Newsletter October 2010

Issued on October 1 2010

In Pursuit of Excellence

The basic reason for the existence of voluntary disability organisations is to support people with disabilities to reach their potential in life, as equal citizens in society. In pursuing this objective, disability organisations continually grapple with funding issues, which, in the current economic climate, means dealing with successive cuts in funding combined with growing demands for service, and anticipating changes that will come about as a consequence of the Value for Money and Policy Review. In negotiating this treacherous terrain, perhaps our most useful beacon is a focus on quality of service. Constant attention to the pursuit of excellence is what can sustain us through difficult times.

DFI is currently finalising preparations for a forthcoming conference, to be held on the 12th November in Dublin. This conference is designed to support organisations and the people with disabilities who use their services in this pursuit of excellence, to share best practice and innovative approaches, and to learn from experiences beyond our sector. The conference will consider the concept of “quality service” and its relevance to the goal of independence and equal citizenship for people with disabilities, in all areas of society.
This conference will explore how a focus on “quality of life” points to a fresh approach to ensuring the availability of appropriate disability-specific services. With the prospect of many difficult budgets in the coming years, these are the important questions that all disability organisations must now ask of themselves.

John Dolan
Chief Executive Officer


The Disability Federation of Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2011 event will take place in the Mansion House on Thursday 14th October 2010 from 12.30 – 1.30pm.

This event is an opportunity for our Member Organisations to meet with our elected public representatives.

The event is by invitation only so DFI Member Organisations must book through DFI.

Member Organisations can secure their booking by contacting

Places will be limited to two individuals per member organisation and as always on a first come first served bases.

Early booking is recommended as this is always a popular event for our membership.


DFI's Pre-budget submission is available here:

A Research Report Examining the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Voluntary Disability Organisations in Ireland is available here:

DFI Conference on “Quality” 12th November 2010

DFI is holding a conference on “Quality” on Friday the 12th November from 10am to 1.30pm at the Head Office of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), 1 Swift Square, Northwood, Santry, Dublin 9.

The conference is designed to build on and inform the work being carried out by DFI over the past two years in relation to the DFI Organisation Healthcheck and the Quality Management system, PQASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations).

The conference will explore the need for, and benefits of Quality and Standards from the perspectives of the Charity Regulation Unit, Funders and Service Users.
In addition, the conference will focus on quality and standards issues directly impacting on the sector, referencing the National Disability Strategy (NDS) and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The Health Service Executive (HSE) will also make a presentation.

For further information contact Dermot O”Donnell, DFI Support Officer for Organisations Mob: 086-780 8639 Email:

Human Resources and Employment Law Update

As part of its Service Suite, DFI, in conjunction with Adare Human Resource Management, has put in place a support structure, exclusively for DFI member organisations, to avail of discounted Human Resource and Employment Law Support Services. As part of this service, Adare Human Resource Management will be providing monthly updates in the areas of HR and Employment Law.

Changing Terms and Conditions of Employment

A significant number of organisations are making changes to the terms and conditions of their employees, for the purpose of securing savings because of budget cuts or general funding cutbacks. Some DFI members may have received a recent communication from Pobal regarding working hours that may require a significant change in their working practices. Employers need to ensure that changes to an employee”s terms and conditions are done through agreement, and that they are clearly documented. When an employer is seeking to amend an employee”s current terms and conditions they need to understand that contracts cannot simply be changed unilaterally. Applying pay cuts, changing working hours and removing benefits need to be agreed. It is always recommended that any changes are confirmed in writing and signed by both the employer and employee.

Use of Fixed Term Contracts

Many Organisations in the sector use fixed term contracts as a method of meeting resource requirements and funding for particular posts. There are a number of considerations that organisations need to take into account in this regard.

  • Fixed term employees should not be treated less favourably than their permanent counterparts;
  • If an organisation wishes to renew a fixed term contract, they must have objective grounds justifying the renewal and failure to offer a contract of indefinite duration;
  • Along with the requirement for justifying the renewal of a fixed term contract, the legislation also regulates the length of the successive fixed term contracts in determining the employee”s right to a contract of indefinite duration.

