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History of Centres for Independent Living

The Independent Living Movement evolved in the United States in the 1970’s, as disabled people responded to their historic experiences of exclusion and discrimination. Centre’s for Independent Living became a successful campaign, which led to legislation and policies to come into effect to support disabled people in relation to access to education, public transport and employment.


The first Centre was founded by disability activists led by Ed Roberts, Berkeley, California. The Centre for Independent Living supported people with disabilities in their quest to become independent. CIL encouraged and supported disabled people to make their own choices and helped them to open doors in society to full participation and access for all. According to the Independent Living Movement, everyone, including people with extensive disabilities, can learn to make their own choices in life and take control, with a little help from their peers

Centres for Independent Living in Ireland

The first Irish Centre for Independent Living was established in 1992, with location being Carmichael House, Dublin 7, by Martin Naughton. He was Mayo born, but spent most of his life dreaming of living more independently, so he decided to open a Centre for people with disabilities who want to live a more independent life. First known as INCARE, the Dublin CIL was funded by the EU Pilot Project, and later was taken over by the Irish Wheelchair Association in 1995.

There are now over 25 Centre’s for Independent Living working with Leaders in their communities across Ireland. Over the past two decades, the Independent Living philosophy have provided an approach to remove barriers and obstacles that have restricted and denied the participation of Irish disabled folk. It provides a framework for the provision of equality and opportunities for the Leaders to participate in employment, education, social, recreational and cultural opportunities in Ireland. 

The Centre for Independent Living supports people with disabilities in their endeavor to become independent. It is encouraged by CIL's, that people with disabilities make their own choices. It also helps to enable people with disabilities to open doors in society to full participation and access for all.

Centres for Independent Living sometimes can assist people with disabilities with housing referrals and adaption, personal assistance referral or legal aid, depending on the public services in the community. CIL's typically work with local and regional governments in trying to achieve improved infrastructure, raised awareness about disability issues and lobby for legislation that promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discrimination.

Offaly Centre for Independent Living Ltd    E-mail: ocil@eircom.net
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