Decent Work for People with Disabilities

10 Oct 2013

group shot
Berni McCrea, Margaret Haddock, John Douglas, Marion Wilkinson and Deirdre O Connor

50 delegates nominated by trade unions North and South are gathering today for the annual Congress Disability Seminar.  The theme is Decent Work for People with Disabilities and is being held during the week of the World Day for Decent Work.





JohnJohn Douglas, Congress PresidentOpening the event, Congress President, John Douglas said that the seminar was an important event to ensure that the voices of all of our members be heard, indcluding people with disabilities.He added that we need a threshold of decency to guide us through the economic crisis and said that the trade union movement joined with disability groups North and South campaigning against cuts to disability services.  We need a change of course North and South - including a raft of growth and job friendly measures - if we are to pull our economies and societies out of the mire. Full speech here

Margaret Haddock Margaret Haddock, Deputy Chief Executive Orchardville Society and President European Union of Supported Employment Margaret Haddock – Deputy Chief Executive Orchardville Society and President of the European Union of Supported Employment gave the keynote addressJohn Douglas and Margaret HaddockJohn Douglas and Margaret Haddock

Delegates from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland discussed issues pertinent to their jurisdictions in workshops.

ChristyChristy Lynch on Comprehensive Employment StrategyRepublic of Ireland session: The National Disability Authority (NDA) has been asked by Minister Kathleen Lynch to assist in the development of a ten year comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities, as per the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan. Presentation and discussion on what strategy might look like and the role trade unions might play: Marion Wilkinson, project manager for the comprehensive employment strategy (NDA) and Christy Lynch presentation here Marion and INMOMarion Wilkinson with INMO

Northern Ireland session:

Hardest Hit: Les Allamby, Director of the Law Centre NI will outline how proposed welfare reform legislation will impact on people with Disabilities. A report published this week by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action tells us the shocking statistic that reforms to the welfare system will take an estimated £750 million out of the Northern Ireland economy. Put bluntly, that’s £650 a year less in the pockets of every adult of working age.

Nikki and GrainneNikki Hegarty and Grainne De PaorGood practice examples of the employment of people with disabilities presented by  

  • Nikki Hegarty, Kanchi Network Manager - download here
  • Gráinne de Paor, Director of Policy, Ethics & Independence, Downs Syndrome Ireland - download here 
  • Group session 3Berni McCrea, Deirdre O Connor, Pat Clarke, Nikki Hegarty and Grainne De Paor

    Claire Bruton - practicing barrister with a particular interest in employment law presented on UN Convention for People with Disabilities and the implications for employment law. Full paper here

  • Kevin Doherty, CEO Disability Action, presented on their workplace and training support in Northern Ireland.

    Progress report on the Congress Training Options project “Training opportunities for people in receipt of a disability/ illness welfare payment” Unions Promoting Pathways to Work was given by John Matthews, Dundalk Peoples’ Centre for Information & Training. More on the project here

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Thanks to NUj member, Paula Geraghty for all our Pics!