IWA AGM & Conference Report

IWA AGM & Conference Report

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Irish Wheelchair Association Brings the Best of Leadership from the Disability Sector to Inspire & Empower Delegates at its National Conference ‘Breaking Boundaries’

Dr Eddie Murphy, one of Irelands leading clinical psychologists and wellbeing advocates joined over 300 delegates for Irish Wheelchair Association’s national conference ‘Breaking Boundaries’ which took place in the INEC Killarney on Saturday, 13th May 2017. People with disabilities travelled the length of Ireland to hear noted guest speakers, in particular Mr. Paul McNeive, who have broken down barriers, overcome adversity and challenged attitudes in order to excel in their chosen fields. Urgent issues such as funding for vital services, accessible transport, and housing requirements for people with disabilities were all raised as high priority concerns for delegates in attendance.

During the event, disability campaigners Victor Connell, Paddy Slattery, Eimear Breathnach and Cliona Horan shared their experiences of confronting challenges, breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles which many people with disabilities face on a daily basis. Key priorities which remain a concern include access to education, securing employment and obtaining essential services and supports in order for individuals to live independently in their local communities.

Addressing the conference, CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association, Rosemary Keogh explained:

If ever a group of people could tell the story of moving from total exclusion to achieving social, civic, and political inclusion, it is people with disabilities. IWA has lobbied long and hard to see a shift in the many obstacles and barriers – physical, environmental, legal and attitudinal, and remains a collective voice for people with physical disabilities. We want to see an Ireland where people with physical disabilities are able to enjoy equal rights, choices and opportunities in how they live their lives.

Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Mental Health Advocate joined IWA for the event, drawing on his passion for improving disability services. He powerfully illustrated the theme of the conference by explaining:

Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not react in the same way to the same stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person may not work for another. Find role models, get out of your comfort zone, adopt new approaches to challenges. Nobody is responsible for your life except you. Take control. By believing that you have some control, your confidence will shift in the right direction. This means taking control of all parts of your life, particularly your physical and emotional health. Tackle things straight on. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t ignore or wish away your problems. Just do things today.

Paul McNeive, is a chartered surveyor and was managing director of Hamilton Osborne King when the firm was sold to Savills for €50m. Paul started his career as a trainee in the basement of the firm and not even the loss of his legs in a fire prevented him from rising to the top position to lead 250 staff. Paul delivered a motivational and inspirational keynote address to those in attendance and shared his personal experiences, speaking about resilience, adversity and maximising your personal potential.

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