Minister Anne Rabbitte visited Irish Wheelchair Association’s facilities in Belmullet, where she met with the CEO, Ann Marie O'Grady, alongside lots of members and employees. During her visit, Minister Rabbitte had the opportunity to see firsthand the impactful work being done by the Association in the community.

Irish Wheelchair Association in Co. Mayo is proud of their seven wheelchair-liveable housing units, a thriving community centre providing day services to members, along with an innovative school leavers service. The school leavers service caters for young adults from the age of 18 years upwards empowering them to lead independent lives with choice. CEO Ann Marie O’Grady also discussed the issue of pay disparity for Section 39 workers with Minister Rabbitte, highlighting the challenges facing organisations like IWA compared to those in the HSE. 

Ann Marie O’Grady, CEO, Irish Wheelchair Association, shared her enthusiasm for the visit, stating, “The services in Belmullet are second to none, and I am thrilled to showcase the positive impact IWA is making in communities. We look forward to collaborating closely with Minister Rabbitte to address areas of shared concern including sustainability, discussing the importance of service continuity, heavily affected by recruitment and retention issues, ongoing funding issues within our sector as well as the importance of innovation in responding to the requirements of people with disabilities in our communities. IWA’s team in Belmullet detailed the different ways we have responded to deliver services across a large rural area which could have applicability across the sector.”

Irish Wheelchair Association is a leading provider of disability services, supporting individuals to live independently in their own homes. As an approved housing body, IWA manages a portfolio of 51 homes in total. Last year, they launched the ‘Home Truths’ Housing campaign, advocating for more wheelchair-liveable housing due to the limited options available for people with disabilities. 

In addition to their services, the Belmullet centre will be hosting a husting for members to engage with local representatives ahead of the upcoming elections. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22nd at 2.30pm.