A Bit Different: Disability in Ireland brings the reader on a journey exploring the ideas that influence our thinking about people with disabilities. In the year when Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, A Bit Different answers the question as to why the road to equal rights for people with disabilities is strewn with so many potholes.
Its chapters analyse the impact of the Nazi programme to annihilate people with disabilities and create an ‘Aryan race,’ as well as the Irish habit of placing people with perceived differences into closed institutions. Drawing on examples from Germany, Romania, Italy and the US, the book casts a different or alternative light on the Army Deafness cases of the 1970s and the more recent Tuam discovery of unburied babies. Among its ten chapters, the author provides a new look at the rise of the independent living movement in Ireland among people with disabilities themselves and provides a critical appraisal of the increasing State regulation and enforcement of standards of living in residential centres for people with disabilities.
Students of Disability Studies will find the first historical timeline of disability policy events over two centuries, especially useful in understanding the history of disability rights in Ireland.
The intended readership for this book is among the 600,000 Irish people who describe themselves as having a disability or long-standing health condition, their friends, families, advocates, carers, social care supporters, work colleagues and employers.
Dr Pauline Conroy is a social scientist and policy analyst who has worked and studied on equality issues in London, Paris, Florence, Boston, Brussels, Geneva and Dublin. A graduate of University College Dublin and the London School of Economics, she is a writer and lecturer in social policy with a special interest in Disability Studies and Social Care. She has published on disability rights with the thinktank TASC, the Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland, Disability and Society and Studies an Irish Quarterly Review.