Centre of Independent Living, DublinOn 1 March this year I started working as an intern in the Centre for Independent Living (CIL) in Dublin for three month. Last year, in December 2009, I finished my studies (special needs education) at the university of Hannover/Germany and I decided to do an internship abroad. On the internet I found out about the European Network on Independent Living and I sent an email with my application form to the office in Valencía, Spain. In my last year at the university I studied a lot about the Independent Living Movement. So it was clear for me that I wanted to do my internship in this field. Jamie Bolling then offered me the chance to go to Dublin to work there in the CIL Carmichael House. So, this is how I came to Dublin.

I am very satisfied with the overall placement in the internship. I got a lot of important experience. My main tasks during the internship were developing an implementation guideline handbook for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and a database of organisations from the western region of Europe. I also wrote several information papers about the UN Convention in different formats (Power Point Presentation, leaflet, plain language version) to make the Convention as accessible as possible.

I learned a lot about the CRPD, the Independent Living Movement and also about organisations in Western Europe that work on Independent Living. Furthermore I had the opportunity to attend some training and workshops (an advocacy workshop, social media training, Dreamweaver training, a community support workshop). All the people I worked with during my internship were very friendly and supportive. I could always talk to my mentors about my work, my wishes and my ideas.

I am very glad about the possibilities the internship offered me. I feel very inspired by all the people I met living for the Independent Living Movement. It is such an important issue that definitely needs people standing up for their convictions. I have got a notion that there is a strong network in Europe of people fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities to become a reality in their daily lives. That really impressed me! And it felt good being a little part of this movement.

I advise anybody who is interested in Independent Living to gain experiences in the Movement itself. It is such a great experience to meet people from the Movement, to talk to them, to see what they organise every day to let Independent Living become a reality. You can’t gather all the impressions and experiences I got during my internship just by reading books about Independent Living!


The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is seeking an Intern, based in the offices of the Center for Independent Living, Carmichael House, to assist in our work promoting human rights, equality and social justice for people with disabilities in Europe.

The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is a European wide network of disabled people. It represents a forum intended for all disabled people, independent living organisations and their non-disabled allies on the issues of independent living and the independent living movement. ENIL promotes social inclusion based on solidarity, peer support, de-institutionalization, democracy, self-representation and self-determination.

ENIL addresses the under-representation of persons with extensive disabilities in European disability politics and social organisations as well as mainstream society. ENIL and its member organisations believe that full citizenship and human rights for disabled people will only be achieved through increasing awareness, challenging traditional services and positive debate throughout Europe and internationally.

Our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

ENIL Internship:

In conjunction with the support offered to ENIL by the intern, the primary purpose of the Policy Internship is to give applicants an opportunity to learn about equality, community development, programs, policies, and practices first-hand. By the end of the internship, the intern will have been supported to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to work in and contribute to the community/voluntary sector in the future.
ENIL are looking for a committed and flexible individual with strong research, report writing and communications skills to provide research support to ENIL’s policy work and campaign development. The intern will work as part of an innovative and effective department which seeks to influence policy and practice in relation to equality for people with disabilities in Europe.

Role Specification for the European Intern:

• Preparation the ENIL General Assembly in Brussels; circulation of information to members, support with audit and presentation of a coherent set of accounts.
• Development of summary report based on annual report
• Report on the activities of ENIL for 2010 and preparation of report identifying priorities for remainder 2010.
• Research in to best practice models of developing an ENIL youth network
• Support to Development Workers in linking with youth networks developed internationally for young people with disabilities
• Monitoring of the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention in Europe
• Support to member organizations in lobbying and campaigning for ratification and implementation of the UNCRPD
• Development of work plan for the Western Region for the 2nd half of 2010 with the support of existing staff
• It envisaged that this person will accompany some executive members to attend the General Assembly and other meetings in Strasbourg 20-23 of sept

Skills Required:

– Fluent speaker and writer of English
– Experience of policy advocacy or campaigning, either paid or voluntary
– Experience with working to deadlines
– Interest in Communications, Accounting, Marketing
– Report writing
– Previous experience in the communications field
– Excellent communications skills, both written and verbal
– IT skills – use of Microsoft Office Suite
– Keen interest in and/or experience in the aims of ENIL
– Interest or experience in human rights
– Flexibility and willingness to take on a wide variety of tasks

Hours of work: 32 hours per week

Duration of internship: 3 months

If you are interested in this position, please send your CV and an accompanying cover letter, to Martin Naughton, Co-Executive Director, at m.naughton@enil.eu

The closing date for applications is Friday June 25th 2010 at 5 pm

Qualified applicants will be subject to interview and reference checks.

ENIL is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all sectors of the community.

MINISTER of State for Disability Issues John Moloney has said he will draw up plans which could give disabled people direct payments to pay for services rather than giving the money to institutions.

Speaking following the annual general meeting of Inclusion Ireland, the national association for people with intellectual disabilities, Mr Moloney said individualised payments were the way forward.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is the future. I want to drive this idea and as part of a policy review, I hope to bring proposals on this area to Cabinet before the end of the year,” he said. At present the State pays disability organisations and charities about €1.6 billion per year to provide day and residential services for people with disabilities. Mr Moloney was responding to calls from groups who say the move would give people with disabilities and their advocates far greater choice in the type of services they receive.

Séamus Green of the National Parents’ and Siblings’ Alliance said it would also ensure that services fit around the needs of people with disabilities, rather than the other way around.

“This is about giving people with disabilities the kinds of choices and the kind of life that we have; helping to integrate them into mainstream society, give them a chance of a better quality of life,” he said.

