Category Archives: Latest Posts

12 Dec

Equal Right to Health for All! ATD and the Community Platform raise awareness on Health Inequalities!

 

 

 

 

 

On Universal Health Coverage Day the Community Platform with the support of ATD Ireland as published a leaflet and poster which highlight shocking facts which show that the equal right to health is being denied to those experiencing poverty, social exclusion and inequality and to call on the Government to bring about change.

It has also published the final report from the “Health as a Human Right” seminar held jointly by the Community Platform and All Together in Dignity as part of the “Our Voices” project in June 2017 which is available to download here.

The leaflet and poster call on everyone to take action by informing themselves of the reality; demanding that the Government implement the reforms outlines in the SlainteCare report; remind the Government of it’s commitments in Health Ireland to addressing health inequalities and promote the Public Sector Duty  which places a legal duty on all public sector bodies have regard to eliminating discrimination, promoting equality and protecting human rights in their daily work.

Download the Community Platform Press Release here: Equal Right to Health for All.

Download the Leaflet  and the Poster.

These materials are being disseminated as a follow up to Six principles for an inclusive health policy published in December 2016.

  
10 Dec

Human Rights Day 2017 – Our call on all Senators and TDs!

Open call from ATD Ireland
on Human Rights Day 2017

The protection and recognition
of Human Rights starts at home!

Four urgent steps to make rights real
for all in Ireland!

Dear Senators, Dear TDs,
A few hours before the Human Rigths Day events organised by All Together in Dignity in the National Gallery of Ireland and in the Dublin North Inner City, we allow ourselves to call on you to make rights real for all the Irish citizens facing for years consistent poverty and marginalisation. Here are the four steps we invite you to consider in order to walk at home, the talk of the Tánaiste at the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2017.
1. To implement the 2012 UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. Ireland just adopted a strategy on Business and Human Rights based on the 2011 UN Guiding Principles. We invite you to initiate a similar process based on the 2012 Guiding Principles. This work could inspire both the new Action Plans for Social Inclusion and the Agenda 2030 implementation strategy to be adpoted by Ireland in 2018.
2. With all the other members of the Irish Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Initiative, ATD Ireland is calling on you to accept the recommendation of the Irish Constitutional Convention. In February 2015, the citizens gathered in the Convention asked you to strengthen the protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Constitution. In the context of the current homelessness and housing crisis, an important first move would be to prepare a referendum to introduce a right to housing in Bunreacht na hÉireann. Many countries around the world did it! We believe Ireland can do it too!
3. With all the other members of the Community Platform, we can’t accept the severe health inequalities experienced by the most vulnerable in Ireland. Poverty is an early death sentence. On Human Rights Day we call on you to make sure both Sláinte Care and the Equality and Human Rights Public Sector Duty are implemented in a robust way with a priority delivery for the one who suffer most from the inequalities in the health care services.
4. On 9th November 2017, a majority of Dáil Éireann supported Deputy Jim O’ Callaghan and Deputy Fiona O’ Loughlin Private Bill to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s social and economic background. Today we call on you to support this process and recognise this new “discrimination ground” in the Irish equality laws framework. We believe this is a needed step to improve access to and delivery of Human Rights provision for the most vulnerable.
  
01 Dec

Show love and solidarity! ATD Greeting Cards are now available!

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All Together in Dignity Ireland’s greeting cards are meaningful. They have been created by members and friends of ATD throughout the world.

Using these cards expresses your support for the cause of fighting poverty.

Ordering these cards is a way to make a financial donation and support this cause.

Contact us by e-mail or phone to 01 855 81 91 to get details about the cards available!

Donations: Now donate just €50 Cents and we offer you 1 card! € 5 and we offer you 10 cards!

Additionnal postage costs : Up to 10 cards € 2 – from 12 to 30 cards: € 3,50  – from 31 to 50 cards: € 5

  
20 Nov

If Only You Knew – Stories of Change

Download “If Only You Knew” here!

On Tuesday 21st November in the DCU Library in Dublin, Maureen O’Sullivan TD launched our new short collection of stories ‘If Only You Knew – Stories of Change’ .

