All posts by pfklein

16 Feb

Melting The Middle Class Gaze

For the past 20 years, Martin Byrne, volunteer & member of the Board of ATD Ireland has been collecting North Wall stories and publishing them once a year. These stories are coming from a range of people and the book encourages people to dig deep and write down those stories that have been hidden away for so long.

This year again, Martin’s North Wall stories help us with fresh eyes to see our unfair world
differently. By reading these stories we are liable to be born anew or jolted or touched or changed. They herald a world of shared human condition, give vent to the screams of those excluded from the feast, model ways of bottom-up local transformation and they
explicate empowerment for justice.

All of the stories in “Melting The Middle Class Gaze” were written by ordinary people who have a story to tell and this book enables them to do so. “This is something that really inspired me and got me thinking. How each person we meet has a library inside of them, but too often we shy away from sharing it with anyone else. “

We are so proud of the commitments our friends and volunteers who have a text in “Melting The Middle Class Gaze“!

The book launch will take place on Tuesday April 30th at 7pm and thanks to the generosity of Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, it will be hosted in the Mansion House, Dublin 2. If you would like to attend, please contact


10 Feb

Does it only happen to me? Share your story before the Saint Patrick’s Day!

From January 2019 to May 2019 ATD will carry out a project exploring the issue of socio-economic discrimination in Irish public services and in every day life.

A person’s socio-economic status is not currently recognised as a ground upon which a person might be discriminated against, under Irish equality legislation.

Share your story before Saint Patrick’s day!

The first step of the project (before the end of March 2019) is collect anonymous real life stories to showcase how this type of discrimination or unequal treatment is unfortunately too common and needs to be recognised within legislation.

The stories collected will be published into a report that will be launched at a public event on 23rd May in the IHREC Auditorium. All the stories collected and published will be kept anonymous to ensure the confidentiality of the participants.


What is socio-economic discrimination?

Discrimination is when people feel like they are being treated less favourably than others, for example, because of their age, gender, religion, ethnicity…

Today in Ireland several grounds of discrimination are officially recognised within equality legislation: it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, religion, civil status, family status and membership of the Traveller Community.

Since 2016, another ground has been added to cover housing assistance payments (HAP). This means that people who feel discriminated against under one or more of these grounds can bring a complaint to the relevant legal body (see for more information on how to make a complaint).

However, ATD Ireland, along with many other organisations such as EAPN, INOU, the members of the former Equality and Rights Alliance (ERA), believe that one ground is missing from Irish legislation. That missing ground is called “socio-economic status”.

Updates from TDs 2018 initiative and the EAPN Call on this matter here
See also the ERA Campaign report

What does it mean?

Socio-economic status or background may sometimes be referred to as social class based discrimination. For instance, someone could feel like they are being treated less favourably than others by the Gardai because of where they live.

“My son was going to a football thing… And he stayed up in Crumlin in his friends… It was seven o’clock in the morning anyways and he was running through the park to get to the coach, and like that, he was stopped at the bus stop, and they searched his bag, his schoolbag… And they searched everything and like he ended up missing that, and came back to us sobbing, saying, “I done nothing wrong!” and not even that, like he was quite frightened by the whole experience. And as well as that it kind of turned him off the Guards.”

Other people recalled being treated differently at school because their families could not afford to buy school books, or how they were asked to leave class because they were not wearing the ‘right’ shoes and how they felt belittled and embarrassed by the attitude of teachers. This leads to lack of confidence that is often carryout out through adult life as well.

“Belittled… some people can make you feel very small, so you can just say ‘that’s how tall I am, so just stand up’… to belittle someone is to really put them down.”

Sadly, many have stories like these that showcase ways in which people are excluded or not treated with dignity and respect. But because socio-economic status is not covered in equality legislation, this kind of discrimination often goes unnoticed and cannot be reported legally.

Impacting the delivery of the Public Sector Duty

In addition to allowing victims of discrimination to file a legal complaint, a change in legislation will have an impact on what is called the “Public Sector Duty”. What does this mean?

The Public Sector Duty is a statutory obligation for all public bodies to work towards the elimination of discrimination, promote equality, and protect human rights in their daily work. This Duty applies to people working in public services, service users and more generally everyone impacted by policies coming from public bodies.

If socio-economic discrimination is recognised in Irish law, all public services would be obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure that their employees and service users are protected from this kind of discrimination, as is the case for the other nine grounds of discrimination currently recognised.

Where do we go from here?

We know that this change in legislation will not mean that socio-economic discrimination will disappear tomorrow, but we see this as a necessary first step in recognising that this kind of discrimination does exist and needs to be challenged if we are to live in a society which treats everybody with respect and dignity.

