Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Special Needs Rugby at Terenure Rugby Club

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Terenure Tigers – Special Needs Rugby Team for Boys and Girls (7+) – All welcome

Supported by IRFU and Leinster Rugby – All sessions are fully supervised by qualified coaches.

Contact 01 490 4283 or Bernard 086 8044214 or Dave 086 4481468

Email or

Arrogance of CRC and Rehab only surpassed by St Michael’s House!

Friday, January 24th, 2014


If you think that the National scandal of the behaviour of the boards of both the CRC and Rehab cannot be surpassed – I believe that when the activities of St Michael’s house are investigated – even more shocking revelations will emerge.

We have been deeply disturbed by the management of the St Michael’s house for the last 6 years and we believe that the organisation is not fit for purpose.

We  lodged a complaint about the behaviour of Senior Management at St Micheal’s house last June and we are still being fobbed off by both the management and the Board of Directors. I believe that the Board of Directors of St Michael’s house are colluding with the senior management to deny us our right to complain about practices within the organisation that are an affront to service users.

I also believe that they should hang their head in shame and resign!

We are currently inviting all media outlets to talk with us so that these issues can be debated in public and ensure that this organisation be exposed for what it is.

Indeed any service users who have a grievance with St Micheal’s house – feel free to contact us so that we can collectively take action – including litigation – to prevent this organisation from continuing to fail it’s service users.

There arrogance and incompetence is staggering!

St Michael’s House Board of Directors Meeting – Cover Up?

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

cover upimages

We have been seeking a meeting with the board of directors of St Michael’s house for months.

We have been trying for months to arrange this meeting with the board through the offices of Patricia Doherty in St Michael’s House but to no avail.

We are very concerned at the fact that the Board of Directors – despite being ware that we seek a meeting – are refusing to meet with us.

We have major issues with the way St Michael’s House is being run.

  • The Management are not implementing company policy re Inclusive Education
  • The staff are misinforming parents about their rights re Inclusive education
  • The Management are supervising a situation whereby children are being mistreated on a daily basis by forcing them to endure hours commuting on buses going to and from school.
  • The Management are clueless about what educational model re Inclusive Education they are following
  • There is no Assistive Technology department in St Michael’s house.
  • Corporate Governance at St Michael’s house leaves a lot to be desired.
  • The organisation has no leadership skills at Senior Management level.
  • The Management are failing the children in their care
  • The Management are tolerating a situation whereby they continue to allow children access to their services despite the Chief Executive of the organisation saying that they do not have the resources to cater for them
  • There are no measurements of outputs/results achieved for service users
  • There is no accountability within the organisation
  • The organisation culture is one of fear

These and a whole host of other issues are items we would like to get clarification on from the Board of Directors.

We keep being told that the Board of Directors are voluntary members – this is also very concerning as they are tasked with overseeing Government funding of in the region of €80 million euro per year.

We have now written to the HSE to inform them of our frustrations in this regard- we will wait and see how long it takes for this meeting to take place.

If we fail to get a meeting – it will confirm our suspicion that the organisation has mant things they would not like the public to know.

St Michael’s House change their mind about Wheelchair

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

It would  now appear that low and behold, St Michael’s House now agree that our son Michael not having a wheelchair is indeed a Health and Safety issue and a new wheelchair has been ordered.

I cannot say that I am grateful for this intervention -it is hardly a luxury item.

Refused a Wheelchair by St Michael’s House!

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013


I have just been informed by St Michael’s House that our son Michael has been refused a wheelchair for which he has been sanctioned.

Apparently he has been put on a waiting list – but we have not been told how long this list is.

We as parents are contemplating returning  the wheelchair that he currently has – which is too small for him ( a health and safety issue) – and we will leave him sitting outside the gates of Leinster House until they give him a chair.

