What We Do
Inspired is a community project for young adults with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) based in Tralee, Co. Kerry. Participants attend Inspired 5 days a week to pursue a dedicated person-centred programme aimed at developing their continued education, employability and community participation.
There are 3 branches to our activities, all of which align with the strategic priorities of the ‘Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities’.
Inspired is a not-for-profit organisation, dedicated solely to the provision of lifelong education and support of young adolescents and adults with Intellectual Disabilities. It was founded by a group of parents who were desperately seeking an alternative to the traditional to current post school settings. They believed that those with Intellectual disabilities, should be an integral part of society. They set out to establish a centre where self-advocacy and social inclusion was a priority. They believed that through increased social participation, opportunities would exist for those with ID to access, education, employment and support to develop either partial or full independency.
Inspired was founded by a group of parents and young people with disabilities in 2014. These young people expressed that they wanted to continue their education, find employment and have a more meaningful role in their local community upon leaving school. They also expressed the desire to have purpose in their lives, which we all need in order to have a sense of value and fulfilment. Inspired recognises that people with ID deserve to have some agency over their own lives, rather than rely on decisions made solely by other people on their behalf. Equally we acknowledge they are part of a cohort of disadvantaged learners.
Who We Are
Liz MaherProject Manager
Fran, is a founding member of Inspired and was part of the Inspired team who hosted an inclusive fashion show that highlighted the efforts of designers such as Don O’Neill to enhance disability integration. She has particular expertise in areas of youth development and leadership and promoting career readiness for people with ID. Fran, a qualified Homeopath, is one of Irelands long established leaders in this sector. She sits on the Inspired Financial Advisory Committee and is Treasurer for the organisation. Her passion to promote the rights of people with ID stems from her son David who is Down Syndrome. From the time David was born Fran’s career has paralleled with her personal plight for change within the disability sector. She aims to create community and employer awareness and continues to champion self-advocacy and citizenship.
One of the original founding members of Inspired. He has helped transform the organisation to grow from an idea to what it is today. He has been an advocate for people with ID since the birth of his daughter Anna 20 years ago, and has sat on many boards from preschools to national organisations all with the one aim of improving the lives of people with ID. His personal drive and commitment to Inspired has been invaluable. As chairperson he ensures that the board functions as a unit and works closely with everyone to achieve agreed objectives.
Maree O Connor is a founding member of Inspired and is currently one of our three Directors. Maree also sits on the Board of Inspired and is our Education Officer. She is a former National Education Officer for Down Syndrome Ireland. Maree has four children, one of whom, Labhaoise, has Down Syndrome and has been involved with Children and Adults with disabilities for over 30 years. A native of Carlow, she taught in Dublin and subsequently in Tralee until she retired from Teaching in 2016. Most of her Teaching career was spent as Resource Teacher catering and advocating for children with Special Needs. She now volunteers in our organisation on a daily basis, promoting our Ethos of Education, Employment opportunities and Active citizenship.
Liz has been involved in the delivery of a number of complex business and energy projects across Europe. Her experience spans from the development and implementation of local Business Expo’s, consultations on a broad range of business plans for local entrepreneurs, and leading a business women’s networking organisation on behalf of Kerry Local enterprise office for over 4yrs. Prior to her role as manager of Inspired, she managed a multi-million euro energy plant operation while leading large, globally dispersed teams.
Her business experience is coupled with qualifications in Quality Improvements, Risk Management and Psychology. She is interested in sustainable development in education and employment. Liz is particularly passionate about community and societal issues around diversity and inclusivity and is a strong advocate of entrepreneurship and equality.
Donal is a former Primary School Principal and is currently a member of the Board of Inspired. He is father to Labhaoise who has Downs Syndrome and is married to Maree. Prior to his retirement Donal taught in Dublin and Tralee. In 1987, he became Principal of the primary school he attended as a child and saw the school flourish and enrolments grow year of year until his retirement in 2017. Donal, along with his wife Maree, were founding members of Inspired and both are involved with participants on a daily basis.
Since retiring from her role as Business and IT teacher, Kay has focused on facilitating the inclusion of young people with special educational needs within the post-secondary landscape. She joined the board of Inspired in 2019 and sits on the Admissions & Further Education Committee. Kay is responsible for the review of relevant policy and literature and aims to improve the quality and scope of educational opportunities for Inspired participants. She is keen to develop a structured framework for educational provisions, including review of outcomes. This will include joined up thinking across the organisation and inclusion of participants views and opinions..
Yvonne is one of the founding members of Inspired. As part of her role, she ensures that the day-to-day operations of the organisation runs smoothly and is an integral part of helping to drive the leadership and development goals to fulfil the mission of Inspired. Yvonne is a qualified nurse and Chairs the Inspired Quality Improvement Committee, specialising in the area of clinical governance and safety of vulnerable persons.
Lorna is a successful local businesswoman. Her son Eoin, who has an intellectual disability (ID) has spurred her to become not only an influencer, but an agent of change and community connector. Lorna has acted as a bridge between the organisation and the community at large. Lorna sits on Inspired Estate and Health & Safety Committee and is also a dedicated member of the Events Committee. As a business person she is keen to see that people with ID become deeply engrained into the business community.
Jim is a founding member of Inspired. Jim has been treasurer since start & is presently joint treasurer. Jim has a son, Sean, with Down syndrome, he is 20 years of age. Jim’s interest in Inspired is to highlight the need for people with Intellectual Disability, to be a part of the community and contribute both workwise and socially. Jim is a bank official with Bank Of Ireland and is working and living in Listowel. Jim’s hobbies are GAA and golf.