Over 200 Enable Ireland employees from 14 counties across Ireland gathered in the Aviva Stadium today for their internal employee conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the disability sector in Ireland. Employees representing Enable Ireland’s services for over 5,000 children and adults with disabilities, as well as their fundraising and retail charity shops, were joined in a welcoming address by Finian McGrath, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, Justice & Equality and Health with special responsibility for Disabilities.
Speaking at the event today, the Minister said that “organisations such as Enable Ireland have been strong advocates with and on behalf of people with disabilities, which has contributed to the shift in ethos of how services for people with disabilities are provided.
The Task Force on Personalised Budgets which I launched in September, is a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government. It will make recommendations on a personalised budgets model which will give people with disabilities more control in accessing health-funded personal social services.
As Minister for Disabilities, I will do my best to empower people with disabilities to live self-directed lives.”
Addressing the conference, Enable Ireland CEO Fionnuala O’Donovan said, “The organisation and the sector that we work in is going through a period of immense change. Our staff are at the forefront of these changes as they strive to deliver high quality services to our service users and their families. The way we work may change but our purpose remains the same – to ensure children and adults with disabilities can live a life with No Limits.”
During the day delegates also heard from Jim Bergin, Director and CEO Glanbia Ireland, Gerry Farrell, Director of Lyceum Counselling & Training and Joe Ryan, Action Head of System Reform Group, HSE. Delegates also attended workshops on a variety of topics related to resilience training, team building, Assistive Technology and heard a parent’s perspective on Progressing Services for Children with Disabilities. Gerard Mulvihill, journalist and former Enable Ireland service user, also addressed the conference in a motivational speech entitled ‘Play The Cards You’re Dealt’.
Delegates were treated to a Fashion Show featuring high quality fashion from Enable Ireland’s 21 retail charity shops. 12 children from Enable Ireland Children’s Services in Dublin took part in the Winter Wonderland themed show.