This news comes in the week that we have had serious difficulties trying to seek a meeting with the board of directors of St Michael’s House. We have now had 3 meetings with very senior management in St Michael’s house requesting to meet with the Board of Directors. The process is extremely time consuming, difficult, and uncomfortable and it looks like if we do succeed in meeting the board it will not be until after the Summer – ie a full 9 months after our initial request. The leadership and management of St Michael’s house is a cause of serious concern. I will post more about this later.

Autism Friendly Theatre Production

Friday, February 15th, 2013

The Ark

The Ark is excited to present an Autism-friendly theatre production of the show ‘Zoe’s Play’ on the Sunday the 10th of March at 12 noon.

Commissioned by The Ark in 1999, Zoe’s Play toured nationally before playing at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to great acclaim. The new 2013 production is presented in celebration of The Ark’s 18th birthday.

This is an inspiring production for 8-12 year olds that children will find deeply engaging. The play is centred on the character of Zoe who is a lively imaginative child with a gift for daydreaming. Written by John McArdle, primary school curriculum drama consultant, ‘Zoe’s Play’ explores that transitional period between childhood and adulthood when a child struggles to be heard. A time when the consequences of grown-up actions clash fiercely with the desire to retain the idealism of childhood.

Autism-friendly performances are relaxed performances for the whole family, where the performance is tailored for the comfort of your child. An Autism Friendly Pack which includes photographs and a synopsis of the play will be available to download from our website at which will assist and prepare your child for their visit to the ark and for the theatre performance.

Though the recommended age for this performance is 8-12yrs, if you feel it may be suitable for your older child by all means do come along!

Ticket prices: €10/ €8 concessions. Family ticket €45 for 5 tickets

Information and booking is available on 01 6707788

Please feel free to phone us if you have any queries,

Kind Regards,

Kathy Conlan,

Programming Intern,

The Ark, A Cultural Centre for Children

11a Eustace Street,

Temple Bar,

Dublin 2

+353 1 8994094

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!

Midweek: Give us back our SNAs, Wednesday at 10.00 p.m. on TV3

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011


This weeks show will be covering the issue of cuts to SNA posts on our show tomorrow night. We’ll be attending the protest at 4pm tomorrow to hear the views of parents who will be in attendance. Our report on the issue will feature Pat Goff, principal of Scoil Mhuire in Coolcotts, Wexford, Brenda Kelly, an SNA from Scoil Mhuire, parents Jane & Rod Johnstone who have two sons with autism and Nicci McConnell who also has a son with autism. In studio, we’ll be joined by parent Aisling McNiffe and spokesperson for the Special Needs Parents Association, Lorraine Dempsey.

Well worth a look!

2 Years free pre-schooling for children with special needs?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

THE GOVERNMENT has said it will consider providing two years of free pre-schooling for children with special needs under its early childcare and education scheme.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald told an Oireachtas committee yesterday she wanted to extend the scheme from one year to two years for children with special needs. However, she said no Government decision had yet been made on the proposal, which would have financial implications.

“Developmentally, many children would benefit from it,” she told The Irish Times after her first appearance before the Oireachtas health committee. “The kind of needs they have would become clearer in the course of the second year and they would be better prepared for primary school.”

Under the existing scheme, all children aged three years and three months to four years and six months on September 1st each year are eligible for a year of pre-schooling paid for by the State.

The scheme is expected to cost €166 million in 2011, with 95 per cent of all children of qualifying age currently taking part.

Estimates from the department suggest extending the scheme for children with special needs could cost an extra €15 million a year. This is based on forecasts that up to 10 per cent of all children in the State have special needs.

Ms Fitzgerald said extending the free pre-school year for children with special needs was part of her vision for developing the early childcare and education scheme. She said she would like to see all children benefit from two years of free pre-school.

Parents with special needs children recently protested against what they believe are plans to cut the number of special needs assistants. A Department of Education value-for-money report on special needs assistants recently found there was an “over-allocation” of 27 per cent in primary and post primary schools, and 10 per cent in special needs schools.

