Newsletter March 2013

Issued on March 29 2013

Health Related Developments

The previous month was a busy one, in terms of health matters. DFI met with the Secretary General of the Department of Health, and the Assistant National Director for Social Care. It was an opportunity to develop and build relationships with the Department, and in this regard, Mr Ambrose McLoughlin invited DFI and its members to meet with him, and / or Geraldine Fitzpatrick once or twice a year. The Secretary General pointed to the very significant savings to accrue to the health system through reducing the pharmacy bill and introducing legislation to make medicines cheaper. This would alleviate funding pressures in other areas of the health system including disability services. He appreciated the role of services and of advocacy which DFI welcomed. I highlighted the need for service planning now and the need to plan for the long-term, to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a situation where disability services and supports are further eroded, when Ireland exits from the austerity programme in two years” time.
We engaged in a widespread media campaign this month to highlight DFI shock at the Government”s decision to withdraw the Mobility Allowance and the Motorised Transport Grant, a vital part of the support infrastructure to help people to live and to be active in the community. Such actions undermine trust in the consultation process that has developed over the past number of years.
In other matters, the Value for Money Implementation Framework has just been published, which is essentially a framework for the VfM recommendations. Finding efficiencies is paramount in the framework and an initial review of the document indicates that there continues to be limited recognition in the Framework for existing person-centred community based services. See (Page 8) below in this newsletter for a review of some key points in the framework.
John Dolan
Chief Executive Officer


DFI Welcomes Áiseanna Tacaíochta as General Members

Áiseanna Tacaíochta translates into English as “Supported Facilities”. They provide the support and help to facilitate Leaders to manage and run their own Personal Assistant (PA) service.
Áiseanna Tacaíochta was set up to develop a supportive and cost-effective user-led network that empowers its members to move from dependency on disability service providers to managing their own personal budgets and services in a mainstream market environment.
In the transition towards setting up companies to manage their Personal Assistant Services, people with disabilities will require certain supports, both from each other and from external sources. Áiseanna Tacaíochta will endeavour to strengthen and develop this process.
Further information on all DFI member organisations can be found on the website:


Charities: How the Public Sees Us

A recent public opinion poll commissioned by the Advocacy Initiative provides invaluable insights into how the public view charities roles in advocacy and policy development work. It raises some questions for consideration for the sector, starting with language. It found that the use of the word “lobbying” is potentially annoying and mostly associated with politics, whilst “campaigning” has ambiguous connotations. Topping the annoying and ambiguous polls simultaneously however, is the word “campaign”. It raises questions about how we talk about this area of our work and ensure that advocacy is perceived as part of the cause we work around, and not a distraction from it.
There is some good news when it comes to the public”s perception of where charities should be positioned with 72% of those polled saying it was important for charities to lobby government. Ironically though, more people thought it was permissible for business to meet with government ministers (47%) than Charities and not for profits (36%). There is an even split between those who think that charities spend too much time lobbying and not enough directly helping people.
 57% believe that greater involvement of charities and community groups in national policy making would ensure that vulnerable people are better provided for in the current crisis
 49% think charities have provided more leadership than politicians during the recent crisis
 50% think charities and civil society groups should become more involved in policy making at a national level.
This lends us to understand that the public thinks highly of the sector and wants us to lobby on their behalf. It would seem however, that a charity”s perceived clout influences whether they would become involved or not. When it comes to volunteering, 39% would be interested in getting involved in a national movement of charity and civil society groups if, in their view, a credible one presented itself.
Recent UK research tells us that competition between charities makes standing out difficult and that in the current climate, economics overshadows all priorities. It is important to pick up on the trends of the UK research however, which is telling us something that we perhaps already know: face to face meetings with Ministers is more effective than correspondence to their office, and that local and constituency based advocacy works best.
For further information or comment, please contact .

HR & Employment Law Update

Adare Human Resource Management provide HR and Employment Law Support Services to a large number of Organisations within the Community and Voluntary Sector.
Our HR and Employment Law Support Services include
 Contracts of Employment & Employee Handbooks containing policies & procedures - drafting / review / update
 HR Helpdesk – provision of on-going access to Phone / Email HR Advice and Support
 Representation at Workplace Relations Commission, Rights Commissioners, Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) and other external employment bodies
 HR Consultancy Services – Recruitment / Investigations / Dispute Management
Adare Human Resource Management support Organisations through minimising the risk of exposure to legal challenges by ensuring legal compliance for Organisations in their practices as well as policies and procedures.
Disability Federation of Ireland, in conjunction with Adare Human Resource Management, has in place a support structure for member Organisations to avail of discounted Human Resource and Employment Law Support Services exclusively for DFI members.
Employer and Employee Responsibilities in relation to Health and Safety in the Workplace
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 sets out responsibilities upon Employers and Employees with regard to Health and Safety in the workplace. Below we have outlined a number of these responsibilities from both an Employer and an Employee perspective.
Employer Responsibilities
The Act imposes a number of general responsibilities on Employers:
• Manage work to ensure the safety, health and welfare of Employees
• Manage work activities to prevent improper conduct. E.G Bullying
• Design and maintain workplaces so that they are safe and without risk to health
• Provide a safe means of access and egress from workplaces
• Ensure plant, equipment, substances are safe and without risk to health
• Ensure safe systems of work
• Provide and maintain facilities for welfare
• Provide information, training and supervision for Employees in a language or form that they can understand
• Not penalise Employees because of actions taken by them in relation to their health and safety rights.

