December 3rd marked the UN’s ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’, and although the Irish Government had signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, it was not ratified until this year following protests outside the Dáil. Some of the people who protested also go to the Central Remedial Clinic’s centre in Firhouse, and those same people designed a pin-on ribbon to celebrate the day, while also raising funds for the CRC – very appropriate as the theme for this year’s Day is Empowerment, Inclusiveness and Equality.
This new ribbon was developed by a group of artists within the centre, and was formally launched in the Firhouse Centre by Finian McGrath – Minister of State for Disability Issues. The occasion was attended by the CEO of the CRC Stephanie Manahan, Breda Gavagan centre manager and staff, clients, family members, carers and local business people, all of whom have been very supportive of the Firhouse CRC centre. In his opening speech, Minister McGrath pointed out that this was the first time that Ireland had marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities, even though it has been celebrated around the world since 1992. In honour of the occasion, landmark buildings in Dublin will be lit up in purple, and he expressed the hope that the Purple Lights event would grow to become as well-known as St Patrick’s Day, or get as much publicity as the Black Friday sales. His speech was well-received by all those present.