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Funding Body

North–South Research Programme (Shared Island Fund)

About the Project

Communication is a human right and is fundamental to our identity and to having rich, meaningful participation in all aspects of life. Communication disability (for example, as experienced by people living with dementia and following a stroke) and difference (for example, the Traveller and Deaf communities) have been documented as risk factors for social exclusion in both North and South Ireland. This exclusion negatively impacts community participation, relationships, employability, and mental well-being. Therefore, there is a pressing need to address communication access issues across the island of Ireland.

Led by Dr Helen Kelly (University College Cork) and Dr Lynda Kennedy (Ulster University) we are delighted to be one of the successful recipients of the North–South Research Programme (Strand I). Our research team leads include

  • Dr Caroline Jagoe (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Dr Ruth McMenamin (NUI Galway)
  • Dr Orla Duffy (Ulster University)
  • Dr James Green (University of Limerick)


  • Rosalind Gray Rogers (Ulster University)
  • Dr Áine Kearns (University of Limerick)
  • Dr Molly Manning (University of Limerick)
  • Dorothy Clarke (Ulster University)
  • Yvonne Fitzmaurice (NUI Galway)

We are pleased to partner with

  • The Irish Heart Foundation
  • Stroke Association NI
  • The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • Alzheimer’s Society UK
  • Galway Travellers Movement
  • Irish Deaf Society

Project Goals

Our overall vision is to create a communicatively inclusive society across Ireland, with this research being the first step. Through authentic and meaningful collaboration with PPI contributors who live with communication disability and differences, and partner organisation representatives and policymakers, we aim to:

  • Establish a novel collaborative and sustainable network across the five HEIs delivering Speech and Language Therapy programmes and key partners (PPI experts; partner representatives; policymakers) on the island of Ireland.
  • Identify barriers to social inclusion and participation in Ireland as experienced by people living with communication disability and differences, and
  • Identify best-practice priorities with recommendations for delivering communication access rights and a roadmap for key implementation projects for people living with communication disabilities and differences on the island of Ireland.

If you would like further information, please contact Dr Helen Kelly or Dr Lynda Kennedy