The Brothers of Charity Services – supporting  intellectual disability and autism services

The Brothers of Charity Services is the largest provider of intellectual disability and autism services in Ireland, supporting 7,000 people and their families.

Brothers of Charity recognises each person’s right to determine their life goals. Guided by a strong ethos, inclusion is a fundamental principle underlying all aspects of service provision.

An important pillar of this ethos is Advocacy. The Brothers of Charity National Advocacy Council represents people supported by the Services, providing its experience and views to the organisation.

Claire Nagle and Pat Flaherty are Chairperson and Member of the Council and we caught up with them to find out more about the role of Advocacy.

How does the Advocacy Council function?

Claire: The National Advocacy Council meets regularly and is made up of representatives from each of our regional councils. Each region gives their input and opinions on how things should be, and how things should work in the service, we have quarterly meetings with the leadership team to discuss important issues.

How do staff work alongside people supported by the Services?

Pat: Staff are very encouraging. Whether it is making us more independent, supporting us to get a job, finding out what events are happening and supporting us to build relationships and friendships.

Would you have any examples to share of how staff improve the lives of people supported? 

Pat: I have heard great examples of how staff have improved people’s lives for example, moving into independent living. People choose where they want to live, decorate their own homes, and make them more accessible. It is no longer about living in a group home. Those days are gone.

Staff also encourage people’s talents such as playing musical instruments, acting, poetry, dancing, writing, plays, photography and supporting them to find them their dream job.

Staff support people to get involved in social enterprises, coffee and craft shops, farmer’s markets, and being involved in how the services runs.   People supported are involved in interviewing and recruiting staff who work with them and in training programs for staff and  putting together strategy plans.

Claire: When I decided to do my parachute jump, staff supported my decision and helped me research where it could be done. I raised money for the Irish Cancer Society. Staff also helped me run a coffee morning to raise money. Staff gave me confidence and support.

What do the Advocacy Council see as being the most important characteristics of staff?

Pat: Having a personality and being approachable. It is important that they involve the person they support in discussions and get their opinions before they support them in anything in their lives.

Staff must encourage and give you confidence and make you believe that you can achieve anything in life. They should make sure people understand what is being said by delivering it in a way that they understand

Staff need to be aware that there are barriers for people with disabilities, but do their best to remove them and ensure that people go where they want to go. And do the things they want in life.

Claire: Always be positive; never criticize. Be respectful in their use of language and how they speak to a person they support. Treat people like adults and equally.

For more information about Careers with Brothers of Charity Services Ireland, visit

Sponsored Content







For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up