Discover all the pictures from the launch event here!

The event was the opportunity to mark the International Day for Tolerance (16 November) and the Universal Children’s Day (20 nov).

In collaboration with participants ATD captured the stories of over 30 people who illustrated a “key moment” in their lives. The stories take the form of narratives, poems, songs, and all give voice to an experience where the person exhibits the strength that helps them through the challenges they face living in poverty and social exclusion.

As part of the 2017 Stop Poverty Campaign (see below), ATD Ireland run this storytelling project. Each month from March to August 2017, ATD held sessions where volunteers could share these stories and listen to the stories of others. These sessions were an opportunity to encourage each other to ‘build one’s stories’.

The project “Stories of Change” creatively provided a platform for members and volunteers of ATD’s network to write a story illustrating their life experiences. Publishing a book of these stories validates the experience of people whose voice is often not heard or valued.

Marking the International Day for Tolerance (16 November) and the Universal Children’s Day (20 nov).

Tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our diversity of forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities made up of different people. The stories collected in “If only you knew” invite to improve our skills for Tolerance and are many messages of hope and encouragement told by those who have experiences of hardship and difficulties.
The stories have been written and collected with hope it will help us all to come together and prepare with our children a better future for people and the planet. ATD welcomed the fact that the launch takes place at the occasion the Universal Children’s Day!

The ATD 2017 Stop Poverty Campaign goes on with a call on the People of Ireland. The Irish Government is currently in the process of evaluating the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2017 and aims to publish a new Anti-Poverty plan in 2018. ATD aims to bring everyone who wants to make a difference together, all stakeholders: public bodies, teachers, trainers and researchers, corporates and services, youth groups and pensioners, and the people who fight against the poverty and stigma that they experience. The ATD call is accessible at www.werareone2017.org

Stories of change from all around the world collected by ATD international can be discovered here!

  
13 Nov

Let’s be grateful to our trustees! Ireland’s first Trustees’ Week

Ireland’s first Trustees’ Week takes place from November 13-17.  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 aim:

  • To celebrate and thank our trustees for the key role which they play in the governance and administration of ATD Ireland;
  • To highlight the importance of good governance of boards and raise our awareness about the need of thorough knowledge of trustees’ roles and responsibilities, education and upskilling of trustees;
  • 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 Irish Trustees’ Week, meet our Board!

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.

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.

Gary Broderick
I am the father of 2 amazing girls. I have worked in the field of addiction for 25 years as a counsellor, a lecturer and a manager. I’ve chaired and sat on Boards since 1988, working with Credit Unions, family support projects, addiction projects and ethics committees. I believe that kindness and flexibility are central to a good service and that we are ultimately all working to heal the damage that poverty and trauma cause. I strive to build community responses filled with gentleness, laughter, fun and just a little bit of audacious creativity… oh, and of course, proper governance!


  
10 Nov

A Major Step for the Recognition of a Socio-Economic Ground of Discrimination

In June 2017, Deputy Jim O’ Callaghan and Deputy Fiona O’ Loughlin
introduced a Private Bill in front of Dáil Éireann to amend the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000 by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s social and economic background.

After an adoption of this first step in June 2017, the “second step” debates took place in the Parliament on the 8th and 9th November 2017 and the The Dáil divided in this way: Yes 85; No 48; Abstained.

This is an historic step forward gained mainly by activists and volunteers from the  “Equality and Rights Alliance” which published in 2016 ‘An analysis of the introduction of socio-economic status as a discrimination ground’, a report examining the existence and use of the ground in equality law and policies across Europe.

Follow all the Dáil Éireann proceedings here!

On the very same day, All Together in Dignity Europe published a position paper to call for an all EU recognition of the “socio-economic ground” in national and European equality and anti-discrimination laws.

  
02 Nov

A Place of Freedom: ATD UK Frimhurst Family House

“Surviving a life in poverty is getting harder and harder as Government policies become more punitive and divisive. This creates feelings of fear and insecurity, it drains your energy and can make you ill. Having a place to go to where we are not judged, can dare to trust the people around us and be free to be ourselves is a lifesaver. Frimhurst gives us strength to carry on, knowing we are not alone in our struggles.”

