message that the rights and values of people with disabilities can wait.

    For more information, please contact Martin Naughton (086 820 7196) or Edel Hackett (087 293 5207).

  • Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) is one of three organisations – along with Inclusion Ireland and the Center for Independent Living (CIL) – to contribute to and produce the ‘Right to Reform’ briefing note to Government.
    ‘Right to Reform’ is intended primarily for An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny; Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar; and Minister for Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.

    It emerged after day one of a three-day action beginning earlier this week outside Government Buildings, organised by the three organisations and featuring a cross-section of disability activists.

    After some engagement with activists outside Government Buildings, Enda Kenny agreed to meet with the leading representatives, and assured them that key Ministers would be present too.  He also asked that the group identify their key asks, which is done in this document.

    They are as follows:

    Introduce Direct Payments.
    Protect and increase access to Personal Assistant (PA) services.
    Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD.)
    Enact Assisted Decision-Making Bill.
    Provide adequate and comprehensive support to people with disabilities to access employment opportunities.

    To read or download the ‘Right to Reform’ briefing note, please click here.

  • Disability protesters have told An Taoiseach that a Government decision to provide an extra €450 million for residential settings is a “kick in the teeth”.
    The protesters outside Government Buildings told An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, as he made his way into the Cabinet Meeting this morning, that the Government’s announcement that it is to provide a further €450m to nursing homes – effectively residential institutions – is a complete kick in the teeth to the wishes and needs of most people with disabilities and their families.

    After a cold first night of their gruelling 72-hour campaign on Merrion Street, the initial group of 20 campaigners are expecting an even bigger number of people to join them today.

    They are planning a press conference outside Government Buildings at 12 pm today to talk further about their demands for equality and human rights as equal citizens.  This starts, they said, with listening to people with disabilities and with recognising their expectations to be able to live independently where possible.

    “Putting an extra €450 million into an outdated and dysfunctional system is a complete kick in the teeth to us and to what we are looking for.”

    “The street is a very cold place to be,” Martin Naughton, Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), said.  “We shouldn’t have to do this.  But this is what we have been driven to.  We have to fight for our recognition as independent and equal citizens of Ireland.   We have to camp at the doors of power to be heard.”

    “We know how things can be improved and it is not by pumping money into residential centres.  We, and our families, can make decisions for ourselves about the best services we need to live our lives, without reliance on the discretion of others.  This is why it is so important that Ireland catches up with the modern world and moves to a system of self-directed living supports and Direct Payments for people with disabilities, instead of burying more tax payers money in services that are often dysfunctional.”

    Naughton, along with other activists, made the decision to take the streets following appalling and alarming reports about the treatment of people, mainly with disabilities, at some residential centres.

    The group remains hopeful that An Taoiseach’s commitment to meet with them, made yesterday, will be confirmed today.  The group will set out to Mr Kenny and his Ministers how state funding for people with disabilities can be much more efficiently and effectively used by reallocating resources away from the outdated current model which pays institutions to provide services to people to models which would mean that people with disabilities can choose and pay for the supports and services they need themselves if they so wish.

     
    For more information, please contact Martin Naughton (086 820 7196) or Edel Hackett (087 293 5207).

  • Shortly after 10 am this morning, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, and his staff were the first to encounter Martin Naughton and other disability movement leaders, who were traversing the entrance to […]

  • €300 million investment needed to give people lives free from abuse, poverty and inequality, says activist Martin Naughton.
    People with disabilities, led by campaigner and Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), Martin Naughton, this morning started a 72-hour day and night vigil outside Government Buildings on Merrion Street to draw attention to the inequalities and abuses experienced daily by people with disabilities and their families because of funding shortfalls, successive cuts and policy failures. 

    The street protest will continue until Thursday, September 17th.

    Naughton called for a €300 million investment in disability services and supports in Budget 2016 to make up for the savage cuts and complete lack of investment in the rights of people over the past seven years.  Since 2008, spending on disability services has been cut by almost 10%– amounting to nearly €160 million.

