Archive for the ‘St Michaels House Campaign’ Category

Our Worlds United –

Saturday, January 14th, 2012


Hi All

I have not being posting on this site for quite some time! The reason being that myself and Audrey are planning a new and exciting event to be held in the Phoenix Park on Saturday 8th September 2012.

This will be a festival and grand
celebration of disability in Ireland and the World. The venue is already booked
for that day.

We will host this event in conjunction with all of the
organisations in Ireland that act as advocates for people with disabilities and
the event is called
Our Worlds United. Over 40
organisations have already
‘signed up’ to be part of this event
including Down Syndrome Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland and Fragile X.

The Dublin
event will  cater for
people in the Phoenix Park

The objectives of
the event are many with the key objectives being:

1. To raise Awareness of Disabilities and their issues.

2.       To
all the Disability  representative bodies for 1 day with one voice.

3.       To ‘
Normalise’ or ‘mainstream’ disability i.e.  people’s special needs should
not define them

We expect
that it will be a day to remember and a defining moment in the history of Disabilities Advocacy.

The afternoon will  host live bands (we hope to get some or all of the
following: Boyzone, Westlife, Jedward, U2) , funfairs, face painting, music,
dance and games. It will also feature Speakers and contributors from around the
globe , and celebrity actor Colin Farrell
has already agreed to be our Keynote Speaker.

Fingal Community TV (FCTV) are making a documentary about the making of the
event – and filming has already begun.

But it gets even
– we have spoken with Vicki Graff and Gregory
Ruzzin-both of whom are professors at Loyola Marymount University in Los
Angeles –and they suggested that we run simultaneous events in LA, South
Africa, Hong Kong, UK and Finland. Vicki has already said it will happen in LA
and is confident that South Africa will also happen. It will be truly a Global Event.

Although there is a time difference we can synchronise a huge fire works
display simultaneously around the globe at a certain time – albeit it will be
the middle of the night for some venue/venues.

The event will be the culmination of a massive media campaign across all media
channels over the next 8 months.

We have already recruited a ‘small army’ of volunteers to help make this event
happen and we have an experienced  professional event management company
in place to deliver the day in conjunction with ourselves.

Please visit our website for further details.

We are currently securing financial backing for the event – and once this has been secured we can go public with the event- hopefully in the next few weeks.

If you or your organisation would like to get involved in any way with this initiative – we would be delighted to hear from you – as this is a huge undertaking and we will need as much input as possible from volunteers.

We hope that you will all attend the event – as ticket prices will be affordable – and it is not a fund raiser – but an AWARENESS raiser!

SHOCK! Systemic Dishonesty at St Michael’s House!

Sunday, February 20th, 2011



This week  I attended a meeting of the Family and Parent Council of St Michael’s House Northern Region. These meetings are very frustrating to attend as they achieve very very little.Challenging or questioning the status quo at these meetings is overtly frowned upon and dismissed. The fact that the Parent and Family Councils are in place 4 years but cannot identify even one acheivement of note in that period says it all about their usefulness. They are generally used by St Michael’s House itself to spread self promoting propaganda among the parents.

This meeting was no different. We had a presentation from acting Chief Executive  Paul Ledwidge. He retired on 31st December receiving a six figure redundnacy payment and a pension fund that will cost the tax payer many millions of euro to fund. He made much play on the fact that he was acting Chief Executive in a voluntary capacity until a replacement is found and appointed in early March – but failed to say that his annual pension is exceedingly more than twice the average industrial wage -so he can well afford to be there voluntarily. He also says that he would be working in a voluntary capacity 2 days per week for the year 2011 – saying that he didn’t want things to go pear shaped after all his hard work – a huge insult to the current management team.

He gave a presentation lamenting the Government cutbacks and the effect it was having on the Provision of Services at St Michael’s House. During the presentation he proudly announced that one of the efficiencies that had happened was that employees now had to work a full 39 hour week. He stated that over the years it became customary for employees not to work a full week – but still to be paid for it. This outrageous statement was not picked up on by anybody attending. Here we had the Chief Executive of an organisation receiving almost 100 million euro of tax payers money and some of this money was being wasted by paying dishonest employees for a full week’s work when they were not doing a full week’s work.

What a disgrace and an insult to all those who do volunteer work at St Michael’s House that others can get paid for not working. More disgracefully Management were fully aware and allowed this despicable behavior to continue. Is it any wonder that there are cutbacks. When I listened to Paul Ledwidges presentation I was disgusted at the wanton waste and weak management within the organisation that he portrayed and I would have to say that until St Michael’s House becomes more efficient – no further expenditure should be allocated to them.In fact it is time to look at whether the organisation should be restructured and maybe broken up into smaller units.

