Who We Are

The Inclusive Living Network (‘the Network’) is a unique Network of individuals, families and agencies who are passionate and committed to promoting, enabling and demonstrating self-determined and inclusive lives for people who are labelled as having a disability.


The diversity of backgrounds in this group; all working collaboratively in a shared space, is what makes this group unique and what will ultimately drive change that touches lives. The diversity of our group will influence demand and change hearts and minds for those who need supports and those whose work it is to deliver meaningful supports to individuals.


We have a strong understanding of our shared vision.The Network is founded on an appreciation of and commitment to the values of inclusion, autonomy, human rights, honesty, courage, respect, trust, dignity, integrity and action. The overall intention of our Network is to work together, to make the manifesto a real and lived experience for people living in Ireland.

Anyone who subscribes to the Inclusive Living Network manifesto is part of a growing movement of people in Ireland who are committed to the 6 beliefs it describes.


A working group of founding voices for the network have been coming together to progress this initiative since 2017. The names of the founding voices are listed below.


By submitting contact details subscribers can be kept up to date about ILN campaigns, resources and events that are hosted or are allied to the manifesto. The working group meets approximately 8 times a year for about half a day each time. In between times 4 teams work to progress different aspects of ILN business. These teams work on;

  • Manifesto
  • ILN Resources, Funding and Development
  • Website and Social Media
  • Editorial – Resource Development


Each year in February the working group of founding voices invite subscribers to join them to work on the priority tasks and projects planned for the year ahead.


Our Founding Voices

Paul Alford, Brendan Broderick, Christina Burke, Helen Butler, Rachel Cassen, Owen Collumb, Deirdre Flinn, Mary Jo Healy, Mary Kealy, David Kieran, Sean McGrath, Eoin Mooney, Anne Nally, Mary O’Donovan, Molly O’Keefe, Bernard O’Regan, Aoife O’Toole, Xanthe Pratt, Maria Walls, Willie Walsh, Avril Webster.

Our Active Network Members

Willie Walsh

1.   Who Am I?

Willie Walsh, Westport man, Mayo GAA and Connaught rugby fan, part of three great families (at least), loving the spring time at the moment, not playing half enough tennis, long time human rights activist, risk management consultant and trainer, Clan Beo founder and collaborator, love having the craic and cooking with people (doing the both together is my idea of a great evening), enjoy lots of different arty stuff (especially painting, books and plays). I wear many hats.


2.  Why am I member of this group?

I like the people who are part of the group. I see common cause in what they are talking about. I feel that there is a value in being together in conversation about respecting one persons way, their choices, their life. Its based in the West. It aspires to doing things the right way.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

Learn lots more about each other. Create a non aligned, independent voice to monitor, influence the language and critique the practice and direction of individualised arrangements as they evolve in Ireland.

Molly O’Keeffe

1. Who Am I?

Molly O’Keeffe, B.A.,M.A., mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbour, woman, Founder of Positive Pathways, Irish citizen, lover of theatre, history, food, chocolate, having the craic, laughter, walking, talking, listening to people’s stories, standing up for truth and being part of stuff in my community.


2.  Why am I member of this group?

Simply because I choose a Meaningful Life for All, I choose Inclusion. I choose Kindness, Empathy, Equality, Respect. I choose Dignity, Diversity, Integrity, Justice. I choose People not systems. I choose Community. I chose Facts, Peace, The Planet, Humanity. I choose Love.I choose the ILN as its manifesto and aims of the group work to honour the above.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

Opportunities for real support, hope for individuals and their families, advocacy, positive change and reform within Ireland and the disability sector, growth of communities, partnership with individuals, organisations and government. A meaningful life for all.

Helen Butler

1.   Who Am I?

My name is Helen. I am a proud mother, wife, sister, neighbour, friend and bridge player. I love to read, travel, garden, cycle, walk, bird watch. There is nothing I find more enjoyable than spending time with friends, cooking, going to the movies, theatre and shows. You can find me dancing or climbing trees.

2.  Why am I member of this group?

I was invited to join this group by another member of the group, as I have over the past member of years been involved in this area and have supported my daughter to move into a home of her own. I am keen to be a member to share, learn and grow and to support others to do the same.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope this group can support people with disabilities to access a better and more fulfilling life. I hope the work of the group will inform and advertise the possibilities there are on how to achieve this goal. That it will educate and inform the general public in order to create an environment of tolerance and respect and friendship for people who have a disability.

Avril Webster

1. Who Am I?

My name is Avril Webster and I live in Limerick. I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and author. Having a family member with a disability has brought me on a journey that has changed my life and way of thinking. I am passionate that all my three children, have the same opportunities for their lives no matter their strengths or vulnerabilities. I am the author of the Off We Go series of books, apps and TV programmes. I love to cook and I’m enjoying discovering the joys of gardening. I also love to travel both in person and from my armchair!


2.  Why am I member of this group?

I am a member of this group to connect with others who share the same way of thinking and ambitions for an inclusive society. Through this group we share, listen, learn and support each other. We stand stronger together and we can really change thinking, policy and peoples’ lives.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

To spread the word about how we can promote that sense of inclusion and belonging for everyone. To give practical detailed information with a sense of honesty and integrity. To advocate and lobby for a fundamental change in how we support people so that the person has choice and control.

Anne Motherway

1. Who Am I?

I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, and friend. Family is really important for me. Friendship is very important, having and being a good friend matters to me. I love to have a laugh and have fun. I love to read, and have time to think. I also love travel, walking and cooking, especially when friends visit.