You want to learn more about this project
or to share a story?

We are looking for people from all around the country  to take part in this project.

If you have a real life story of a time where either you, or someone you know, had an experience of being discriminated against, and if you felt that this discrimination was because of your socio-economic status, then we would love to hear from you.

This discrimination may have taken place when dealing with a public service or in another situation of every day life!

All the stories collected and possibly published (with individual consent) will be kept anonymous to ensure the confidentiality participants.

If you are interested in taking part in this campaign to introduce an additional protection against discrimination into Irish law, then feel free to get in touch with us!

Contact us at ATD Ireland:

telephone 01 855 8191

10 Feb

On Valentine’s Day, we remember the man who told us “Love the world!”


“We really need to be integrated in the world,
to love the world.
We cannot introduce the people marginalised because of extreme poverty into today’s or tomorrow’s world
if we are not ourselves part of it.

It is not that we are blind to human failings,
but we must constantly remind ourselves and each other that every human being deserves to be trusted,
as long as we do not have proof to the contrary.

We must welcome political discussions and the sharing of ideas, and we must love people who defend what they believe in.

Whilst not being sidetracked, we have to share in the hopes of all those who fight for a cause.

And we have to remind them constantly that people experiencing the most extreme situations of poverty have a place in their struggles and thinking.”

Joseph Wresinski in his last letter to the ATD Volunteer Corps

On 14 February 1988, 31 years ago, Joseph Wresinski passed away. He was 71.

He is the initiator of the United Nations’ #EndPoverty Day (each 17 October) and the spiritual father of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty (adopted in 2012) and one key inspiration to implement the Agenda 2030 “Leave No One Behind” promise.

Together with French sociologist Jules Klanfer, he first introduced in 1965 and developed the concept of “social exclusion”, now a concept broadly used worldwide.

All his life, he was a strong advocate of people trapped in chronic  poverty for generations.  The “Wresinski approach” inspires new ways to fight poverty worldwide. It recognises people with experience of poverty as partners in designing, implementing, monitoring and assessing public policies.

In 1957, Wresinski  founded the NGO ATD in a slum near Paris which has become today the International Movement All Together in Dignity with 100 projects in 40 countries.

On 14 February each year, friends of ATD are invited to read and reflect on the very last address made by Wresinski. He wrote this to the long term volunteers from his hospital bed just days before his death on 14 February 1988.


Joseph Wresinski was born on 12 February 1917 to immigrant parents, detained in a French internment camp because of WW1. Later, his family suffered from chronic poverty and social exclusion in a poor neighbourhood of Angers, France.

In 1946, he was ordained as a priest and served in industrial and rural parishes where, right from the beginning, he related to the most deprived families.

In 1956, he was assigned chaplain to 250 families in a emergency housing camp in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris. The families lived in quonset (nissan) huts erected in a muddy field. He said about his years in Noisy-le-Grand: “The families in that camp have inspired everything I have undertaken for their liberation. They took hold of me, they lived within me, they carried me forward, they pushed me to found ATD with them.”

In 1957, Joseph Wresinski and the families of the camp founded the first association which was later to become All Together in Dignity Fourth World.

Responding to the demands of the families and working with them, the soup kitchen and the distribution of old clothes were replaced with a library, kindergarden, chapel and workshop. Volunteers came to join the action and a Research Institute on extreme poverty was created to bring together researchers from different countries and disciplines.

Since its beginning the development of ATD was inspired by Joseph Wresinski’s own experience as a child in a poverty-stricken family and by his daily contacts with families in extreme poverty and members of ATD International Long Term Volunteer Corps.

Joseph Wresinski’s firm purpose was to unite all sections of society around the poorest. With this aim he met leaders of States, churches and international bodies from all over the world. Even though he was a catholic priest, he believed that every man or woman he met represented a chance for the poorest and he was determined that  ATD would remain non-denominational and open to people of all cultures, faiths, beliefs…

His appointment to France’s Economic and Social Council in 1979 was a significant step in his quest for official representation of people in extreme poverty. With the publication in France of the “Wresinski Report” in 1987, he succeeded in gaining recognition of people in poverty as partners in society. This report enabled him also to put “extreme poverty” on the Human Rights agenda.

On 17 October 1987, in the presence of 100,000 people from every social background and continent, Joseph Wresinski unveiled a commemorative stone in the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris. On this marble his call is engraved: “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”

17 October was declared “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty” by the United Nations in 1992. In several countries, each year or even on the 17th of each month, people gather for a short commemoration in honor of people who suffer from extreme poverty, and to renew their commitment to fight alongside them.

