The National Platform of Self Advocates is an independent self advocacy organisation.

Dear Minister Flanagan,

I am writing in relation to the recent announcement on the day referred to by social model of disability advocates and activists as International Day of Disabled People that the National Platform of Self Advocates “will be closing down [its] operations from January due to an absence of funding or suitable supports for [its] work”. In short Minister Flanagan, I believe that there is no justifiable reason why the required funding cannot be provided directly through the Department of Justice and Equality to the National Platform of Self Advocates.

At the time of writing, it is a fact that it is now over a decade ago since I graduated in 2008 with a Higher Certificate in Arts in Advocacy Studies based on a social model of disability foundation and was awarded a Citizen’s Information Board Medal as the best overall student in the graduating class of that year. It is also a fact that at the end of 2008 I was “discharged from the care of medical model of disability based mental health services” funded by Irish taxpayers, having spent the fifteen previous years of my life under that “care” on the basis of claims made to me by “mental health professionals” that I “was suffering from a lifelong and enduring mental illness”. The fact also is that it is only now in 2019 in Ireland that the opportunity has become available to me to further my studies of social model of disability principles to postgraduate and master’s level as a Disability Studies student of St Angela’s College Sligo – NUI Galway.

Aside from fifteen years of experience in self advocacy as an Irish Mental Health Service system survivor, I also have six years of survival experience of fulltime employment from 2010 to 2016 as a peer advocate by what I believe should be, but which I believe is currently not, a disabled persons organisation being operated according to the principles of the social model of disability.

I put it to you Minister Flanagan that on 3rd December last you received a copy of an email from me containing the following statement:

Dear President Higgins,

On 22nd November 2019, Dr. Terry Lynch, physician, psychotherapist, mental health educator, best-selling mental health author, provider of a recovery-oriented mental health service, and, Member of A Vision for Change Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (2003-6), Member of A Vision for Change Independent Monitoring Group (2006-9), Member of A Vision for Change Second Independent Monitoring Group (2009-12), and Member of HSE Expert Advisory Group On Mental Health (2006-8) stated that:

Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris have IGNORED documents I sent them both – by registered post, 12 months ago now – comprising of a detailed letter from me, personal contributions from over 30 people, and the signatures of over 200 people.

The purpose of this document was to formally inform Messrs Varadkar and Harris that they are currently presiding over a mental health system that is every bit as scandalous as the outrages of the past – e.g. Magdalen Laundries, Tuam babies, clerical sex abuse, etc – which politicians have been publicly stating must never happen again.

Why President Higgins can pharmaceutical manufacturers and their representatives have their voices heard with such apparent ease while the voice of Dr. Lynch and those of Mental Health Service Survivors the length and breadth of the country are being so blatantly ignored? Pharmaceutical companies do not speak for us! Nor do See Change, Green Ribbon’s, Aware, Shine, Mental Health Reform, Mental Health Ireland, The Mental Health Commission, The Mental Health Engagement and Recovery Office, or, Irish Advocacy Network speak for us!

I call on you President Higgins to meet with and speak with Dr. Lynch and with those Mental Health Service Survivors who know only too well the fraud and the abuse that has occurred and is still occurring throughout our nation.

Richard Patterson,

County Leitrim.

I also put it to you Minister Flanagan that during my six-year career as a peer advocate I witnessed situations where people were detained in the “care” of Mental Health Services funded by the Irish state who were labelled by “Health Professionals” committed to the ideologies of the medical model of disability as “People with Intellectual Disabilities”. J.H., as referred to in the 2007 High Court Judgement [2007] IEHC 7 – 2006 1719 SS – 02/06/2007, H. -v- Russell & ors, I am a witness to the fact was one such person. While almost three years had elapsed after this judgement before my recruitment as a trainee peer advocate, J.H. had been detained by the “mental health services” all of that time. Although I am glad to have played a minor personal role in securing his eventual release, I believe that J.H. should never have had his liberty removed from him by his state as it was for so many years. I echo the words of Dr. Terry Lynch as previously quoted in stating that I believe that the manner in which J.H. was treated was “every bit as scandalous as the outrages of the past – e.g. Magdalen Laundries, Tuam babies, clerical sex abuse, etc – which politicians have been publicly stating must never happen again.”. The kind of situation which J.H. was forced to endure is I believe however, neither unique nor confined to historical Irish contexts.

I reiterate Minister Flanagan that I believe that there is no reason why the Department of Justice and Equality should not directly provide the funding required for the work of the National Platform of Self Advocates to continue. This is a matter of upholding citizen’s rights and not of charity! I urge you to take immediate action to make such funding a reality, and I invite all fellow psychiatric system survivors and their allies who feel at liberty enough to do so, to join me in making this call to you.

Richard Patterson,

County Leitrim.

Donna McNamara

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you as a former constituent to express my deep concern at the news that The National Platform of Self Advocates is being forced to close due to lack of funding. I implore you to consider urgent action in this regard as the...

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Tony Gapper

Dear Minister Flanagan, The closure of the National Platform of Self Advocates in January 2020 is simply an outrage, due to alleged funding concerns; which is run by individuals with intellectual disabilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. For those...

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Karen O’Shea

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Charlotte May-Simera

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Edel McSharry

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you with regard to the National Platform of Self Advocates. As I’m sure you are aware, the National Platform is having to make the decision to close in the New Year, due to a lack of funding. It is essential that this does not...

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Emma Burns

Dear Minister Flanagan, I’m writing to protest the imminent closure of the National Platform of Self-Advocates and to ask you to intervene to prevent the blow to disability rights in Ireland that this loss represents. Ireland was one of the last state parties to...

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Mark Kealy

Dear Minister, I am dismayed to learn that the National Platform of Self-Advocates have been forced to announce they are ceasing operations from January due to an absence of funding and support for their work. I have been involved with advocacy groups since the 1980's...

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Centre for Disability Law and Policy

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Adrian Carroll

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you to express my concerns regarding the impending closure of the National Platform of Self-Advocates, a national organisation led by people with intellectual disabilities to represent the voice of people with intellectual...

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Maria Walls

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Paula Brennan

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you with regard to the National Platform of Self Advocates. As I’m sure you are aware, the National Platform is having to make the decision to close in the New Year, due to a lack of funding.  It is essential that this does not...

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Shelley Gaynor -ILMI

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Helen McGloin

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Carmel Jennings

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Fiona Walsh

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Catherine O’Leary

Dear Minister Flanagan, I write to express my disappointment at the announced closure of the National Platform of Self Advocates, Ireland's only Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) operated by those with intellectual disability. The consultation and involvement of...

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Susan Carton

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you with regard to the National Platform of Self Advocates. As I’m sure you are aware, the National Platform is having to make the decision to close in the New Year, due to a lack of funding. It is essential that this does not...

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Sarah Lennon

Dear Minister Flanagan, I am writing to you with dismay at the news that the National Platform of Self Advocates is to close after almost 9 years due to a lack of funding. The Platform has been a critical voice for people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland, a...

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Address
The National Platform of Self Advocates
The Carmichael Centre
4 North Brunswick Street
Dublin 7

email: myvoiceireland@gmail.com
Tel: 01 873 5702