Spring Interim Meeting 2015

February 24, 2015


Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown.

Photo: Sean Crudden


Mrs. Anne Muldowney in the foyer of Our Lady of The Wayside Church after a successful meeting of IMPERO on 21 February 2015

Photo: Sean Crudden

Sean Crudden, secretary; Anne Muldowney, chairperson; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes, vice-chairperson: attended the meeting in the meeting room of Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.  Apologies were received from Leonard Hatrick, president; Peter Murphy, mentor.

The meeting was opened by the archbishop who spoke an extempore prayer seeking help from above and hoping for a friendly meeting and a positive outcome.

The minutes of the previous meeting on 15 November 2014 were read aloud by the chairperson and were adopted on the proposal of the archbishop seconded by Anne. 

Arising from the minutes the secretary reported that the proposed reading of a play among ourselves had been put on the long finger due to the pressure of business. 

Sean read his journal for the four days he spent at the ENUSP international symposium and General Assembly which took place in Danhostel, Hillerod, from 11 December 2014 to 14 December 2014.

He said there had been a changing of the guard in ENUSP as a result of the general assembly.  John M. Kidney has replaced Seán as deputy board member for the NW Region of Europe.  The chairperson remarked that it was good to have an Irish representative on the board and complimented Seán on the work he had done since 2010 in and around the ENUSP board.  Sean remarked on the great work done by Karl Bach, Claus Beck, Gabriela Tanasan, in raising finance for and organising the General Assembly the first since Thessaloniki in 2010.  With a young, talented, largely female board prospects were good for the future of ENUSP he concluded

Some key phrases from the discussion on “Family, Stigma, Recreation” were as follows.  Practical supports.  Don’t get isolated.  Right not to be stigmatised.  Try to change the thinking on stigma.  What is it?  What does it mean?  Socially created.  Lack of awareness.  Accept cultures.  Stigma lessens with age.  Get in touch with your higher self.  Erase stigma.  Within families.  Jealousy, anger, revenge.  Why should one member of a family do that to another?  Ability to love and care for their family.  Not happening now.  Natural instincts.  Brainwashed.  Church?  Spiritual aspect.  Own spirituality.  People telling other people things that are not right.  Education?  Weigh things up better.  Do people down.  Humble. 

Seán said Joan Hardy had done a great job as mentor to IMPERO and pointed to a different but equally effective approach to mentoring by Professor Dennis Pringle who is current mentor of Cooley Environmental and Health Group.  Seán feels that the concept of mentoring might have a fruitful application for individuals in the situation of peer advocacy, peer support, assisted decision making.  The meeting decided to try to research the topic more fully at local level.

The archbishop and Anne agreed to cooperate in opening a Facebook page to try to improve IMPERO’s public relations.

IMPERO has ~ €290 in the bank.

It was decided to offer a meal of brown bread and salad before the General Assembly of IMPERO in June.  Those opting to avail of the meal would be expected to make a contribution of €10 each. 

The meeting adjourned sine die.

2014 in review

December 30, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 530 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Winter Interim Meeting, 15 November 2014

November 17, 2014


Pictured in the foyer of Our Lady of The Wayside Church after the meeting Peter Murphy, Mentor, and on his left Leonard Hatrick, President of IMPERO.  Click to enlarge.

Photo: Seán Crudden

A winter interim meeting of IMPERO took place in Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown, on 15 November 2014 starting at 14:00.

Present: Francis McCormack; Paul Smyth; Leonard Hatrick, President; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, Vice-chairperson; Kevin McGeough, Treasurer; Edward S. Crudden; Seán Crudden, Secretary; Peter Murphy, Mentor.

Apologies: Anne Muldowney

The archbishop took the chair in the absence of Anne Muldowney, chairperson.

The minutes of the Spring interim meeting were read aloud by the secretary and adopted on the proposal of the Archbishop seconded by Edward S. Crudden. The secretary also read out an account of the General Assembly of IMPERO which took place in June. For information of those present.

The archbishop reported that the North Louth Joint Policing Committee with the recent local elections has almost reached the end of its term. There will be a new structure replacing the Co. Louth Community and Voluntary Forum. It remains to be seen what this will be and how the new structure will involve contact with policing.

