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Disability Power Ireland Irish Aphasia Theatre facilitators including DPI founding member Grainne Hallahan Disability Power Ireland Irish Aphasia Theatre facilitators including DPI founding member Grainne Hallahan

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The launch of Disability Power Ireland 2022

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Disability Power Ireland is a new, cross-impairment grassroots Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO)

Being proud of being disabled means being proud of our community’s resilience and creativity in navigating obstacles and social barrier

Disability Power Ireland The Disability Pride and Power Festival will officially run throughout the month of July, Disability Pride Month, from July 1st to 29th,
The Disability Pride and Power Festival will officially run throughout the month of July, Disability Pride Month, from July 1st to 29th.

Disability Power Ireland is a new, cross-impairment grassroots Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO), which launched Friday July 1st, 2022. This means that we are run and led entirely by ordinary disabled people. 

We were formed in early 2022, and we have hit the ground wheeling by organising Ireland’s first Disability Pride and Power Festival 2022. This is Ireland’s very first festival for disability, and it aims to unite and celebrate the diversity of impairments and identities within the disabled community.  

DPI is run by a committee of 18 disabled people, running this festival without any funding or donations and entirely on our own initiative. 

What We Are Celebrating: Disability Pride and Power

Disability Pride as a phenomenon has been celebrated internationally, including in America, Italy and the UK, but has yet to be marked in Ireland. We have linked in with Chicago Disability Pride Parade and have taken the concept further with our emphasis on not only Pride, but also Power.

We use the term ‘power’ in keeping with other marginalised groups’ use of the term to emphasise the power we have as a collective force to influence social, cultural and political change. Disability pride and power is a celebration of what it means to be disabled. 

Disability pride and power is NOT a sugar-coating of how hard it is to be disabled in a world not built for us. It does not pose disabled people as inspirational or frame disability as something to be overcome. It acknowledges that coming to terms with being disabled is a complicated and uniquely individual process which often involves loss, grief, and constant adjustment of expectations, especially for those with acquired impairments.

Being proud of being disabled means being proud of our community’s resilience and creativity in navigating obstacles and social barriers. While we encourage disabled people to have high expectations for themselves and their lives, we see how social barriers and stigma make it harder for disabled people to accomplish their goals, and we seek to bolster the disability rights movement in removing these barriers to inclusion.

The Festival

Our Disability Pride and Power Festival will officially run throughout the month of July, Disability Pride Month, from July 1st to 29th, with some events happening a little earlier. Here is a sample list of the events (we aim to release our full festival programme on Monday 27th June) 

1. Play “What We Thought Was Good For Us” by Smashing Barriers disabled theatre company-Thursday 30th June, Cherry Orchard Community Centre. Directed by Isolde Ó’Brolcháin Carmody and featuring a disabled cast. 

2. Disability Power Ireland Launch, July 1st, 7.30-9pm:The Launch of Disability Power Ireland will take place online and will feature speakers from the organisation and guests including:

• Paddy Smyth; Social Media Disabled Activist

• Eileen Daly; Disabled Activist and Life Coach

• Emilie Conway; Founder of Disabled Artists and Academics (DADA), jazz singer and disabled campaigner

• Sarah Fitzgerald; Disabled Activist and Writer, Former Secretary of Independent Living Movement Ireland 

3. The UNCRPD on Crisis and Employment, July 4th, 7pm (online). This event will focus on human rights and disability, exploring the UNCRPD Articles 11 (crisis) and 27 (unemployment) with speakers including Ann Marie Flanagan of Clare Leader Forum DPO, an expert on the UNCRPD, and Patrick Flanagan from Independent Living Movement Ireland.

4. “Unearth: Close Contact” by Undercurrent Dance Company, Saturday 9th July, The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick-an-Shannon.

Disability Power Ireland Wheelchair dancer Isolde O’BrolcháinCarmody on a darkly lit stage.
Wheelchair dancer Isolde O’BrolcháinCarmody on a darkly lit stage.

This live performance and installation by Undercurrents Magnetise Collective, explores the human experience of touch and re-emergence and features wheelchair dancing. 