Employees also have a duty in the maintenance of Health and Safety in the Workplace.
Employee Responsibilities
Employees are also required to be active in Health and Safety at Work and have the following responsibilities:
• Comply with statutory requirements and to take reasonable action to protect themselves and others who may be affected by their acts or omissions
• Ensure they are not under the influence of any type of intoxicant which may endanger themselves or others in the workplace
• Co-operate with Employer so that the Employer can comply with statutory requirements
• Attend training and instruction
• Have regard for training and instructions, make correct use of articles or substances provided by the Employer
• Report any defects in the workplace, work systems, articles or substances that might endanger themselves or others
If you have any questions relating to Health and Safety in the Workplace, do not hesitate to contact us.

For further information on the HR Support Services provided click on the link below:

Meditation and Disability

by Maeve Halpin, Social and Organisational Psychologist
Maeve Halpin is a practising counsellor and Social and Organisational Psychologist, with many years” experience in the Community and Voluntary sector, latterly as Chair of the Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups. In conjunction with Maeve, DFI have launched an External Supervision and Support Service for staff and Boards of DFI member groups.

The ancient practices of mindfulness and meditation which have gained currency in recent years in the West have much to offer, both to people with disabilities and to the field of disability studies. As well as promoting calmness and alleviating stress, meditation can bring a level of insight into our emotional reactions and thought patterns that heralds the possibility of profound inner change. Meditation imparts not only the tools to address the pain and discomfort of disability but also presents a way of re-conceptualising subjective experience so that one has more “room to manoeuvre” in terms of one's sense of oneself as a person with a disability.
Meditation in Action
These healing practices have begun to be incorporated into medical and community settings in innovative ways. The “Contemplative Practice, Health Promotion and Disability on Campus” (1) course initiated by Daniel Holland in the University of Arkansas, is open to all students but particularly welcoming to those with disabilities. Holland realised that college students with disabilities and chronic conditions are more prone to depression, isolation and alcohol and drug abuse than their non-disabled peers. He also recognised that students with disabilities bring a valuable perspective and accumulated wisdom to the learning environment. The course teaches a diverse student group to integrate mindfulness meditation and somatic (body) awareness into their daily lives. Participants report significant improvement in their ability to cope with daily stressors and with chronic health conditions. Comparable outcomes have been demonstrated with groups such as those with learning difficulties (2), fibromyalgia (3) and chronic lower back pain (4). See for similar courses in Ireland.
Setting the Context
Central to the practices of meditation and mindfulness are attitudes of patience, compassion, non-judging, openness, acceptance, letting go, non-striving and trust. Beginning to non-judgementally observe the contents of the mind and the sensations of the body allows subtle awareness”s to emerge, leading to revisions of our fixed sense of ourselves. Sitting in silence, attending to the breath, we come to know our moment-to-moment experience as transient, ever-changing and impermanent, like clouds passing in the sky. This can open a sense of “spacious possibility” in terms of how we view and identify ourselves.
Personal Accounts in Print
Susan Squier in her article “Meditation, Disability and Identity” (5) examines three narratives of disabled meditators: “CripZen” by postpolio survivor Lorenzo Milam describes his journey to move beyond futile attempts to “triumph” over the body to the final acceptance of “I am what I am”, while Philip Martin in “The Zen Path Through Depression” values the option to observe the ebb and flow his depression without judging, fighting or attempting to control it. Joan Tollifson in “Bare Bones Meditation” also presents meditation as an alternative to doing battle with the body or the mind. (Born without a right hand, doctors discretely left her father alone in a room with his newborn daughter and a large pillow, which he eventually realised was to facilitate him smothering her.) Through meditation, Tollifson comes to see our identities as bizarre costumes – black skin, white skin, amputation, old age etc. Some are more bizarre than others, but everyone has one. The mistake we make is believing that the costume is us. Accessing a deeper sense of self helps transcend, or at least achieve some separation from, the self we have adopted as exclusive. Meditation can bring relief from immediate pain and suffering but can also lead us further, to re-evaluating our fundamental assumptions about what it means to have a disability.

© Maeve Halpin Mar 2013

More information is available at


Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant

In October 2012, the Ombudsman for Health Emily O”Reilly published a report highlighting that the Department of Health was not in compliance with equality legislation by refusing applications on age grounds for the Mobility Allowance Scheme and the Motorised Transport Grant. The Department accepted that it was wrong and that there was a need to widen eligibility, however it stated that it is unable to afford to do this.
In February this year, the Department of Health presented to the Committee on Public Service, Oversight and Petitions around this issue. The Department stated that widening eligibility to over 65s would cost the State €500m over three years, and that any solution would have to be found within current budgets. If not, then funding would have to be taken from frontline services.
On the 27th February the Department of Health announced that the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grants would be withdrawn. The Department of Health has established a project group to review the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant that includes representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Environment, Department of Transport, the NDA, the disability sector and others. DFI are concerned about the timeframes of the review of the schemes and an attempt to get something new in place by the end of June when the mobility allowance will no longer be paid.
The publication by the Department of Health of the “Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services”, firmly endorses the policy direction of ensuring that people can remain active participants in the community. This decision on the Mobility Allowance Scheme runs counter to the 'active participants' policy and is specifically targeted at older people, who have in the past had cuts to home care and home support packages. We believe that for the future implementation of this scheme to work, Government departments need to communicate with each other and work together, and that the National Disability Strategy is the solution to this issue.