Further information on the DFIHR Support Service from Derek McKay on 087 978 6427,

Better Together! Campaign

The Better Together! Campaign aims to show you how you can make a difference by getting involved in community and voluntary activity.

The Better Together website will help you to connect with charities, clubs and associations in your area. Get involved to help make Ireland Better Together!

How does Better Together work? The videos on the website showcase the work of some of the thousands of charities, clubs and associations that are active across Ireland. Each video will tell you how you can get involved.You can also show your support by voting for your favourite videos. The organisations with the most votes and the highest ratings will stand a chance to win one of three €3,000 cash prizes! Charities, clubs and associations who upload eligible videos will be automatically entered in the competition

Why are we better together? Studies show that societies with high levels of social involvement experience less crime, less violence and enjoy better mental health. By getting involved in voluntary and community activity YOU can help to make Ireland a better place.

Who is behind Better Together? Better Together is an initiative of The Wheel , a national support and representative body for community, voluntary and charitable organisations. The campaign is brought to you by EBS and is supported by Intel, Today FM and The Irish Examiner.

Visit to see how you can make a difference.

Value for Money Policy Review update/discussion with Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Director of the Office for Disability & Mental Health, Department of Health and Children

As part of DFI”s ongoing work in supporting organisations to prepare for the outcomes of the Value for Money Policy Review, we are pleased to invite you to a meeting in DFI with Bairbre Nic Aongusa, Director of the Office for Disability & Mental Health, Department of Health and Children. Ms. Nic Aongusa will be joining us to lead on the update/discussion.

  • When: Friday 22nd October 2010
  • Where: Boardroom, DFI
  • Time: 11am to 1pm

As you are aware the Value for Money Policy Review has been commissioned by the Minister for Equality, Disability & Mental Health, together with the Department of Finance and Department of Health & Children, to review disability services.

As it is anticipated that this event will be of high interest and importance to many organisations, this event is limited to one place per DFI member organisations. Places are limited and reservation of place is an absolute requirement for this event.

Reservations are on a first come, first served basis and as the capacity of the room is 35 people, early booking is advisable.

To reserve your place for this event please email Eleanor Reece on or contact 01-4547978.

DFI secures John F. Kennedy Fellowship for Participating Member Organisation Enable Ireland

This Scholarship and Career Mentoring Programme, created by John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1989, was made available in 2006 for the first time ever outside New York State and the USA to the SKILL Programme, by special arrangement with the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education, City University of New York. DFI”s inclusion within the Fellowship allows our member organisations to be represented within this internationally funded programme.

In July 2010, from the applications received by DFI from our member organisations, Enable Ireland was successful in receiving DFI”s nomination to the SKILL Programme for the Fellowship. Following interview, the Enable Ireland applicant was approved for the award by the interview board, as demonstrating an exceptional standard of commitment in their current role.

Through our experience on the SKILL Programme, DFI has been working with participating member organisations to highlight the need for voluntary disability organisations to be integrated into existing capacity building measures on offer to State agencies since 2006. Employees of voluntary disability organisations offer vital support services to service users and clients throughout Ireland. Their dedication has provided the foundations upon which organisations continue to develop and improve their standards in service provision to people with disabilities. Recognition of, and effective up-skilling and training support for, employees has always been a priority for organisations. Through SKILL, DFI member organisations are being supported for the first time to participate on a national accredited training programme for support staff in the Irish health sector.

DFI welcomes this opportunity for member organisations and wishes Enable Ireland the very best of success. Through our inclusion on the John F. Kennedy Fellowship , the dedication and quality services and care being provided by staff from member organisations is now recognised and acknowledged at an international level.