    He said that the decision to take to the street was sparked by ongoing “appalling and alarming” reports about the treatment of many people with disabilities, in particular those in residential centres , which he said “invokes a heady mix of emotions of anger and rage.”

    It is three years, almost to the day, since disability activists undertook similar day and night action against Health Service Executive (HSE) proposals to cut budgets for frontline services, home help and Personal Assistants (PAs).

    Naughton said that very little had changed in those three years, but the time for waiting was over.  He said that now must be seen as a pressing and essential time to bring about lasting change for people continuing to live as second class citizens.

    “We have been patient; we have waited for the delivery of many promises and proposals, crumbs from the budget table, but today, Ireland’s 600,000 people with disabilities and their families are at breaking point,” he said.

    “We are calling on the Government to listen to the voices of people with disabilities and our families who want support services to be redirected so that we can live independently in our homes, in our local communities with dignity.  We can no longer be ignored.”

    Over 68% of people who use disability services in Ireland are very dissatisfied with the poor quality of those services.  Since November 2013, 93% of disability residential centres inspected by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) have failed to comply with national standards.

    Over the course of the action, the campaigners will focus on six key areas, from income to transport, to highlight the human cost of cuts and poor services.

    Naughton stressed that Government investment in disability must focus on policies and services that support people with disabilities to lead free, independent lives.  This includes the introduction of Direct Payments, self-directed living supports and the protection of PA supports with a determined move away from residential care and congregated settings where possible.

    He also called for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) after eight years of waiting.

    A Declaration of Independence – Six Reasons to Take to the Street

    Disability services have been cut by almost 10% or €159.4 million since 2008.
    The costs of living with a disability are estimated at over 35% of disposable income – or an average of €207 per week – but families where the head of the household is not at work due to illness or disability already have the lowest disposable income in the country.
    Over 93% of disability residential centres inspected by HIQA since November 2013 failed to comply with national standards – one in seven didn’t meet the standards at all.
    8,000 people with disabilities in Ireland live in residential centres.  1,000 young people under the age of 27 with disabilities are currently living in inappropriate long-term care, including nursing homes.
    Essential services are not working.  More than 13,000 children and adults are awaiting assessment for speech and language therapy.  7,000 people were registered on waiting lists for urgent occupational therapy last year.
    38% of carers who look after someone in the same household report feeling overwhelmed by their caring responsibilities.

    For more information, please contact:
    Martin Naughton  (086 8207196) or Edel Hackett (087 293 5207)

    For Inclusion Ireland’s press release, please click here.

  • Missed the latest issue of the Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) newsletter?
    Don’t worry – we’ve made it really easy for you to get your hands on it!

    This issue looks back at our A Declaration of Independence: The […]

  • Disability activists will be campaigning – day and night – outside Government buildings in Dublin between Tuesday, 15th September and Thursday, 17th September.  Here, our Director Martin Naughton calls on you to join them!
    In just under two weeks’ time, I want you to join me and other disability activists gathering outside Government buildings in Dublin to demand swift, meaningful action on disability rights and reform in this country.

    From 10am on Tuesday, 15th September until 2pm on Thursday, 17th September – and, yes, right through the two nights in between – we’ll be there, highlighting the real issues and situations facing people with disabilities and our families, and calling for measures which will forever change them.

    As the Dáil returns to work the following week, our aim is to reinforce these issues with each and every of its members and to tell them – through our stories, our experiences and our determination to be there – of exactly why it’s so important that they do something about them.

    We’ll be calling for real, impactful measures which fully recognise and value us so that we can lead the free, independent lives we not only want to, but are utterly entitled to.  What this means is the restoration of funding and investment in disability supports, and the realisation of simple but effective moves, like the introduction of Direct Payments and self-directed living supports for people with disabilities, the protection of Personal Assistant (PA) supports, and the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). 

    As we explored at the First Assembly event in Athlone earlier this summer, the time has probably never been better to make the final push for the status, rights, resources and supports that can make Ireland the best place to live as a person with a disability.  In our recent history, this country has undergone an extraordinary period of social, economic and cultural change, and our sense of society and our values are shifting the momentum in a way that aspires towards real progress.