Value for Money Implementation Framework for Disability Services

On 28th of February Minister Lynch T.D. released the “National Implementation Plan”, in following up on the Value for Money and Policy Review of Disability Services Programme in the HSE. The document attempts to show how the authorities are seeking to change operation of the Programme over 2013 and 2014.
Although the main focus is on traditional disability services and issues such as staff rostering, all voluntary organisations receiving any HSE funding will be affected. The 120 implementation actions listed in the document largely echo the recommendations set out in the Review. For example, Key action #78 would “explore opportunities for procurement by competitive tendering”, and action # 33 would “require the Chief Officer of each agency to report regularly to the HSE on efficiency gains as part of the SLA monitoring process….” Indeed key measures for the coming months are heavily focussed on “implementation efficiency drivers”, including strengthening the disability function in the health system.
The Framework names seven instrumental strategic aims. The development of an implementation plan, however, is postponed pending a policy appraisal of the “person-centred supports model”. The appraisal will be based on experience with pilot projects, mostly involving people with intellectual disabilities, shifting from segregated to community-based services.
Disappointingly the Framework fails to consider the role of existing community-based disability-specific services, many of which support people with physical and sensory disabilities. As a result there is the risk that work developed under the Framework on commissioning, information systems, needs assessment and cost allocation models could undermine this person-centred segment of the Programme.
DFI continues to engage with the Department and the HSE to try to ensure that the implementation actions improve outcomes for people with disabilities and strengthen the community-based supports that underpin their independence.
To view the Implementation Framework, please click

Report from the National Consultative Forum

The National Consultative Forum meeting was held on the 12th February. The meeting dealt with one issue, the review being carried out by Tom Beegan, who has been hired by the HSE as a consultant to carry out a Value for Money Review on the voluntary sector in its entirety. He is beginning his review by focusing on voluntary disability organisations and this will be carried out over a 6 month period.
Tom gave a presentation setting out the scope of the work the language of which is drawn mainly from the Value for Money report. The focus of his review is on minimising duplication, on where mergers or consolidations would be appropriate, the potential for shared services, the management of the SLA's, pay policy, and identification of a commissioning / procurement/funding model for the voluntary sector.
Tom is planning on organising meetings in the four regions, and is also meeting with the umbrella organisations. At the meeting, DFI asked for clarification about the Terms of Reference for the Review, the context for carrying it out, as well as the relationship between this Review and the VfM Implementation Plan. We emphasised that the scope of work in the TOR did not allow a focus on VfM in terms of outcomes for people with disabilities, as well as the absence of any reference to the high level goals and actions of the National Disability Strategy, and the principles of the UNCRPD. As the Value for Money report did not cover community based services and supports DFI questioned whether the VfM Implementation Plan would likewise ignore these or inappropriately make recommendations in relation to these.

DFI meeting with Tom Beegan on HSEVfM of Services Provided by Voluntary Organisations

DFI had its own meeting with Tom Beegan, where we explained to him in detail the kinds of work our member organisations are engaged in terms of supporting individuals to continue living in the community. Among the areas that DFI briefed him on were:
• the importance of placing the focus on outcomes for people with disabilities
• the good practice that is on-going in the area of quality, including PQASSO, Organisational Healthcheck, University of Limerick, Quality Management Courses that organisations have been engaged in now for a number of years
• the lack of recognition of community based services and supports in the VfM Review
DFI also highlighted the problems within the HSE itself in terms of its SLA's, and the requirement for organisations to mirror themselves to HSE structures, having many corporate relationships, rather than just one.

Consultation on National Dementia Strategy

Dementia is a condition that affects older people with other types of disabilities, and the incidence of early onset dementia is high for some types of disability. An effective strategy is long overdue. DFI and some members made submissions to a consultation on the issue in 2012.
The Department of Health posted on its website a summary of the 73 submissions received about the development of a dementia strategy. These overwhelmingly supported the need for a person-centred, integrated and adequately resourced national strategy. Although respondents were asked to prioritise amongst seven different aspects of a strategy, one quarter could not downgrade any of those named. That said, the issue of dedicated and flexible community based services was a top concern.
The submissions highlighted shortcomings in the current approach to dementia, including issues familiar to people with disabilities, such as barriers to services based on arbitrary rules like age limits, poor training of providers of health services whether in primary or acute care, a bias towards residential care rather than supports to remain in the community. The stigmatisation of dementia was cited as a problem across the health system and wider society. To view the report, please click


Report on the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group

There was a meeting of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Group (NDSIG) chaired by Minister Kathleen Lynch on the 7th February. This is the fifth meeting since November 2011. When it was established at that time, the implementation plan was to be in operation by May 2012. At a recent meeting we were informed that two Departments, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) have still not submitted their plans. They are critical to moving on the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with disabilities. DFI stressed its concern with these ongoing delays and pointed out that the Plan is supposed to cover 2013 – 2015 and requested that the Minister expressly bring our concerns to the Taoiseach, as Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy, which was due to meet the following week. We also said it was unacceptable that one or two Departments could stall the whole process at this point.
At this stage, we understand that the Taoiseach will intervene to unlock the issues between the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and that the Minister will not wait indefinitely and will move to get Cabinet approval and publish shortly. DFI will also be raising these issues with our disability colleagues within the Disability Stakeholders Group. The Board of DFI has also expressed its concern regarding the lack of implementation of the Strategy two years after the commitment was given in the Programme for Government and where the leaders of Fine Gael and Labour had stated during its election campaign that disability and mental health was their number one social policy issue.