Visit also:

10 Feb

Europe Matters to End Discrimination! ATD’s Youth Group at the European Parliament!

For the two past months, All Together in Dignity prepared a delegation of 7 participants to the 15th ‘European ATD People’s University’ which took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday the 6th of February 2019. The group from ATD consisted of 7 volunteers involved in the  ATD’s Unity in the Community Youth Group (UCYG).

The UCYG was created in the summer of 2017 after an ATD European Youth Exchange in the
Netherlands. They are a group of young adults (aged between 18 – 25) who are social activists and leaders in their communities.

In 2018 the members of this group created the Ireland, I have a Dream project. Inspired by the infamous speech by Martin Luther King they created a space for young people in Dublin to find their voice as leaders and to explore the inequalities of poverty in the context of their own lives, bywriting about their dreams. Together they developed a collection of speeches, poems, raps and spoken word, in turn creating their own ‘I have a Dream’ publication. This book was successfully launched on the 6th of July last year at a joyous event in MountJoy Square which included games, spoken word, live music and speeches.

This year, the discussion in the European Parliament revolved around the input of selected groups of individuals from 9 European countries. These delegates all coming from deprived communities around the EU  took the opportunity to come together with their ideas and to both collectively and individually address MEP’s.

They had the chance to present their research, concepts and resolutions based on the 3 topics of the 2019 People’s University and to ask the EU to take action on these matters.
The topics to be addressed were:

  • the indicators of poverty and social exclusion in Europe,
  • the impact that various national and European policies have on family life for citizens in poverty,
  • and peoples legal status.

In preparation for the 2019 People’s University, ATD Ireland run first “Europe Matters”, a “Communicating Europe” supported by a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The impact of this 2 months project is presented in the 4 pages PDF document here: ATD Europe Matters Presentation. Discover also the video produced by the project participants!

The Irish delegation joined the discussions on the impact that various national and European policies have on family life for citizens in poverty. The policy the delegation discussed is the missing “socio-economic status” as recognised ground of discrimination in the Irish Equal Status Act.

At present, within Irish law, there are 9 recognised grounds of discrimination, but we are working to try and add a tenth ground, one based on a person’s socio-economic status.

The UCYG supported by other ATD volunteers started to look at how people suffer unequal treatment based on their socio-economic background, when dealing with Irish public services and in pivate context. Personal stories from people have been collected, where they tell about times they have experienced this type of discrimination, when dealing with any public service ( be it the police, hospitals, schools, etc.) or in every day situation in the street, in shops, when looking for private renting. From having to lie about where your’e from in order to get a job to having to get people with a “better” telephone voice to represent you when dealing with services over the phone – the stories have been plentiful and unjust.

At work in Brussels, the members of the Irish Delegation tried to convince Irish European representatives and MEPs beyond Ireland of the importance of working to try and ensure this protection is written into equality legislation, so that all citizens of Europe might be better protected before the law.

Read here the draft statement the UCYG addressed to all Irish MEPs on the People’s University Day.

With the Vice-President of the European Parliament,
Mairead McGuinness MEP

With Marian Harkin MEP

With Lynn Boylan MEP

As Martin Luther King once said You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say” and so in keeping that in mind, the UCYG will continue to speak out until they are heard.

This project and the trip of the Irish Delegation have been financialy supported by the “Communicating Europe” DFAT Initiative, Maired McGuinness MEP and Lynn Boylan MEP, and the French Foundation “Fondation ATD”.

10 Feb

The “Corner Stones” project to be launched on Social Justice Day!

At the occasion of 2019 World Day of Social Justice, ATD invites all citizens interested to the launch of “Corner Stones”, a creative project aiming to prepare a wall with the 700 decorated stones created dutring the “Your Rights Are Written in Stone” Campaign run in 2018!

Facebook invitation:

From February 20th to April 20th, a series of workshop will be held in the North East Inner City to design and eventually build the “Corner Stones Wall” in the NEC Farmer’s Hill Communnity Garden!

This project is supported by a grant from the 2018 NEIC local grants round 2 Programme.

31 Dec

2o18 in 2×18 ATD events!

Take time to re-discover the year 2018
of ATD Ireland in 2×18=36 events!

Event 1 – French “Galettes des Rois” to start the year 2018 together!

Event 2 – President Michael D Higgins received “If Only You Knew”.

Event 3 – Launch of on MLK Day
(US bank holiday in January each year).

Event 4 – ATD Ireland took part in an ATD European meeting about Youth Projects.

Event 5 – First “Ireland, I have a Dream” workshop with “Fighting Words”.