The conference also heard that a 60-bed residential development built to transfer people who are inappropriately housed in a psychiatric hospital has been lying empty for the past year.

Plans for a modern campus of six 10-bed units on the grounds of St Ita’s Psychiatric Hospital was originally announced almost 12 years ago. Gerry McDonald, whose son was due to be transferred to the new facility, said parents and their children were deeply frustrated over the slow progress in opening the facility.

“These residents are living in out-dated, over-crowded conditions. The dilapidated building they’re in was constructed as a lunatic asylum in the 1800s. It’s totally inappropriate for the needs of people with disabilities.”

Mr McDonald said parents had not received any firm commitment over when the unit will open.

St Joseph’s Association for the Intellectually Disabled has also been lobbying the Health Service Association to open the facility.

Mr Moloney said he was unable to give a commitment on extra staff for the unit.

Reference: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0426/1224269093646.html

Centre of Independent Living, Dublin
The document below was presented to Minister John Moloney TD at a meeting beween the Center for Independent Living Dublin and the Minister in Dail Eireann on Thusday 29th April 2010. The Minister has agreed to meet wih CIL Dublin again in June  to hear the views of CIL on the necessary policy framework for the implementation of direct payments.



The Center for Independent Living calls on the Minister of State for Disability Issues, John Moloney TD, to introduce a Personal Assistance Act which will set out who qualifies for personal assistance, the purpose of such assistance inside and outside of the home, how such assistance is to be organised, and the right of people with disabilities to be part of their assessment for personal assistance. The Act would have regard to all models of service delivery including direct payments to people with disabilities for the purpose of employing, directly or indirectly, personal assistance, and provide the necessary policy context for the delivery of such services.

The Center for Independent Living welcomes the statement by the Minister that he intends to bring proposals to Cabinet, before the end of 2010, on direct payments to people with disabilities for the purpose of purchasing support services.

CIL calls on the Minister to enter into negotiations with the Center to hear directly the views of people with disabilities on this important issue. CIL have a unique experience of how direct payments can impact on the lived experience of people with disabilities when set within the correct policy framework. This experience arises from over twenty years of ongoing formal and informal contact with disabled colleagues within the European Union, some of whom have been instrumental in shaping legislation on personal assistance and direct payments in their own countries.

CIL believes that choice and control for people with disabilities over how their services are organised, delivered and commissioned, is a prerequisite to self determination. This social model of disability is endorsed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities which upholds the right to the personal assistance necessary to support living and inclusion in the community. Within this context of the social model of disability it is the view of CIL that any legislation or policy on personal assistance or direct payments should reside outside the jurisdiction of The Department of Health.

In order that direct payments succeed, in the context of employing personal assistance, CIL believe that concurrent policies on capacity building measures for individuals and User Led Organisations must also be implemented.

Irish Times photo, Volcanic Ash, Iceland

Ireland wasn’t a bad country to be stranded in, at least we had in the meanwhile the chance to witness the first 14 days of nonstop sunshine in their history.

The trip to Ireland was meant to last for exactly one week, from Friday, April 9th to Friday, April 16th, flying with SAS between Stockholm and Dublin. To save on logistics and expenses, only one of my three PA’s joined me.

The plan was to visit Dublin and pick up an adapted rental car on Monday, so that we could explore the northern half of the country. After driving via Belfast, Derry, and Sligo, we heard Thursday on the radio in Galway that airspace in many European countries had been closed due to an ash cloud after the vulcanic eruption on Iceland.

We drove back from Galway to Dublin during the night of Thursday to Friday and on arrival the receptionist suggested that we just as well could stay for more than one as all flights from Dublin had been canceled. Our flight to Stockholm was scheduled for 11:45 am and when we were at the airport around 9, we didn’t feel lonely. After queuing for about an hour we got the message that we were rescheduled for the flight on Monday, April 19th. We could also come to the airport on Sunday and see if there were any standby places left on that flight to Stockholm. There was no information available on help with alternatives, such as accommodation or compensation.

We called our car rental company and they extended our rental period to Monday, April 19th. During those days, we visited Cork, the south coast, Killarney, and Limerick. As we were rescheduled for Monday, we got back to Dublin airport and they booked us for the flight on Friday, 23rd. On asking for any help, they replied that no accommodation or compensation could be provided: “We did so the first two days, but not any more as the airlines would go bust.”

Our rental car got picked up at the hotel. and we started to feel locked in, in Dublin. We followed the news quite attentively and checked the status of airspace, airports and flights several times per day. We started thinking of other alternatives to get back home. The closed airspace above Britain had cut off Ireland from mainland Europe for any flight. Even David Egan from Dublin CIL gave us tips, but traveling from Dublin to Stockholm by ferry, train, Eurostar and train would take at least 3 days, and tickets for the Eurostar between London and Brussels were on Tuesday morning already sold out until Thursday evening. Taking the ferry between Dover and Calais, seemed a bit risky as there was a transport strike going on in France. As I was traveling with a personal assistant, I  was to pay the transportation costs for two persons. At the earliest, we could have arrived in Stockholm on Friday morning, with the use of alternative means. We saw and heard that test flights went well and that airlines were eager to start operating again.

Our guess was that the best alternative was to extend our hotel stay day by day and wait for the first flight with SAS to Stockholm. We were on that first direct SAS flight to Stockholm and we used our time in Dublin for visiting some more museums and Guinness and Jameson lightened our misery. Now we are involved in the struggle to get some refund for our week extended hotel costs, it should work out well, we were flying to a EU country.

About a month earlier, my flight from New York to Stockholm via Iceland, was delayed due to a smaller volcano eruption.

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.