Meet the Team
Who are you looking for?
Paul McBride | Chief Executive Officer
Phone: 086 183 1502
Emma Caparangca | Finance Manager
Phone: 01 525 0708
Aisling Whelan | Member Relations Manager
Phone: 01 525 0250
Mary Treasa Cahill-Kennedy| Member Relations Officer
Phone: 086 1806953
Dearbhla Ní Mhaolagáin | Administration
Phone: 01 525 0707
We are hugely grateful to our Board – composed entirely of volunteers – who bring with them a huge weight of experience and expertise which has helped to guide everything that we do.
Ann Kennelly | Acting Chairperson
Ann Kennelly qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the College of Occupational Therapy, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin in 1983. In 1994, Ann completed an Master’s degree in Management of Care awarded by the University of Wales and University College Dublin (UCD). As an OT, Ann’s role as a member of a multi-disciplinary team was to provide a range of Assessment and Therapeutic Occupational Therapy services to clients with physical and sensory disabilities. Ann worked in both the hospital and community public services in Ireland, the UK and Canada, and she also worked as an OT and a Regional Manager with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) in the voluntary sector. Ann joined the South Eastern Health Board in 1994 and managed a range of hospital services, before working as the Director of Disability Services in the South East for seven years. In 2005, Ann took up a post as Local Health Manager HSE South for Primary, Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) Services in North Cork. Ann’s final year working for the HSE in 2010 was spent working in the role of Interim National Assistant Director for Disability Services. Ann now works in a private capacity as an OT and is involved with many voluntary groups and individuals with disabilities.
As a founding member of ÁT and a person with lived experience of disability, Owen brings first-hand knowledge and understanding to the Board. This ensures that ÁT continues to be person-centred and supportive of the individual, while also working to promote Independent Living. Owen provides training courses on manual handling. He is an active board member for a number of organisations, including Greater Dublin Independent Living, Cheshire Ireland and Lucan Disability Action Group.
Brian is a native of Galway. He worked for many years as a solicitor with Irish Life Assurance PLC and Legal Aide Board. Since his retirement, he is currently working as volunteer solicitor with the Irish Refugee Council. He was involved with National Council for the Blind in Ireland (NCBI) as a fundraiser. He is also involve in a charity which support deprived children in Thailand. He used to lecture on family law through citizen advice volunteer.
Peter says he was greatly influenced by Liam Maguire, the disability rights activist he met through the Irish Wheelchair Association. When Maguire died in 1983 Peter employed his first personal assistant (financed mainly through funds Peter received as compensation for a minor road accident) in order to research and write Liam Maguire’s biography. This book was published in 1990 by Poolbeg under the title Rebel on Wheels.
During the 1980s, as well as working on his book, Peter also got involved in his local community in Donaghmede. He joined the committee of the local soccer club Donaghmede Celtic, and helped found Grange Kildonagh Integration, a group of mainly parents of children with disabilities whose aim was to bring children with and without disabilities together. This group ran a summer playgroup for children with disabilities and their siblings, and also got some children with disabilities into local groups, such as the girl guides and boy scouts.
In 1990 Peter was one of seven people with significant physical disabilities who came together, to move forward into the future, independent of their families without institutional care. This led to the establishment of the first Centre for Independent Living in Ireland in 1992. Peter says the years from 1992 to 1994 seem ideal. The policy of employing administrative staff who had no previous experience of working for established disability organisations ensured they fully bought into the philosophy of independent living.
In November 2015 Peter joined ÁT and established his company Eagle Free. He says he did so to take back control of his pa service.
Gordon is a founding member of Áiseanna Tacaíochta and an active member of the disability movement and has a broad range of experience.
Gordon was a Leader in the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) self-directed service for sixteen years.
For the past eleven years, Gordon has worked in the Accounts Department of the Citizens Information Board (CIB). Gordon is a fellow member of the Institute of Accounting Technicians of Ireland (IATI). He was also a director at Disability Options, a company providing training and support to people with disabilities on Independent Living issues.
Gordon participates in the Strasbourg Freedom Drive, an event taking place every two years and organised by the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL). While there, they have met MEP’s at the European parliament and the European Disability Inter Group to try to get the EU to influence member states to improve the rights of people with disabilities in Europe.
Gordon has been involved with The Centre for Independent Living (CIL) for the past fifteen years, and he passionately believes in the Philosophy of Independent Living. He has been involved in researching the different models of Direct Payments with CIL for the past four to five years, because he believes it is the future. In early 2018, Gordon was appointed as Board member of CIL.
Gordon was also a member of the task force on individualized funding set up by Minister McGrath, which just published the report in 2018.
Gordon also set up his own company to assist and support people with Disabilities with their payroll and accounts.