Event 6 – Launch of the “Your Rights Are Written in Stone” project
on UN World Day of Social Justice (20 February each year).

Event 7 – We paid tribute to Sister Caomhin.

Event 8 – Social Media Campaign #GoGreen4GlobalGoals on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Event 9 – ATD organised the event marking the 50th anniversary
of the assasination of Martin Luther King on April 4th 2018.

Event 10 – Launch of “Divinity on Skin” by Board member Martin Byrne.

Event 11 – David Donoghue launched the “Leave No One Behind Conversations”.

Event 12 – Members of the ATD Company met for the annual AGM
and discussed the annual report!

Event 13 – ATD and EAPN Ireland welcomed
the “European Minimum Income” bus to Dublin.

Event 14 – ATD facilitated various “Leave No One Behind” Conversations
– here in the FRC Lus Na Greine in Granard, co Longford.

Event 15 – The “Unity in the Community” Youth Group met RTE.

Event 16 – An Irish Delegation joined a European Training at the International Headquarters of ATD near Paris.

Event 17 – Launch of the on-line publication “Sure, it’s their own fault!” Our Misconceptions of Poverty and the Poor”.

Event 18 – ATD facilitated various “Leave No One Behind” Conversations
– here at Maynooth University during the World Community Development Conference.

Event 19 – We paid tribute to Philippe Barbier.

Event 20 – The “Unity in the Community” Youth Group launched
the book “Ireland, I have a dream”.

Event 21 – Boxing Champion Kellie Harrington supported our North East Inner City projet “Your Rights Are Written in Stone”.

Event 22 – Pierre Klein from ATD was selected to be part of the Irish Coalition 2030 delegation at the 2018 Agenda 2030 HLPF at the UN in New Yor.

Event 23 – ATD organised the event marking the 100th anniversary
of the birth of Nelson Mandela on July 18th, 2018.

Event 24 – ATD Ireland co-organised the 3rd Festival of Nations
in Mountjoy Square Park.


Event 25 – ATD Ireland wrote an Open Letter to Pope Francis.

Event 26 – Delegates of the “Unity in the Community” Youth Group offered “Ireland, I have a dream” to UN Deputy SG Amina J Mohamed.

Event 27 – ATD volunteers took part in the Recovery Walk in Dublin
and meet Minister Catherine Murphy.

Event 28 – ATD Ireland co-organised with Coalition 2030 the #Act4SDGs event marking the 3rd anniversary of the adoption of the Agenda 2030.

Event 29 – ATD Ireland supported the “Raise the Roof” Right to Housing Campaign.

Event 30 – ATD Ireland organised the first Irish “Leave No One Behind” Summit
with the support of Concern.

Event 31 – To mark the 10th anniversary of the unveiling on the Dublin Human Rights and Poverty Stone, ATD launched “Voices For Dignity” on UN End Poverty Day
with the support of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Event 32 – At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1,
we launched the “Europe Matters” workshop series.

Event 33 – Archbishop Diarmuid Martin joined us to mark the 1st anniversary of the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights & to open the World Day of the Poor.


Event 34 – We marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the French speaking community at the Alliance Française.

 Event 35 – We marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the Community Platform and the ESC Rights Initiative.

Event 36 – We ended the year with a fundraising “Carols Singing” event
in Grafton Street, Dublin.

Bonus Event – In Human Rights week around 10th December, we had the opportunity to offer “Voices For Dignity” to the President of Ireland
and to the Vice President of the European Parliament!



14 Dec

Thank you to all the supporters who took part in our 2018 Christmas Raffle!

The ATD Christmas Raffle is over!

For every €5 donated from 24th November and before the 25th December 2018 supporters of ATD secured for them selves one entry ticket in the raffle!

We collected €2515 and 503 tickets were given out!


The winners of the 10 prizes have been informed!

The lucky numbers are: 1st Prize – 281 – 2nd Prize – 131 – 3rd Prize – 4 – 4th Prize – 9
– 5th Prize – 195 – 6th Prize – 398 – 7th Prize – 91 – 8th Prize – 447
– 9th Prize – 244 – 10th Prize – 713 RG

First prize:

 2 tickets for the 2nd January 2019 matinee show
”Les Misérables”
at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, in Dublin 2!

More about the use of you gift and ATD’s financial ethics here!

Donate to ATD Ireland via
the secure Paypal donation platform


14 Dec

Ireland marked the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

#UDHR70 – Discover of 15 events or series of events
marking the Human Rights Day 2018 in Ireland!
From 23rd November to 18th December!

2018 was a very special year to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)!

