by Cormac Cahill
Focusing on Inclucion Ireland’s AGM and Aras Attracta.
Other topics include their Spring/Summer training calendar, the Fool me Once petition, Connect family network, the annual report and the changing places Ireland campaign.
Inclusion Ireland hosted their AGM ‘Áras Attracta – Four Months On’ at the Spencer Hotel in Dublin on Saturday, April 11 and the event was widely covered in the national media over the weekend.
The RTÉ Prime Time Investigations Unit report ‘Inside Bungalow 3’ concerning the HSE-run care home Áras Attracta in Swinford, Co Mayo was broadcast last December and made for disturbing viewing. The report showed evidence of force-feeding, slapping, kicking, physical restraint and shouting at residents.
In the aftermath, the HSE appointed Dr Kevin McCoy, a consultant and former member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, to lead a review of services at Áras Attracta generally.
And following on from Inclusion Ireland’s recommendation, the HSE also appointed Leigh Gath to the position of Confidential Recipient for whistleblowers, staff and residents to safeguard allegations of abuse, negligence or other mistreatment in HSE-funded services.
Both Dr McCoy and Ms Gath were guest speakers at Inclusion Ireland’s AGM.
Sheila Ryan, whose sister Mary Garvan was featured in the Prime Time ‘Inside Bungalow 3’ broadcast last December, also spoke at the event.
Other speakers included Inclusion Ireland CEO Mr Paddy Connolly, Inclusion Ireland Chairperson Mr Tom Healy, parent Mr Eamonn Tierney and Inclusion Ireland self-advocates Mr Adrian Noonan and Ms Phil Davy.
Spring and Summer Training Calendar
Inclusion Ireland’s popular training calendar is returning for the Spring and Summer period and will be taking in Dublin, Athlone, Galway, Limerick and Cork.
The calendar will look at popular subjects such as Making a Will, Medical Decisions, HIQA Standards, Post-School options and Assisted Decision-Making.
As always training can be organised for individual groups in your locality and enquiries can be made through Sarah Lennon on (01) 8559891 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fool Me Once Petition
Inclusion Ireland chose April Fool’s Day to draw attention to our long-running campaign to reform and replace the Lunacy Act 1871 enacted in Victorian Ireland to protect and manage the estate of Lunatics.
Despite successive government promises this law has never been reformed. It is the law that allows for Ward of Court applications. The Government introduced the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill in 2013, and Inclusion Ireland was concerned that it may not progress in advance of next year’s General Election.
Inclusion Ireland partnered with a number of organisations to draw attention to the fact that the Lunacy Act can potentially affect anyone with partners working with older persons, Alzheimer’s, Acquired Brain Injury and physical disabilities.
Inclusion Ireland organised a petition which drew over 2,000 signatures in three weeks.
Copies of this petition were handed over to Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department responsible for the Bill. Minister Ó Ríordáin met members of Inclusion Ireland’s self advocacy committee in Leinster House to receive the petition.
Inclusion Ireland with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and other partners then met with the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Equality and presented them with a copy of the Petition.
This sub-committee is concerned with Ireland’s ratification on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We were pleased to hear that the committee expected the Assisted Decision Making Bill to progress in May 2015.
Inclusion Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland and Irish Autism Action are three national organisations that will be working together on the Connect Family Network.
There are many parent and family disability support groups that are doing good work in Ireland – but connecting with others to share concerns, keep informed and have your voice heard can prove challenging.
Parents and advocates often feel isolated, overwhelmed and not listened to.
Over the coming months and years, the Connect Family Network will endeavour to bring about greater participation of persons with a disability and their family members in the design and delivery of disability services and supports.
Research has shown that service and policy development is much more effective when the people who use services are involved from the outset.
The Connect Family Network will not replace any organisation, but will aim to enable a coherent and combined family voice to be heard by service providers and policy makers.
Inclusion Ireland has published their annual report for 2014 which contains information on Families, Self-Advocacy and Monitoring Policy, Law and Practice.
The edition also contains information on how Inclusion Ireland supports persons with disabilities and families, comprehensive Training section and lists our achievements for 2014.
There is also an Inclusion Ireland 2014 infographic and the list of organisations that we have collaborated with over the 12-month period.
Inclusion Ireland is currently working on a Changing Places Ireland campaign that aims to introduce fully accessible toilets to public places such as shopping centres, libraries and sporting arenas around Ireland.
The campaign will have a stand at the Care and Mobility Show in the RDS on Wednesday 22nd April (12.00pm-7.30pm) and Thursday 23rd April (10-00am-4.00pm).
This offers the campaign a great opportunity because this is Ireland’s biggest event of its kind and is all about products and services for people with disabilities or people who need assistance with their mobility.
The campaign working group also held very a constructive meeting with Minister of State Simon Harris and the OPW’s Assistant Principal Architect Angela Rolfe in Dail Eireann at the end of March. The OPW are currently carrying out appraisals of sites such as Dublin Castle, Áras an Uachtaráin, Glendalough Visitor Centre, the National Gallery and Clonmacnoise Heritage Centre to incorporate fully accessible changing places and toilets.
The group will also be meeting with PRM Access Officer Deirdre Delaney at the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) on Tuesday, May 5th to discuss the possible instillation of a Changing Places facility there. Airports in the UK such as Stansted, Heathrow, George Best Airport, Newcastle and Manchester have already installed CP facilities.