Morgan Mc Knight
Morgan is a career Civil Servant currently working the Department of Justice and Equality. He Holds a Graduate Diploma in Policy Analysis, a Master Degree in Public Management and a Professional Certificate in Corporate Governance.
In 2009 he was seconded to People with Disabilities in Ireland a Ltd Company for a period of 3 years. The Company advocated on behalf of people with disabilities throughout Ireland and he has previously worked on the UN Convention for People with Disabilities. He is an experienced administrator and continues to offer support to the Disability sector
Dr. Áine Sperrin is newly elected AT board member and currently a Post-Doctoral researcher with the Re(al) Productive Justice Project at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. Her PhD research focused on independent living in post-conflict countries for adults with intellectual disabilities and was funded by the Irish Research Council.
Áine has worked with a wide variety of Irish and International human rights groups including Dublin Simon Community, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, National Platform of Self Advocates, Disability Federation of Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, Rights Watch UK and Amnesty International USA. The rights of persons with disabilities, housing and community participation of marginalised communities are of particular interest to her. Áine is also a Board Member of the Sibéal Feminist and Gender Studies Network. Áine obtained her Bachelor of Civil Law from UCD in 2010 and received her Masters of Law from Trinity College Dublin in 2011.
Fiona is a highly motivated individual and has over 30 years’ experience in working and engaging with the disability sector both as a Researcher and Trainer. Currently she is employed as a Project Worker with Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI). This project, “Strategies for Change” is a new Innovative Online Training Programme with legacy learning resources that will build and support the development of Disabled Activists across Ireland. All of her work is motivated by the reality of the fallouts of segregation, exclusion and the effects of non-disabled professionalism.
Henceforward promoting the need for a Rights Based Model of Support to people that are labelled disabled that is driven by both the Social Model of Disability and the Philosophy of Independent Living.
Fiona’s initial work in this sector involved setting up a local Independent Living Service offering Personal Assistance to local disabled people that wanted more choice and more control over the human supports that they needed to assist them with their daily living tasks.
Fiona holds an MA in Disability Studies, Diploma’s in Community Development, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Counselling Skills. She also holds Certificates in other subjects including Advanced Facilitation, Equality Studies, Social Care, Reality Therapy, Assistive Technology and Supported Self-Directed Living.
Fiona has worked for the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) in Trinity College, NUI Maynooth and the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre in Dublin City University. She has also worked for many disability services delivering evidenced based bespoke training to both users and staff members.
Fiona has a passion in supporting the empowerment process of those that are labelled disabled. It is her lived and learned experience that disabled people need to truly believe “deep down” that they are deserving, and have a right to the same freedoms, the same choices and the same opportunities to live their lives like everyone else.
Activism, education, and delivering bespoke training programmes that educates disabled people and society about the true meaning of Independent Living and how it can eradicate disablism in all its forms is very important to her.
As an organisation developing a new approach and advocating for a policy commitment to the Direct Payments model, it was essential from the very beginning that we looked to include and inform all individuals, policy makers and service providers. We have received great support from the following:
Genio is an Irish non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works to bring Government and private and philanthropic funders together to develop better ways to support disadvantaged people to live full lives in their communities. Genio has provided support to us by way of funding and leadership, helping to continuously develop and strengthen our Direct Payments model.
DFI represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilitiesto be fully included in Irish society. It comprises over 120 organisations that represent and support people with all types of disabilities and disabling conditions. The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and that they are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI’s mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives. DFI has been supporting us since our organisation was established as a pilot project in 2010, particularly in the areas of governance, standards and development.
Go Accessible 365
We are an official partner of GoAccessible365.com. It aims to provide a web and mobile-based search facility to quickly and easily source all forms of wheelchair accessible travel, raising standards, promoting independence and pushing social change. GoAccessible365.com hopes to create a society of ‘universal design’ so transport, accommodation, tourist attractions and venues are accessible to everyone regardless of their situation.
The IWA is the national organization dedicated to the achievement of full social, economic and educational inclusion and integration of people with disabilities as equal, independent and participative members of their communities and society. The IWA has been very supportive of us, particularly in the initial stages of helping to identify candidates and supporting those individuals to avail of our model. They also provided us with Senior Managerial Experience.
Cheshire Ireland provides a range of support services to people with both physical and neurological conditions in their homes, in residential centres, in supported accommodation and in stand-alone respite facilities. Cheshire Ireland has been very supportive to us, particularly in the initial stages of helping to identify candidates and supporting those individuals to avail of our model. They also provided us with Senior Managerial Experience.
The HSE has been very supportive to the development of our organisation. The HSE facilitated us to pilot the Direct Payments model in the first instance.