Interview with Paul Alford, Inclusion Ireland Self-Advocacy Project Worker


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Paul Alford, Self-Advocacy Project Worker, explains how Inclusion Ireland has worked with persons with an intellectual disability on two important projects aimed at empowering people in their communities.



The projects, focussing on Equality and Rights Committees and the Public Sector Duty, were funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and delivered by Inclusion Ireland in 2017 and 2018.

For the 2017 project, Inclusion Ireland was aware that disability services around Ireland have what are called ‘Rights Committees’ in place. The Rights Committees usually look at rights restrictions in services and say whether they are okay or not.

However, there were no national guidelines for how these committees should work. Inclusion Ireland wanted to change this by running a project that would develop good-practice guidelines for these committees and to show people how to set them up.

“It was very important for people with intellectual disabilities to take part in the two projects,” says Paul. 

“It was important for people with disabilities to take part and that they were the participants on the steering committees. They got to make their own decisions from the beginning of the project all the way to the end.”

Paul points out that it was important to Inclusion Ireland that the project was as inclusive as possible.

“It was right that they got paid for their time in the projects and for doing workshops with a bit of support.”

The 2018 project, Your Rights and the Public Sector Duty, provides an accessible guide and checklist for people to check their local public service against the Public Sector Duty.

The Public Sector Duty is a law that says that public services must eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and treatment of its staff and the people that use the service, and that they must protect the human rights of its members, staff and the service user.

Paul said, “Inclusion Ireland’s Human Rights and Equality Statement says that inclusion is necessary for people to fully take part.”