Ms Fitzgerald said she would publish new child-protection guidelines for all bodies working with children after publication of the Cloyne report into handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations.


JAMIE SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent

 Irish Time 7th July 2011

Read this and weep!

Monday, July 4th, 2011


For nine years, the only privacy Peter had was a curtain around his bed. He hadn’t wanted to leave home in the first place but had no choice. For nearly a decade he shared a bedroom with three other men, living in an institution for people with intellectual disabilities.

As it turns out, Peter is one of the lucky ones. He eventually moved from that institutional setting and has lived happily for years, with support, in the community. His story, though, is in sharp contrast with so many thousands of others in a newly published report on people with intellectual disabilities living in institutions here.

There are around 3,500 people in 72 of these places around the country. We’ve all seen them, at least from the outside. They’re usually imposing grey buildings, reminiscent of workhouses.

The Report on the Working Group on Congregated Settings, published earlier this week, received remarkably little coverage, given its contents and recommendations.

This dearth of coverage is despite a conclusion that there is a powerful and unassailable case for taking action. The ethical case for moving these people from what must be horrible lives in these institutions is beyond debate.

The report tells the story of the reality of life for these Irish citizens, most of whom have severe or profound intellectual disabilities, and have been in an institutionalised setting for more than 15 years. Many of them have simply been forgotten by society.

The descriptions of some of the conditions are harrowing. There was one place that has 20 older people with severe disabilities, but only has one accessible shower and two wash basins. The logistics are mind boggling. People simply had to wait their turn to be washed and have their teeth cleaned. In another instance, there was a ward with 10 beds, side by side, with minimal space between, and no curtain dividing them. It’s an unimaginable way to have to live.

In another pitiful revelation, we are told that in nearly a third of the units, residents who are incontinent have to be changed in a communal sleeping or day area. Just think about that for a minute, and the absolute indignity of it. Even if you are changing a toddler’s nappy you find somewhere private, not just for the sake of the child, but also those close by who would have to witness and smell.

All of this awfulness is compounded by the fact that one-in-three of these people had no contact with family in the previous six months.

It appears that, for many, their days are spent in awful monotony, with little or nothing to do to pass the time. They don’t even have the most basic therapies or activities. They are cared for mostly by nurses in a environment far closer to an aged hospital than a comfortable home.

Unsurprisingly, staff expressed concern at the conditions under which they had to work, and their inability to respond to the needs of their clients and to treat them with dignity.

Needless to say, it is quite extraordinary that these homes are not yet subject to official inspections. It is truly shameful that this situation regarding institutionalised care was not addressed when we had the resources.

This current manner of caring, and I use the term loosely, is sharply at odds with our stated policies. It is in breach of UN conventions, and also at odds with our stated approach in Irish disability and equality legislation.

The National Disability Strategy, launched in 2004, includes the Government’s commitment to ensure full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life in Ireland.

It’s an understatement to say we are behind the curve in this area. It’s remarkable that there is the need to even to state that these people should be supported to live full, inclusive lives at the heart of family community and society. The group raises the interesting notion that neither those who fund or provide services “own” people with disabilities, nor should they exercise control over their lives simply because they use their services.

Going back to Peter. In his case, he was helped to get a job in a pub counting the money from vending machines. “It felt good and people thought of me differently,” explained the Dubliner, who uses a wheelchair that he can’t propel himself and communicates using a board with symbols.

Following that success, he moved into a house in the community where he has lived happily for the past 16 years. He likes to visit the library, put a bet on in the local bookie or go to the church to light a candle. Contact with his family, he says, has greatly improved.

Those still stuck in institutions can only hope that the Government will have the political will to ensure that they should all be closed within seven years — which is what the report has urged. But if you’re lying in a bed in a horrible old building, drugged to the hilt, surrounded by others like you with no privacy, no visitors, no therapies, less than basic washing facilities, and no activities, it’s a long time to wait.


Written by Allison O Connor – Irish Independent July 2nd 2011