Latest News & Events


Ratify the UNCRPD Protest March 30th 2017

CIL Membership Drive 2017

Disability a Human Rights Perspective article by Gary Lee

Urgent Call to Action Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016





Housing Report Launched

Personal Assistance Services Report Launched

Administrative Panel of Seanad Eireann.asp

Collaboration Manifesto 

Disable Inequality Campaign




CIL welcomes proposed changes to the mental health act 2001

September 2015 and back outside the dail protest

The First Assembly 13th June in Athlone

The National Leader Forum Transport Report 

The Irish Times Article 30th March 2015

The 2015 Freedom Drive has moved to Brussels

Fool me Once Campaign 1st April 2015 






Launch of Pre Budget Submission 2015 

National Leader Forum Employment Event June 2014

Seanad Passes Motion on Personal Assistance Service


EU Disability Commissioner Oct 2013

Joint Statement on 2014 Budget Monday 30th September 2013

Center for Independent Living National Personal Assistance Service Day

Address to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions

CIL to appear before commitee 5th March 2013

Press Release Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant Cut 26th Feb 2013

Irish Times Wednesday February 27 2013

Letter to The Irish Times Thursday February 28 2013

Irish Independent 27 February 2013

The Wednesday 27th February 2013

Press Release Aiken Thursday 4th February 2013














December 2012 CIL news

The CIL Autumn Winter Newsletter

November  2012 CIL news

Ireland has been appointed to the Human Rights Council Press Release Nove 13th   

Click HERE :   Press Release Human Rights Council Ireland 2012

October 2012 CIL news 

Click HERE for the Center for Independent Living Pre Budget Submission Document

Pre-Budget Submission 2012


“I am on the waiting list for personal assistance service for four years, if I had it I would be able to work more hours”. Carmel Donovan from Roscommon was speaking at the launch of the Center for Independent Living’s Pre-budget Submission at Trinity College on Tuesday. Carmel’s story is, unfortunately, not unique and is becoming more common as cuts to personal assistance services continue to be on the agenda for the HSE. If Carmel had Personal Assistance she could work more hours, as it is she may even have to cut back on the work she is currently doing.

The Center for Independent Living proposes to government that failing to tackle the waiting list for personal assistance service will cost more in the long term not just economically but also socially. These cuts will force people into institutional care and are completely unjustifiable. Personal assistance services save the government up to €209,000 per person per annum when compared with institutional care, and also provide a quality of life that is defined by independence, choice and autonomy.

Personal assistance services are key to living independently for many people with disabilities, and enable the full realisation of equality and rights in society.

With this in mind, the Center for Independent Living launches it pre budget submission today with a key focus on personal assistance and maintaining a decent quality of life for people with disabilities in Ireland. We are calling on the government to 

  • Ring-fence the funding of PAS within the wider HSE budget
  • Increase supports to small organisations to deliver PAS regionally
  • Increase the PAS budget to allow more people with disabilities to avail of a PAS.
  • Deal with the waiting list for PAS – this is currently at 1,600 and is equal to the amount of people in receipt of PAS
  • Raise awareness of PAS and simplify the application process to ensure that PAS becomes a realistic option for people with disabilities. 

 CLICK HERE for the full Press Notice 9th Oct 2012 Carmel Donovan from Roscommon.


CLICK HERE DFI __-prebudget-submission-in-the-mansion-house-4th-oct-2012  

 SSSeptember 2012 CIL news


Thursday 27th September  2012

“It reassured CIL that the Troika does not provide detailed instructions on how to meet the programme targets and that it was primarily a matter for the Irish Government to choose measures not the Troika.”

Center for Independent Living meets senior European Commission officials Thursday 27th September 2012

 Click HERE : CIL Meets Senior European Commission Officials Sept-27-2012


17th Sept 2012 Five and a half years ago, Margaret Kinnane from Co. Clare, was assessed by the HSE as being in immediate need of Personal Assistance Service yet to date she has not received a single hour. 

press notice-17th-Sept click HERE.

