Free registration available and more speakers added to ÁT event on Independent Living and equality

Minister for Equality, Aodhán O’Ríordáin TD, will open Realising Equality through Active Participation (REAP), the second annual event from Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), held to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December 2014 in Dublin.

Maria Walls, National Manager of the National Advocacy Service for people with Disabilities (NAS), Sheila Marshall of the Health Service Executive (HSE), and Hubert McCormack, pioneer of the Independent Living movement in Ireland, are the latest confirmed speakers to take part in this important event.

REAP will explore the evolution and lived experience of Independent Living and Direct Payments for people with disabilities in Ireland, and the ways in which society can come together in solidarity to promote equality and active citizenship for all.  By examining the concepts and context of Independent Living, the event will offer valuable insights into the strong opportunities created through the innovative new approaches and cohesive action currently being driven by the disability movement.

Independent Living, and the capacity to lead full, flexible and autonomous lives, is crucial in securing true inclusion and equality for everyone.  Moreover, Direct Payments give people the dignity of choice and control over their own budgets and services, which are crucial for their independence and quality of life.  Leaders of this model, along with their family members, community networks and supports, will discuss why they chose to adopt and support it, and why it is so important to them.

They will be joined by Sara Burke, journalist and policy analyst, who will chair proceedings, as well as an exciting range of speakers, including:

  • Madeline Clarke (Genio)
  • Pat Clarke (Chairperson of the Disability Federation of Ireland)
  • Owen Collumb and Martin Naughton (founding members of ÁT)
  • Lynda Stopford (Director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland)
  • Mark Blake-Knox (Executive Director of Cheshire Ireland)
  • Máiríde Woods (writer and researcher, and ÁT board member), and many more.

ÁT was the first and remains the main organisation to facilitate Direct Payments to people with disabilities in Ireland.  We are challenging society to move towards a more fair, equal and inclusive future for all.  Everything we do is underpinned by the values of human rights and Independent Living, and this event represents another step forward to making this the reality for all.​

REAP takes place between 9.30am and 4.30pm on 3rd December in the Davenport Hotel, Merrion Street, Dublin 2.  It is free to attend and open to everyone, and will be particularly valuable to people with disabilities and their families, disability organisations and wider community groups, health sector workers, Government and agency representatives, social entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and members of mainstream society interested in strengthening their communities.

To register for this event, please visit, or complete the booking form below.

For more information, please contact the ÁT office on 01 525 0707 or email

Follow the conversation on Twitter by using #REAP14.

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