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Active Disability Ireland National Seminar - Pictured above are Limerick's Padraig & Brian O'Callaghan  Active Disability Ireland National Seminar - Pictured above are Limerick's Padraig & Brian O'Callaghan 


Limerick shines bright at Active Disability Ireland National Seminar



Active Disability Ireland National Seminar – Pictured above are Limerick’s Padraig & Brian O’Callaghan 

Active Disability Ireland National Seminar

Padraig O’Callaghan of ‘The Paudcast’, stole the audience’s hearts at the Active Disability Ireland National Seminar

Padraig speaking at the event
Padraig speaking at the event

“Without these opportunities we would be left with very little choice to support our right to be active.”

A very insightful message from one of the Limerick guest speakers at the national Seminar for Inclusion of Active Disability Ireland this year. Knockainey man Padraig O’Callaghan of ‘The Paudcast’, stole the audience’s hearts with a touching message of inclusion and what the impact of physical activity means to both himself and his peers. “Padraig asked the audience to “think about the small changes that they can make to their sport, physical activity or organisation that will have a big impact for me!”

Just one week since Active Disability Ireland held their first in person seminar since 2019 and its first under the banner of its new name, the theme of creating opportunities and choice for people with disabilities to be involved in physical activity and sport created a truly relevant topic of conversation for the 200 plus attendees for the seminar. Padraig was not the only Limerick man to speak at the seminar but was supported hugely by his dad and chairperson of the organisation Brian O’Callaghan, Johnny Quaid, ambassador and Daithi Purcell of Rosbrien in Limerick who spoke on the Youth panel and of his insights to participation in sport and physical activity in school.


Johnny Quaid, recently appointed ambassador, gave a very honest account of his journey and recovery following a spinal cord injury. Johnny highlighted the reality of recovery and what it meant to him to have access to opportunities to take part in sport just like his peers. He offered his view on what keeps him going but left the audience in no doubt that having the opportunities and choice to be active, following his accident was what has brought him to this point. He urged all individuals, both young and old to reach out to their local sports partnerships and to seek the support to ensure that they could live as active a life as possible.

The day also presented us with the opportunity to highlight the findings of their Youth Survey following a recent consultation with over 200 young people and their parents. The survey highlighted some startling findings about exclusion in PE and of the lack of opportunity and choice to participate in PE in school. Robert Purcell from Active Disability Ireland spoke openly to two of our Youth Forum, one of whom was Daithi Purcell of Limerick and his mum. Daithi gave a brave recount of the negative experiences that he has faced in sport, but wanted to highlight why it meant so much to him to keep going. The Youth forum was officially launched which will give Daithi and other youth representatives the opportunity to have their voices heard and have their say in relation to what they want and want is needed for them to be active

Brian O’Callaghan, Chairperson of Active Disability Ireland commented “It is crucial to recognise that diversity is not just a concept; it is a lived reality. Each person, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, brings a unique set of skills, perspectives, and talents to the table. Today, we come together not only to acknowledge this diversity but also to delve into how we can collectively create an environment that celebrates it.”

Interim CEO Brenda O’Donnell, paid tribute to the work that is already happening and has been created across the sector and she compounded the message that it only takes one small change to have a lasting impact on someone with a disability to be active. Listening to our sector and asking the question of what needs to be done and how we can do it, will lead to more worthwhile and long-lasting experiences for people with disabilities to be active in our communities.

Active Disability Ireland look forward to living through the second year of their strategy and to bring to life the theme of “Increasing Profile and Visibility” throughout their programmes. They have already begun to plan for their hugely successful Active Disability Service Awards which will take place in late March which will celebrate the activities and opportunities that are happening across our 1200 HSE Adult Day Services. Full Details of these awards will be released shortly.

More info on Active Disability Ireland

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Active Disability Ireland National Seminar Daithi Purcell Youth Forum Representative with Eva Grace another Youth Forum Representative.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.