For further information on the John F. Kennedy Fellowshipfollow the links below:


Housing Policy Update

Meeting with Department Officials

At a meeting of the Community and Voluntary Pillar and senior officials in the Housing Division of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, DFI was informed of the imminent publication of new regulations on the way in which local authorities proceed in assessing the nature and extent of need for social housing, as provided for in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. Officials also reported that the release of the Review of the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes, and also the revision to Part M of the Building Code (on access), is expected during the fourth quarter of 2010. They further anticipated that the National Advisory Group would be reconvened to consider the National Housing Strategy for People with Disabilities, which is still being discussed by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Department of Health and Children. The Strategy would then be jointly submitted to the Cabinet.

Concerns have been raised with the Department about the supply of additional social housing over the next several years, especially given the Department”s decision to rely on leasing properties as the primary means of provision. The Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), which funds housing projects for people with special needs, including those with disabilities, older, and homeless people, has been protected, and this has been welcomed. However, allocation of this funding seems to favour those housing associations which have well-developed project plans. DFI advocates that local authorities play a more proactive role to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities, including those living outside institutions, are identified and factored into planning mainstream, as well as special social housing projects.

Funding for Special Needs Housing

The Minister for Housing and Local Services, Michael Finneran TD, has announced €60 million in 2010 for the purchase by approved housing associations of 431 housing units of already built properties or those nearing completion. The housing must be for persons leaving homeless accommodation, older people and “persons with a disability who are capable of independent living in settings where low level tenancy and care supports are available”. This is a big increase on the €25 million announced earlier, and is partly due to the commitment to reduce dependence on emergency housing for homeless persons. Expeditious processing by local authorities is necessary to ensure the purchases are completed before the end of 2010.

The housing to be purchased was selected from a “Call for Proposals” made earlier by approved housing associations. While welcoming the announcement, Community and Voluntary Pillar members noted that, in view of the increasing need for social housing, the Government should make further commitments of capital funding to enable housing associations to acquire units at a time when house prices are low and there is good value for money .
For more information please go to and

Social Housing Federation Welcomes New Funding

The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) has welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Housing, Michael Finneran TD of funding of €60 million for the purchase, by approved housing bodies, of houses and apartments for social housing for people with special needs. However the ICSH has warned that the necessary mechanisms must be in place to ensure the funding can be drawn down as quickly as possible.

Donal McManus ICSH Executive Director said

“We welcome this capital injection into meeting the social housing needs of vulnerable households in communities all over Ireland. It is crucial that all necessary mechanisms are in place to facilitate the timely allocation of the funding to avoid any delays in meeting this need, and to ensure that housing associations can proceed with the projects immediately”.

The initial call from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for Approved Housing Bodies to identify suitable units under the capital assistance scheme attracted a huge response from the Voluntary Housing Sector. Currently Housing Associations manage 25,000 units around the country for families and special needs groups. The successful projects include properties acquired as mixed funded schemes where private finance is to be used with state funding to develop new projects.

Education (Amendment) Bill 2010

The Education (Amendment) Bill, which provides for a legislative framework to allow Vocational Education Committees (VECs) to become involved in primary education provision, and makes a number of other important changes to the Education and Teaching Council Acts, has been published.

The main provisions of the Bill are:

Powers and Duties of Vocational Educational Committees in Relation to Primary Schools:

The Bill provides for the involvement of a VEC in the provision of primary education both on its own initiative and on the direction of the Minister. Subject to the consent of the Minister, a VEC may establish and maintain a school to provide primary education, and may become patron or joint patron of an existing primary school.

Composition of Boards of Management:

The Bill provides that the board of management of a school established under this legislation will adhere to the procedures governing the appointment of boards of management in other recognised primary schools.

Clarification on the delivery of speech therapy services to students:

The Bill provides for an amendment in the definition of “support services” in the Education Act 1998 in order to clarify the position in relation to delivery of speech therapy services and other health and personal services to students of school-going age. The proposed provisions will not impact on the availability of speech therapy services for children with special educational needs through the HSE. The Department”s commitment to support the co-ordinated delivery of services to families of children with special educational needs is not diminished. The Department will continue to work with partners in the health and disability sectors through the vehicle of the Cross-Sectoral Team, as established under the auspices of the Office of the Minister for Equality, Disability and Mental Health, and the National Disability Strategy Stakeholder Monitoring Group (NDSSMG).