4th September Tuesday 2012 - Rhona Coughlan CIL on TV3

TV3 The Morning Show Broadcast Click HERE for more : CIL tv3-the-morning-show-4th-September-2012

August 2012 CIL news

BLACK THURSDAY 30th August 2012 and how it led to a National Protest

Black-Thursday the cuts announcement--August--30th-2012 click HERE

July 2012 CIL news

CIL Report on Value for Money report

Overall the approach of the document is rights based, but is consistently undermined by an over emphasis on reducing costs and attempts to reduce a sector that is largely ineffective in delivering strategic aims due to an over emphasis on the medical model and inefficiencies in the HSE. Whilst a cursory reading of the report presents rights based rhetoric, there is no concrete follow through in the recommendations that suggest to CIL CMH a full commitment to a rights based approach. At a minimum we would expect future disability services to recognise the role of personal assistance and direct payments as key to the development of disability rights.
We conclude that perhaps that department responsible for the funding and management of the disability services should be examined, as the basis of any service to promote inclusion and participation should be based on rights and rights alone."
 Click HERE : CIL Report-on-VFM and policy review of the disability services
VFM Report July 2012 Click HERE : ere for more :Click Here for more : 


4th of July Independence day

Enda Kenny in Leaders Questions being asked about the Centers for Independent Living and the UN Convention UNCRPD
Click HERE : 4th-of-july--independence-day

June 2012 CIL news

4th International Disability Summer School.
"The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – How to Use it"
The 4th International Disability Summer School aimed to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to translate the generalities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into tangible reform for persons with disabilities.
The Faculty included senior academics, practitioners and policy makers from around the world most of whom have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the Convention.

UNCRPD Summer School - Click here for the full report in Paul Fagan's brilliant article

UNCRPD Summer School NUI June 2012


April 2012 CIL news

Meet and Greet TD Day at the Mansion House - for photos and Brian Lallys Drivetime report

Click HERE:  CIL Meet and Greet the TDs at the Mansion House   


March 2012 CIL news

The invitation that was sent out Disability Cuts - What They Mean to Your Constituents The Center for Independent Living Invite you to an information session to be held in the Audio visual room Leinster House On the 21st of March 2012

Click HERE: CIL Information Session Leinster House 25th-March-2012


February 2012 CIL news

Click HERE : 23rd-February-The NAG Shared Learning Conference 2012






Wednesday, 29th February 2012

World Disability Day IWitness broadcast You Tube



Wednesday, 29th February 2012

Disability cuts will change my life, and they don't make financial sense


Image: seanmcgrath via Flickr

HELLO, MY NAME is Michael McCabe. I have a full-time job, a wife who works full-time and we have a mortgage to pay. Like everyone else, it’s a struggle to make ends meet these days.

I choose when to get up in the morning, when I have meetings and how I get there, when I eat, when I sleep, and in between all of that, I make time to manage my finances and maintain my house. You’re probably thinking to yourself “So do I”. The only difference with me is that I do all of this with the help of a Personal Assistant (PA). I’m a leader (that’s the term). This means that I take the lead, I’m in control, I make the choices and I take responsibility for those choices, and that is what makes me independent. People take independence for granted, and with my Personal Assistant, I can too.

Why do I have a Personal Assistant, I hear you ask? Well I was born with Cerebral Palsy which affects the functioning of my legs, arms, lungs and speech and I use a powered wheelchair. Cerebral Palsy doesn’t affect my mind, so, like most people I have the ability to learn and absorb information, to analyse situations and use emotional and logical reasoning to determine my choices and to contribute my ideas, opinions and views to the world.

Jump back 20 years, and my life was very different. While I was independent minded, my life revolved around the availability of my brother, sister and friends. Everyday activities like eating, sleeping, going to meetings or socialising depended on when my family or friends were available to help me. I wasn’t in control, I had little choice in decisions about how my life should be run, and I was also taking away their freedom of choice. I was dependent and they were restricted.

