10 questions, meet Caitriona Kenny, CIL Carmichael House

April 23, 2010

Caitriona Kenny

My name is Caitriona Kenny. I am one of 2 daughters living in Dublin, Ireland. I have recently graduated with a Master’s from University in Equality Studies. I currently work as a Development Officer in the disability sector with my main focus on developing Youth Forums.

What is your personal experience of disability?

 Having Cerebral Palsy, I have lived experience of disability.

How did you discover the Independent Living movement?

I first learned of the Independent Living movement while at University. I had the opportunity to live in campus accommodation with Personal Assistants.

Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?

I am very interested in getting more young people involved in the Independent Living Movement. The needs and issues of young people with disabilities are quite different today than they were in the past. Involvement in the Movement will give young people a chance to share their ideas, beliefs and concerns and allow them to feel a sense of solidarity with one another.

Who has influenced you the most, and how?

I am very influenced by any person who actively challenges injustice and inequality. I believe the only way to achieve change is to make it happen. I have huge admiration for political activist like Nelson Mandela and Aung San Su Chi who are fearless to challenge the statues for the sake of equality and justice.

What personal achievement are you most proud of?

I am proud that I have never regarded my disability as a barrier to my achieving my personal goals. I am proud that I have graduated from University with a Masters Degree. My education has influenced the way I think and the person that I am. I am committed to using my own opportunities to encourage others to achieve their own personal goals.

Do you have a favourite saying or proverb?

“The only true empowerment is self empowerment”

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

The idea that every day is a new day and that no matter what has happened before, there is always potential for something.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I am involved with a number of political and social activists groups. I also like to use my free time to catch up with friends and family members.

If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your ideal guests?

Mary Robinson would be an ideal guest for me. I really respect her knowledge and commitment to achieving equality. As a feminist, I also feel she is a great example of Female Empowerment in a patriarchal society. If Mary Robinson is not available, then I would love to sit with Tracy Chapman as she appears very calming, entertaining and interesting.

What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?

The best advice which I would give to a young person with a disability is that a disability does not define who you are as a person.

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