Abolition of the Educational Disadvantage Committee:

The Bill supports the Government decisions on rationalisation of agencies in the 2008 Budget. It provides for the abolition of the Educational Disadvantage Committee (EDC), a formal statutory committee which is no longer required in order to advise on the issue of educational disadvantage. The Department has stated that it is committed to maintaining ongoing consultation with the education partners and other stakeholders on educational disadvantage and the wider social inclusion agenda. The Department will also continue to implement DEIS, the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, which provides for the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities.

Employment, in certain exceptional and limited circumstances, of persons who are not registered teachers:

The Bill provides for the employment, in certain exceptional and limited circumstances, of persons who are not registered teachers, following consultation with management, unions and the Teaching Council. The reality facing schools is that it is not always possible to engage a registered teacher due to many factors, e.g. geographical, increases in population and allocation of additional posts, despite the maintenance of a high level of output of graduates.

Publishing the Bill, the Tánaiste said that 'The changing shape of Irish society is placing new and complex demands on our education system in responding to the diverse needs of our communities. A new model of community national school, which is being piloted in two locations in Dublin since September 2008 and three further locations in Counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath since September 2010, seeks to meet the need for a new form of plurality of education provision within the framework of a single school setting. This Bill provides for the establishment of community national schools under VEC patronage and, in certain circumstances, for a VEC to become patron or joint patron of an existing primary school.' The Tánaiste added that she was also availing of the opportunity that this Bill provides, to bring forward a number of other important amendments to the Education Act 1998 and the Teaching Council Act 2001.

She also noted that

'The Bill provides for clarification in relation to the delivery of speech therapy services to students; the abolition of the Educational Disadvantage Committee; and arrangements for the employment, in certain exceptional and limited circumstances, of persons who are not registered teachers under the Teaching Council Act 2001.'

The Tánaiste concluded by saying

'My core objective is to maintain the focus on providing the best education for all our children in a time of increasing diversity of demand and challenging economic conditions.'

The Education (Amendment) Bill 2010 is available to download on the Oireachtas website


NDA Reports on Disability Services

The National Disability Authority (NDA) has published several papers, with more to be published, on improving disability services to better support people with disabilities to become equal citizens. The NDA has examined experiences in different countries, chiefly English-speaking, to learn how they have tried to enable people to live in their communities and participate in employment and other meaningful activities.

The research suggests that a holistic approach, that considers the environment in which a person seeks to live, is critical to successful mainstreaming, as are changes in how services are funded so as to give people control. While the NDA focuses primarily on the situations of people with significant intellectual disabilities, much of their analysis has wider relevance. The work of voluntary disability organisations in enabling people to maintain independence or become more independent is of particular significance in this regard.
The NDA highlighted its findings in a submission to the Value for Money and Policy Review of the HSE Disability Services Programme, which will be published shortly.

For more information, please go to and follow the link to “Contemporary Developments in Disability Services”

Value for Money and Policy Review

Although the Value for Money and Policy Review is not keeping to the timetable originally set, and will not be completed before Budget 2011, DFI understands that significant progress is being made. Data collection to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of existing service provision has involved many voluntary disability organisations in detailed surveys for the HSE.

Investigating new funding allocation arrangements that would support people with disabilities in gaining more control over the services they receive has been a focus of contributions to the Review, both by the Review”s own Expert Policy Group and the National Disability Authority. Meanwhile DFI continues its support to member organisations in planning for change, and especially focusing on how they enable their members and clients to access opportunities by consulting effectively and by building bridges to mainstream health services and beyond. DFI intends to hold another in its series of seminars in the next month on preparing for the recommendations of the Review.