‘I had to rely on family and friends for every little thing, including lifting a glass to my mouth’

Looking back even further to 40 years ago as a young adult, and although like most young people I liked to lead an active social life, I was still very dependent on my parents. I thought I was independent, but later I realised that when I had to rely on family and friends for every little thing, including lifting a glass to my mouth, that I wasn’t independent at all.

Throughout this culture of dependency, I continuously fought for the right to independence for myself and my peers.

In the early 90s my dreams began to become a reality. Along with several others, I founded the first Irish Centre for Independent Living (CIL). CIL is a Leader-led organisation which means it is led and managed by people with disabilities. CIL’s mantra is “Nothing About Us, Without Us”. Personal Assistance was introduced with the assistance of EU horizon funding and CIL piloted the first Personal Assistance programme in Ireland. A lot of research was undertaken to ensure that the Irish model didn’t repeat the mistakes of other countries and that the people with disabilities took the control and the responsibility for managing their Personal Assistants.

As a tax paying member of Irish society, I am equally affected by the changes in our direct and indirect taxation. As a commuter the cost of getting to and from work has increased enormously and my house is in negative equity. However, while I am not exactly jumping for joy, I am prepared and willing to play my part in restoring our economy.

‘There would be five fewer taxpayers in this country’

The reductions in funding to service providers will probably result in a reduction in my Personal Assistance hours. My Personal Assistants have already suffered pay reductions and I am aware that nationally many Leaders have already lost Personal Assistance hours as far back as August of last year. Those leaders received letters informing them of the reductions in hours while many of the decision-makers embarked on their summer holidays. There was no consultation or re-assessment of needs involving the Leader planned.

Losing Personal Assistance hours means that I will lose some of my independence. This is like losing a part of my very being, and the dependency on my wife will cause a new imbalance in our relationship, as I only met and married my wife after I got Personal assistance. On the other hand I am probably one of the lucky ones due to the fact that my Assistants are core funded, which leads me to presume I will only lose some, and not all of my PA hours. Yet losing all Personal Assistant hours is the harsh reality for many, particularly those who are receiving assistance from Community Employment Programmes, despite the fact that many of these Leaders are receiving an already inadequate allocation of PA hours.

My job as a Community Employment Supervisor is also at risk with the cuts in the funding for Community Employment Schemes, which will result in the closure of many CE Schemes. Without the income from my employment I would find it very difficult to continue my voluntary work as Chairman of CIL and other community bodies, simply because I would not have the means to finance my transport and communication requirements. I am not alone in this. There are many people with disabilities currently earning a living that are also providing valuable community work on a voluntary basis, and stand to lose it all if the cuts to CE Schemes go ahead.

My worst case scenario is that I lose my PA hours and my job, which in turn would mean my wife would have give up her job, as I would be dependent on her. We would both have to live off the state and would not be able to pay our mortgage. If that was to happen, then including my three Personal Assistants, there would be five less taxpayers in this country, and that, to me, does not make economic sense.

Michael McCabe is the chair of the Centre for Independent Living.


 Thursday, 9th February 2012

Address of Michael McCabe, Chairperson of the Center for Independent Living, to a hearing in the European Parliament on Independent Living



“Ladies and gentlemen of the assembly -

 I thank ENIL/ for giving me this opportunity to speak to you this afternoon.

€85 billion is the amount the Irish Government committed Ireland to paying in order to bail out the banks.

 €85 billion amounts to almost €19,000 for every man, woman and child in the country of Ireland.

€85 billion would provide 405 million personal assistance hours for people with disabilities in Ireland, this equates to financing the largest personal assistance service provider in Ireland for more than 200 years.

To pay off the banks the Irish State had to call in the IMF and the EU who together put in place a bailout package for Ireland. Currently Ireland is paying back this money subject to an interest rate of 3%, while banks around Europe are availing of loans from the ECB at an interest rate of 1%. The tax payer in Ireland is paying three times the rate of the Banks, the same banks that got us into this mess!

 Coupled with our banking crisis we are spending €20 billion a year more than we bring in – a lot of this is down to the large salaries our public servants receive.

