My name is Paul Alford and I am from Peamount Hospital. I was over in Prague with namhi and other disability people. We went over for the Inclusion Europe Conference, 19-21 May 2005. The meeting was about community-based services and living independently for people with disability from all over Europe.
People living in community houses should have their own space and do their own thing, like cooking, washing, cleaning and looking after themselves. After so many years they might be able to move out to their own house and have their own place.
I found out what happens in many different countries for people with intellectual disability. It was good to hear the differences. We heard about what happens on the other side of the world in New Zealand—things are much better and very different there. They have closed all the institutions except one. People with intellectual disability have the right to their own money, but this does not happen in Ireland. In Ireland the care person minds it for us and we only get pocket money. This is not right.
I was at lots of meetings and workshops over the three days. The dance workshop I did was very good and also the self-advocacy one. I got to meet lots of new people and talk to them—which took time and was hard sometimes because of all the different languages.
I also got time to see Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the big clock. We all went on the trams. That was very good to see and do.
I learnt a lot about community living that I didn’t know before. Many thanks to Inclusion Europe and everyone I was with. I hope to see everyone again next year in Brussels.