Mainstreaming for People with Disabilities

Mainstreaming, that is, people with disabilities living as equal citizens, has been integral to the disability project. With the Value for Money and Policy Review of the HSE”s Disability Services Programme underway, and successive budget-driven cutbacks to both disability-specific services and general services used by people with disabilities, alarm bells have rung about the viability of mainstreaming as an objective of National Disability Strategy. DFI has vigorously protested against any erosion of our social infrastructure, and sees an effective mainstreaming approach as critical for people with disabilities, especially in difficult economic times.

DFI continues to argue that the underdeveloped potential for voluntary disability organisations to support people towards independence is an important lever. People with disabilities and their families are the core of these organisations – as volunteers, staff and board members. These organisations are ideally placed to support people to explore their personal ambitions and to find ways of progressively realising those ambitions. The organisations are also embedded in communities, and they can make links to statutory and non statutory bodies who offer options for people.

On the mainstream side of the equation, the concept of “tailored universalism”, adopted by the partnership body, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), and deployed in government by agencies such as the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, provides a method for advancing social inclusion in practice. Tailored universalism obliges those responsible for services to consider who should benefit and ensure that none are denied because appropriate access supports are not provided, i.e., tailoring to include them. Again voluntary organisations come into play because they can collaborate with mainstream providers to eliminate possible barriers, and they can help in monitoring the person-centred outcomes from the service.

In advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and the organisations working with them, DFI continues to emphasise the importance of sustaining the mainstreaming project. It is the way in which the entitlements named, for example, in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, can be achieved. But achieving success involves challenges and changing ways of working for many. DFI underlines that voluntary disability organisations should be key contributors to successful mainstreaming. The joint project of DFI and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland is one example of how disability organisations can help to open up mainstream services to people, in this case those of the primary care teams.


'Claiming our Future'

A major civic society event planned involving a range of organisations, including Is Féidir Linn, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership, the Community Platform, Social Justice Ireland and TASC will take place in October 2010.

These groups began a series of meetings earlier this year to explore how best to cooperate and coordinate endeavors for a more equal, inclusive and sustainable Ireland. From this “Claiming Our Future” evolved.

This event is being held in the Industries Hall of the RDS in Dublin, starting at at 9am on 30th October 2010. Further information can be found at . Help build up awareness of the event by circulating this information as widely as possible.

Local meetings and activities are being planned throughout the country in the lead up to this event. If you are interested in getting involved in the event and in local initiatives please contact Bríd Nolan, Coordinator, on 01-8870726, mobile 086-8474466, address O'Lehane House, 9 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1, email

Twitter and Facebook

Claiming Our Future is now on Twitter and Facebook, so if you have a facebook page and/or twitter page, you can follow them, as they need get to a huge following (thousands!) in order to have any momentum and create real change, not just in the run up to the event but also afterwards. So please follow them on either: or .

The website is

Statement by UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

In his statement at the opening of the third session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UN Under-Secretary-General Mr. Sha Zukang, stated that he was pleased that some member states have gone beyond ratification and have taken measures to implement the Convention. Some governments have strengthened existing legislative frameworks that protect persons with disabilities. In other cases, new legislation has been created – such as anti-discrimination laws.
Yet fewer than half of all Member States have ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol. He called on the remaining Member States to become States Parties to this Convention to bring about widespread and lasting change. More information is available on the UN website.

Ireland is one of those countries that have not ratified the Convention.

The full text of the statement is available at the link below


Directory of Services for Family Carers Dún Laoghaire Rathdown and South Dublin

In conjunction with the Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) and Care Alliance Ireland, a Directory of Services for Family Carers in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown and South Dublin will be launched as part of Social Inclusion Week in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown area. The Directory will be launched by Cllr. Lettie McCarthy on Tuesday October 19th at 2:30pm in The Assembly Room, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, If you would like to attend please contact Care Alliance by Monday October 11th at

The Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Sports Partnership will also be launching their Guidelines on Inclusion in Sport for People with Disabilities at the same time and venue.
Care Alliance Ireland is the National Network of Voluntary Organisations supporting Family Carers.

Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation and advocate for voluntary disability organisations in Ireland who provide services to people with disabilities and disabling conditions.