Moraene Roberts, ATD activist and volunteer
in ATD UK National Leadership Team

“What can I do to actually help put things right? To which the answer we gave was, to spread the word, let people know that poverty does exist.”

Eric Knibbs, ATD activist and volunteer
at Frimhurst Family House

 

“Frimhurst: A Place of Freedom” is  a new ten-minute film celebrating the work of ATD in the Frimhurst Family House.  Over the past 60 years the House became a sanctuary where families struggling under the weight of poverty can rebuild their lives in dignity, free from stigma and discrimination.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Surrey is a Victorian manor house set in a tranquil woodland park. For 60 years, families struggling under the weight of poverty have found acceptance at Frimhurst.

At Frimhurst, families living in poverty can enjoy a wide range of activities alongside others in similar situations. Frimhurst is a place to share experiences, develop supportive relationships and form new long-term friendships. This network of support is essential in recognising and building upon the strengths of a family, while working alongside them in overcoming the challenges they face and promoting societal change.

Persistent poverty has a devastating impact on all aspects of family life.

At Frimhurst, ATD UK promotes the wellbeing of the whole family in a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental environment. The respite breaks, capacity building projects, skill-sharing and volunteering opportunities are designed to help the whole family build confidence, learn new skills, explore their creativity and create happy memories. Many who stay at Frimhurst go on to become anti-poverty advocates and spokespersons for ATD at a local, national and international level.

The film features the voices of people with first-hand experience of poverty and of parents, who have lived or stayed at Frimhurst. They speak from the heart about why Frimhurst Family House, the location of ATD’s residential programme, is such a unique and important place. They highlight the importance of creating a safe supportive and non-judgemental environment for the whole family… somewhere away from the day-to-day pressures and anxieties of a life in poverty.

Made to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Frimhurst Family House, Frimhurst: A Place of Freedom was produced for ATD UK by journalists and film-makers Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita.

Discover also… the story of Mary Rabagliati, the member of the ATD volunteer corps, who first met Grace Goodman, the founder of Frimhurst Family House. She was the first British person to join All Together in Dignity in 1962, at the age of 20.

 

 

  
01 Nov

From Black Friday to Green Friday! Join the ATD 2017 Christmas Challenge to keep our budget in the green zone!

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From 24th November 2017 to 31st December 2017 ATD needs to collect €5,000 to make ends meet. This means finding 500 friends and supporters ready to offer us the cost of two pints during the coming “Christmas” month!

With these €5,000 we have to cover some 2017 costs of the following activities:

– the training of our volunteers (€500)
– the “European Djynamo Youth Network” project involving young people from various background (including early school leavers and unemployed youth) to meet and develop solidarity projects – in particular in 2017 the participation to a major European meeting over the Summer. (€1,500)
– the awareness projects promoting the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (€1,000)
– our home support visits to households facing hardships because of poverty. (€2,000)

 

Help us to meet the challenge!

Discover now our 4 Black Friday’s offers!

 

1 – Enter the ATD Special Christmas Raffle  for the cost of pint and invite your contacts to do so! For every €5 donated you will secure for yourself one entry ticket in the raffle!
Donate €20 and your name will appear on 4 tickets in the draw bowl on Saturday 23rd December! If many people donate a small amount we may reach quickly our €5,000 target. So please invite people you know, relatives, friends, to make a gift to ATD!

Donations on-line can be made via:
Altruism IrelandPayPal
  Charity Checkout Benevity Causes

Prizes will include:
– 1 special creation by Carol Betera, a published illustrator of children’s books (See Hugo and the Sunshine Girl and more)
– 1 painting by French painter Fabienne Klein
– 2 Water Colors by French painter Jean Claude Thibaut
– T-Shirts, Books and more to come!

Donate before Saturday 23rd December at 12noon to be part of the Draw!
You will be informed of the result by Sunday 24th December!

……..