Department of Social Protection: Review of Employment Support Schemes

The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton hosted a review of Social Protection Employment Support Schemes in February. Key developments proposed in the high level review paper include the expansion of Community Eemployment schemes, as well as a recommendation to move Rural Social Schemes out of the Department of Social Protection.
The Review focuses on the Departments stated activation stance: to progress adults of working age in receipt of jobseekers payments to progress to employment and or other appropriate progression. The Department has three core business imperatives: addressing income inequality via income maintenance, activation of those particularly on the live register and control, i.e. the measurement of outcomes and prevention of fraud. Intreo, the new one stop shop for jobseekers combining financial and employment supports aims to provide individual case management profiling as well as better links with employers, training and education for those on the live register.
Other recommendations include:
• The Amalgamation of Community Employment and Tús: Consideration will be given to full amalgamation of the two schemes, as the design for both is already coming closer together.
• Selective expansion of temporary employment: The OECD viewed the level of temporary schemes in Ireland to be high, but as long-term unemployment has risen further since the most recent OECD review and seems likely to remain at an elevated level for some time, the Department regards this as strengthening the case for selective expansion of temporary employment.
• The possible transfer of the Rural Social Scheme: the Department is looking to see if this scheme should move to a Department or body that is engaged with the development of rural and community services.
• Possible closure of the Part Time Job Incentive: The department is considering the termination of this scheme considering that there has been poor take up on it and that there have also been amendments to Family Income Support.
• Amalgamation of the Jobs Initiative and the Community Services Programme: As numbers continue to fall, the Jobs Initiative scheme might be amalgamated, on a local basis, with projects now funded under the Community Services Programme.
• As JobBridge has effectively undermined the rationale for the Work Placement Programme, the Department is recommending amending JobBridge to allow the registration of internships where the participant has no previous welfare entitlement and therefore receives no payment under the scheme, and close the Work Placement Programme to new entrants.
• Refocusing the Back to Education Allowance: The review makes a range of recommendations designed to address concerns around eligibility conditions and “lock in” effects as well as an enhanced role for the Department of Social Protection in how the scheme is accessed.
• Amalgamation of the TESG and TATS: The review recommends the Technical Employment Support Grant and Technical Assistance and Training Scheme should be amalgamated.
DFI is concerned at the invisibility of people with disabilities in this review. Intreo is open only to those on jobseekers payments and people with disabilities may be further pushed to the back of government priorities on mainstreaming. The Disability Activation programmes, Supported Employment and Community Services programme were not included in this review. It is clear that people with disabilities are not considered by government to be part of the active labour market. If you have comments that can inform DFI's position on this issue, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Joan O”Donnell, .
The “Review of Employment Support Schemes” and the “High level Issues Paper emanating from a Review of Department of Social Protection Employment Support Schemes” can be downloaded from the Departments website

Department of Social Protection: Disability Activation Projects

In October of 2012, 14 projects were funded to the tune of €7 million under the Disability Activation Project across the Border Midlands and Western Region. At the time the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton was quoted as saying that the funds would be used to “create linkages between employers and people with disabilities – this is crucial to ensuring that the untapped potential of people with disabilities is allowed to flourish and that they are enabled to participate fully in the labour market.”
There are four strands to the project:
• Improving access to employment
• Progression programmes for young people
• Support for progression and retention of people with acquired disability
• Innovative employer initiatives.
Amongst the fourteen organisations that received funding are the following:
• Boarders Midlands and West region: (BMW) Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has established vocational assessments to support people with acquired brain injuries to remain in or re-enter the workforce.
• BMW region: University of Limerick along with Arthritis Ireland are developing an individualised occupational therapy programme to overcome barriers faced by people with arthritis in accessing or remaining in work.
• Donegal: National Learning Network received funding to create a comprehensive transition plan for adolescents with autism / learning difficulties
• Louth: Walkinstown Association for People with an Intellectual Disability have developed the “PEER “ Programme, providing equal progression routes through capacity, competence and the development of potential for 16-24 year olds.
• Cavan, Monaghan, Louth: Monaghan Integrated Development Ltd. have developed an awareness raising programme with employers.
• Galway, Mayo and Roscommon: NLNs developing early supportive interventions for people on illness benefit to promote reintegration specifically in the SME sector.
For further information on these and other funded projects, please visit