Before they gave us the bailout funds the IMF/EU got us to sign a ‘memorandum of understanding’ whereby we agreed to austerity measures in exchange for the loan. The Government agreed to cut and cut they did. As usual it’s the most vulnerable who are paying the price of the extravagances of the better off.

The vulnerable are being singled out - this is in stark contravention of the European Disability Strategic Plan" view the rest of the speech, click here.


Thursday, 9thFebruary 2012


The Chairperson of the Centre for Independent Living, Michael McCabe, will today (9.02.12) address a hearing of the European Parliament into the impact which austerity cuts are having on people with disabilities.  The hearing will take place at 3pm in room A1G2 of the European Parliament building.

Michael McCabe, who is a wheelchair user, will outline how people with disabilities in Ireland are being particularly affected.  Speaking in advance of his presentation, Mr McCabe said: “The Irish Government, in order to raise money to pay interest on the loan given by the EU/IMF, is targeting the vulnerable.  On a daily basis, people with disabilities are being stripped of rights and services that enable us to participate fully in our community and wider society. The loss of personal assistance hours means that many of us cannot leave our homes and loss in other supports has left us at risk of greater poverty and exclusion.

“These cuts contravene the European Disability Strategic Plan which has the general objective of eliminating of discrimination on the grounds of disability.  It also seeks to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for persons with disabilities as well as their active inclusion.  Right now, many of us feel like we are being robbed of the rights and freedoms,” he said.

Evidence shows that even before the current financial crisis, people with disabilities were among the most marginalised and excluded groups in Europe. A total of 62 per cent of Europeans with disabilities are among the poorest persons in Europe. As opposed to 69 per cent of Europeans who have a job, only 29 per cent of disabled people are in employment. While 18 per cent of all Europeans go to university, the figure for people with disabilities is only 9 per cent. 


The centre for Independent Living believes that – if austerity cuts continue to impact on people with disabilities – these indicators will continue to deteriorate.


Today’s hearing will present the impact cuts in public spending have had on services for persons with disabilities in the EU using results gathered through the EDF Observatory of the Crisis. The second part of the hearing will aim to identify actions that can be taken by the European Commission and the European Parliament to address this situation and ensure that the rights of disabled people in the EU are upheld.


Michael McCabe said that, in addition to detailing the impact of cuts on people with disabilities in Ireland, he also intended raising the failure by the Irish Government to ratify an important convention relating to disability. “The Irish Government hasn’t even had the moral decency to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, one of the most significant Human Rights instruments in recent years. Pressure needs to be brought to bear on the Irish State to immediately ratify the UN Convention and, over the coming month; we will be pressing harder to ensure this happens,” he said.




Tuesday, 7th February 2012


The Chairman of the Centre for Independent Living (CIL) has announced today (7.02.12) that it has commenced a campaign among its membership against cuts to the Personal Assistance (PA) services.

The PA service enables many people with disabilities to take up employment and participate more fully in their community.  However, over the past number of months, there has been a significant reduction in PA services available and, in particular, out-of-home services have been effectively curtailed.


PA services are operated through mainstream services, as well as through Community Employment schemes.  In December, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, assured the Centre for Independent Living that Personal Assistants would be maintained with the support of her Department, even where some Community Employment Schemes were under threat.  However, this assurance has not amounted to anything as a significant cut was imposed on the budget of Community Employment Schemes regardless. This has a direct impact on the availability of Personal Assistance Services. In addition where individuals are in a position to take up mainstream Personal Assistance Services they too are being hit by a significant reduction in service hours provided through the HSE.


Since early last July the Centre for Independent Living has received reports from its members of cuts to Personal Assistance. CIL has been in high level discussions since then regarding this however to date the cuts continue to be made. The accumulative effect of the CE scheme cuts together with that of the HSE funding is to effectively institutionalise people in their own homes.



According to the Chairperson of the Centre for Independent Living, Michael McCabe, “People with disabilities understand the need to ensure value for money in our public services.  However, bluntly cutting the availability of the PA services means that less people with a disability will have the freedom to live independently.   This cut needs to be evaluated against the cost of providing rehabilitative, institutionalised or congregated care to the affected group of people.

