HSE Marks International Day of People with Disabilities with new staff network for employees with a disability

 Launch of Le Chéile Network

To coincide with International Day of People with Disabilities, taking place on Saturday December 3rd, the HSE officially launched the Le Chéile Network this week and is promoting staff participation in the Network across all parts of the HSE.

Le Chéile is an Irish word meaning “together” – staff across the HSE will work together to develop a more positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Le Chéile Network acts as a representative voice for staff with visible and invisible disabilities, a forum where staff can discuss workplace experiences, and a resource on disability-related topics. Supported by the HSE’s Diversity Equality and Inclusion team, the Le Chéile Network aims to promote a positive working environment whereby all employees feel supported and valued. Staff members across all grades and from all parts of the HSE, will work towards furthering the development of a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Globally, it is estimated that 10% of the workforce has a disability. Staff networks play an important role in raising organisational awareness about the importance of creating safe spaces for staff to feel comfortable disclosing information about a disability and the importance of disability inclusion.

The benefits of staff networks, also known as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), have been well documented. Staff networks provide a forum to connect with other staff who may have similar experiences in the workplace and an opportunity for staff to contribute personal stories and experience into policy and practice.

“I joined the network because I wanted to be part of a bigger group of people with disabilities who share similar experiences as myself,” said Kellie O’Farrell, Occupational Therapist and member of the Le Chéile Network. “I want to be part of a group where I can advocate for my rights to ensure that I am working in an inclusive, positive work environment.”

“There needs to be a group together to build this cohesiveness and there’s power in people with different experiences and levels within the HSE. You can be isolated with a disability so it’s nice to be able to share your experiences with others. It brings a bit of camaraderie and fun.” said Cathy Heely, Senior Social Worker, Family Therapist and Le Chéile Network member.

“The establishment of a network for staff with disabilities is an important step in engaging with employees and allies” said Maria Barry, Diversity Equality and Inclusion Manager in HSE’s HR Capability and Culture.

Maria added that “an estimated 70% of us will be affected by a disability at some point in our lifetime so it’s really important that we create a culture of disability inclusion and awareness in the HSE.’’

Pat Fallon, Assistant Staff Officer and Le Chéile Network member said, “The HSE, the largest public sector organisation, can be a leading light in relation to the employment of people with disabilities. Please see our ability not disability.’’

For more information visit Diversity, equality and inclusion at the HSE staff website and watch this video about the HSE Le Chéile Network https://youtu.be/2mzB1NfJFLM


Last updated on: 02 / 12 / 2022