Appropriate Housing for People with Disabilities

Implementation of the National Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities is proceeding, albeit in an environment where public housing investment is cut by 40% from the already reduced level in 2012.
Implementing the Housing Strategy
Those implementing the Strategy have decided that half of the €1m allocated by the HSE to fund housing for moving residents of institutions into the community would be used for “pilot” projects in four local authority areas [Dublin, Louth, Cork & Limerick] with the remainder being used to fund transitions elsewhere. At their meeting in February the Strategy Monitoring Group was informed that the next step was for organisations to identify persons wishing to move.
A draft protocol to guide the assessment of housing needs of people with disabilities states that residents of congregated settings should not be deemed adequately housed by the local authority, nor should adults with disabilities who remain in the family home due to their support needs. This represents a change in approach, and should give a better measure of unmet housing need. That said, people outside institutions will still face hurdles in getting their support needs addressed by the HSE so that they can achieve more independent living.
Applicants for housing adaptation grants can expect to face changed rules, according to Department of the Environment officials, due to the drastic reduction in the funds available. Channelling funds in favour of smaller sided grants and to lower income applicants are among the changes being considered.
Cork Conference
On 18th -19th April the Lord Mayor of Cork will host a conference in response to the Congregated Settings Report and the resulting impetus to enable community living by residents with intellectual disabilities in such settings. Ministers O”Sullivan, Lynch and Reilly will speak as well as self advocates, representatives of voluntary organisations, Cork officials and others. For further information, please click
Other measures
Legislation is passing through the Oireachtas that in varying degrees brings special needs social housing into the mainstream, and which may affect people with disabilities. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill gives social housing tenants in housing association accommodation the same rights and obligations as those in the private rented sector. This includes a dispute resolution service.
The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act requires all owners of social housing to pay tax at the lowest valuation band unless the property is owned by a charitable body and is used solely or primarily to provide special needs accommodation. The Irish Council for Social Housing and others are working to have this exemption interpreted as widely as possible. For owners and tenants not covered by the exemption, costs are likely to increase unless offsetting subsidies are available.
For further information about housing issues, please contact


Research Report on: Living in the Community: Services and Supports for People with Disabilities

Date: 17th April 2013
Time: 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Venue: Oak Room, Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2

DFI and Not for Profit Business Association (NFPBA) will launch their jointly commissioned research report, which aimed to capture the nature, scope, level and quality of the community based services and supports that enable people with disabilities to continue to live in the community. The purpose of the launch on the 17th April will be to facilitate an open discussion on the research findings between members of the Oireachtas, organisations representing people with disabilities and people with disabilities.
The research is timely, following on from the Value for Money and Policy Review, as it discusses key features of community based services and supports that contribute to improving outcomes for people with disabilities in Ireland.
This report will be officially launched by Minister Kathleen Lynch at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday 17th April 2013. Please confirm your attendance, and note any particular access requirements you may have by email to .

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Getting Ready to Ratify

Date: Friday 17th May 2013
Time: 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.
Venue: Jury”s Inn, Custom House Quay, Custom House, Dublin 1
A Conference hosted jointly by Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy, at the National University of Ireland, Galway on preparing for Ireland”s forthcoming ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Professor Theresia Degener, a member of the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be attending as key note speaker to the conference.
The Convention has already had an impact in reminding us of the need to uphold the rights of people with disabilities. It establishes government priorities, as well as supporting practice and implementation issues. Even before Ireland has ratified, there are many steps people with disabilities, families, and organisations can take to make sure that we know what is needed to implement the Convention. We can learn from other countries, including those who have ratified, and those who are preparing to ratify, about the changes required. If the Convention is to be taken seriously, we must understand what it requires, and hold our government and other stakeholders accountable to implement the promises the Convention contains.
Who Should Attend the Conference?
 People with disabilities, family members and friends.
 Voluntary Disability Organisations.
 Wider Community and Voluntary sector Organisations.
 HSE Government Departments, Local Authorities.
Registration Deadline and Fee
• Closing date for Registration: Friday 3rd of May
• Conference Fee: €25 per delegate
• Registration Process: click here for registration online
• Concessions are available; contact Cathy McGrath on 086 384 7440 / .
Full conference information:

ESRI Conference: "Budget Perspectives 2014" - Date for your Diary

Venue: The ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin 2.
Date: Tuesday 25th June 2013
The next budget is expected to be earlier this year so the annual ESRI conference will take place in June. Details of the speakers and the programme will be available nearer the time. For further information contact

Genio Announce Intention to Offer Grants to Disability and Mental Health Projects in 2013

Genio are pleased to announce that they will be offering grants to disability and mental health projects in 2013. Applications will open in late March and must be made through the Genio website .
They will be hosting four free seminars in order to explain the application process in detail. Places are limited and offered on a first-come first-served basis.
You must register to attend a seminar by completing their online form.
The seminars will take place in four regional venues.
• Friday 15th March, 10.00 a.m. - 12.30 p.m. Cavan Crystal Hotel
• Friday 15th March, 2.30 p.m. - 5p.m. Bewley's Hotel Leopardstown
• Tuesday 19th March, 9.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Silver Springs Moran Hotel Cork
• Tuesday 19th March, 4pm - 6pm, Clayton Hotel Galway
Please note that the criteria and guidelines for the 2013 disability and mental health grants are currently being agreed. Information will be published on Genio”s website when finalised.
Further information available from:
Orlaith Potter
Communications & Operations Executive
Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.
Tel: 353 (0)44 9385940 @genionews

NDA Research Promotion Scheme 2013

Call for Proposals for research on Community Supports to Enable People with Acquired or Progressive Disabilities Live Independently

