Tuesday 21 September 2021: Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability has appointed Ms Derval McDonagh as Chief Executive Officer.

Derval McDonagh began her career as a speech and language therapist, working in Early Intervention and early school years. She has worked with Cope Foundation, a service provider supporting children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism in Cork for the last 17 years, where she undertook senior management roles since 2013. In recent times she coordinated the transformation of services towards community based, person led supports.

Commenting on her appointment Derval said: “I am proud to be joining Inclusion Ireland to work alongside people with Intellectual disabilities and their families as we strive to make our community  a more inclusive place. The Inclusion Ireland team believe that our society is a better one when everyone is valued as equal citizens. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is our roadmap towards the full inclusion and participation of people with intellectual disabilities. Understanding the power of accessible information and supporting people to advocate for themselves are two cornerstones of progressing the disability rights movement. Too often, people with higher support needs are left out of the conversation around human rights; being inclusive means valuing everyone’s voice and finding a way to listen and have each voice be heard and represented”.

Ms. Marian McNamara, Chairperson of the Board of Inclusion Ireland said, “Inclusion Ireland is delighted to welcome Derval McDonagh as our new CEO.  As an organisation we endeavour to influence a societal shift in attitudes and actions through supporting people to speak up for themselves so they realise their rights, by lobbying, advocating and communicating positively and constructively with the public and with government. Derval McDonagh has the credentials, the experience and the passion to drive our vision and mission forward and we wish her the very best in her role.I would like to extend sincere gratitude to Lorraine Dempsey who has lead Inclusion Ireland as Interim CEO since February and thank her for her commitment and dedication in carrying out her duties on behalf of the organisation”.


For further information contact Interim Communications Officer Julie Helen:  julie@inclusionireland.ie 086 8373312 

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