    And while, for that reason alone, this is undoubtedly a good time, it is also a completely pressing and essential one. 

    Between 2008 and 2014, an almost 10% cut to spending on disability services was enforced [1], and we have all seen – and felt – the serious shortcomings and malfunctions that this translates to.  We can no longer ignore, for example, the hugely concerning human rights abuses and living arrangements of people with disabilities in residential centres, perhaps known more informally for a long time but concretely laid out in recent, often disturbing Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) findings.  Immediate action to make community supports and Independent Living open to everyone is now more needed than ever.

    There are those kinds of big, live issues, but, on an everyday scale as well, the barriers preventing people with disabilities from enjoying full inclusion and independence remain too firmly in place.  The education and employment opportunities open to us are still startlingly insufficient: 15% of people with disabilities are leaving school earlier than they would like to because of their disability [2], and just 20% aged 15 or over are in employment [3].  The extra costs of living with a disability are not being fairly recognized or adequately supported, and our access to housing, transport, respite and family supports, and so many other areas is continually restricted and cut back.

    I could very easily go on, but there isn’t the space here to say it all.  That space is the one that disability activists are creating at Government buildings in the next couple of weeks, and it’s the space that I want you to fill.

    So, make your voice heard on these issues and the situations that impact on you.  Whether you are a person with a disability or have a family member or friend with a disability, whether you’re a carer, a PA or support worker, whether you’re involved with an organisation or not, join us at Government buildings on Merrion Square when you can and tell your story – we especially hope to see you on Wednesday, 16th September to drive the momentum for this campaign even further.

    What you might do before this time – and please do! – is use this time to contact your local media and share your experiences, emphasising why change is needed and what Government can – and, ultimately, has to – do to achieve it.

    And tell Government itself: contact your local representatives – TDs, councillors, Senators, even Members of European Parliament (MEPs) – and spell out what it is that is happening to you and what needs to be different about it.  You’ll find all of their contact details just by clicking here.

    These issues are about so much more than funding or figures or budget lines: they’re about people.  And it’s up to all of us, as those people, to ensure that they are acted on.

    We did it in September 2012.  Three years later, we must do it again.  See you there with us!

    For more information or for support in contacting your local media and representatives, please email info@theatnetwork.com or call 01 525 0707.
     
    [1] Social Justice Ireland (2014) Budget 2015: Analysis and Critique. Available at http://www.socialjustice.ie/content/publications/budget-2015-analysis-and-critique
    [2] Economic and Research Institute (2015) Educational and Employment Experiences of People with a Disability in Ireland: An Analysis of the National Disability Survey. Dublin: ESRI.
    [3] Central Statistics Office (2012) Census 2011: Profile 8 – Our Bill of Health. Dublin, Central Statistics Office.
     
    Photo of September 2012 protests by Nina Byrne, Center for Independent Living (CIL)

  • Here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), we’re putting the final touches to our latest e-newsletter, which should be making its way to your inboxes later this week.
    Our newsletter highlights important events and […]

  • Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) welcomes the news that the Health Service Executive (HSE) is seeking €250 million to move people with disabilities from residential centres to community-based models of care.
    Over 8,000 people with disabilities live in residential centres – or congregated settings – in Ireland.  A congregated setting is defined as ten or more people with disabilities sharing a single living unit or residing in campus-based living arrangements.

    It has been revealed that the HSE has sent a costed submission to the Department of Health, outlining the challenges faced in meeting the standards of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), which has uncovered significant failures in quality standards in the sector in recent times.  The plan also draws out the work done to date on transitioning people with disabilities from congregated settings to community-based care models.

    In this light, the HSE proposes to initiate a plan comprising of four strands, starting with a priority 11 projects where 237 people with disabilities live in large institutional settings which have the most significant compliance issues with HIQA.  This will incur costs of €22.4 million.
    The first three strands – two of which are hoped to start this year –  affect 992 residents, with the fourth impacting on a total of 1,863 residents currently living in 55 settings.  These are estimated to respectively come to €89.4 million and €163 million in capital and once-off costs.