2 – Make of “If Only You Knew” a hit present under your Christmas tree!
If you donate €15 or more, you will enter the raffle and we are happy to send you a copy of ATD’s new book “If Only You Knew”. This book is a very appropriate Christmas present. Its message of hope, resilience and liberation are just what the day is about! Donate and send us an e-mail to get the book! If you decide to donate €30, we will send you 3 copies of the book!

Donation on-line to get the book can be made via:
Altruism IrelandPayPal
  Charity Checkout Benevity Causes
…….

    3 – Raise your voice! Join our special Christmas choir and perform with us on Tuesday 19 December late afternoon/evening on Graffton Street! The event will be followed by an ATD Christmas get together. Contact us: volunteering@atdireland.ie



4 – Take the leadership!
Plan a fundraising event!
We are happy to support you!
Contact us: volunteering@atdireland.ie

We already thank Juliette who decided to organise a benefit concert for ATD on “Black Friday”!

 

  
25 Oct

Council of Europe says ‘Ireland Failed To Provide Adequate Housing Conditions’

Tenants  in Ireland led by Community Action Network (CAN) and other NGOs such as FLAC Welcome European Committee of Social Rights Finding That Ireland Has Failed To Provide Adequate Housing Conditions on Local Authority Estates.

The Committee found Ireland in violation of Article 16 of the Revised Social Charter, which protects the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection, including the provision of family housing.

This is the beginning. The Decision means that the Irish Government must now take stock of the housing conditions, and put in place a timed programme with clear targets to address the issues. They will have to report on progress to the Council of Europe at regular intervals.

The Community Action Network (CAN), one of our partner in the “Our Voices” project and other NGOs have been working with local authority tenants across Ireland who live in deplorable conditions – a violation of their Human Rights.

The Council of Europe provides for groups whose Human Rights as set out in the EU Revised Charter of Fundamental Rights are not being protected by the State to take a Collective Complaint. CAN organised tenants to gather the evidence needed to substantiate the Complaint, supported by The Centre for Housing Law, Right and Policy at NUI Galway and Ballymun Community Law Centre. In 2014, a complaint was finally submitted by a recognized European Human Rights body FIDH, to the Council , with the support of affiliate member FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) along with PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance). After two years of deliberation, the Committee finally announced its decision on October 23rd 2017!

The Committee found Ireland in violation of Article 16 of the Revised Social Charter, which protects the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection, including the provision of family housing.

At a press conference on Monday 23rd October, following the announcement, Cecilia Forrestal of Community Action Network said that she was hopeful that the Government would see the European decision as a positive contribution to its overall housing vision and would take the necessary steps to bring its laws, policies and practices back into line with European housing standards. Member states are obliged to take steps to address any violations found by the European Committee.

‘This is an important benchmark decision and it demands a serious response,’ she said. ‘We urge the Minister for Housing particularly to see this decision as a positive contribution to Irish housing policy. Nobody wants to see Irish State housing being run down. These Irish citizens have a right to a decent home, in particular the children living in State housing.’

Debbie Mulhall, a resident and community leader in Dolphin House said: ‘This decision recognizes for the first time that that it is the state’s landlords, the local authorities, that have failed to take the adequate measures necessary to ensure our basic right to proper housing.’

This is the beginning. The Decision means that the Irish Government must now take stock of the housing conditions, and put in place a timed programme with clear targets to address the issues. They will have to report on progress to the Council of Europe at regular intervals.

CAN, Flac and other Irish Community Groups want to thank all those who helped us to reach this point, and particularly those residents who have worked tirelessly to assert their rights. They look forward to building on this momentous result.

The full legal Decision on Merits by the European Committee of Social Rights is available here.

Read Pila’s article here.

To read the case report by the IHREC click here.

Further Background:

The Revised European Social Charter was ratified by Ireland in 2000. The Charter sets out legal standards in economic, social and cultural human rights, in areas such as housing and accommodation, education, social welfare and protection, and in employment. It also protects vulnerable groups such as children, people with disabilities and older people. It is the Council of Europe’s counterpart for economic, social and cultural rights to the European Convention on Human Rights.