The secretary reported that the creative writing classes earlier in the year had concluded successfully. Thanks are due to tutor, Linda Newe, and also to Sinéad Fearon, community education officer with Louth/Meath Education and Training Board.

The secretary suggested that we might organise in the New Year the reading of a play among ourselves.

He reported that he had met in September Colette Nolan, CEO of Irish Advocacy Network, and her PA, Gráinne Ferris, at a graduation ceremony in DCU for Peer Advocates, at their invitation. It seems that IAN will be sending a delegate to the ENUSP 7th General Assembly which will be held in Hillerӧd from 11 to 14 December 2014.

The question arose was tax payers money being spent wisely in the case of bodies like IAN and MHC or is all this merely cynical window dressing?

IMPERO has renewed its membership with ENUSP and update details for their site.

Seán Crudden was ratified as IMPERO delegate to Hillerӧd.

There was a lively and dramatic discussion on suicide prevention, crisis intervention, police. Francis suggested the use of a refuge or “half-way” house as an alternative or precursor to mental hospital. Clearly if a young person in crisis gets hooked into psychiatric drugs they are looking at a life-long dependency on these drugs with all the attendant disadvantages such as difficulty holding a job or damaged marriage prospects. So is it wise to plunge a young person directly into the psychiatric system? The mentor drew attention to the role of drug companies and suggested more alternatives and a more holistic approach to mental illness.

It was accepted that IMPERO should be diplomatic and refrain from accusing or condemning other organisations in the field. A mechanism for complaints was mentioned and the mentor suggested that for the moment IMPERO should ventilate its general concerns through its delegate to Hillerӧd.

The next interim meeting will take place in Spring, Saturday 21 February 2015, starting at 14:00, in Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown.

General Assembly 2014

June 16, 2014


Photo: Sean Crudden

Anne Muldowney trying to decide who to snap next

The annual assembly of IMPERO for 2014 took place in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland, starting promptly at 14:00 on Saturday 14 June 2014.

Present: Anne Muldowney, chairperson; Seán Crudden, secretary; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes, mentor; Kevin McGeough, joint-treasurer; Peter Murphy.

Apologies were received from Leonard Hatrick and Joan Hardy, joint-treasurer.

The meeting reminisced about the two deceased members of the committee of IMPERO: Ita Daly, president; Michael Farrelly, vice-chairperson.  The archbishop concluded the discussion with a short extempore prayer, “May God give them rest.  We hope they are with The Lord.”

The chairperson read aloud the minutes of General Assembly 2013 which were adopted unanimously on the proposal of the archbishop seconded by Peter Murphy.

The minutes referred to initiatives in 2013 on mental health by Obama and by The Vatican.  The secretary admitted that he had no up-to-date information on where these initiatives had led.

The following team of officers for the coming year was approved unanimously.  Leonard Hatrick, president; Mrs. Anne M Muldowney, chairperson; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes, vice-chairperson; Seán Crudden, secretary: Kevin McGeough, treasurer; Peter Murphy, mentor.  The role of mentor was discussed and the secretary praised the ground-breaking work of Joan Hardy who filled the role extremely competently for a number of years in the past.

The chairperson thought that the main role of the psychiatrist was to motivate their patients.  “Do one deed every day to make someone else happy,” was her recipe.

The chairperson read aloud Mental Health Europe’s “Bucharest Manifesto.”  The secretary sounded a caveat about consulting mental patients about the construction of The American Psychiatric Association’s 5th edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5) and about the forthcoming revision of The International Classification of Diseases (ICD 10).  “Personally I would not like to have anything to do with the composition of these manuals because I am only too well aware of the downstream effects of these manuals.”

Speaking on the Bill dealing with Mental Capacity and Assisted Decision Making currently on its way through The Oireachtas Seán Crudden said, “It is impenetrable, arcane, unserviceable, impractical.”

The meeting was keen to continue relations with the European Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP).  It also took a favourable view of efforts made in recent time in the field of adult education.  Appreciation was expressed for the work of Sinéad Fearon of Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) who has given IMPERO great assistance in that regard during the past year.

Treasurer Kevin McGeough reported that there is €307 on deposit in the IMPERO reserve business account in Ulster Bank, 100 Clanbrassil Street Dundalk.  The secretary is owed a small amount due to out-of-pocket expenses.  Kevin agreed to draw up a statement of account for the year ending 31 December 2014.

