This week has been incredibly hectic, but at least I can relax now, knowing that the protest was a success.

The demonstration took place at 12:00 outside of Leinster House on the 19th of January. Attended by friends and family, student unions and charities from as far as Galway, my expectations were exceeded, and I felt slightly-overwhelmed. Unexpectedly, the protest was so heavily covered by the media. I gave interview upon interview, and took photos until I felt my smile drooping. I’ll link a few on our Facebook page and Twitter, to fully account the protest for those of you who were unable to attend.

After photos has been taken of the crowd, a microphone was handed around, and an array of people shared their stories and how the CRPD would benefit their lives if ratified. At first, I shied away from the microphone and the idea of speaking so publically about a plight I try to hide and overcome. But, after all, somebody has to say something if you want to be listened to and understood.

I’ll admit that I even felt a bit disheartened when there was no sign of TD Finian McGrath , even with having had confirmation that either McGrath or his assistant would come out to meet us. I was incredibly disappointed, but I can’t say I’m surprised, seeing as he has promised the ratification of the CRPD many times before.

I can’t thank the people who came to support enough, it really meant the world to me to see that others feel so passionately about and wanted to support an issue that I hold so dear to my heart.

Later that day, it was stated in the Dáil by Frances Fitzgerald that the UNCRPD legislation will be passed again through the Dáil in February! As elated as I am to hear this, I will remain sceptical up until the moment when the legislation is passed.

The huge success of this protest was only a small step towards equality for those with disabilities in Ireland. A lot is yet to be changed!

Updates to follow as the situation continues!

Niamh

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