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Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Accessible Offaly Survey

Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Accessible Offaly Survey – for adults with disabilities and long-lasting conditions living in Offaly.

Have Your Say.

ODEN is working to identify barriers to accessibility and inclusion in communities in Offaly.

ODEN is asking disabled people to tell us about your experience of access and being part of the community in Offaly. This survey should take about 8 – 10 minutes to complete. Some people may need help to complete the survey. Some people communicate differently.  If needed, please support a family member or person you support to complete the survey.

You can complete the survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6KT7FHF

Please share this survey with anyone you think may be interested.

You can read the Easy to Read Flyer here: ODEN Accessible Offaly Survey – Easy to read

Thank you for taking part.

Thank you for supporting people to take part.


Offaly Disability Equality Network (ODEN) Members:

Anam Beo, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Employability Midlands, Epilepsy Ireland, An Garda Siochana, Inclusion Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland, Laois Offaly Education & Training Board, Muiriosa, MS Ireland, National Learning Network, Offaly Centre for Independent Living, Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly Public Participation Network, Rehabcare, Tullamore Chamber.

The ODEN Accessible Offaly Project is funded by Offaly County Council through the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund 2021.

Pre-Budget Survey 2023

Each Year the Government bring out a report they call the Budget.

The Budget tells us what the Government will spend money on for 2023.

We want to know what you think.

We want to know what is important to you.

This is our survey so you can tell us what you think.

Please fill this survey out by 20th June.

This is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBLJQJ7

You can access an easy to read flyer about this budget survey here: Pre Budget Survey – Easy To Read

Thank you for taking part.

Beyond the basics – cleanliness should be a minimum standard we expect in residences.

We at Inclusion Ireland found the reporting of deplorable conditions in a centre for people with intellectual disabilities very difficult to read today. In case you missed it you can read the rte.ie report here.


CEO of Inclusion Ireland Derval McDonagh says “We have to think about the individuals living in circumstances like this. We need to demand better for people, far beyond basics like cleanliness and safety. We must support people as rights holders to have choice and control about where and how they live and for people to have the support they need every single day to live a good life.

 Derval continues “Our watchdog of HIQA shouldn’t even have to consider elements such as a basically clean environment, that should be the absolute minimum we expect for people, no matter what setting they live in or how much support they require.”

“Of significant concern also was the voice of the resident who stated that they did not like living there as “their peer shouted a lot”. In no other walk of life would it be acceptable for people to be forced to stay living together if they were unhappy with their circumstances. It would be inconceivable for any of us to imagine having no choice about who we live with. We cannot ignore that voice. Where are the options for people to move out if they are unhappy and distressed? Ultimately, we need institutional type living to end and a shift to where rights are the basis for all support.”

Inclusion Ireland shocked and appalled at proposals to create segregated special education centres

26 May 2022 Inclusion Ireland as the national advocacy organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities was shocked and appalled to see the sudden announcement of a proposal of five “special education centres” across Dublin to address the shortage of school places for children in September 2022.

This “emergency” plan seems like ten steps backwards on the path to inclusive education. Inclusion Ireland was not contacted or consulted in any way about these measures despite being heavily involved in the national consultative groups and forums about special and inclusive education. We are so disappointed at such a response to an issue that the department has been aware of for months and years.

CEO  of Inclusion Ireland Derval McDonagh says : “We all know what happens with ” short term” segregated solutions, they quickly become the accepted norm that last years longer than they were intended to and that is not what children deserve for their education. Children only get one chance to participate in their education and then they become the adults of tomorrow. There needs to be proper planning around children’s right to their education and a coordinated well thought out and appropriately resourced response to the needs of children, even when the response needs to happen quickly. This plan does not offer choice to children and families, if parents refuse a place in a segregated “temporary” centre what happens then? Energies and resources should be immediately channelled into finding and following through on appropriate places for each child in their local communities.

Derval continued: “The Department of Education is not running an accident and emergency department, the system has known about these children’s support needs for years. Emergency responses have no place in Education and have far reaching consequences beyond the intended fix and will impact massively on the inclusion and educational outcomes of children who deserve and are entitled to an appropriate education”.


For further information please contact Julie Helen Communications and Information Manager julie@inclusionireland.ie 087 2636994.

A Statement on Inclusive Education 19th May 2022


At Inclusion Ireland we are sure that many people watched the heart-breaking Prime Time on RTE 1 this week. In case you missed it, you can watch it here. https://www.rte.ie/news/primetime/2022/0517/1299600-parents-autistic-boys-special-school/


In response, we know that every child has a right to education and should have the right to go to their local school alongside their siblings and peers. It is unacceptable that this is not the reality for many children. The news of action from the Minister with responsibility for Special Education, Josepha Madigan TD was welcomed by many. Immediate steps need to be taken for children with intellectual disabilities to access their right to education who do not have a school placement right now.