It was the year when the world also celebrated the legacy of four major Human Rights activists and key figures of the second half of the 20th century: Nelson Mandela (#Mandela100), Martin Luther King (#MLK50), Mahatma Gandhi (#Gandhi150) and Joseph Wresinski (#30). For Ireland it is also a time to remember the commitments of James Connolly (#Connolly150).

All these key figures were strongly committed to the civic rights and freedoms but also completely aware of the indivisibility of Human Rights and to make sure the provision of rights protect individuals from socio-economic, educational and cultural vulnerabilities. Gandhi summarised the indivisibility of Human Rights in one sentence: “Poverty is the worst form of violence”.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights enshrined in the UDHR have to be promoted, strengthened and protected with the same energy and mobilisation as the other rights. After 4 years of silence of the Irish Government on the key 2014 request of the Constitutional Convention to strengthen the protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Constitution,the UDHR70 series of events in Ireland kept the demand alive! Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are Human Rights!

In Ireland, 2018 marked also a series of important human rights anniversaries. 100 years since partial suffrage for women, 50 years since the emergence of the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland and 20 years since the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Hence the theme of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival had therefore been interwoven with the concept of 100, 70, 50, 20 to commemorate those special events and their importance for human rights. The theme also provideed a spring board to discuss what has been accomplished since those important milestones and what human rights goals have yet to be achieved.

Ireland marks UDHR70:
The calendar!

To be completed – Please inform us
about events which took place and you are aware of
and that we should include in this report!

Until the 12th January 2019 – Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin
The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition presenting Madiba as Leader, Comrade, Negotiator, Prisoner, and Statesman, is an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs together with Kilmainham Gaol.  Admission for “From Prisoner to President: An Exhibition celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela” is free but booking is required. Visitors who have booked for the guided tour of Kilmainham Gaol will also have access to the Nelson Mandela exhibition and do not require an additional ticket. Free Booking

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign was a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Building on the momentum of global movements and grassroots campaigns such as ‘#MeToo’, “#TimesUp”, “#BalanceTonPorc” “#NiUnaMenos”, #MetooIndia and “HollaBack!”, the UN theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December)  was Orange the World: #HearMeToo.  Tell your story here!
Read President Michael D Higgins’ message here!

Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November – Dublin
The Dublin Human Rights Festival 2018 was organised by Front Line Defenders in partnership with the Dublin City Council, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Fighting Words, the Latin America Solidarity Centre and the National LGBT Federation. They once again came together to bring citizens a weekend packed with interactive workshops, panel discussions, artistic performances and more. Locations of the event were the Wood Quay Venue, the Smock Alley Theatre & the International Bar.

Watch here the live coverage of the panel #SharingTheStruggle: Civil rights solidarity across the generations.  The Panel discussed the long-standing tradition of co-operation between rights movements in Ireland and the United States. It featured prominent activists from the 1960s, including Bernadette McAliskey and Michael Farrell. The conversation  explored how the Irish and American experiences have influenced and supported each other and continue to inspire the fight for rights across the world. The panel discussion was also joined by Jabari Mickles, a youth and teacher organiser from the United States, and leading human rights expert and author Brian Dooley (Human Rights First). Moderator: Martina Devlin (author and political commentator).

Saturday 1st December 2018  – 2pm to 5pm – Garden of Remembrance
After the massive success of the #RaiseTheRoof rally on October 3rd when we had 12,000 on the streets outside Dáil Éireann, the National Homeless and Housing Coalition have called a national demonstration on the housing crisis which took place on December 1st at 2pm. The people marching called on the Government to accelerate programme of public housing on public land, to add 1bn euro funding in the budget for housing,  to end to evictions from the private sector motivated by profit making, to stop raise in rents and to hold a referendum to enshrine the right to a home into the constitution. Details.
Media coverage:


Monday 3rd December 2018 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm – Alliance Française, Dublin
Citizens of Dublin were invited to mark the anniversary of the 1948 signature in Paris with Dublin’s French speaking Community!  The French Embassy, the Belgian Embassy, the Alliance Française and All Together in Dignity Ireland organised “Stand Up For Human Rights – Debout Pour Les Droits de l’Homme” with a range of national and international Human Rights Defenders. It was an evening of debate and celebration of the signature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Participants were invited to decorate a Human Rights tree with personal messages. Details
See more pictures here:


Tuesday 4th December 2018 – Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission
IHREC in partnership with the Irish Times delivered to every primary and secondary school in Ireland the week ahead of Human Rights Day – this beautiful poster illustrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in English and as Gaeilge! Schools are invited to use poster for classroom discussions on human rights and the lives of young people.