    The plan aims to strengthen the implementation of the Time to Move on from Congregated Settings report of 2011, which recommends that people with disabilities living in congregated settings are offered alternative housing in mainstream communities and that remaining institutions and residential centres, serving ten or more people, are closed.  The report advises that this be completed by 2019.

    Responding to this development, Director of ÁT, Martin Naughton, stated, “People with disabilities have the rights to independence, choice, dignity and equality, and, all too often, we have seen those rights being abjectly denied in residential centres and congregated settings.  We truly hope that this plan comes to life and that people with disabilities live with the rights they are entitled to.”

  • Here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), our team of runners is gearing up for the SSE Airtricity Dublin City Marathon, taking place on Monday, 26th October later this year.
    If you’d like to set yourself a great new challenge and raise some essential funds on our behalf, we would love to hear from you!

    The Dublin City Marathon represents a hugely important opportunity: this year, we need to raise over €100,000 so that we can continue our vital work in supporting people with disabilities to lead independent lives in their own communities.  It would mean everything to us to see you joining in to support us.

    15,000 runners will take part in the marathon, which begins in Fitzwilliam Street, moving through Phoenix Park, Inchicore, Crumlin, Kimmage, Terenure and Stillorgan, before winding its way back to Merrion Square.  

    We’re building our team of runners, with our first few participants already signed up and in training.  And it’s really easy for you to get involved: just get in touch with us to let us know that you’re interested and we’ll be with you every step of the way!

    To enter, just click here to visit the Dublin City Marathon website, where you can quickly register: entries must be recieved by 5pm on Monday, 1st October 2015..  You can then set up an online sponsorship page through Justgiving or iDonate, and that’s it – you’re ready to get started!

    We’ll support you with any information or resources that you need, and we’ll be there on the day to cheer on our team.

    At ÁT, we’re giving power back to people with disabilities in Ireland so that they can live with the independence, choice and dignity that they are entitled to, just like everyone else.  The Dublin City Marathon is a brilliant chance to raise awareness and support of all that we do and stand for – will you be part of that journey with us?

    For more information, please contact Orlaith Grehan by emailing orlaith@theatnetwork.com or by calling 086 183 1502.

    Click here to learn more about the Dublin City Marathon 2015.

    Click here for more information on how to set up an online sponsorship page through iDonate.
    Photo of Dublin buy Miguel Mendez
     

  • The Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced the appointment of 212 Access Officers across its Health and Social Care services.
    Access Officers support HSE staff in dealing with access issues for patients and service users with a disability.  They are now in place in all Acute Hospitals, Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), the National Ambulance Service, the National Cancer Screening Programme, and in the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS).

    The HSE stated that it is aware of gaps in the way that health services are provided, and that some healthcare facilities pose challenges in their accessibility to people with disabilities.  In order to make a patient or service user’s journey through health services easier, Access Officers will systematically address such gaps, ensure that future services and facilities comply with national standards and legislation, and work to make all services and facilities fully accessible to all.

     To view the names, contact details and locations of the newly appointed Access Officers, please click here.
    The HSE published its National Guidelines on Accessible Health and Social Care Services earlier this year: click here to read those guidelines.

  • 83% in Ireland agree that people with disabilities should have the right to make their own decisions about their own lives and care.
    That’s according to a new survey on awareness of and attitudes towards human rights and equality in Ireland, commissioned by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and published today.  

    The IHREC used the poll to explore public understanding of attitudes towards human rights and equality issues and towards protected groups in Ireland.  It also provided a key opportunity to investigate people’s own understanding and knowledge of their rights and the avenues available to them for their protection.

    Among many other findings, the poll revealed that 94% agree that being treated fairly and not discriminated against – regardless of gender, race or disability – is a basic human right.   

    However, almost 4 in 5 – or 79% – agree that we still have some work to do when it comes to protecting human rights and equality in Ireland today.  29% of people disagree, for example, that people using disability services in Ireland are treated with respect for their dignity.  Well less than half the population – 38% – believe that no-one’s ability to achieve their potential is limited by prejudice, discrimination or neglect.  Sharp divisions on views of the rights of minority groups – such as Travellers, asylum seekers and prisoners – were also uncovered.

