Galway Centre for Independent Living marks 30th anniversary of service to the people of Galway City and County

July 7 2024

GCIL June 2024 1

Over 100 people attended an event to celebrate three decades of service provision by Galway Centre for Independent Living (GCIL) to the people of Galway City and County. The event took place at the Clybaun Hotel on 30 June and was attended by GCIL staff, board members,  Mary O’Halloran, Head of Disability Services, HSE Galway, Cathy McGrath, Health Advocacy Manager, DFI and by TDs Anne Rabbitte, Hildegarde Naughton and Noel Grealish.

Philip Hendrick, CEO of GCIL began the event by thanking all those in attendance and by acknowledging a number of staff who could not be present due to work commitmements. Philip went on to thank the GCIL Board of Directors for their time and commitment to GCIL. 

He also reflected on how different Ireland was 30 years ago, highlighting that the medical model of care was the norm for disability service users, and that living independently was a radical departure that was championed by Centres for Independent Living across Ireland, long before the UN CRPD emerged.

Philip outlined that GCIL has grown year by year to become a trusted service partner of the HSE across Galway city and county, providing over 100,000 hours of service annually, employing over 140 staff and also providing an invaluable wheelchair accessible transport service, supported by a dedicated Community Employment Scheme.

To mark 30 years of service, he detailed that GCIL has launched a new logo and announced enhanced employment benefits to staff.

In conclusion, Philip said; ‘Living independently still has many challenges, as a society, we have a lot more to do to ensure every citizen has true equality to live independently. GCIL has 30 years of knowledge, resilience and experience to share with all stakeholders and decision makers. I am confident GCIL will play its part in ensuring living with a disability is focussed on the service user leading their service, reflecting the Independent Living mantra, of Nothing about us without us."

Addressing the guests, Minister of State at the Department of Health and at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Anne Rabbitte TD, said, "I start by complimenting the Board and thanking the Board that were there at the start, that had the vision with the formation of Galway Centre for Independent Living. Can I thank anybody who has played a role along the way that played their role along the way that have been part of the Board.

"To the staff that are here, I want to acknowledge the role that you have all played, ensuring that the service not just runs today but during difficult times as well, as you have said Jack, during Covid times."

Minister Rabbitte went on to compliment the accessible transport service in particular and express her commitment to work with GCIL and the HSE to commence a pilot project to expand services which could be the template for future services across the country.  

For more on GCIL check out their website.