Thursday 6th December 2018 – 10am 12.30pm – Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission
Members of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Initiative and the Community Platform for “Declaring our Human Rights” met for a morning of personal narratives in diverse forms to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Details

More pictures here:

Sunday 9th to Saturday 15th December 2018  – Northern Ireland Human Rights Festival 2018
The NIHRF programme of events enabled discussion, debate and activism across a spectrum of human rights issues.  The festival partners were the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland who sustained the festival and brought important human rights issues to the programme. The Festival events in themselves play an important role in advancing the protection of human rights locally and internationally. Yet there are still distinct barriers to full equality for women, rights are unfortunately not universally enjoyed at the global or local level, communities in Northern Ireland are still divided and there are considerable equality challenges yet to be faced and twenty years after the peace settlement Northern Ireland has yet to seethe type of human rights-based governance envisioned in the Agreement. The challenge of celebrating and striving to protect human rights continues. The organisers hoped the festival would gave participants food for thought about how people can contribute to that process. Details


Monday 10th December 2018 – 9.30am to 4.30pm – Mansion House, Dublin
The annual DFAT Civil Society Forum took place on Monday 10th December 2018 at The Mansion House, Dublin with the attendance of Michael D. Higgins the President of Ireland. This year’s Forum coincided with the 70th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and explored the role of the Declaration in today’s changing world.  Programme

Read the President’s speech from the forum:
Listen to the President’s speech to the forum:
Media coverage:


Monday 10th December 2018 – IHREC
IRHREC published survey results to mark International Human Rights Day & the 70th Anniversary of Universal Declaration.  IHREC commissionned an Amárach Research team  to survey over 1200 people to understand the understanding and awareness of Human Rights in Ireland.  People in Ireland overwhelmingly (84%) believe that stronger protections for human rights and equality makes the country a better place to live, with 86% agreeing that they care deeply about making Ireland a fairer place to live,

The poll results also show that:

  • More to do on human rights and equality – 85% of people believe we still have significant work to do in Ireland to protect human rights and equality – this figure is up 6% from a similar poll carried out in 2015.
  • Housing – 82% of people generally, and 89% of 18-24-year olds believe that housing should be considered as a human right. 63% of people generally, and 78% of 18-24-year olds believe that a right to housing should be entered into Ireland’s Constitution.
  • Minority rights – People consider that Members of the Traveller Community are most likely to have their human rights infringed or to experience discrimination in Ireland, with 29% of people identifying Travellers as the most at risk group.
  • Disabilities – People ranked job hunting (74%) as the area when people with disabilities are most likely to encounter discrimination, over accessing public transport (66%) or in work (59%).
  • Equality of opportunity – Opinion is sharply divided on a person’s ability to achieve their potential in our society with 36% believing that potential is limited by prejudice, discrimination or neglect compared to 37% who believe that it is not.
  • International leadership – Just under a quarter of people (23%) feel that Ireland is an international leader when it comes to human rights and equality.

IHREC press release:
Full research here!

Monday 10th December 2018 – 10.30am to 12.30pm – Mansion House, Dublin
Dublin City Interfaith Forum will launch of ‘DCIF Strategy 2018 – 2021’. The DCIF’s strategy will outline new ways for people of diverse faiths to work together, respecting each other and preventing societal polarization or hostility by creating positive interactions between the communities.



Monday 10th December – 11.30am to 1pm – FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) Dorset Street, Dublin
Launch of Independent Living Movement (ILMI) “A Guide to the Law in Ireland in relation to Disability”. Anna O Duffy has written an ILMI Disability Guide to the Law which clearly informs disabled people and about their rights, the laws that relate to disabled people and what disabled people can do if they believe their rights have been violated. This document will be launched at the offices of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) on Dorset Street. There will be inputs from disability activists, author Anna O Duffy and Eilis Barry, CEO of FLAC. Live Streaming via


Monday 10th December 2018 –  4.30pm to 5.30pm – Mansion House, Dublin
On Human Rights Day,  ATD Ireland invited ATD volunteers to #StandUp4HumanRights and to #LightTheWay on the 17 #GlobalGoals of the #2030Agenda. They joined the “Long Walk to Freedom – Episode 4”, the fourth symbolic candlelit walk of a series of 16 walks which take place each year from 2015 (Episode 1) to 2030, on Human Rights Day! Details
More pictures here:

Monday 10th December 2018 –  5.30pm – City Hall, Dublin
Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring and his guests red the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the steps of City Hall at 6pm on 10th December 2018. This was done in connection with 9 other Lord Mayors of European cities, reading the same text at the same time.  Joining him to read from the Declaration were: Michael Gaffey, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations Office in Geneva – Nurcan Baysal, Kurdish Writer & Human Rights Defender (overall winner for 2018 The Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk held in City Hall earlier this year) – Susan Herman, President, American Civil Liberties Union. At the same time Front Line Defenders organised a projection of portraits of Human Rights Defenders on a building close to City Hall marking also the 20 years of a UN agreement to protect HR Defenders.