The National Disability Authority (NDA) is the independent statutory advisory body to Government on issues of disability policy and practice.
The Research Promotion Scheme is intended to enhance knowledge on key issues relevant to policy or services for people with disabilities. This year”s theme is community supports which can enable people with disabilities to remain living independently in the community, with a particular focus on people with acquired or progressive conditions (including episodic conditions).
The research is intended to feed into the significant reform programme underway in disability services. This reform is refocusing these services towards supporting people with disabilities to live ordinary lives in ordinary places.
Research grants are expected to be in the region of €20,000 to €25,000, with up to two projects funded.
NDA are now seeking proposals from disability or research organisations. A key condition is that the organisation is in a position to provide suitable research support and oversight of the project.
The closing date for proposals to the scheme is 12 noon on Thursday, April 4th 2013. Information on how to apply, including the Application Form and the Application terms and guidelines can be found on our website at
This information is also available by contacting: Ms Damhnait O'Malley, Ph: (01) 608 0405 or

Ireland Funds Open for Applications

The Ireland Funds small grants have opened for applications focusing on new and innovative responses to social need.
The objective of the Ireland Fund Small Grants Round is to enable as many organisations as possible to fund new and innovative responses to social need.
The amount of funding available will vary from year to year . Applicants can apply online during the period in which the Grant Round is open, which is typically February - March in this instance with a deadline of Thursday 28 March 2013.
Organisations typically begin their funding relationship with The Ireland Funds when they are awarded a grant through the Grant Round. Donors occasionally identify projects through the Grant Round that they wish to support longer term through donor advised gifts and, while a relatively small number of organisations receive funding in this way, we continuously update our records on charities should a donor express an interest in supporting an area in which they are active.
Grant Round Funding Priorities
The Worldwide Ireland Funds accept applications for projects in the following areas:
• Investing in Ireland's Communities
• Supporting a Shared Future for Northern Ireland
• Providing Access to Education
• Promoting Culture and Heritage
• Assisting Disadvantaged Youth
• Assisting the Elderly "Forgotten Irish"
• Promoting Philanthropy in Ireland
Size of Awards
The maximum amount awarded is €20,000. The average award will be around €5,000 and there is no minimum award.
How to Apply
For more information and how to apply please visit:
For further assistance please contact:
The Ireland Funds in Dublin
T - (01) 662 7878 / E -

Join the Taxback campaign – The Good Form: Article by ICTR

Your charity has already invested considerably in recruiting, developing and retaining your donors. You”re under pressure to increase your return on that investment. How can you grow your income at low cost and without donor fatigue?
The answer is Taxback – the Revenue rebate on donations by PAYE-donors.
The proportion of €250+ donors who return their CHY 2 forms to most charities is less than the proportion of PAYE taxpayers in the general public. Many donors whose donations would be eligible for Taxback don”t do so for various reasons – primarily inertia. We estimate charities are missing out on about €16m p.a. in unclaimed Taxback. Even with recently announced simplifications of the scheme, charities still have to collect CHY 2 forms for each donation year up to and including 2012.
Following an initial meeting of charities, a steering group came together to develop a campaign to improve the response rate on CHY 2 mailings. We developed a campaign brief and, following agency pitches, selected Javelin as our creative partner. The campaign, called The Good Form, has now been adopted by the ICTR.
The campaign will run initially through direct marketing from spring 2013 - when most charities send their tax mailings. It will raise awareness of the benefits of The Good Form, the simple need to complete and return the forms and address some of the common barriers to response. It will carry The Good Form brand that you can use in your mail and online in conjunction with your own brand. This will leverage a positive return on investment from contributing charities in the same year as the spend. The more charities we can bring together to pool budgets, the more we can achieve. In the long term, we plan to secure funding for an above-the-line advertising campaign, including messaging around the changes in the Taxback scheme.
Interested in joining the campaign? Join this group or contact

Advocacy Initiative

The Advocacy Initiative is undertaking a study on the links between public funding and social justice advocacy. The initiative is interested to learn how public funding influences the practice of advocacy, be that supportive, restrictive or neutral. To that end they have already commissioned a background paper, available at .
The most important stage is the next one. Here, they will try to collect the actual, practical experiences of voluntary and community organisations. They are looking for examples, with as much evidence as possible, of ways in which the State or its agencies have used funding to:

• Promote advocacy, lobbying or campaigning by voluntary and community organisations; or where it may have used its authority to
• Restrict the ability of voluntary organisations to undertake advocacy, lobbying or campaigning.

The aim is to find the “ground truth” of the link between funding and advocacy so as to increase understanding of how public funding and advocacy interact. They are looking for information, experiences, case studies or examples by e-mail, telephone or through personal interview.
If you are in a position to help, please make initial contact with the researcher Brian Harvey directly, by Wednesday 13th March 2013, e-mail: Brian , Tel 01-490 3039. He will then follow up the initial contact with further discussion or interview as appropriate.
The Advocacy Initiative is a three-year community and voluntary sector project that promotes understanding, awareness and effectiveness of social justice advocacy in Ireland. By creating the conditions for stronger social justice advocacy, the Initiative will strengthen policy responses to existing and emerging challenges in addressing poverty and social exclusion, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society. Further information is available on: . If you want to speak to someone in The Advocacy Initiative, contact Anna Visser, e-mail: , phone: 01-685 3291.