We can only hope that the New Chief Executive to be appointed will have the necessary skills and ability to properly manage an organisation that  up until now,on the above evidence has been very poorly managed.

St Michael’s House

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

I had a meeting with senior Personnel in St Michaels House on Monday 19th October as arranged. It went as I would have predicted- very little progress made. I asked could I join the Family and Parent Council – but I was refused this request – they said the rules and regulations of the Council would not permit this. They also acknowledeged that the Family and Parent Councils had failed after 2 years. This does not surprise me as the reasons for setting up the councils is unclear and could not be explained to me at the meeting.

The culture within St Michaels house is so uninspiring and lethargic that meetings held there always leave one frustrated. They are negative and most time is spent discussing why things cannot be done. There is no “can do” approach. The organisation as a whole would appear to be extremely poorly managed with no accountability within the organisation whatsoever. It is high time the HSE reviewed the remit of the organsiation and how it is managed.

Reluctantly they have agreed to ask the Board of Management of St Michaels House Special Needs School in Skerries to consider setting up a committee to spearhead the New School Project – and again reluctantly – they will consider allowing me become a member of this committee. When they say it has taken them 20 years so far – not to build a new school – I can fully understand why!!!

Nevertheless I will be forming a new Parents Association in 2010 that will ensure that parents have much more influence on the running of St Michaels House and ensure that it becomes more accountable. Further details on this initiative to follow.

St Michaels House Meeting Arranged!

Monday, October 12th, 2009

A meeting has been arranged with St Michaels House for Monday 19th October 2009. This long overdue meeting is welcomed – and I sincerley hope that unlike other meetings that have taken place with St Michael’s House- this meeting will prove fruitful! There are a number of Public Representatives awaiting the outcome of this meeting so that they and we can decide how best to progress this Campaign.

St Michaels House and Special Needs School Transport

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Inclusion Ireland state in their September Newsletter – “… some of the children availing of special needs school transport are forced to travel long distances to schools as their local school will not accept them”.St Michaels House are a member of Inclusion Ireland – yet they are the very ones forcing special needs children to travel long distances to school! We call for St Michaels House to withdraw from Inclusion Ireland. St Michael’s House are part of the problem – not the solution. Shame on them!

Meeting with St Michaels House Special Needs School Skerries-When?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

And still we wait! We have been promised a meeting with St Michaels House – the planned meeting was arranged for Wed 16th September but it was cancelled due to unforseen circumstances. I have no problem with that – but I do have a problem with the fact that I have not been contacted by anybody from St Michaels House since then and thus the promised meeting is not even scheduled yet.

This is another very good example of how slowly and inefficiently this organisation works and illustrates how woefully inadeqate communication within the organisation is!

Batt O Keefe TD Minister for Education and Science making renewed enquiries!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Batt O Keefe T.D. Minister for Education and Science has informed us that he is making renewed enquiries about our issues. Let’s hope that he takes a personal interest in this case as we feel that unless he or somebody at his level intervenes then it will be rather more time consuming for us to succeed in achieving our objectives.

St Michael’s House Offer to Meet!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

St Michael’s House Senior Managers and Members of the Board of Management of Skerries School have offerd to meet with me to discuss amy matters of concern that I wish to raise with St Michael’s House.

I have accepted their offer and I hope that it proves beneficial and ensures that the two things we are advocating for happen!

I have had very unsatisfactory meetings with St Michael’s house in the past -let’s hope this is different.

National Council for Special Education Strategic Plan 2008 -2011

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

“having regard to the common good and in a manner that is informed by best practice, the education of people with special educational needs shall, wherever possible,take place in an inclusive environment”
Education for Persons with Special Needs Act (EPSEN) 2004

The implementation of of the EPSEN Act and embedding of its concept of inclusive education, underpinned by a series of statutory rights, will require a co-ordinated and sustained commitment by the many stakeholders involved in delivering on the vision and practicalities of Act.

The sooner this coordiantion of the many stakeholders happens the better!!

Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform now looking into these matters

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

We received a letter today from the office of the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform stating that these matters will be brought to the Minister’s attention.We are again very encouraged by this support- thank you.

It also gives us great pleasure to say that our son is settling in very well in Lusk National School- so far so good and long may it continue. We are overcome with the welcome, support and the “can do” attitude in the school. It is so refreshing and  enlightening  and is a credit to all involved in what is a truly remarkable school.

As this is the first time (that we are aware of) that a profoundly mentally and physically retarded boy has entererd main stream school from St Michaels House Early Services- we would be delighted if any students studying in the area of special needs  would like to monitor Michael’s progress as part of their research – we would gladly facilitate them what ever way we possible can. Please do not hesitate to contact us at