‘From a source of shame to the pride of the Island’: disability, advocacy and the media in Ireland, 1959-2003

Year of award: 2015


  • David Kilgannon    

    National University of Ireland, Galway

Project summary

This project will examine the treatment and perception of people with disabilities in Ireland from 1959 to 2003 – particularly uncovering the catalysts for change to the country’s care systems.

I aim to provide the first detailed history of disability and disability provision in Ireland in this period. I will examine how perceptions changed from viewing disability as an indicator of divine will necessitating seclusion, to the view that state policy must facilitate autonomy for people with disabilities. I will unravel the effect of those changes on the Irish state’s system of disability provision, as the duty of care shifted and new systems of care were introduced, including disability benefit and carer’s allowance. 

I will also provide an insight into integration and how it became the standard mode of disability care, and how the current system of state provision for the disabled came into being.