“It is our view that the withdrawal of PA will put even more pressure on frontline staff, and will cost more money in the long run.  At a human level, it robs people of their personal freedoms and prohibits those of us who have been affected from participating in society.

“It has taken over two decades to establish good quality, widespread PA services around Ireland.  This has had an extremely positive impact on the lives of many people with a disability.  For some it has meant being able to take up employment; for others, it has meant the opportunity to get involved in community projects and voluntary activity. The diminution of this service – through what appears to be a lack of policy and social analysis –  is now starting to hit hard,” he said.

The Centre for Independent Living is now working with its membership around the country to roll-out a campaign of political and public awareness to ensure that the PA service is brought back to full service and that no further blunt cuts – that have such a hugely negative impact on the health and well-being of people with disabilities – are implemented.

It is expected that Ministers, TDs and Senators will receive correspondences this week from people directly affected by the cuts in PA services. 

To all CILs - meeting with Minister Lynch 19/12/2011

"CILs are the pioneers of Independent Living - they were the first people I heard who talked about people with disabilities living independently...."  Minister Kathleen Lynch

L-R: Gary Lee, Michael McCabe, Minister Kathleen Lynch and Tom King

Michael McCabe, Tom King and Gary Lee all of CIL Carmichael House met with Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability on 19th December 2011. The meeting lasted almost one hour and covered a lot of ground.  

The advantages to Government having CIL playing a consultative role at the very highest levels within each department were outlined in terms of the uniqueness of CIL being a national pan-disability network governed by people with disabilities together with the vast experience of its members.  CIL has been a true consistent voice for people with disabilities and should be recognised as such particularly in light of the withdrawal of funding for PWDI.  This funding should not be lost to the disability sector nor should it be re-directed to organisations in the sector with a different remit. Minister Lynch said no decision regarding the allocation of this funding has yet been made. CIL is in the process of making a formal proposal to the Department of Justice in this regard, emphasising the services it provides and its direct connection to service users in terms of our members. Minister Lynch acknowledged the role CIL should play at this level and will follow up.  She will endeavour to arrange a meeting between CIL and Minister Alan Shatter.

“CIL looked at progressive international practices which promote independent living and has introduced them to Ireland...” Minister Lynch

CIL also expressed its deep disappointment that the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities has not yet been ratified by Ireland despite the fact that 106 other countries have ratified it.  Art. 19 of the Convention enshrines Independent Living and Personal Assistance in law – no more excuses - CIL will start a campaign to have it ratified.  

CIL also called for the 1871 Lunacy Act to be repealed and replaced with modern capacity legislation – but not to have the Government use the delay in enacting new capacity law as an excuse to continue to delay ratifying the Convention. The Convention can be ratified regardless.

For her part the Minister noted Government policy regarding the ratification of the treaty – that this will happen after new capacity legislation is enacted.  She expects this to be in place in the coming months. CIL whilst not doubting the Minister’s commitment has been hearing this for almost 5 years.
CIL Carmichael House

Cil Representatives meet with Mary Donnelly of FAS/Dept. Social Protection


Michael McCabe and Gary Lee met this morning with Mary Donnelly of FAS/Dept. Social Protection who is in charge of the CE schemes.  We discussed the commitment given to us by Minister Burton regarding no cuts to CIL CE schemes and the failure of this message to reach FAS managers on the ground. We sought a Direction in writing from Ms. Donnelly so that CILs could in turn give same to the FAS managers.  She could not issue this as discretion is left to the local manager on a scheme by scheme basis.  However she said that any CIL CE scheme that is experiencing financial difficulties should go back to their FAS manager who has the power to allocate the additional funding.


We pointed out that the FAS officials on the ground were not implementing this policy – they were pressing ahead with the cuts and that no additional funding to make up the shortfall has been forthcoming.  Ms Donnelly is calling a meeting of regional Managers this Monday and our difficulties would be raised at same.  She will specifically address the issue of our funding with them.