5. Accessible Theatre Workshop with Irish Aphasia Theatre, Tuesday 12th July, 6.30pm in-person or online (venue TBC)- Tuesday 12th July. 

This theatre workshop will look at our empowerment through accessible arts and theatre exercises in a supportive safe space.

 Comedy Night with Headliner Therese Cahill, Saoirse Smith, Robbie Ford and several special guests- 13thJuly, Bow Lane Social.

Therese Cahill playing a ukulele.

Top image shows Organiser Saoirse Smith performing in a wheelchair at the Cherry Comedy Breakout Act of the Year 2022; Bottom Image shows Headliner

Other Key Events 

7. Disability Under Fire: Panel of Disabled Refugees from Syria, Palestine and Ukraine

8. “Whose Pride is it Anyway?” Online Intersectionality Panel Discussion with Full Spectrum Ireland, a DPO for disabled LGBTQ+ people. (Discusses the expansion of LGBTQIA+ pride to other marginalised groups, including disabled and black pride) 

9. Webspinning Creative Salon/Collaboret: Features performances from the Webspinners’ Creative Writing Group for Disabled People (online)

10. “What is Disability Pride and Power? A History of the Disability Pride Movement” Panel with Chicago Disability Pride Parade, 21st July, 8pm (online) Speakers include Justin Cooper and Bill Thomasson from Chicago Disability Pride Parade. 

11. Open Mic Night with Chicago Disability Pride Parade, 23rd July, 8.30pm (online)

Contacts List for Press Enquiries

1. Maryam Madani

Chair/Founder of DPI 

Contact For: Any elements of DPI and the Festival and the following events in particular:

• DPI Launch on Friday July 1st – Speakers include:Activist Eileen Daly, Paddy Smyth, Catherine Gallagher, Emilie Conway

• “What is Disability Pride and Power? A History of the Disability Pride Movement” Panel with Chicago Disability Pride Parade, 21st July, 8pm (online) 

• Open Mic Night with Chicago Disability Pride Parade, 23rd July, 8.30pm (online)

Number: 087 1388730

Email: [email protected] OR [email protected]

2. Catherine Gallagher

Communications and Research Officer and Founding Memberof DPI

Contact For: Any elements of DPI and the Festival and media enquiries

Number: 086 268 3127

Email: [email protected]

3. Isolde Ó’Brolcháin Carmody

Events Coordinator, Vice-Chair and Founding Member of DPI; Director of Smashing Barriers Play

Contact For: DPI, the Festival and as the organiser of the following events:

• Smashing Barriers Play “What We Thought Was Good For Us”- Thursday 30th June, Cherry Orchard Community Centre  

• Disability Under Fire: Panel of Disabled Refugees from Syria, Palestine and Ukraine

• “Unearth: Close Contact” Wheelchair Dancing Performance by Undercurrent Dance Company, Saturday 9th July, The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick-an-Shannon.

• “Whose Pride is it Anyway?” Online Intersectionality Panel Discussion with Full Spectrum Ireland, a DPO for disabled LGBTQ+ people. (Discusses the expansion of LGBTQIA+ pride to other marginalised groups, including disabled and black pride) 

• Webspinning Creative Salon/Collaboret: Features performances from the Webspinners’ Creative Writing Group for Disabled People (online)

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 086 882 0445

4. Saoirse Smith

Secretary and Founding Member of DPI 

Contact For: DPI, the Festival, and Particularly to Discuss the Following Event:

• Comedy Night with Headliner Therese Cahill, Saoirse Smith, Robbie Ford and several special guests- 13th July, Bow Lane Social 

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 083 377 1278

5. Grainne Hallahan

Founding Member of DPI, Committee Member

Contact For: DPI, The Festival and Particularly to Discuss the following event:

• Accessible Theatre Workshop with Irish Aphasia Theatre, Tuesday 12th July, 6.30pm in-person or online (venue TBC) 

Email: [email protected] OR [email protected]

Phone Number: 086 062 1393

For more information about Disability Power Ireland go HERE

For more community stories go HERE

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 ilovelimerick.com 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.

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