Inclusive Education Pathways for Students with Intellectual Disabilities at UCC

Students with intellectual disabilities are set to benefit from major new funding secured by UCC.

The €1m award from the Higher Education Authority recognises the impact of the university’s innovative work in the field of inclusive education, and its efforts to open higher education to students with intellectual disabilities.

UCC’s achievements in challenging deficit-focused perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities were profiled in an Impact Case Study reviewed by a panel of international experts.

The Certificate in Contemporary Living was established as a pilot project supported by the Brothers of Charity, Cope Foundation and Enable Ireland.

It was designed to meet the needs for non-segregated, inclusive post-secondary education for people with intellectual disabilities and was recognised as a model of good practice.

Welcoming the award President John O’Halloran reiterated UCC’s commitment to serving the community “through the provision of educational opportunities for students from a diversity of backgrounds.”

DCU Ability ‘Introduction to Work’ Online Course

Dublin City University Ability’s next ‘Introduction to Work’ course will run between October 18th and December 16th 2021.

Please see the course information booklet and learner overview for full details.

What is the 'Introduction to Work' course?
  • ‘Introduction to Work’ is a blended learning course available to learners across the country. 
  • The course takes place over 8 weeks.
  • Learners work with their support person and the course tutors for approximately 3 hours per week.
Who is this course for?
  • The ‘Introduction to Work’ course is for young adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • Our learners work with a support person in their home or service environment.
  • The course is particularly suited to learners with limited experience of work to date.
Course aims
  • To build learners’ understanding of work, and to support them to explore ideas for their own working future.
  • To develop the skills of each learner’s designated support person, by delivering the course in partnership with them.
Learners will:
  • learn about types of work

  • begin to identify their own interests and preferences for work

  • begin to understand and practice skills that will help them to prepare for a workplace setting

Virtual Building the Future 2021 by AHEAD

Monday 23rd - Friday 27th August 

Online Zoom Careers Event

GetAHEAD are delighted to bring you our annual careers event, Building The Future online! Like last year, we have organised our annual careers event which usually takes place over the course of a day into a week-long careers event for students and graduates with disabilities. 

Students and graduates will get an opportunity to experience mock interviews, CV clinics, attend workshops and also chat with employers face-to-face all from the comfort of their own homes.

All you need is access to the internet either from your mobile or a laptop and Zoom. 

The event is free of charge and you must register in advance to access any element of the event. 

Ableism in Academia

Ableism in Academia

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Forum for Disabled Staff and Postgraduate Students are delighted to host Ableism in Academia.


Date & Time

Tuesday, 17th August 2021

12:00 – 14:00 Irish Standard Time


Academia in Ireland purports to be diverse and inclusive but is it really? This seminar will explore Ableism in Academia in Ireland.

Although there have been greater numbers of disabled students progressing to higher education in recent years (7.1%), there have been far lower transition rates into postgraduate studies (2.4%) and then on to academia. Disabled people in academia report facing a range of barriers to a successful transition and ableism in academia is endemic. Resulting in fears of disclosure of a disability or seeking reasonable accommodations due to ableist attitudes and outdated perceptions. Little is known about the wider experiences of disabled people in academia in Ireland. This seminar will aim to explore ableism in academia in Ireland, provide a platform to share experiences of disabled, chronically ill and neurodivergent staff.

This will be an interactive session on Zoom.

This event is focused on all of the members of the disabled community working in the academic environment in higher education including academic, administrative, and casual, postgrads, postdocs etc.


Dr Vivian Rath

Convenor & Founder, Trinity College Dublin Forum for Disabled Staff & Postgraduate Students.


Dr Nicole Browne

We are delighted to be joined by Dr Brown. She has written extensively on this subject and has recently published a new book titled, ‘Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education’. For more information go to Nicole’s Webpage

Panel Discussion

Dr Patricia McCarthy

Vice Convenor TCD Forum for Disabled Staff & Postgrad Students, Trinity College Dublin.