More pictures:


Monday 10th December 2018 –  On-line – Dublin
The launch of the electronic version of the 2019 “End Poverty with Human Rights” Calendar was organised by the Irish Committee for the UN End Poverty Day.  The printed version will be launched on the 20th December, International Day of Human Solidarity.  Details

.Promotion of “Voices For Dignity“, the memorial book on 10 years of activism at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone
On Human Rights Day and in the following days, ATD Ireland promoted the memorial book “Voices for Dignity” and its central message “Situation of severe poverty are a violation of Human Rights”. We thank the President Michael D Higgins and the Vice President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness for their interest in this publication.


Wednesday 12 December 2018 – Universal Health Coverage Day
As a follow up of the #HumanRightsDay mobilisation, and to pledge that health is a #HumanRights, the Unity in the Community Youth Group supported by ATD Ireland discussed #UHCDay and recorded the following message on video!


Tuesday 18 December – United Nations – New York
The Irish-based human rights organisation, Front Line Defenders, has received the United Nations Human Rights Prize for 2018. The award is given to individuals and organisations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.
RTE Coverage here!

27 Nov

3 month internship with ATD starting in January 2019

ATD Ireland is seeking a motivated person to join their small and dynamic team for a 3 month long unpaid internship.

The internship is designed to give an opportunity for dedicated and talented individuals to gain experience working for the protection of human rights, the prevention of discrimination and the promotion of the sustainable development goals through a wide variety of grass roots projects.

This internship offers a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working within a local NGO while also gaining experience of how ATD International operates, with teams in 40 countries worldwide. The intern will be involved with the organisation of a number of events and campaigns, learning from ATD long-term volunteers about specific participatory approaches to poverty.

Interns spend three months at ATD Irelands office in Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1.

This internship is unpaid however upon successful completion participants will be considered for an additional six month long discovery and training programme which includes an accommodation payment and a monthly stipend.

Main tasks and responsibilities:

The intern will support the team and participate in the organisation of several major events and campaigns:

– The implementation of the project “Europe Matters to End Socio-Economic Discrimination” ahead of a European meeting at the Parliament in Brussels (February 2019) and an advocacy campaign in April and May 2019

– The organisation and facilitation of workshops for youth groups as part of the Unity in the Community Youth Group activity plan (see the “Ireland, I have a dream” project).

– Awareness raising activities about the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the pledge to leave no one behind. (see

Read more about the internship and the ways to apply here!

Send us your CV and cover letter before 17th December 2018 at

12 Nov

Meet ATD Ireland’s Board of Management at the occasion of Irish Trustees’ Week

Ireland’s second Trustees’ Week takes place from Monday Nov 12th to Friday Nov 16th.

It aims to recognise and celebrate the key role which volunteer charity trustees play in the governance and leadership of charities across Ireland. It also seeks to encourage more people to become trustees and to highlight the importance of good governance of boards, promote the need for a thorough knowledge of trustees’ roles and responsibilities, education and upskilling of trustees.

ATD volunteers and staff members from the ATD International volunteer corps are happy to mark the week, being organised by the Charities Regulator, The Wheel, Charities Institute Ireland, Dóchas, the Carmichael Centre, Boardmatch Ireland and Volunteer Ireland.

By celebrating Trustees’ Week we want thank our trustees for the key role which they play in the governance and administration of ATD Ireland. To discuss with many members and friends of ATD with the hope that new trustees may come forward in the future. Each year at our AGM in May, the board welcomes new directors!

At the occasion of the second Irish Trustees’ Week, meet our Board!

Laoise Talty
I am currently working in a Family Hub as a Housing Case Worker supporting families experiencing homelessness. I started to get to know ATD as an intern in September 2016 after finishing my Masters. After completing a three month intern programme, I was happy to stay on for a year to get to know more about the work of ATD. During my year at ATD I was part of the ‘Stories of Change’ project where we supported people to write about their lives. This was a brilliant project which resulted in compiling the book ‘If only you knew’, a collection of short stories. While at ATD I got to meet families who had been through great hardships. Their strength and determination to constantly work towards a better life for themselves and their families is one of the things that has encouraged me to pursue a career in social care and most importantly supporting families.