In contrast to the European Convention on Human Rights, the supervision of the European Social Charter provides for a ‘collective complaints’ mechanism where representative organisations of employers, of workers, and certain international non-governmental organisation holding participatory status with the Council of Europe may take a legal challenge concerning a general situation rather than a breach for an individual person. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)  is one of the NGOs recognised by the Council of Europe for the purposes of collective complaints procedure.

The article of the European Social Charter which Ireland has been found to be in violation of, is as follows:

Article 16, Part I:The family as a fundamental unit of society has the right to appropriate social, legal and economic protection to ensure its full development. 

Article 16, Part II: The right of the family to social, legal and economic protection. With a view to ensuring the necessary conditions for the full development of the family, which is a fundamental unit of society, the Parties undertake to promote the economic, legal and social protection of family life by such means as social and family benefits, fiscal arrangements, provision of family housing, benefits for the newly married and other appropriate means.”

  • The legal basis for the decision on merits is Article 16 of the Revised European Social Charter. Ireland has not accepted Article 31 of the Charter which guarantees the right to housing, and the Irish government argued that the complaint focuses on matters that ‘in substance fall within Article 31 of the Charter’. However, the European Committee of Social Rights decided that some of the issues also fall within the scope of Article 16 of the Charter in so far as they relate to family housing. (paragraph 24 of the Decision on Merits)
  • The European Committee of Social Rights stated that assessments of the conditions of local housing are carried out at ‘considerable intervals’ and that ‘no national timetable for the refurbishment of local authority housing stock exists’. (paragraphs 115 and 120)
  • The European Committee of Social Rights also noted ‘that many of the local authority estates were some time back, ear-marked for regeneration, amounting to Government recognition that they were, inter alia, in poor condition’. Although new regeneration programmes have subsequently been developed, ‘not all of these to date have been completed, with the result that certain local authority tenants remain living in substandard housingc onditions’. (paragraph 117)
  • The Committee found that sewage invasions, contaminated water, dampness, and persistent mould raised ‘serious concerns’ for habitability. It particularly noted ‘the high number of residents in certain estates in Dublin complaining of sewage invasions (for example the Dolphin House complex) years after the problems were first identified’. (paragraph 119)

See also the ATD Ireland Human Rights Leaflet

 

  
17 Oct

With all our own two hands we can change the world! Let’s walk as one for a inclusive society!

Will citizens around the country play a role
to make next Irish National Action Plan
for Social Inclusion the best ever?

Marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations’ Day for the Eradication of Poverty, All Together in Dignity launched a call to action in Leinster House with the support of Maureen O’Sullivan TD and the SAOL project.

The call “Walking as One for an Inclusive Society: A Call to Action on the People of Ireland” aims to network citizens, workers, leaders, managers, carers, teachers, trainers, parents, young people who are ready to be contribute to the new national action plan for social inclusion.

ATD with the support of old and new allies would like to contribute to strong participatory process to make the next Anti-Poverty Plan the best ever. Those who today live with poverty and social exclusion deserve it. They also should have the opportunity help develop this new plan. And when the plan is in place they should be able to play their part to ensure it is implemented.

We believe that with “Our Own Two Hands We Can Change the World”!

2017 marks twenty years since Ireland’s first comprehensive plan to address poverty: the National Anti-Poverty Strategy 1997-2006. The Irish Government is currently evaluating the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2017 and aims to publish a new plan in 2018.  Official consultations are expected in the autumn and a draft of the new plan may be available later next year.

ATD Ireland and various partners will collect signatures in the coming weeks. Social Justice Day 2018 (20th February 2018) will be a first deadline to assess this mobilisation. Responding to the feedback this call generates from citizens around the country, ATD plans to initiate a dialogue with the signatories and with the team of the Minister Regina Doherty in charge of the preparation of the plan.

As the 2017 international Call to Action www.poverty-stop.org ended with a meeting of ATD delegates with the highest officials at the UN in New York,  ATD Ireland launched on the 17 October 2017 a national Call to Action related to the Irish commitment to implement the UN 2030 Agenda and its Goal 1: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.