Hand in hand with the immediate actions, we also call for a national conversation around what inclusive education actually is. The first step is to get a place in your local school but what happens after that is just as important to make inclusion real. With the review of the EPSEN Act this year, we must reflect on how to radically change this system to support children rather than asking them to just “fit in” to the system we already have. We know this kind of radical rethink takes leadership and the belief in the benefit of inclusive education for all children.


In clear terms, what we want at Inclusion Ireland is:


  1. In reviewing the EPSEN Act this year, we are calling for it to be renamed the “Inclusive Education Act“. We need to stop talking about children with disabilities as “special” and start talking about rights. Language is powerful. There is nothing special about wanting children to be educated in their local schools. It is their right for that to happen.


  1. Children should be able to go to their local school and be educated alongside their peers whether they need a lot of support or a little support and everything in between. Choices should not be so polarised into “special classes ” or “mainstream school”. Families are finding it so difficult to access an educational place for their child and are then being pushed to make impossible choices between mainstream and “special” settings. We need a vision for what inclusive education should and could look like with the right investment and most importantly the right leadership. Some schools need to change, but all schools need support to include children in a meaningful way.  The system needs to change, not the children. In the immediate term, we call on the Minister to use the legislation available to ensure that local places are provided for those who need them right now.


  1. We want to hear more stories about the benefits for all children educated in inclusive environments and the real lived experience stories of disabled adults who have gone through the system. Being educated alongside your whole community supports all children’s empathy and creativity. Diversity is powerful and we need to value it.


  1. We need real system reform, and that reform must include the components for Inclusive Education. We know the system doesn’t work for many children who are excluded, on reduced timetables or short school days. What would a different system look like? It is the view of Inclusion Ireland that there are three critical components for truly inclusive education:


a) Leadership: At government and school level a belief in every child’s right to be included in their local school and in the value that inclusion brings for all children.

b ) Resources: this includes ongoing training, access to multi-disciplinary supports and individualised supports for children.

c) Environment: Inclusive universally designed environments for children no matter what level of support they need.


Some schools have all three components, others are struggling to provide them and need and deserve support to do so. As a society we need a national conversation around our vision for inclusive education.


We at Inclusion Ireland are planning on hosting that conversation in Autumn with the voices of disabled people front and central.

More details to be released soon.

Radical and meaningful change is needed now.

Come and join the Inclusion movement.



Summer Provision Programme 2022

Inclusion Ireland has directly advocated to the department around the Summer Provision Programme 2022.

Our focus is to advocate for children who did not receive a Summer Programme in the last number of years for multiple reasons. The original intention of the programme was to provide support over the summer months to children who struggle or find the break too challenging in terms of consistent support and routine. The programme was created to ensure that children with higher support needs had a chance to keep up routines that help them to manage and achieve their broader education, health and wellbeing  goals and in doing so fully access their right to education.

We, alongside other advocacy organisations and groups, met the Department of Education on 5th May after the announcement of this year’s programme to get a briefing.  

We agreed to meet again later this month to get an update around the 2022 uptake from schools. Of particular concern to us are the children where home-based programmes simply do not work. We hope schools that support children with higher support needs will consider providing this much needed programme this year and liaise with the department to get a full picture of the additional supports available in doing so. Our understanding is that the department of education is linking directly with these schools to explain the programme and the advantages of running it where possible. We will update again at the end of May when we have a clearer picture around uptake.

In the meantime all the details are available here:

gov.ie – Summer Programme 2022: school-based programme in primary and special schools (www.gov.ie)

Reasonable Accommodation Fund Review

Sometimes, it may be harder for people to do things if they have a disability, health problem or mental health issue. A reasonable accommodation is when we change the way we usually do things to make sure people with disabilities can do it too. An example is flexible working arrangements that allow people to start and finish work at different times.


The Government of Ireland runs a Reasonable Accommodation Fund. The Department of Social Protection gives out this Fund to employers, and to employees and jobseekers with disabilities. The Fund gives money to help with the cost of reasonable accommodations at work.


The Reasonable Accommodation Fund is made up of four grants.

  • Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant
  • Job Interview Interpreter Grant
  • Personal Reader Grant
  • Employee Retention Grant


You can find an Easy To Read document about the review and how you can have your say at this link:


The deadline has been extended, closing date for feedback is Friday 13th of May at 5.00pm.

Career opportunities – we are recruiting!

Inclusion Ireland Career Opportunities April 2022

We are recruiting!

Established in 1961, Inclusion Ireland is a national advocacy organisation that works to promote the rights of people with an intellectual disability.  Inclusion Ireland has been at the forefront of the disability rights movement for 60 years. We provide information to people and support people to advocate for themselves, influence policy and work towards societal change.

The vision of Inclusion Ireland is “people with an intellectual disability living and participating in the community with equal rights”

Inclusion Ireland’s work is underpinned by the values of dignity, inclusion, social justice, democracy and autonomy. We use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to guide our work.

Come join the movement for change! Play a role in shaping policy, supporting people to speak up for themselves and working towards societal change.


