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Conference celebrating Persons with Disabilities hailed ‘huge success’

11 December 2017

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s second annual European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference held at Strabane’s Alley Theatre in partnership with the Public Health Agency, has been hailed as a huge success.

The Mayor, Councillor Maolíosa Mc Hugh, who opened the conference, said he was delighted with the participation of all those involved, adding: “The European Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year but this was the second year Council hosted a conference which turned out to be a huge success with many powerful performances and speakers.”

Mayor McHugh continued: “Many travelled long distances to attend the conference which reminds us how important these type of events are in ensuring access and inclusion is part of our everyday life and, it also provided an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of those with disabilities.

“Council continues to be committed to ensuring our city and district is a place where residents and visitors are treated equally and have the best opportunity to increase their quality of life experience and overall health and well-being.”

Critically-acclaimed comedian Francesca Martinez, who has turned her experiences of living with cerebral palsy into an award-winning stand-up show which was touring at the Alley, was among guests at the conference.

Louise Boyce, Derry City and Strabane District’s Council’s Access and Inclusion Officer, said: “Council is committed to working in partnership with agencies such as the Public Health Agency to promote and improve Access and Inclusion for the pan disability community in the Western region.

“It was great to have Francesca Martinez, who is a critically-acclaimed comedian, at the conference. Her ability to inspire and encourage those in attendance was very uplifting and supports our work with those with various abilities, by ensuring they speak out and help us all work towards leading and supporting the needs and policies that affect people with disabilities.”

Other speakers at the conference included representatives from Arts Council NI, Queen’s University, Public Health Agency and Arts Disability Forum with innovative performances that included D/deaf choir, D/deaf comedy and Lilliput Theatre performing a segment of their “El Galacticos”.

A booklet entitled “The Journey so Far”, featuring the progress Derry City and Strabane District Council has made supporting the pan disability community, was launched at the conference by Stephen Gillespie, Council’s Director of Business and Culture.

For more information about Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Access and Inclusion programmes and “The Journey so Far” booklet, please contact: [email protected] or telephone 028 7125 3253 ext: 4349.