Our Jacob – a picture show extravaganza

Because I am a lazy blogger and continually blow off everyone when they ask for pics, today I present… Our Jacob, The Story So Far, a picture show extavaganza.

The track is by a fantastic guy called Roesy. I hope he doesn’t mind my casual bit of borrowing. By way of atonement I’d direct you all to iTunes where you can buy some of his wonderful work.

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Talking on the radio about Our Jacob

I was asked to speak on The John Murray Show on RTE 1, Ireland’s largest national station. He was very nice to talk to, and on the back of some very positive coverage that Down syndrome has received here recently, the entire piece was very warm and engaging.

Therein lies the problem for me. I had an opportunity to raise one or two critical points about services, about how important funding is now, and I got caught up in the cosiness of talking about how wonderful Jacob is. That in itself is not wrong, and I don’t for a second criticise the very nice people at The John Murray Show, but I am kicking myself now.

We're not walking yet, but we can get there

Here’s what I did say.

Talking on the national airwaves about Our Jacob

Here’s what I didn’t say.

Our backs are against the wall. The economy has never been in a more precarious state. Unemployment is ludicrously high and emigration has swiftly and devastatingly replaced immigration. The Church, for so long an incredibly powerful presence in the lives of ordinary Irish people, has been neutered and is not even on the radar of many young families. We are spiritually lost, economically bereft and lacking in leadership we can trust. We are in the shit.

The stuff is gone. The swagger has turned to a shuffle. Now is the moment we find out who we are. And if we are anything decent, anything that our trusting, hard-working parents and grandparents would have wished us to be, we will hold fast to what is important. We will make sure that nobody is left behind. We will give to those who need it most. This is a rich country, alive with ambition and intelligence. It is our choice whether we use those gifts for the pursuit of selfish gain, as we’ve gotten used to, or something more fundamental. We are, for the most part, and with some notable exceptions, all in it together. If we allow others to foist ill-thought-out strategies on us just to ensure that some bond holders, who do not care a whit for people, can take the skin off our backs then we are complicit in our own destruction. If we allow health cuts to sacrifice a single one of our weaker members then we are complicit in our own destruction. If we do not fight, haggle and scream about how important these, the weakest, are to our own essence as creatures capable of having a conscience, then we are complicit in our own destruction. Self interest over the last 15 years has guided us straight to hell. We could argue for several years about our accepting herd mentality in Ireland, but it would only serve one purpose: to stop us from actually doing anything. Winter is here and we no longer have that option.

That’s what I didn’t say. It’s not a plea for Jacob. It’s a plea for everyone who is different. And no matter how in the middle of the middle you consider yourself to be, you’re different too. Now that I’ve written it I’m kicking myself all the more.

Honest to God. That's the international banking quarter, Oct 2010

The argument for mainstream inclusion

An evening conference is happening on Thursday, October 7th in the D4 hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin on the topic of Positive Attitudes and Actions for Inclusion. Sensible timing for Dublin-based people, kicking off at 7 pm.

It’s being run by My Special Needs and you can get more details on it from the site, but the highlights are below. It’s free in too, which you can’t say about too many events these days. You even get a cuppa tay. The doc is byDan Habib, detailing his family’s struggle to gain inclusion for their son Samuel.

7.00 p.m. Reception – Tea/Coffee
7.30 p.m. Welcome from Sunday Indo journo MC Carol Hunt
7.45 p.m. Opening address from Tommy Boyle (Co-founder My Special Neeeds)
8.00 p.m. 1st Speaker Dr Artemi Sakellariadis Director Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE) UK
8.15 p.m. Documentary of Michael Boyle in Mainstream School
8.30 p.m. 2nd Speaker Professor Sue Buckley Founder of Downsed International
8.45 p.m. Introduction to Documentary “Including Samuel” by Dan Habib

9.00 p.m Screening of Including Samuel
10.00 p.m. Post-screening commentary by Dan Habib, Samuel’s father
10.15 p.m. Keynote speech John Moloney, Minister for Disability and Mental Health
10.30 p.m. Conclude

Fairly serious lineup. There’s even a minister in there, so you can politely ask him about cutbacks and which monkeys are deciding what gets cut. And who said check the car park to see if he’s got an official driver and car waiting? Wasn’t me. I’ll certainly be doing my best to get along to what looks like a thoroughly practical and interesting evening on a topic that I’ve not made my mind up about yet. Might see you there?