Seminar “Beginnings & Endings” - Changing Times in Dementia Care

This seminar, hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, will include presentations of the findings of research completed on the role of family carers in long term care as well as inputs on palliative care approaches in dementia care.The guest speaker on the day is Dr Una MacConville - Centre for Death & Society, University of Bath, who will speak about new approaches to end of life issues in dementia care.

The seminar will be of interest to nursing home care providers and staff, voluntary and community organisations working with older people and their families, and health and social care professionals working in dementia care. The seminar is free of charge and advance booking is necessary as places are limited

The event will take place on Wednesday 20th October 2010 from 2pm – 4.30pm in the Assembly Room, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

To register please contact Avril Dooley , Social Inclusion Officer, Tel: 01-2073802 Fax: 01-2103772 E-mail:

“You Can Do It, But You Can”t Do It Alone” GROW In Ireland Young Adult Booklet Launch

GROW in Ireland is launching a free booklet for young adults called “You Can Do It, But You Can”t Do It Alone.” This booklet is a collection of personal stories from young adults who have experienced mental health problems, and is aimed at the 15-25yr age group.

The booklet will raise awareness about mental health problems experienced by young adults. It is part of the Young Peoples Mental Health awareness campaign, , which offers information and resources for young people about mental health issues, and is co-ordinated by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention.

This media launch will take place on Monday 11th October 2010, during World Mental Health Week (11th- 15th October) and is free and open to the public. The venue is Buswell's Hotel, Dublin 2, at 2.00 p.m. For further information please contact GROW in Ireland Email: Tel: 1890-474-4

Centre for Cross Border Studies Planning for Cross Border Hospital Services Emerging Findings Seminar

“Exploring the Potential for Cross Border Hospital Services in the Irish Border Region” is one of five research projects funded by the EU INTERREG IVA Programme (managed by the Special EU Programmes Body) under the Ireland / Northern Ireland Cross-Border Cooperation Observatory (INICCO).

The Centre for Cross Border Studies, in partnership with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, has appointed Horwath Bastow Charlton (HBC), a leading Chartered Accountancy and Business Advisory practices in Ireland, to undertake the development of a prototype modelling tool for hospital planning on a border region and all-island basis.
HBC will present the findings of their research that will inform their approach to a tool for cross-border hospital planning. In particular, they will present the strategic issues and institutional barriers that will need to be addressed for effective cross-border cooperation in the acute hospital sector. Feedback from participants at the seminar will inform the second phase of this project, when HBC will address the technical and clinical issues of cross-border hospital planning

If you are interested in attending the seminar, please contact Eimear Donnelly, 048 3751 1559 from the Republic of Ireland, or 028 3751 1559 from Northern Ireland, or email

Older People and the Recession Seminar Series 2010 Seminar 1: “Inequalities in old age - old news or new debate?”

The first of this series of seminars will cover the following topics:

  • Setting the Scene - Theories of Ageing: Lenses for Understanding, Signposts for Reforming Social Protection in Old Age by Dr Virpi Timonen, Director of SPARC and Dr Maria Pierce, Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin.
  • Inequalities, Pensions and the Recession by Professor Paddy Hillyard, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, Queen”s University Belfast and Dr Demi Patsios, Policy Research Consultant.
  • How Pensions Tax Policy Favours the Highest Earners in Ireland by Professor Gerard Hughes, Visiting Professor, Trinity College Dublin.
  • Pensions and Older Women by Dr Aine Ní Léime, Research Co-ordinator, ICSG (Irish Centre for Social Gerontology), NUI Galway.
  • Government Strategy on Pensions by Dr Orlaigh Quinn, Assistant Secretary, Department of Social Protection, Pensions Policy Section, Dublin.

The Seminar will take place on Wednesday 20 October 2010 in Level 6, Hogan Stand, Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin, at 9.45am.

Reduced Theatre Tickets for Dublin Theatre Festival

Each year the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival offers the opportunity to groups who would usually not attend Festival performances without financial assistance, to access reduced price seats. The Open House initiative aims to provide everyone with access to world class theatre during the Festival.