Winter Interim Meeting, 14:00 Saturday 15 November 2014, Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown: Spring Interim Meeting, 14:00 Saturday 21 February 2015, OLOTW: General Assembly, 14:00 Saturday 13 June 2015, The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan.

The meeting lasted about an hour.  Those attending took part in a little photography at the end.


Photo: Seán Crudden

Outgoing mentor, Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, seated, with incoming mentor, Peter Murphy.


Photo: Anne Muldowney

Seán Crudden and Archbishop Hynes with Lordship Credit Union in the background

Creative Writing Course Successfully Concluded

March 26, 2014

A series of classes from 19:00 to 21:00 on 5 successive Tuesdays concluded last night, 25 March 2014.  The classes took place in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.  The school by day is used as a creche.  The subject of the classes was creative writing.  The objective was to create confidence as well as to instil skills.


Photo: Seán Crudden

Left to right: Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, Breege Treanor, Ann Connor, Bríd McDonnell

12 attended the first class in the series and 7 the last.  Students wrote a lot and read aloud their own work.  The technicalities of the craft of story writing were well-taught and put into practical execution.  Participants in the class learned the shape of haiku and sonnet and constructed some of their own. 

The atmosphere in each class was calm, businesslike, good humoured and everyone kept their eye on the ball.  Linda Newe the teacher encouraged every individual and maintained a positive and optimistic outlook.  Hers is the art which conceals art.  A teacher to the manner born.


Photo: Seán Crudden

Left to right: Ann Connor, Linda Newe, Bríd McDonnell

IMPERO is extremely grateful to Setanta, the local community development organisation, for the use of the old school and particularly to Tommie McGuinness. 


Photo: Seán Crudden

The series of classes was provided by Louth Meath Education and Training Board for IMPERO and organised by Sinéad Fearon, Community Education Facilitator, Louth Meath Education and Training Board.

Spring Interim Meeting, Saturday 22 February 2014

February 24, 2014


Tree planting going on in the grounds of Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland, while the IMPERO meeting took place in the meeting room inside the church.

Photo: Seán Crudden

The meeting commenced at 14:00 on Saturday 22 February 2014. 

Present: Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMA PhD, mentor; Michael O’Hanlon; Seán Crudden, secretary; Edward S. Crudden; Michael Farrelly, vice-chairperson.

Apologies: Joan Hardy, joint-treasurer; Kevin McGeough, joint-treasurer; Anne Muldowney, chairperson; Paul Smyth; Kevin Hynes.

Michael Farrelly took the chair, welcomed those in attendance and opened the meeting by reciting a Hail Mary.

The minutes of the Autumn Interim Meeting were read by the secretary and were adopted unanimously on the proposal of the archbishop seconded by Michael O’Hanlon.

The archbishop complained that it is difficult to raise issues affecting mental patients with the North Louth Joint Policing Committee of which he is a member nominated by IMPERO.  “It’s ritualistic,” he commented, “You can’t get your point across.”  He also expressed his frustration with the proceedings of County Louth Community and Voluntary Forum.

The secretary informed the meeting that a class on creative writing has been provided by Louth and Meath Education and Training Board for IMPERO.  The series of 5 weekly classes will begin on Tuesday 25 February 2014 at 19:00 in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan.  The tutor is Linda Newe.  The classes will be held subject to a minimum number of enrolments and attendance. 

The secretary read his article, “Assisted Decision Making,” published on 3 December 2013 on indymedia.ie.  There was some lively discussion culminating in the question, “What are the rights of mentally ill people?”

The application for ECOSOC status with the UN is closed, the meeting decided.

The secretary reported on the ENUSP seminar held in Hotel Ibis Gara de Nord, Bucharest, 8 – 10 December 2013.  The main themes dwelt upon by the seminar were; communications, General Assembly, fund raising.  Seán said he stayed on in Bucharest until 12 December to look around.  He had been impressed by Ceausescu’s mighty building and he recommended Romania as a holiday destination.  “I enjoyed the trip,” Seán said.

The chairperson of the meeting, Michael Farrelly, asserted that patients who take a stand are worse off than ever.  He urged cooperation.  “You must love yourself,” he concluded.