    Director of Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), Martin Naughton, responded to the poll’s results, stating that “it is hugely encouraging to see the overwhelming majority support for the rights of people with disabilities to make their own decisions on their lives and their care.  Government, now more than ever, must act on its commitment to individualised support – such as Direct Payments and other self-directed living supports – for people with disabilities, and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)”.

    “No person should ever experience discrimination or limitation on the basis of their disability”, he continued, “but, unfortunately, we still all too often witness the restricted employment, education and other opportunities open to the disability community, as well as the linked, heightened rates of poverty and deprivation it faces.  It is time for people with disabilities to strengthen their understanding of their rights and to come together to progress and protect them”.

    Click here to read the results of this poll from the IHREC.

     

     

     

  • All of the team here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) would like to extend a huge congratulations to our Director, Martin Naughton, who has been appointed an Adjunct Professor to the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP).
    CDLP, founded in 2008 and based in the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), is dedicated to producing research which informs debate on national and international disability law reform.  Its work contributes to the progression of disability rights, the personalisation of disability supports, and the development of national disability strategies.
    Martin is one of three appointed Adjunct Professors to CDLP this summer, joining Catalina Devandas, the new United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Gráinne McMorrow, a senior member of the Irish Bar and Ireland’s representative on the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which provides states with legal advice, in the form of “legal opinions”, on draft legislation or legislation already in force .
    Martin has been a leading disability activist for the past fifty years, and a pioneer of the Independent Living movement in Ireland and Europe.  He has worked tirelessly to secure community living and flexible supports for the 600,000 people in Ireland and 1.3 million people in Europe who live with disabilities.  Martin campaigned and succeeded in co-founding the very first Centre for Independent Living (CIL) in Ireland, opened in Dublin in the early 1990s, inspired after his involvement with the CIL network in the United States (US) while travelling there in previous years.

    As a co-founder of our organisation in 2010, Martin also represents one of the very first people to promote Direct Payments and self-directed living supports for people with disabilities in Ireland.  He works as a Support Officer with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and was a Co-Director of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) until January of this year.

    We’re very proud of Martin and all that he has done, and, on behalf of everyone in ÁT – from the staff and Board to our Leaders – we wish him the very best with his new role!

    Click here to find out more about the Centre for Disability Law and Policy.

    To find out more about Martin’s work and vision, please click here.

  • We’re very excited here in Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) to launch our Annual Raffle 2015!
    You could be in with a chance to win a trip for two to New York, along with nine other fantastic prizes up for grabs.

    Tickets cost just €2 each or €15 for a book of ten, with the draw taking place on Friday, 18th December 2015.  
    This year, we’re hoping to raise up to €100,000 through the raffle, with every euro going to support people with disabilities to live independent lives in their own communities.  
    Our great line-up of prizes means you could be in with a chance to:

    See all the sights of the Big Apple with our trip for two to New York, worth €2,000
    Unwind with an indulgent spa weekend for two, worth €500
    Enjoy a personal Brown Thomas styling and shopping experience, worth €300
    Have fun with a cocktail-making class for a group of eight friends, worth €200
    Choose a gift of your choice from Newbridge Silverware, worth €200
    Relax over champagne afternoon tea for two in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel, worth €150
    Catch a show of your choice at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, worth €150
    Treat yourself to Sunday lunch for two in Ballymaloe House, worth €100
    Pamper yourself with a deluxe beauty treatment package of your choice, worth €100
    Relish in a luxury Irish food and wine hamper, worth €100

    Volunteers will be out across the country over the next couple of months to sell our tickets for the raffle, but you can get them at any time that suits you.  Just give our Raffle Coordinator, Audrey Brodigan, a call on 085 121 1559 or email audreybrodigan@gmail.com to find out more.
    Equally, if you’d like to volunteer as a ticket-seller, we’d love to hear from you (and we’ve got some great sellers’ prizes lined up as well); just get in touch with Audrey to find out more!

     

    Want to know more?  Click here for further details on our Annual Raffle 2015.

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