Web Accessibility at the Heart of the Disability Movement”s meeting in Ireland

The right of persons with disabilities to have access on an equal basis with others to all information and communications technologies, including internet, is clearly laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), that the European Union has ratified. Nevertheless, up until now, only a limited percentage of public websites in the European Union are fully accessible for persons with disabilities, while almost all private websites remain inaccessible. Last December, the European Commission released a legislative proposal on the accessibility of public bodies” websites.
In the framework of EDF's Board meeting which took place in Dublin, Ireland, on 23-24 February, EDF and Disability Federation Ireland (DFI) in cooperation with the National Disability Authority of Ireland, organised a seminar entitled: “Accessibility of Public Websites – legislative and practical perspectives”.
The Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Pat Rabbitte opened the seminar, which focused on the scope of the Commission”s legislative proposal, its limitations and possible avenues to extend it in order to cover more areas.
Why a Directive? The Directive is being proposed under Article 114 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as an Internal Market measure and not as an anti-discrimination measure, even though the introductory text does refer to the United Nations CRPD's article 9 on accessibility.
When: To be transposed by 30 June 2014 (Art 10) and Member States shall apply the provisions of the Directive by December 31 2015 (Art 3).
Who: It will apply to 12 different and quite specific types of public sector websites. Member States may decide to broaden the scope to include other types of public sector websites.
What: The standards proposed are WCAG 2.0 and the level of conformity proposed is double A, "AA".
How: Compliance will be monitored by Member states and reported to the Commission on a continuous basis.
Link to the draft directive: . If you have comments that can inform DFI's position on this issue, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Joan O”Donnell, .

DFI Welcomes Garda Vetting Unit Staff Increase

The Disability Federation of Ireland welcomes the announcement of additional staff to be redeployed to the Garda Central Vetting Unit. The unit is responsible for processing vetting applications on behalf of approximately 20,000 organisations, including many non-profit organisations
The staff will be re-deployed from the Department of Agriculture to the unit in Tipperary town.
The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 will require thousands of new and existing volunteers to be vetted for the first time. The move has also been welcomed by the Wheel, Volunteer Ireland and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)

21 Work Placement Opportunities now available for Graduates with Disabilities / Specific Learning Difficulties in The Civil Service

If you are a graduate with a disability / specific learning difficulty seeking valuable work experience, the AHEAD WAM (Willing Able Mentoring) Programme, which offers a six month, paid, mentored work placement, may be the opportunity you have been waiting for.
Applications are currently being sought for a wide variety of positions across the Civil Service based around Ireland. Applicants must hold a Level 8 qualification according to the National Qualification Framework and must be a citizen of the European Economic Area.
Candidates interested in applying must go to for more information and to complete the application form.
Queries should be directed to the WAM Team by email: or by telephone: 01-7168844 or by text 086-7399971.
The Closing Date for receipt of applications is 3rd March 2013.

'Community Living for All'

A Conference on the Future Role of the European Union Structural funds to Advance Community Living for Older People and People with Disabilities'.
The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at National University of Ireland, Galway is pleased to inform you of a forthcoming conference which we at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy are holding on the 3rd of May 2013.
It will be 'an event in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU which is appropriate given that a stated priority of Ireland”s EU Presidency will be to finalise agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that will determine the European Union budget from 2014-2020 and therefore cohesion funding.
The event is jointly directed by Senator Katherine Zappone, member of the Senate of Ireland and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy directed by Professor Gerard Quinn.
The conference is open to all interested in the development of positive European Union social policy in the fields of ageing and disability.
The speakers are drawn from a variety of European Union level institutions and others including the European Commission, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Group of National Human Rights Institutions, the United States Federal Administration for Community Living. European level civil society groups will be represented by the European Disability Forum and Age Platform Europe. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (European Region) will also be represented. The growing role of European philanthropy in achieving community living will be represented by the European Foundation Centre.
The conference will be opened by the Irish Minister for Older People, People with Disabilities, Mental Health and Equality – Kathleen Lynch, T.D.
Please click on this link for more details and to register for this conference.
Do visit our website for more publications and Centre for Disability Law and Policy news,

Universal Design – For Customer Engagement – In Tourism Services:

DFI is a member of a working group in an initiative by the National Standards Authority of Ireland to create an Irish Standard to ensure that all communications with tourism customers apply Universal design to all communications. The purpose of the standard to is assist tourism service providers to make products and services accessible and usable by as many people as possible without the need for additional adaptation or design. It is hoped that the standard will result in more accessible written information (menus, brochures etc.), telecommunications (information given in logical sequences etc.) and websites. It is hoped that the standard will be ready for publication and launch in May. For further detail or information, please contact Joan O”Donnell .

Is Universal Design in Education any of my Business?