Gail Seekamp
Originally a journalist, who started her career in Mexico, I currently work in the not-for-profit sector after fifteen years as a public servant. A life-long learner, I commit to giving my best to each charity that I contribute to, including ATD Ireland.  That includes upholding principles of good Governance.  I have been a volunteer for 25 years and have enjoyed each role, be it environmental work, adult literacy, or information/media. I have been involved with ATD Ireland since 2015, volunteering on projects that aim to give a voice to people who suffer poverty and exclusion, recognise their talents and share their stories with society as a whole. I was originally drawn by ATD’s global perspective. Thanks to my involvement, I have met people from across the world who are committed to social justice. I currently also serve on ATD Fourth World’s international board as delegate from Ireland.

Elaine Phelan
I am a social care worker of 20 years experience, working with people from diverse social backgrounds and primarily in homelessness and housing based projects. Having studied a Masters in Social Policy in 2005, I co-authored an article published in the journal Critical Social Policy on the governance of homelessness in Dublin. Coming across ATD Ireland over 10 years ago, I am happy to have become one of their first employees from January 2016 to March 2017. I continue to be involved in various regular ATD activities, including the uplifting singing group. I remain constantly challenged and warmed by the heart, values and action of ATD Ireland and ATD abroad in the alleviation of hardship and poverty.

Marie Williams
I’m is the director of the Dominican Justice Office, where I coordinate a peer-support project and network for women seeking asylum in Ireland and who live in the Direct Provision system. I hope my extensive experience in community development and project management in the area of intercultural integration, human rights and anti-racism supports the work of ATD Ireland. I’m passionate about Restorative Justice, Mediation and Conflict Intervention, and for over seven years was a Board member of Facing Forward, a voluntary organisation that promotes restorative practices, with a focus on serious crime. During this time, I worked as researcher for the report ‘Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities?’, a joint initiative between UCD and Facing Forward.

Isabelle Pypaert Perrin
I’m native of Belgium. I joined the ATD International Volunteer Corps in 1981 and have since worked in many different countries in addition to Belgium. I helped build ATD local projects in a number of different cultural contexts in Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, and Asia. Particularly formative for me was the opportunity to be in ATD founder Joseph Wresinski’s personal assistants team for several years. Through my work with him, I saw how ATD’s people-centred work grows, person by person. I first joined the ATD International Leadership Team in 2008 and in 2012 I was asked by dedicated Committee of members of ATD to take the role of International Director General.

Juliette Péchenart
I am a French national who has been living and working in Ireland for nearly forty years. I retired from Dublin City University in September 2017 where I lectured in French and Business Ethics through French and chaired various BA’s. I started volunteering with ATD Ireland in 2015 as I was already familiar with the meaningful work of ATD in France. I’m inspired and humbled by the people I meet through ATD Ireland. In 2017 I was involved in the ‘If only you knew – Stories of change’ project. This is such a powerful testimony of courage, dignity and hope in the face of exclusion and adversity. It was also a great achievement for me and many other to prepare and edit “Voices for Dignity” throughout 2018.

Gerald Doherty (Chairperson)
I have been involved with ATD International in Ireland since 2001, and I joined ATD’s Board in 2009 when the charity ATD Ireland was eventually registered in Dublin. Originally a biochemist, I became increasingly interested in social justice issues from the mid-1980s. I spent 15 years in the Dublin Simon Community as a part-time and full-time volunteer. In 1994 I gave up biochemistry to become a community worker. Since then, most of my work has been in the Dublin 1 area. I believe very strongly that we need to work towards economic and social equality, and that we have to collectively change how we live if we want to stay on this planet. I think the first step in all of this is to deepen democracy: that means always looking for new ways to give people a say in the decisions that affect them.

Hugh Frazer
I spent most of my career working to combat poverty and social exclusion and promote community development. I’m really passionate about achieving a more inclusive, just, sustainable and equal society. I started as a community worker in Belfast, later I became director of both the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust and the Combat Poverty Agency. Today I serve as an expert in the European Commission and coordinator of EU-wide networks of experts on poverty and social policy. I have written extensively about poverty, community development and community relations and I train students as adjunct professor in Maynooth University. In my spare time (when I find it) I paint.

Martin Byrne (Secretary)
I’ve been involved for the past thirty years as a Christian Brother in community education in Dublin’s inner city. My interests include being a Presidents Awards Leader, a participant in the North Wall Folk Group and being a regular, slow jogger. For the past twenty years, in collaboration with the North Wall community, we have annually published books of local stories in an urban, contextual theology genre. Besides acting as a Board Member with ATD Fourth World Ireland, I serve on the Advisory Committee of the Margaret Alyward Centre for Faith and Dialogue.