independent people with disabilities equal to everyone else


Westmeath, Longford and Roscommon

Annual Report 2016

Company Registration Number:



Charitable Status Number:





Paul Connellan Solicitors,
Custume Place,
Co. Westmeath.

Tel: (090) 64 80700
Fax: (090) 64 80750




Tom Carolan & Co.
Chartered Accountants & Registered Auditors,
33 Austin Friars Street,
Co. Westmeath.

Mobile: (087) 121 6345







Current Company Board of Directors

As of Friday 29th July, 2016

  • Mr. Mark Ahern.
  • Mr. Michael Mulvey.
  • Ms. Carol Harrington.
  • Mrs. Mary Meares.
  • Mr. Larry Quain.
  • Mr. Noel Mulvihill.
  • Mr. John Duignan.
  • Mrs. Carmel Donovan.
  • Mr. Dermot Hope.
  • Mr. Seán Kane.
  • Mr. Joe Faherty.
  • Ms. Emma Mc Manus.

The year for us started with the news that our good friend and colleague Hugh Mc Guire had been hospitalised during the Christmas period and had to have major surgery. Even though Hugh was in hospital, he was in constant contact with the organisation and kept up to date with events happening in Independent People with Disabilities through interaction with Michael Mulvey who was acting as Office Manager in his absence.

Hugh was still very alert wanting to know what was happening on a daily basis and was willing to come back to the organisation he had given so much of his life to.

We were given the news that Hugh had sadly passed away on Friday, 12th February, 2016.

Michael Mulvey was asked if he would take over the job of Company Secretary and Office Manager by the members of the board and he was more than willing to take up the role so diligently executed by the late Hugh Mc Guire.

Tributes to the Late Hugh Mc Guire

Michael Mulvey (Company Secretary) Says:-

I had the pleasure of knowing Hugh, He approached me at a meeting for the Guide Dogs association of Ireland from which I resigned. He stated to me four words “You’re coming with me”. I was new to the organisation and Hugh brought me to meetings which he attended and trained me up in the area of advocacy for people who were looking for benefits.

His knowledge of all things disability really impressed on me the importance of the work I was going to be involved in. When he got sick in April 2015 I was told I was to take over the reigns of running the office.

Hugh was still very much involved in the day to day business of the office up to Christmas coming to the office every Tuesday morning when he was able.

When I heard of his passing I was quite saddened by the news but I promised Hugh that I would do my best to keep the organisation going as long as I could though I was “not fit to tie his shoelaces”, but to date we have had success in a number of cases where people were looking for their benefits re-instated and I intend to keep the flag flying in disability circles as long as I am able.

Mark Ahern (Chairperson) says:-

It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of our Vice Chair, Director and company secretary of IPWD Hugh Mc Guire. He worked tirelessly for people with disabilities and gave so much of his free time to attend meetings and meet members with difficulties. During all that time he was instrumental in keeping disability issues near the top of the agenda locally.

He was also a great friend with a quick wit and broad smile. I miss our chats after meetings and his mischievous grin. It pleases me to think that's he's still there in spirit wanting us to continue his good work.

Dermot Hope (Office worker) says:-

I have known Hugh since 9th December 2002 or a little before it when I came for interview for this job when the organisation was People with Disabilities in Ireland. While I have a disability I had a lot to learn about the different types of disability and Hugh thought me a lot about rights and wrongs in the world of disability.

I was thought how to translate documents into braille for him and write up reports for him after he would come home from meetings so that he could e-mail them to the different organisations he was involved with.

Though we had many good times, Hugh was not behind the door in correcting me when I would do something wrong but he would never hold on to a grudge.

I will miss his towering intellect and his sharp wit and I will always remember him as a good friend, a gentle giant who had a heart of gold and as the teacher who thought me to be the person I am today. Thank you Hugh.

Business of the office

Independent People with Disabilities held a total of four meetings in 2016 including our Annual General Meeting which was held in the Prince of Wales hotel, Church Street, Athlone.

The office is running smoothly we have a steady flow of people coming in looking for their entitlements to be re-instated; people come in also looking for information on different disabilities.

Annual General Meeting 2016

On Thursday 21st July, 2016 Independent People with Disabilities held their A.G.M. in the Prince of Wales Hotel, Church Street, Athlone. Minister Denis Naughten opened our meeting and spoke about bringing disability into public view. He also spoke about the warmer homes scheme and improving the broadband to help people with disabilities.

