Enhancing Equality Offaly (EEO) officially launched in The Tullamore Court Hotel and had many interesting speakers many who are successful in their field of work and live with a disability. Every speaker in attendance spoke about the importance of equality, accessibility and inclusion. Siobhan Broderick, Offaly Local Development Company and MC at the event opened proceedings by reading an introduction to the Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities which states that people with disabilities “must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedom”.
Jimmy Dooner, RehabCare and Petria Malone, Inclusion Ireland who are EEO development group members spoke about the many projects that the development group have supported over the last year such as a photography workshop that was offered specifically to people with disabilities, Make Way Day and Disability Awareness Training.
Other speakers in attendance at the launch included, Suzy Byrne who is a disabled woman, activist and broadcaster and has over 25 years paid and unpaid experience in the community and voluntary sectors working on equality and disability issues. She is currently working as a regional manager for the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities.
John Carroll, Participant of a photography course hosted by Enhancing Equality Offaly and funded by The LOETB spoke about his experience of participating on a course offered by EEO, the comradery within the group and the many photography skills he and his class participants learned while on the course. All participants who attended the 8 week photography course with Pat Mc Keon were in attendance and their work was on proud display at the launch. Paul Moore, professional and award winning photographer volunteered his time to take photos at the launch of EEO and to help all in attendance celebrate the many positive contributions that people with disabilities make to society.
Paddy Slattery, CEO of True Line Films spoke about his role as a successful film maker. He spoke about a film he made on behalf of The Centre for Independent Living and about his life living with an acquired disability.
Olivia Shiels, Chairperson of Louth’s disAbility Network spoke about the advantages of a Disability Network and the benefits for County Offaly and finally Anne Bradshaw, HSE Disability Services Team who leads the Tipperary Gold Star Initiative spoke about a successful community based project that aims to increase disability awareness and to work with local communities to ensure towns in Tipperary are welcoming and accessible for all.
Thanks to Broderick’s Bars and Cakes for partnering with EEO and for donating the refreshments served at the launch.
Enhancing Equality Offaly are in the process of setting up a Disability Network for County Offaly which is a group of people who are dedicated to promoting equality for people with disabilities. Disability Networks look at the barriers facing people with disabilities and provides a forum to explore and discuss what’s working and what’s not working within our local communities. They are a safe place where people with disabilities and organisations work together to better our knowledge and understanding of disability awareness and to bring about positive changes to make our communities more inclusive, accepting and equal to all its residents and visitors alike.
It is hoped that many of the initiatives spoke about at the launch will become future projects of the Disability Network and that people with disabilities and agencies will work in partnership to explore and develop models and methods to bring about positive change.
Following on from the launch of EEO the development group are hosting an information event on the 11th of March 2019 from 11-1pm in Puttaghaun Community Centre, Opposite Thornsbury Estate in Tullamore Co. Offaly. All those interested in supporting a Disability Network are welcome to attend on the day. Those who this opportunity may appeal to are people with disabilities, carers of those with disabilities and service providers working with people with disabilities.
For more information on Enhancing Equality Offaly and or to register your interest in attending the information event on March 11th, contact Caroline Brickland, Offaly Local Development Company on 087 6028801 or email http://mailto:email@example.com