Making Advocacy Real Event takes place in Cork ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

November 29 2023

Making Advocacy Real event in Cork

Press Release - Thursday 30 November 2023 

Making Advocacy Real Event takes place in Cork ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), hosted a disability self-advocacy learning event in Cork today ahead of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Sunday next, 3 December.

The event, which took place in the Metropole Hotel, was offered by DFI in response to requests from our member organisations, and it offered an opportunity for all gathered to reflect on best practice in self-advocacy and to work towards the development of a DFI Self-Advocacy Toolkit.

Speakers at today’s event were drawn from DFI Member Organisations and included Dr Caroline Winstanley from the Central Remedial Clinic, Joanne Nelligan from Rehab Group and Gary Brennan from the Prader Willi Syndrome Association Ireland.

Master of Ceremonies for the event was Amy Begley, a disability advocate from Cork.

Speaking after today’s event PJ Cleere, Community Development Manager with DFI said, “The DFI Self-Advocacy Programme is a partnership between DFI, our member organisations, key workers and self-advocates. Through this programme DFI is working to support member organisations to promote, develop, and strengthen self-advocacy in their organisations. Today’s event was another step in the journey and was underpinned by the principles in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We look forward to continuing this important work with our members to develop best practice in self-advocacy programmes.”

PJ continued, “Today’s event is DFI’s flagship gathering to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities which takes place on Sunday next, 3 December, and it was wonderful to gather together to mark this day to acknowledge the work of our member organisations for the self-advocacy services they offer for people with disabilities.”

Notes to editors:

  • What is self-advocacy? 

Self-advocacy is essentially the action of communicating and representing one’s needs, views or interests. It is about understanding your rights, speaking up, taking action and taking control of one’s life. Where people cannot speak up for themselves they are supported to do so by others. Effective self-advocacy will mean that a person has good information, training, the right support when needed, opportunities to learn by doing, confidence in themselves and will understand that self-advocacy can be at an individual or group level.

  • Biographies of Speakers and MC

Gary Brennan joined The Prader-Willi Syndrome Association Ireland (PWSAI) in May 2019 as the National Development Manager with a remit of developing a strong foundation within PWSAI from which the future of PWS awareness, support and services provision can advance. The PWSAI was founded by parents in the late 1980s as a support group for individuals with PWS and their families in Ireland.

Joanne Nelligan is Senior Advocacy Officer with Rehab Group where she has worked for the past 10 years. She supports disabled people who use the services of Rehab Care and the students of the National Learning Network to have their say in relation to the services they're being provided with.

Dr Caroline Winstanley is a qualified speech and language therapist. She works for the Central Remedial Clinic as a person-centred planning co-ordinator and researcher and works on many advocacy and human rights initiatives within the organisation.

Amy Begley (MC) is a disabled Artist and Graphic Designer from Cork. She studied animation and illustration at the Cork College of FET, Douglas Street Campus. Currently, she works with the CETB, developing Graphic Design. Amy uses her skills to break down barriers for people like her with Dyslexia who find it hard to learn when materials are not accessible. She has been advocating for people with disabilities for six years.

  • The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD) 

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPDwD) on 3 December was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.  

This year's theme is: “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.” This theme reflects the need for innovative and inclusive solutions to address the challenges and opportunities faced by disabled people in a sustainable and resilient society.

For media contact:

Brenda Drumm, Communications Manager, Disability Federation of Ireland, 086 076 4114 

Photos are available on request from John McElroy on 087 241 6985.