Our Guest Speaker was Ms. Olivia Lennon from Glasson, Athlone and she spoke about her acquired disability, building up confidence and being a lone parent.

Mark Ahern gave his address as current Chairperson of the organisation. He paid a warm tribute to the late Hugh Mc Guire saying that he worked tirelessly for people with disabilities and always tried his best to find solutions to the various issues that came our way. He also alluded to his quick wit and his towering intellect – traits which he will miss the most.

He went on to say that the organisation is still going strong due the current Board of Directors and he stated that a better group of people he has never met.

Disabilities Showcase Day 2016

On Wednesday 19th October the Disability Subgroup of Westmeath Community Development held their ninth annual Disability Services & Information Showcase Day in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Dublin Road, Mullingar.

There were 38 stands at it, all disability organisations represented in the county displayed their services to members of the public. 230 people passed through the doors on the day and this was the best day to date.

Speakers on the day included:- Joe Potter who opened the event, Mark Ahern who spoke about Independent People with Disabilities and what we do for the community. Gaynor Bayer from Mullingar Access Group who spoke about a new initiative to improve disability access in Mullingar through a collaborative approach with local businesses. Angela Locke Reilly from Airc Midlands who spoke about their service in the community. Joe Mc Caul who spoke about his experience with disability and how he has managed it. Frankie Keena who spoke about The Older Peoples Forum.

Independent People with Disabilities were invited and although interest in our organisation was evident from the numbers of people who came up to us, we only got three new members from the event.

While the day was a great success there was a tinge of sadness felt by all the organisers and anyone who knew him, at the sad loss of the late Hugh Mc Guire.

3rd December 2016

On Thursday 1st December 2016 Independent People with Disabilities held a half day conference in the Mullingar Park Hotel, Dublin Road, Mullingar to mark the annual International People with Disabilities Day entitled “Education for People with Disabilities and the Older Person”.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works with special responsibility for flood relief, Mr. Seán Canney TD attended the occasion in Mullingar to give the opening remarks at the conference.

He remarked “The Independent Alliance in their negotiations for Government insisted on a Minister in Government with sole responsibility for disabilities. History was subsequently made last May when Independent Alliance TD, Finian McGrath was appointed Minister of State for Disabilities who, in addition was given a seat at Cabinet”. He further more stated “It is very important that International Day of Persons with Disabilities is recognised and supported and I want to thank everyone associated with today's event here in Mullingar including the chair of Independent People with Disabilities, Mark Ahern and its secretary Michael Mulvey. I would also like to acknowledge the presence of Westmeath County Council Chief Executive, Pat Gallagher and the council's disability officer, Annette Barr-Jordan.”

Other speakers at the conference included Mr. Pat Gallagher Chief Executive of Westmeath County Council who spoke about the increase in funding for Housing Adaptations grants for 2017. He acknowledged Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr. Frank McDermott and Mayor of Athlone, Cllr. John Dolan and stated that Westmeath County Council elected members prioritised this increase in funding in 2017 in recognition of people with disabilities and older people in the county.

Other speakers included:- Ms. Bernie Langtry, Disability Liaison Officer with Athlone Institute of Technology, Ms. Hilary Claffey, Rehabilitative Facilitator with the National Learning Network in Mullingar, Mr. Joshua Heery, student at the National Learning centre in Mullingar, Ms. Goretti Quinn, Mother with a young son who has autism and Ms. Nuala O Brien, Community Education Facilitator with the Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board.

The conference was very informative and enjoyed by all those present.


The organization continues to have representation in the various committees such as:-

  • Westmeath Public Partnership Network
  • Westmeath Local Community Development Committee
  • Disability Subgroup of Westmeath Community Development Ltd
  • Community Health Forum
  • Westmeath Youth Forum
  • Westmeath Joint Policing Committee
  • Westmeath Older Peoples Forum

This gives the organization significant influence in the community.


In conclusion I, Michael Mulvey would like to take this opportunity to thank Dermot Hope (Disability Information & Development Worker) for listening to those who contributed to the various tributes to our good friend Hugh Mc Guire, May he rest in Peace. We will keep the flag flying for you, Hugh.

I would also like to thank all of my fellow Directors on the Board for their continued support in fundraising activities which Independent People with Disabilities was involved in throughout the year and I look forward to working with you all into the future.