Minister of State Finian McGrath joins LIT Graduates 2019 as they Celebrate Equal Access to Education

LIT Graduates 2019

LIT Graduates 2019 – Graduates from LIT’s Leadership, Advocacy and Independent Living programme and the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality programme at the graduation ceremony at LIT Moylish Campus from left to right:Teresa Lawlor (Clare) Marie O’Friel (Clare) Vincent Cunnane Liam Mulcahy (Clare) Minister Finian McGrath and Geraldine McDonagh (Limerick). Images by Carmel Neylon.

Minister of State Finian McGrath joins LIT Graduates 2019 as they Celebrate Equal Access to Education

Equal access to education is paramount to a country of equal opportunities, and Limerick Institute of Technology continues to provide such equality of access to higher education through numerous programmes and courses.

That was the message from Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath TD, as he congratulated the 37 students from the Leadership, Advocacy and Independent Living programme and the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality pilot programme, during their graduation at LIT, Moylish campus.

In his address to the class of 2019 Minister McGrath said, “I am delighted to be invited back again to LIT to this year’s graduation ceremony. I really enjoyed it last year and I was very impressed to see the work LIT are doing in developing new courses. Equal opportunity is paramount to what defines a country. In Ireland, we are committed to increasing equity of access to higher education for all students. In building an inclusive society, one of the cornerstones must be equality of opportunity. All students should be given the same opportunity to study on equal terms, regardless of ability or needs.” 

The 37 new graduates join an alumni of almost 200 who have already completed the courses in LIT’s Moylish, Thurles and Ennis campuses.

The Advocacy Leadership and Independent Living programme for people with intellectual disabilities was set up by LIT in 2009, in partnership with disability service providers in the greater Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and North Cork areas. This year saw the new follow-on course piloted in Ennis – Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality

Cathy Jones, Head of Department in Applied Social Sciences, LIT said, “Our Department is very privileged to host these programmes. They bring richness and diversity to our suite of programmes and allows for co-learning across the department’s student body. For example, our Social Care students hear first-hand about the experiences and wishes of people with disabilities, which will enhance and inform their future practice.”

“Today is a great celebration of the achievement of these 37 students, and we are delighted that our experience of running the Advocacy Leadership and Independent Living course has led to the development of the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality programme which we piloted in Ennis this year. It was a great success and we look forward to rolling it out in our Moylish, Limerick Campus in the next academic year.”

LIT Graduates 2019

LIT Graduates 2019 from LIT’s Leadership, Advocacy and Independent Living programme and the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality programme at the graduation ceremony at LIT Moylish Campus from left to right: Alice Brooker Reals, Gillian Murphy, Lauressa Conway, Geraldine McDonagh, Senator Kieran O’Donnell, Matthew McInerney, Martina Neylon, Kate Hanley, and John O’Callaghan. Images by Carmel Neylon.

Graduate Kayla Rietveld, said she was delighted to graduate from the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality programme.

“I had never considered going to college until the opportunity arose to attend LIT to study Advocacy Leadership and Independent Living a year ago. The course not only helped me to learn new skills and make new friends, it also gave me the confidence to return to study the Campaigning for Human Rights and Equality programme. This has made me aware of my rights as a citizens and the rights of all people of all abilities. I really enjoyed my time at LIT.”

The Leadership, Advocacy and Independent Living Programme at LIT aims to deliver classes in a college setting that are relevant to the lives of individuals with intellectual disability. The classes assist students in evaluating their own lives and allow them to increase future life expectations. The programmes facilitate students to become more aware of their rights as citizens and to empower them to exercise these rights. A significant part of the programme explores the UNCRPD and the effect it has on the lives of people with disabilities. The programme is tailored each year to the needs of the group and covers the following modules: Advocacy, Human Rights, Citizenship, Community, Capacity and Independence. Material is delivered through lectures, workshops and co-learning assignments with the students of the Applied Social Sciences courses.

The disability services supporting individuals to access the programme include the Brothers of Charity Limerick and Clare, Enable Ireland, Daughters of Charity, RehabCare, Moorehaven Centre, and St. Joseph’s Charleville. Students attend classes at the LIT campus one day per week and are joined in class activities by social care student co-learners as part of the Active Citizenship and Personal Development modules in the social care degree programme. 

The programme provides new opportunities and the classes open up another channel of development for people with disability to be fully included in the college community.

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