Dr Deirdre O’ Connor

Chair of the Staff Disability Committee, University College Dublin.

Dr Sara Hope Kift

GSU Postgraduate Disability Officer, Trinity College Dublin.

Hearing the Lived Experience

The topic will be opened to the floor giving attendees the opportunity to share experiences of academic life in higher education. This session will look at how we can make improvements and have our voices heard.

Reflections & Close


This event is being organised by the Trinity College Dublin Forum for Disabled Staff & Postgraduate Students.

[Click Here]

This event has been supported by the Trinity College Dublin Equality Office. 

[Click Here]

The Upside by Down Syndrome Ireland

Down Syndrome Ireland has kicked off its 50-year anniversary with a new campaign, The Upside that highlights the value of inclusion for people with Down syndrome in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Barry Sheridan, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland said, “The Upside aims to highlight just how much further we as a society have to go to call ourselves truly inclusive, despite the tireless efforts of so many during the past 50 years. It will show both the shortcomings and progress of living with Down syndrome in Ireland across four aspects of life: health, education, the workplace and life in the community. “

A special report, The Upside – Life with Down syndrome has been released as part of the campaign. Fresh data from a new survey commissioned by Down Syndrome Ireland and conducted by Empathy Research shines a light on the gaps between public attitudes and societal aspirations towards inclusion and the harsh realities of life for people with Down syndrome and their families. Currently, Ireland has the lowest rate of employment and one of the highest poverty rates for people with disabilities in the EU.[1]

“We need to change this. In the past 5 years, Down Syndrome Ireland has submitted over 20 submissions to a wide and varied range of Government consultations. We have participated in numerous pilot programmes, but significant gaps to inclusion remain. The time for discussion has passed. Now it is time for action”, he said.

The charity has outlined #21Demands for this Government to bring about real change in achieving disability rights in this country. These demands include calls for full implementation of already adopted legislation and policies, as well the need for urgent updating of long-standing laws which are out of date, irrelevant and unfit for purpose.

Mr Sheridan continued, “For example, there is key legislation such as the 2015 Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, that has not been fully implemented. This leaves vulnerable people having their capacity challenged using the 1871 Lunacy Act, a 150-year-old law.   It is unacceptable and shocking that it is still in place.  Let’s make it the last anniversary of this law.

“On our 50th birthday, we re-dedicate ourselves to a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realise their life’s aspirations and become valued members of a welcoming society.” 

60 Foot Street Artwork Unveiled

A dramatic piece of street artwork by renowned artist and activist Joe Caslin in Dublin City Centre was also unveiled today. The 60ft piece features 21-year-old Amanda Butler from Mullingar, which occupies the gable end of a building at the junction of Harcourt Street and Clonmel Street in Dublin. Amanda lives with her family on a farm in Mullingar, enjoys cooking, is an excellent swimmer and loves music – particularly Westlife and Bruce Springsteen. She’s currently working on developing job skills through her college and hopes to find work in hospitality, retail or helping to take care of others in childcare or adult daycare service.

Excited to be part of the campaign Amanda says, “I am so excited to be part of Down Syndrome Ireland’s anniversary. I am grateful I have been given the chance to shine.”

The artwork is part of a wider programme of activities as part of the charity’s new campaign, which focuses on four key aspects of life for a person with Down syndrome: health, education, employment and life in the community.

For further information about the campaign and how you can get involved please visit The Upside  

Weekend Mornings with Louise McSharry on 2FM – Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Weekend mornings with Louise McSharry on RTÉ 2FM

Saturday 26th June 2021: Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities

The ‘Trinity Centre for People With Intellectual Disabilities‘ offers a new path through education and onsite work experience for people with intellectual disabilities. Professor Michael Shevlin is the Director of TCPID and joins Louise to explain their work. Stephen Ryan is a graduate of the program and spoke about being part of it. Professor Shevlin also spoke about the work of the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum (INHEF).