This year, through the generosity of their title sponsors, Ulster Bank, the Dublin Theatre Festivel once again have a limited number of tickets to offer at a nominal cost of €10 each.
There are still tickets available for one production:

Enron Gaiety Theatre Thurs 14 Oct 2:30pm

Tickets provided will be for the best seats available at the time of the booking. For further information and to download the application form please visit: The application form is located under the “Tickets” tab. Click on “Tickets” and when it appears click “Open House”. Tel: 01 6778439.

Best Practice Access Guidelines - Designing Accessible Environments 2nd edition now available

The Irish Wheelchair Association has recently produced a 2nd edition of “Irish Wheelchair Association Best Practice Access Guidelines - Designing Accessible Environments”. The Access Guidelines book is available to download from the IWA website at

Making Services Accessible for People with Visual Impairment

There are 15,000 people in Ireland who are blind or vision impaired and nearly 60% of these are over 65. It is projected that the number of people affected by blindness or vision impairment will grow enormously over the next twenty years as the population ages, leading to significantly increased demand for more accessible services.

Making services and premises suitable for people with vision impairments makes it better for all customers and service users. Better colour contrast and lighting, attention to potential hazards, and awareness training for staff benefits everyone and improves the safety and usability of services.

As corporate responsibility and social inclusion become more important, organisations understand the benefits of providing greater access to facilities and information. Accessibility is not incompatible with functionality or aesthetics, but enhances the experience for everyone.

Making services accessible

There are a range of specialised supports available (generally for a small fee) to help service providers and businesses meet the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Accessible technologies

People who are blind or vision impaired may not be able to access information or services due to inaccessible websites, or poor quality displays and touch screens. The Centre for Inclusive Technology (CFIT) provides information, education and assistance in designing accessible websites. Find out more at .

For more information contact: NCBI, Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, D9. Locall 1850 33 43 53, Email: , Web:

Daughters of Charity Technology and Research Into Disability Doctrid Conference 2010 Maynooth

This innovation is aimed at technology companies, health professionals, research academics and other disciplines in the disability field.

This International conference will bring together the research and experience of the Daughters of Charity, along with that of the International science community and those in the caring profession, to try to improve and enhance quality of life for people with disabilities through the application of technology and research.

The conference is being co-hosted by Respect and Michigan State University, and will be addressed by a number of highly respected international speakers, who have made extraordinary accomplishments in their fields of expertise, to share their experience, The event will provide a forum where everybody can share ideas, expand thinking and understanding, broaden vision and keep in touch with international standards of good practice.

The conference will take place on Saturday 16th October 2010, at Carton House Hotel, Maynooth .

Registration Online with information available from &

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) is the national support organisation and advocate for voluntary disability organisations in Ireland who provide services to people with disabilities and disabling conditions

  • Hidden
  • Intellectual
  • Mental Health
  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Emotional

DFI works to ensure that Irish society is fully inclusive of people with disabilities and disabling conditions so that they can exercise fully their civil, social and human rights. In pursuit of this vision:

  • Acts as an advocate for the voluntary disability sector.
  • Supports organisations to further enable people with disabilities.

There are over 127 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
  • Networking
  • Training and Support
  • Advocacy and Representation
  • Research and Policy Development

Organisation and Management Development

DFI also supports the broader voluntary and disability sector through its representation of the disability strand with the Community and Voluntary Pillar of the Social Partnership process and other fora at regional, national and European level. DFI is recognised as a representative on disability issues to a broad range of local, national and regional fora this includes working with the HSE, NESF and Social Partnership.

Disability Federation of Ireland
Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4547978 Fax: 01-4547981
Email: Web:


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.

For information please contact the relevant organisation directly.

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 E:

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 8207169

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

Marcus Hufsky,
Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal
St. Vincent”s Business Park, Finisklin Road, Sligo
Tel: 071-9150098
Mobile: 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
E: a.ryan@disability-federation .