SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ETHICS: EMAILS TO POLITICIANS (and related) written 2009 by Michelle Clarke


2nd June, 2009

People with Disabilities:  People with mental health and intellectual disabilities are not receiving a fair hearing in Ireland.

By Michelle Clarke

 I have before me a publication on Equality: 
Title:  ‘We have Rights!….. 
 Synopsis of ‘The Work of the Status of People with Disabilities.
These are some of the ideas behind recommendations made to Government by the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities’
A reminder to those looking for election please don’t make the work already done, and the promises of former Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern,  history and consigned to a archive:- 
People with disabilities:
We are all equal people of Ireland   ….  Are we?
Our rights are protected by the law … Are they?  What about people with mental incapacity?
We have a right to learn, to work and to be part of our Country … Have we?  Personally I believe in life long learning and embracing change. 
We have a right to choose how we live … Have we?. What if we are asset rich (assets say fixed and now in negative equity) and are vulnerable. What about protection of the vested interest?
We have the right to be asked what we think … Have we?  Why is Broadband limited in speed and not sourced throughout the Island of Ireland- this is about life long learning and a change in the mode of work, permitting work beyond geographic boundaries.   They say over 50% have not yet used the web.  This is the creation of a larger underclass, an underclass that is already in existence due to unfair distribution of income.
Giving media time to people with disabilities.  Radio programmes like Outside the Box, are just the beginning.  NALA is another positive move but we need more diversity and visibility.
We are all equal but we are all different.  This is often ignored.  Temperaments differ.  Hippocrates, Aristotle, Seneca had this worked out centuries ago but have we really come to terms with this?
The right to education, training (increase the number of places at VEC and university level,) to Work and a HOME is and must be a basic right.  We need more appropriate social housing – the Public Private Partnership is grossly unfair, people who were supposed to be housed by now are without.  This needs to be fast tracked.  I reckon if you go to Professor Drudy’s website at Trinity College Dublin, the research is already done and options exist
Protect us from being treated unfairly.  This is not done.  A two tier health service does not guarantee that vulnerable people, are not subject to bureaucracy bullying.  If you are under the private health category with several disabilities, the primary care team does not provide you with a visit from a community nurse.  In Cuba, the doctor, as they did previously in Ireland, called to the patients home.  There is sense here become it builds on a commitment basis.  The doctor can assess your home and carer needs.  Carers should receive some incentive from the State, given that payment is now most unlikely. 
We need more jobs in workshops but pay must be fair.  Many large companies now are socially and ethically driven, this needs to be tapped.
It is very important for people with disabilities to learn skills.  I have TBI (traumatic brain injury)  and a loss of part sight, hearing, short term memory, sequencing of thoughts etc.  The opportunity through the Trinity Horizon programme, then BESS Trinity allowed me to tap into the internet, study via this adaptive technology and come to my final exams in BESS, before becoming ill with another complication of traumatic brain injury – chronic fatigue.  I can write, I can make a note of a company name on a doorway and come home and call it up on the computer……it doesn’t register but it helps fill the day…..and then maybe I might be able to write an article on an open publishing site.  There is scope.  Outside the Box gives people hope and encouragement.
Access.  Progress has been made here.  However, people with agoraphobia, autism, disabilities, often have the company of an assistance dog.  I have been turned out of pubs in Dublin 4 on several occasions.  Why, the pubs are mostly empty now?   What about elderly with their dogs?  I have to thank O’Brien’s in Baggot Street, they take account of my needs.  We need more examples from Europe.
We have a right to live by ourselves or with our friends, if we want to.  (We need legislation in place for people who acquire disabilities like TBI).  In my case, my property is owned two thirds by another party and one third by me).  Once I have disabilities, there is no way of ever buying out the other party yet, they having the larger share can put undue pressure on me.  Then if they die before me, I have inheritance tax to pay-allowances need to be considered regarding this.  It might make people more inclined to help out their children with disabilities to become independent.
If we live in a Home, we have a right to have opinions.  The same applies if we live in an apartment blocks, we have a right for the committee to take account of our disabilities e.g. assistance dogs, ramps, lifts etc.
Taxis are important.  I recall a man telling me that often taxis pass him by, while the rain pours from the Heavens.  This should not be.  There ought to be an incentive like a tax relief on taxi fares for people with disabilities.
Public transport ought to provide for people with Assistance Dogs.  There ought to be tax relief for fees paid to vets for assistance dogs.
Bureaucracy is shameful  for people with disabilities.  Forms for me are impossible.  You see I can write, but I cannot remember what I write, I skip words and then revert back and go fwd….it is to do with the neuro transmitters that get disconnected and re-connected elsewhere.  However, to read signs, to choose items in a supermarket this is what intellectual disability is really about – the ordinary become barriers and slowly you lose self esteem and confidence and withdraw from the society that is blocking you out because your perceptions are altered.
The last one:  ‘We have the right to have friends, and to fall in love, just like everyone else.
Media and society have a duty to learn to understand that all people have something to offer.
There is a poem in today’s Sunday Independent (c).  Written by David Sheahan….Learning to Fear….I highly recommend that you read it… many of us were taught by Fear in the 1960’s, 1970’s and I hope not by the 1980’s and 1990’s.
I note this poem is copyright; but I am including it because it is Google and published in the Independent newspaper.  Fear is fear but silent fear imposed by mental health or other illnesses relate closely to this.