Finance and Governance Lead

Dublin based with flexible arrangements

The Finance and Governance Lead is a senior level position, managing Inclusion Ireland’s operations. The role involves office management; financial management; delivering on our funding strategy, governance and compliance excellence and human resource management.

The position supports Inclusion Ireland’s team and ensures effective and efficient management of the organisations financial and human resources.

Working closely with the CEO and other managers, the Finance & Governance Lead is responsible for ensuring the delivery of critical components of the operational plan.

See Job description and personal specification with details on essential and desirable criteria by clicking the ‘Download PDF’ button at the bottom of this page.

Starting salary: between 46-48,000.



Applications will be shortlisted based on the strength of the application and demonstration of meeting essential and desirable criteria.

Please submit a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the role to admin@inclusionireland.ie

A panel may be formed for future vacancies arising over the next six months.

Inclusion Ireland is an equal opportunities employer. We value diversity and inclusion as employers. We encourage and support applicants from minority and under-represented backgrounds.

Garda vetting is an essential part of the recruitment process.

Contact Derval McDonagh CEO for an informal conversation about the roles on 01 8559891

Closing date Tuesday 19th April. Interviews will be held in early May and will be facilitated online.

We value our team. We offer family friendly and flexible work/life balance options, an employee assistance programme and pension.

*This advertisement uses Verdana 12 font in line with plain English guidelines.


Welcome to Ireland from Ukraine Easy to Read

In Inclusion Ireland we want to help those who come to Ireland from Ukraine.

We have made some easy to read information to welcome people to Ireland from Ukraine.

We also did our best to translate the same information into Ukranian because we understand people may find it hard to understand English- you can find theme below.

Welcome to Ireland from Ukraine Ukranian versionPDF

Welcome to Ireland from Ukraine English Version

We hope this information will help people feel welcome and we will support with accessible information and support in any way we can.


If you need more information, please email our Communications and Information Manager Julie at julie@inclusionireland.ie

Inclusion Ireland research into Progressing Disability Services highlights lack of services for children.

Inclusion Ireland research into Progressing Disability Services highlights lack of services for children.

10th March 2022:

Inclusion Ireland today publishes a research report on the parent experience of Progressing Disability Services for Children and young people. Lack of services was the main issue that emerged from the research which saw responses from over 1000 families across Ireland.

The HSE began reconfiguring disability services for children and young people 11 years ago. The aim was to ensure that children had fair and equitable access to services no matter where they lived. Prior to this model change, there were areas in the country where disability services were very well developed for children and other locations where services were poor or non-existent.

Inclusion Ireland engaged with families through a survey and also developed individual case studies to highlight the experience of children and families.

Some key findings of the survey include:

  • Over 50% of the families of children surveyed are not in receipt of any service. Less than 1/3 of families (28%) were engaging with Progressing disability Services through Children’s Disability Network Teams (CDNT).


  • Many parents reported that their child spent a significant time on a waiting list for services. 85% reported that they have waited or continue to wait for more than a year. Of these children; 27% were waiting 2-4 years,16% were waiting 4-6 years and 5% for 6 years or more.


  • 48% of families cited difficulties with communication from the services as one of their top 3 issues with the service. Families describe a lack of clarity in relation to plans and time frames for Progressing Disability Services for Children.


  • 19% of families provided us with detail relating to concerns about quality of service. Examples included the lack of frequency of interventions, difficulties with staffing levels and lack of joined up working with schools or other services.


In addition to the issues identified Inclusion Ireland puts forward 9 recommendations that will offer solutions to the issues faced by children with disabilities and their families. These recommendations include: gathering of comprehensive data on a regional basis to plan more effectively, provision of timely assessments for children,  the provision of early intervention services close to diagnosis, school based supports, timely replacement of staff and better communication with families. Our number one recommendation was around the  urgent development of a comprehensive workforce planning strategy to address the lack of therapists and clinicians in the services.


Derval McDonagh CEO of Inclusion Ireland says: “The high level of response to our survey is indicative of the deep concern that many families feel and needed to express. While this survey cannot represent the totality of the unmet needs in Ireland, it can offer a clear overview of the challenges families face in accessing, navigating and maintaining essential, life changing services for their children. The development of the new Community Disability Network Teams throughout the country presents an opportunity to get things right for children with disabilities and their families”.


She added “Inclusion Ireland recognises and supports the values underpinning the model around fair access to services and family centred care. There is an opportunity with the collection of better data to plan for children by region over time and to work in trusting partnership with families. This can be done if the systemic issues within the services are addressed as a priority by Government and health services. While it remains to be the case that a child only has a right to an assessment but not the right to services, it will be a challenge for children to receive the support that they require. The Disability Act needs to be reviewed, hand in hand with the EPSEN act, to ensure that children’s rights are front and central at all times. It is imperative that children get the support they need early and often in the years where it makes the biggest difference”.

You can download the full report by clicking the below ‘Download PDF’ button.

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