Croke Park Conference Centre (Dublin), 12th - 13th March 2013

AHEAD is 25 years old in 2013 and to mark the occasion we are staging a two day conference and anniversary dinner. The main conference theme is the application of universal design principles in higher education and on into the world of work. The conference is seeking to explore the following questions:
• What is universal design?
• How does universal design apply to the world of work?
• How can technology enhance education, learning and assessment?
• Does diversity mean knowledge?
• Should all textbooks be accessible?
• How do you scaffold student learning?
This conference is aimed at HEI staff, academics, employers, students and policy makers with an interest in universal design.
Speakers include:
• Professor David Edyburn, Dept of Exceptional Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
• Professor Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, Open University

AHEAD 25th Anniversary Dinner:

The evening of March 12th sees AHEAD celebrating our 25th birthday with an anniversary / conference dinner taking place at 19:00p.m. in the Croke Park Hotel. A three course dinner will be provided for those registered with entertainment provided by acclaimed English comedian Francesca Martinez and followed by music.
For information and registration, visit
AHEAD is the Irish National Centre of Expertise on inclusive education and works to promote full access to and participation in further and higher education for students with disabilities. We are a national network that aims to share insight, innovations, knowledge, best practice and expertise to improve the experience of students with disabilities in education and in making the transition to work. Webpage
Phone: +353 1 7164396

Aspire Seminar 2013 Planning for Positive Outcomes:

Challenging Preconceptions and Misconceptions

Anxiety, school refusal and other teenage issues
Career development for adults with AS and related issues
A workshop on nutrition, healthy eating and the importance of appropriate presentation for adults with AS
20th April, Sandymount Hotel, Dublin 4
Members €25 – Non Members €30
Members Couples €40 – Non Members Couples €50
For more information or to request a booking form, please contact Aspire:
Carmichael Centre, Coleraine House, Coleraine Street, Dublin 7
01 8780027 / 01 8780029 /

The Anti Bullying Centre

Let Me Be ME!

We are contacting you from the Anti-Bullying Centre in Trinity College to tell you about a European project we are currently involved in that may interest you. The project is called Let Me Be ME! and will provide a research based training toolkit on countering the bullying of people with an intellectual disability in the workplace. The toolkit will be practice-oriented and aims to prepare trainers and employers for working with a range of different target groups.
Part of the tool-kit will devote a section to background information on the problem, its nature and the extent in Europe, current projects, initiatives and approaches to countering workplace bullying, best practice Europe-wide as well as practical guidance and resources for trainers working with the target group and employers of those working in the field of supported employment. It will also include a trainee”s workbook, specifically designed for people with an intellectual disability. This tool-kit will be available on-line, as a downloadable resource pack in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
The project is of two years duration, having begun work in October 2011. It has just completed its second phase, the development of training materials for all groups in prevention and management of bullying and is about to enter its third phase, the adaptation of materials followed by a pilot test phase with professionals, trainers and people with an intellectual disability.
Please visit the project website: for an update on how our project is progressing.
Also have a look under the “Reports” section on the website to read the full or summary report of our Training Needs Analysis: “Cross-National Training Needs Analysis of Workplace Bullying for People with Intellectual Disabilities”. If you like what you see on our website maybe you would consider putting a link on your own website links page to the Let Me Be ME! Website.


For information please contact the relevant organisation directly

Disability Federation of Ireland is a national support and representation mechanism for voluntary disability sector organisations, covering all areas of disability and disabling conditions. There are currently over 100 voluntary disability organisations in the DFI Membership.

National Office
Fumbally Court Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981 E:

Dublin Mid-Leinster
Anthony Carrick
Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South East, Wicklow (Dublin Office),
Mobile: 086 8206736

Louise McCann
Dublin South City, Dublin South West, Dublin West, Kildare, West Wicklow (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 9189750

Jacqueline Grogan
Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01 454 7978 Fax: 01 494 7981

Lillian Buchanan
Support Officer – Policy and Research (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01 424 0127

Dermot O”Donnell
Support Officer – Support for Organisations (Dublin Office)
Tel: 01-4250125

Dublin North-East
Joan O”Donnell
Meath, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan (Dublin Office)
Mobile: 086 3834587

Martin Naughton
Dublin North Central, Dublin North West, Dublin North
Mobile: 086 8207196

Michael Corbett,
Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
C/O DFI, Acres, Newport, Co. Mayo,
Tel: 098 41919,
Mobile: 086 3804750,
Fax: 098 41065,


Jennifer Van Aswegen
Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
Disability Federation of Ireland

Model Niland, The Mall, Sligo
Co Sligo
Mob: 086 3811261

Toni Gleeson,
Limerick, North Tipperary, East Limerick, Clare
DFI, The Forge, Croke St. Thurles, Co Tipperary
Mobile: 086 6004526

P.J. Cleere
Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford
DFI, Tinryland, Carlow
Tel: 059 9179431
Mobile: 086 3811064

Alison Ryan
Cork, Kerry
101 North Main Street, Cork
Tel: 021 4271752 Mobile 086 3816323

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) represents the interests and the expectations of people with disabilities to be fully included in Irish society. It comprises organisations that represent and support people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

The vision of DFI is that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise their full civil, economic, social and human rights and are enabled to reach their full potential in life. DFI's mission is to act as an advocate for the full and equal inclusion of people with disabilities and disabling conditions in all aspects of their lives.
There are over 126 organisations within membership, or as associates, of DFI. DFI also works with a growing number of organisations and groups around the country that have a significant disability interest, mainly from the statutory and voluntary sectors. DFI provides:
• Information
• Training and Support
• Networking
• Advocacy and Representation
• Research and Policy Development / Implementation
• Organisation and Management Development
DFI works on the basis that disability is a societal issue and so works with Government, and across the social and economic strands and interests of society.
For further information go to

Disability Federation of Ireland, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978, Fax: 01-4547981
E-mail: web:
Union of Voluntary Organisations for the handicapped trading as The Disability Federation of Ireland is a company limited by guarantee not having share capital, registered in Dublin. Registered No 140948, CHY No 6177