A poem by John Sheahan


Cowering under threat

Of leather;

Braced for palm- blistering sting,

Backbiting lash.

Hair-raising swish

Through the frightened air

Diminishing terrified targets.

Unholy aim —

Imprimatur of leather on flesh.

Tear-filled vision

Distorting education;

Blurred lines on blank page

Pleading for inspiration.

Learning through fear;

Remembering little, but pain;

Unrelenting leather

Force-feeding bewildered brain.



© John Sheahan

Moyross, Limerick City, receives funds from Ireland Funds.
Dereliction of property is soul destroying
by Michelle Clarke
I am delighted with the funding for Moyross in Limerick, from the philantrophy Ireland Funds…Limerick
I notice from the website the high level of dereliction which is soul destroying for people living in the environs.
Our cities ought to learn or else we will return to the Dublin of the 1980’s, with abandoned properties, vacant businesses, shopping centres with more than 50% properties with to let signs.  Also, we know what ‘Rent Allowance’ the State will pay to the private sector for the provision social housing.  Let us make sure that estate agents link sufficiently to ensure BER certificates are granted and houses, flats, accommodation is maintained at a standard.  Estate agents reaped massive benefits here during the good times.  Now, it is time for them to earn their commission and management fees.
NAMA AND NTMA is where the Government has chosen to ‘lay it’s hat’.  If this is so, we need to fast start impacting on supply and demand and coming up with values per square metre, to buy, to let, to sell or else, we will be like advertisements to the elderly in Florida, with properties at 50% discount.
Perhaps, the Moyross people could operate a similar photography project, and contribute the details on social media so that we are alert to opportunities.   Perhaps you can speak to the people, who are likely to act as Mentors and inspire the locals to show, how not to let NAMA/NTMA proceed.  Seek out ‘Urban Dereliction’  – Dublin, is under the regional column, and category is Irish Social Forum.
Today, I visited the shopping centre in Rathmines.  The warning signs are there.  There are either cheap items sold as motivators….the anchor store is Dunnes Stores, and there are at least 7 properties to let……This is not good in an area that is highly populated.  We need to lower the commercial rents, I would think!  It is better to have premises operating than lying vacant.  It is bad for morale too.
I decided to take the taxi home as I live local.  The taxi driver re-confirmed what I thought.  Business is very bad and has been for nearly 2 years.  I said about the number of premises to let in the Rathmines Shopping centre and he suggested if I thought Rathmines shopping centre was bad to look at the Business Parks (Enterprise Ireland and IDA), and in particular down at the East Wall.  He said computer related industries were closing by the day.
Like a train out of control…..we the people of Ireland must put on the breaks….so let’s start making things integrate and work.
NAMA/NTMA  I enclose this quote.  We need to hold to the forefront of our minds that these “Vehicles” are not to become Gravy Trains for the legal professions, as has happened in the case of the Tribunals. 

Quotation C.S. Lewis, written 1940’s
‘I live in a managerial age, in the world of administration’.  The greatest evil is now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint…
…it is conceived and ordered…in clean carpeted, warmed and well lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut finger nails and smooth shaven cheeks, who do not raise their voice. 
Hence naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like bureaucracy of a Police State or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern’

About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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