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  • Mary Collings

Let me introduce myself




I am wheelchair user ,writer, painter and activist. I have been leaving on my own with the help of 4 personal assistant for the past 21 years. I have cerebral palsy and have had chronic pain as the result of two accidents. However I had the help of PA since 1993 so I could attended Trinity College where I was studying history and graduated with B.A. in 1999 and masters in 2009. I need help physically with the task of day to day leaving.


I am only able to have the life I have because of what is call a social module of disability. In the social module I drive the vision for the life and goals I wants to achieve. Since I have Pas I am able to be more active in local and national politics campaigning for more equal rights for people with disabilities for example I am a member of Independent Leaving Movement Ireland or ILMI for short and organisation primarily run by and for people with disabilities.


ILMI basic for philosophy is to “create a quality across all sections of society for example housing, employment, healthcare etc.”


I recently attended a meeting dealing with housing and discovered renewed passion about universal design.


Universal design in relation to housing means that you should be able to leave in the same house from the cradle to the grave. Needing very few adaption as a person ages.


Until 1993 I thought the only choice I had should anything happen to my parents was to go into residential care but then I attended a repeat leaving cert course in the college in Sandymount Dublin the specifically for people with disabilities. One of the other students had somebody with him taking notes. One day I asked his assistant who I could ask to get the same type of help. I was told to contact the centre for independent leaving.


In November 2000 I was elected as disability director on the Southside partnership board when I spent 8 years. In the beginning I realised that in my role Of disability director I would need the help of a disability support worker in order to be affective. The Southside partnership area at that time covered two county council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and south Dublin. It wasn’t all plain selling however, because the position had to be created in the strategic plan for the next 3 years. It didn’t take long before somebody was appointed and we could start to the real work of promoting appositive all inclusive program of policies to help drive the partnership vision.

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