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The Barcelona Declaration Project

Facilitating Local Authorities in creating a more inclusive society

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Progress Report 2001 – 2002

The project commenced on the 1st of December 2001 with preparation for national and regional launches. The national launch was held in Dublin on February 14th and was opened by An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, thus highlighting government support for the Barcelona Declaration.

Following the national launch, eight regional launching programmes were held in:

  • Galway City, March 1, opened by Bobby Molloy, TD, Minister of State for Housing
  • Tralee, March 11, opened by John O’Donoghue, TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
  • Athlone, March 15, opened by Michael Smith, TD, Minister for Defence
  • Dungarvan, March 22, opened by Martin Cullen, TD, Minister of State, Department of Finance
  • Dundalk, March 25, opened by Dermot Ahern, TD, Minister for Social Community and Family Affairs
  • Nenagh, April 5, opened by Senator Donie Cassidy
  • Castlebar, April 12, opened by Beverly Cooper Flynn, TD
  • Cork City, April 15, opened by Michael Martin, TD, Minister for Health and Childern

The launching programme culminated in a plenary meeting in Dublin Castle on June 14th, opened by the Mayor of Dublin with a key note delivered by Michael McDowell, the then newly appointed Minister of Justice Equality and Law Reform. The launching programme was a powerful media event and was covered by national and regional newspapers, radio and RTE television.

Throughout the year the project team in its work has liaised and consulted with the Equality Authority, General Council of County Councils, Association of Municipal Authorities in Ireland, the Local Authority Members Association, Institute of Public Administration, Area Development Management, Chairmen of County (or City) Development Boards, a number of County, City and Town Councils. As a result of this work, the Project Team was able to indicate 3 key essential objectives to be addressed by local authorities:

Based on the social model of disability, to develop total Equality/Disability Awareness, at all levels of management and administration. This is a prerequisite for the proofing process.

To develop a consultative process without which the Equality/Disability proofing measures and decision making process would be invalid.

To provide tangible evidence of removing barriers which prevent people with disabilities from participating and functioning within the community. This relates to past as well as present and future actions or projects.

To enable local authorities to achieve those objectives, the Project Team has been developing a model of good practice, which includes a training programme, Equality/Disability Proofing Templates and Guidelines for selection and implementation of projects and actions. In consultation with the NDA Steering Committee, it was decided that the most effective way to use the Project resources was to select two local authorities that have adopted the Barcelona Declaration. Galway City Council, a large administration with a track record of addressing disability issues and interacting with local disability advocates and Macroom Town Council, a small unit committed to the cause of disability but with relatively little experience in this field, were chosen. The co-operation with these two local authorities produced a training programme which took place in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on the 7th and 8th of January 2003. The programme, which consisted of four topics: Awareness; Legislation and the Declaration; Proofing; and Guidelines was exceedingly well received by the participating local authority managers and representatives as well as disability advocates.

In December of 2001, 10 local authorities had adopted the Barcelona Declaration. Now, as a result of the Project, 59 local authorities have adopted the Declaration. While the adoption continues, the Project Team is firming up the development of the model of good practice to reach an ultimate goal: a situation led by local authorities in which all members of the community, including people with disabilities, can actively participate in a process that will produce tangible evidence of a barrier free society, achieved by the application of the principles of Design for All.

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