As a Senator, Colette has highlighted the need for the Government to adequately invest in healthcare, education, financial support and housing for people with disabilities. She is a member of the Oireachtas Disability Group and has co-signed the Community Participation (Disability) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019. Colette has worked with Independent Living Movement Ireland and champions a ‘Right to Personal Assistance’. From 2011 – 2015 Colette was CEO of the Cope Foundation. She was responsible for all aspects of the operation of this ‘section 38’ agency, which provides services and support to 2,500 adults and children in Cork City and County, employs 1,000 staff from multidisciplinary backgrounds.

Key Actions

  • Amended and strengthened the Education (Admissions to Schools) Bill 2018, now Act, giving additional legal powers for the National Council of Special Education (NCSE) to intervene when a school refuses to offer a child with autism a place.
  • Mental Health can be classified as a disability by the World Health Organisation. Colette was a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Future of Mental Health Care which met 2017-2018, and whose final report was published in October 2018.
  • Reorganised and reoriented Cope Foundation services from a ‘medical’ to a social model including ‘smart’ housing and use of assistive technology
  • Prepared for and secured HIQA registration of all residential settings
  • Introduced ‘lean management’, transparent and compliant procurement processes as well as a review of governance

Colette speaking on Disabilities issues in the Seanad

Transcript: Seanad Éireann debate – Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018. Associated video below.