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By Dermot O'Hara

By Garbhan Downey
Chapter 1
The invisible Lives of Adult with Learning Disabilities
The stories that follow were derived from interviews conducted at Destined’s offices in Great James Street, during September 2009 and June 2011. All those who took part did so willingly, and they subsequently approved the final text of their stories prior to publication.The terminology used here varies slightly – with some interviewees using the term "learning difficulty”, others using “learning disability” and others again using both. In most cases, the term used by reporters was “learning difficulty”. What is very apparent through these stories is how society’s response to people with learning difficulties has changed, mostly for the better, over the past 60 years. So to give the reader a sense of that, we decided to present the stories in chronological order, with the eldest interviewees first.
Bernadette Bradly

I never saw the outside world
Colm Cusack

I never let it hold me back
Hugh Hegarty

People don't get put down anymore
Dympna Markey

I was an easy target
George Harkin

I was an Olympic gold medal winner
Michael McEvoy

I'm far from stupid
Kathleen McCrea

We're just like a family
Patrick Lavery

Excuse me I am here
Jim O'Reily

I sat watching TV day in and day out
Lisa Mallet

I smile all the time
Michael Cole

I didn't want to believe I had a disability
Adele Darby

I have something to get up for everyday
Roisin Doherty

My friends don't see the disability, I'm just me
Darryl McDonough

I work in a hotel as a prep chef
Kevin Donnelly

Once I got it out, it felt great
Chapter 2
The Invisible Lives of Carers and Guardians

The People interviewed in the following section have devoted the bulk of their lives to caring for children or adults with learning difficulties. Several are professionals in the field, and all are strong advocates for the rights of their charges. Once again, the stories are presented chronologically, to best highlight the changes that have taken place over the lifetimes of those interviewed.
George Glenn

We weren't far sighted enough
Mary Jo McEvoy

I'd love him to meet someone
Bernie Gallagher

The southern care system was 25 years behind
Kathleen Mallett

I try not to think what will happen after we go
Teresa McDonough

I wondered if I done something wron
Brian Quigg and Paula McNamara

People with disabilities are still exploited