Sligo County is likely the only county in Ireland to have introduced the social model of disability into public policy, with the aim of removing barriers that prevent disabled persons from fully engaging in society.
The new Sligo Disabled Persons’ Organization (DPO) recently hosted a workshop with elected representatives to discuss how best to implement disability rights within the county.
The workshop was moderated by Disability Studies Lecturer Peter Kearns and attended by Marian Harkin TD, Cllr. Declan Bree, Cllr. Tom Fox, Cllr. Arthur Gibbons and Cllr. Gino O’Boyle. The theme of the workshop was the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Sligo County.
Peter Kearns acknowledged that Sligo County is, to his knowledge, the only county that has introduced the social model of disability into public policy to date.
He explained that the social model of disability focuses on removing barriers that prevent people with disabilities from being fully involved in society.
“Instead of seeing us as a problem to solve, as citizens we should participate, listen and listen,” he said.
One thing the Sligo DPOs want to hear is their preference for ID primary language.
They want to be recognized as ‘handicapped’ rather than ‘disabled’.
Not all disabled people feel this way, but Peter says that this is very important when disabled people begin to understand the social model of disability and realize that they have rights conferred on their status. I quickly pointed out that it changes frequently.
DPO Chairman Mark Kupczak said:
Membership is now open to all Sligo disabled people. Find Sligo DPO on Facebook or email us at sligoDPO@gmail.com. ”
Sligo DPO is an organization run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities.
UNCRPD requires States to consult such bodies when formulating policies.
Mark explained that the DPO operates on the philosophy that “without us it means nothing about us”.
Derived from the Latin Nihil de nobis, sine nobis, the slogan has been used in the Irish disability rights movement since the work of disability rights pioneer Martin Naughton.
Martin helped establish Ireland’s first independent living center, which opened in March 1992.