They are proceeding with the reviews which she says will be fully completed by this March.  We are meeting with her again in early February for an update.


The message is to – go back to your FAS manager again, tell them that you are experiencing financial difficulties – if this threatens the survival of your CE scheme say it – and that you require additional funding to make up the shortfall.  I would suggest committing this to writing by way of email to your local manager. Please them let either Nina or me know how you get on so we can revert to both Ms. Donnelly and Minister Burton. 


Below is a copy of the email I received from Ms. Donnelly in which she says to go back to your local manager if you are “encountering financial difficulties”. You should present a copy of this email to him/her when you ask for the additional funding.



Gary Lee


From:Donnelly, Mary []
Sent: 18 January 2012 13:00
Cc: Egan, Oliver
Subject: Reductions on CE




I wish to thank you and your colleagues for the clarity in which you outlined the implications of the reductions on the CE Materials and Training Budgets for 2012. As discussed a review of the financial resources – income and expenditure of each scheme is taking place at local level. The timeframe for completion is the end of March next. DSP staff involved are advised that schemes who have committed expenditure to eligible costs and approved by DSP will be reimbursed.  If any of your schemes are encountering financial difficulties I would advise that you get in touch with your DSP Officer immediately and present the situation to them.  I would ask that CIL undertakes the process of review with DSP, the outcomes of these reviews will be fed back to the Minister for Social Protection and will inform how the budget is managed and allocated going forward.



Principal Officer

Employment Programmes

Department of Social Protection

27-33 Upper Baggot Street

Dublin 4


Tel:  01 6070564/5


CIL Meeting With Minister Joan Burton - Good News On The CE Front....For Now!

L-R: Gary Lee, Tom King, Minister Joan Burton and Michael McCabe

Michael McCabe, Tom King and Gary Lee all of CIL Carmichael House met with Joan Burton, the Minister for Social Protection this morning.  The meeting, which lasted over an hour, was both positive and constructive.  The Minister acknowledged that the communication of certain budgetary provisions could have been better and that the Government was now clarifying a number of matters.  As we knew prior to the meeting, the cuts to the disability allowance are being reviewed however they have not yet been formally discarded. The Minister discussed in detail planned  reforms which have been necessitated by the financial difficulties the State is in together with its obligations to the EU/IMF. However, included in these obligations, as has been pointed out by CIL, are the State’s obligations to the vulnerable in society.
The majority of CILs reported to us that they would have serious difficulties were the CE payments for training & materials cut by €1,000.  The Minister was presented with a report prepared by CIL CMH which detailed how each CIL would be affected. CIL CMH outlined the work being done on the ground and the severe impact the withdrawal of CIL from the CE scheme would have not only to the CE participants but also to the community.  Minister Burton has assured us that the proposed 66% cut will not occur immediately, that this is the maximum cut and that each scheme will be assessed on its own merits. Viable CE schemes would not lose out; the Minister said that her department would meet any shortfall incurred as a result of budgetary cuts.

“In the event that the reduction in the training and material grant announced in the Budget creates financial difficulties for schemes that would otherwise be viable, my Department will be in a position to fund such schemes from within the overall Department Vote.” Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection

In other words CIL CE schemes will be assessed and decisions will be made only after this assessment – monies won’t be cut in the meantime.
To repeat, the Minister informed us that THERE WILL NOT BE A BLANKET CUT.  However, each CE scheme will be reviewed on the following basis:

  • Services provided
  • Experience for the participant
  • Value for money

The Minister will set this out in an email to CIL CMH in the coming days.
Separate from its pre-budget submission which was delivered on 15 October 2011, CIL CMH had written to the Taoiseach on 30 November last warning Government regarding dangers in the budget – CIL warned of the very matters that  proved problematical however our concerns were not examined.  CIL is the only national pan-disability movement governed by people with disabilities. The Minister has given a commitment to bringing CIL onto the consultative process with the Department of Social Welfare, this will put us in a good position to join in consultative processes with other Government departments at the very highest level.
The above is by way of update just to let you know how the meeting, a further more detailed account will be sent to you in the coming days.