by Mary de Paor


Borderline National Association of Ireland held its first Annual General Meeting on 25 April 1999, in Barry’s Hotel in Dublin. The association, which aims ‘to provide support, information and guidance for parents and carers of persons having a mild mental handicap’, was formed in 1997, following Marie Murray’s interview on the Pat Kenny Radio Show. At a subsequent public meeting in October 1997 (reported in Frontline 33, 7), an interim committee was formed which has met monthly. It has met with government ministers and health board officials and affiliated with the Disability Federation of Ireland.

The AGM was well attended by over 100 people and an ambitious agenda was completed—officers’ reports, acceptance of the association’s constitution and formation of a national committee of twenty volunteers. Borderline founders John and Marie Murray stepped down as joint chairpersons, but will continue on the Executive Committee. Tom Kinirons Jr succeeds as Chairperson, and Angela Carney is Secretary. Following the organisational meeting, presentations were given by representatives of St John of God Services in South Dublin: Bridget Butler of STEP Enterprises, Kathleen Troy of City Gate, and John Kingston of St Augustine’s School.

Borderline aims to represent persons with mild learning disabilities and their families, emphasising the need for employment and independent-living accommodation. (The committee is investigating access to housing grants and social housing schemes.) The association hopes to establish regional branches and to work in cooperation with other support groups in learning disability.