2. Why am I member of this group?

I am part of this group as a family member.I strongly believe that everyone deserves to enjoy the right to equality and the right to live their lives in inclusive and diverse communities. I believe that those who support our loved ones also have the right to equality and the right to live their lives in inclusive and diverse communities.I am excited that in this group there are people with disabilities, parents, siblings, family members, and providers. It matters that we are all working together in a shared space on this.

3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope that this group will enable the sharing of important information with others to support the growth of good lives and positive communities for all. I hope we can share our stories so that we can learn from each other about what works and what does not work. I hope we stand with people by naming it when things are wrong and when what is done does not support individualised options.

Sean McGrath

1. Who am I?

I am the father of two young women with disabilities. My daughter Aoife lives with my wife and I. My other, Niamh has her own place and we support her to live independently in the community. I am a computer engineer by day and a musician/songwriter by night.


2. Why am I a member of this group?

To help make it easier for people with disabilities to have self-directed, meaningful lives. To learn from the experiences of others.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

A shared vision of what self-directed, meaningful lives looks like for people with disabilities. Take significant steps towards implementing that vision and making it available to all.

Mary Kealy

1.   Who Am I?

I am a mother, wife, friend with a keen interest in family, social connectedness and I like to travel and have fun. I am qualified Occupational Therapist and have worked in many roles within the world of disability for over 37 years. I loved my work and my real learning began with the people I worked with. I am innovative and a risk taker.

2.  Why am I member of this group?

I feel a strong sense of injustice and a desire to support positive change for marginalised groups. I know from my work that things can be done differently and people can have access to the good things of life but the service system and bureaucracy mitigate against this. I am part of this group to support real change for families in Ireland and to support the creation of inclusive communities.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope that this group can highlight the need for a change in the system and find a way to get people to listen, do something about it and create awareness in a growing way. This group I hope can convey the importance and the rights that life for those who are marginalised genuinely mirrors that of others in society who enjoy a quality lifestyle. I believe that this group should have influence in creating best possible quality leadership going forward and should influence this and be part of making it happen.‘What do you want to be when you grow up’ is an important question for everybody and so it should be for those who have disability and we need to leave special behind.

Paul Alford


1. Who Am I?

I am Paul Alford. I am part of ILN. I work for inclusion Ireland. I am living in Navan and I own my own place. I love going to bingo, playing table tennis, meeting other people at the special Olympics, going to the pub to listening to Irish music, going on holidays, doing the 5km park run and getting a t-shirt for doing 50 of them! I get support from my support worker with cooking, cleaning, doing things for myself and getting out and about.


2. Why am I member of this group?

I am a member of this group to take part in it, have my voice heard, learn more about people with a disabilities


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope that the group in the future builds up more memberships. I hope the group has events like conferences so we can meet more people, get to know them, work with them and build up our voices. Our voices are important to be heard.

Maria Walls

1.   Who Am I?

I am originally from Northern Ireland and am now living in Galway. I am a mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend, employee and student. My professional life has included working as a social worker, service and policy development roles including Director of Research and Policy Development in the NFVB and most recently, I managed the National Advocacy Service. I am currently completing a PhD in Disability Human Rights Law.  With my sister, I worked to support my mother and my sister to live the lives of their choosing.


2.  Why am I member of this group?

I worked to form the group as I am committed to people having the choice to live the life of their choosing and to be supported in this choice. I think that we need to work together to ensure that other people have this choice. This involves support with visioning, coordinating, and resourcing a self directed live.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope that this group will support each other in making personalised supports more available for those who choose them. I hope that we will be able to advise the kind of supports that are needed to make this happen and that we will be able to lobby to ensure that the choice is there. I also hope that the group can show that there is another inclusive way of living and that the funds currently in the system can be used to support people to have a good life – a better life.

Mary O Donovan

1. Who Am I?

My name is Mary O’Donovan. I am the mother who is currently supporting my son to live a life without the support of services. I also work in the finance department of a service provider. My involvement in this group is from my personal perspective and not on behalf of the organisation.

2. Why am I member of this group?

I passionately believe that people should be free to develop and find their natural place in their community and the world without being pigeon holed or moulded to fit a ‘service’ framework. I understand that people, and their support network, who choose to live outside of services may at times require a network of support/knowledge/ information.

3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

I hope this group can provide a network of support to people who choose to take responsibility for their own lives outside of services. I also hope this group can create a paradigm shift in the perception of people insofar as it is all about people living a life, not about services and the limitations implicit in services.

Deirdre Flinn

1.   Who Am I?

I am a mother of a young man with special need with is being supported in the Person Centre Wing of Muiriosa Foundation.


2.  Why am I member of this group?

I was invited to attend to bring the perspective as a parent and a user of the person centred Services.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

To encourage people to consider the Person Centred approach rather than the more institutional approach they may be more used to.

Aoife O’Toole

1.   Who Am I?

I am a daughter, partner, godmother, aunt, sister, friend and Irish Australian. I love  nature, people, cultures,  travelling and adventure – the wilder the better! I have been working with people with a disability and their families for over 30 years.


2.  Why am I member of this group?

I’m drawn to the people who are authentic, optimistic, resilient and committed to achieving and promoting good lives for people with a disability. I believe we flourish when in community with each other.


3. What do I hope this group will achieve?

As a group, I hope that we can affect change in Ireland for people with a disability that leads to more inclusive lives. I also hope that we continue to share, network, support and inspire each other.

Life is better when we live in inclusive & diverse communities.

Join our growing network of Inclusive Living activists around the country.

Add your voice to our Manifesto.

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