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Dermot Hayes of Clare Leader Forum: “The Disability Pride and Power Festival 2022 ran throughout the month of July and was the first official celebration in Ireland of Disability Pride Month."

Disability Pride and Power Festival afterparty in Ennis

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IRELAND’S first festival for disability, Pride and Power 2022, might be over, but there is still time to join the after-party in Ennis.

This Friday July 29 at 11am in Cloughleigh Community Centre members of Clare Leader Forum, together with Clare members of Disability Power Ireland’s (DPI) committee, have organised an after-party event for the festival which hosted events nationwide.

The Ennis after-party titled ‘What Clare has to Offer’ will feature a showing of the new film ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ developed by Clare Leader Forum and facilitated by Grey Heron Media. There will also be music by the Ukrainian Choir and Paddy Mulcahy, followed by a samba disco.

Dermot Hayes of Clare Leader Forum explains, “The Disability Pride and Power Festival 2022 ran throughout the month of July and was the first official celebration in Ireland of Disability Pride Month, an international phenomenon which began in the US in the 1990s.

“It was also Ireland’s first cross-impairment festival for disability, and the first festival to celebrate disability arts and the disabled community.”

“The festival opened on July 1 with the online launch of Disability Power Ireland, and featured guest speakers Sarah Fitzgerald, Eileen Daly, Blessing Dada and Emilie Conway, all disabled activists.”

The festival programme featured a wide mix of in-person and online events, with everything from comedy, theatre, and dance, to workshops on art, storytelling and wheelchair and mobility aid decorating, to panel discussions on disability rights, history and disabled pride with international guests from England and Chicago.

Disability Power Ireland (DPI) is a new national, cross-impairment grassroots Disabled Person’s Organisation, run and led entirely by disabled people.

DPI was formed in early 2022, and have hit the ground wheeling by organising Ireland’s first Disability Pride and Power Festival 2022.

According to a spokesperson for DPI, Ireland’s first festival of disability aimed “to unite and celebrate the diversity of impairments and identities within the disabled community.”

DPI focuses particularly on the arts and culture as powerful vehicles for changing public perception about what it means to be disabled, and cementing positive disabled identities.

“DPI aims at all points to challenge the standard medical, charity and tragedy models and representations of disability and promote disabled people’s dignity and self-worth as upheld by the social model and human rights models. DPI is run entirely by disabled people, without any funding or donations and entirely on our own initiative.”

Disability Pride and Power Festival 2022 featured events included: live comedy; a play by the Smashing Barriers theatre company; live streamed dance performance featuring wheelchair dancing; theatre workshop with Irish Aphasia Theatre; a wheelchair and mobility aids craft and fashion workshop, followed by a mobile filmmaking workshop to show off creations.

Online there was a panel discussion in partnership with Clare Leader Forum, organised by Roisin Fitzgerald. This event was called “A Beginner’s Guide to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 27 Employment”.

For more information on Disability Power Ireland and the event check www.disabilitypride.ie

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