The next meeting of IMPERO is the General Assembly which will take place DV in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan, on Saturday 14 June 2014, starting at 14:00


Edward S. Crudden pictured at the window of the meeting room in Our Lady of The Wayside Church immediately before the meeting began.

Photo: Seán Crudden

Stimulating Workshop on Public Speaking

November 27, 2013


Photo: Seán Crudden

Linda Newe, tutor, and Anne Muldowney, chairperson of IMPERO, pictured after a very enjoyable workshop held in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.

The workshop began at 19.30 on Tuesday 26 November 2013.  The subject of the workshop was how to compose and present a short speech, body language, etc.  The workshop concluded at 21.30.  Although no-one thought so at the time there was a strong comic element underlying proceedings at the workshop.  Many thanks to Sinéad Fearon of Louth/Meath Education and Training Board for providing IMPERO with an accomplished tutor for the workshop.

9 people participated in the workshop including the tutor.

Autumn Interim Meeting; Saturday 26 October 2013

October 27, 2013


Sean Crudden, secretary, relaxing before the IMPERO meeting which was held in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Republic of Ireland, starting at 14.00 on Saturday, 26 October 2013.

Photo: Anne Muldowney


Anne M. Muldowney relaxes with a little 7-up after driving from Stamullen for Saturday’s meeting.

Photo: Seán Crudden

The secretary recited a short prayer to open the meeting; Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Present: Mrs. Anne Marie Muldowney, chairperson: Seán Crudden, secretary: Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, mentor: Michael O’Hanlon.

Apologies: Fr. Paddy Larkin, Leonard Hatrick, Edward Stephen Crudden, Peter Murphy, Kevin McGeough, Michael Farrelly.

The secretary was directed to write to Andrei Abramov, Chief, NGO Branch, United Nations; in response to his letter of 8 April 2013 indicating that IMPERO’s application for ECOSOC consultative status is closed.  The meeting decided unanimously that there was no point in pursuing the application further now and that the matter should be allowed to rest.

The secretary recommended the report “Breaking Down the Silos” summarising the UN consultation “World We Want 2015” dealing with economic development.

Funds are low.

The old Church of Ireland school, Bush, was suggested as a possible venue for future meetings, by Michael O’Hanlon.

It was decided to consult Brian Larkin, Greenore, on fund-raising possibilities.

The secretary proposed to write an article on indymedia.ie about assisted decision making.  It was suggested he consult with Micheal O’Hanlon, a former school principal and school guidance teacher.  It was felt that assisted decision making was something difficult to legislate.  Is it possible to regulate practice in this area?  The secretary’s proposal was approved.

The meeting approved a proposal from Sinéad Fearon to provide training in writing and dramatic voice production for members of IMPERO.  Sinéad is director of community education for Louth/Meath Education and Training Board.

The chairperson reiterated that patients were happier if they were recognised as people and treated as people.

The Archbishop suggested the following theme for the ENUSP seminar slated for Bucharest in December; How are cuts and austerity affecting mental health?

Reporting on the North Louth policing committee of which he is a member representing IMPERO the Archbishop pointed to intimidation and unreported crime.  He agreed to the secretary’s request to seek formal discussion in the committee of police relations with mental patients.

The date of the Spring interim meeting was fixed for Saturday 22 February 2014 at 14.00 in The Old Schoolhouse, Bellurgan.

Annual Assembly 2013: The Old School House, Bellurgan

June 17, 2013

The annual assembly of IMPERO took place in The Old School House, Bellurgan, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, on Saturday 15 June 2013 starting promptly at 14.00.

Present: Anne M. Muldowney, chairperson; Seán Crudden, secretary; Kevin McGeough, joint-treasurer; Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD, joint treasurer; Fr. Paddy Larkin, retired parish priest of Lordship and Ballymascanlon; Peter Murphy; Michael O’Hanlon, retired principal of Bush Post-Primary School.

Apologies: Michael Farrelly, vice-chairperson; Kevin Hynes; Joan Hardy, mentor.

The minutes of the previous annual assembly held on 16 June 2012 were read by the secretary and adopted unanimously on the proposal of the Archbishop seconded by Kevin McGeough.

The secretary read aloud his journal for 22 May 2013 and also for 23 May 2013 the day the EPF (European Patients’ Forum) plenary took place in The Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire.  The conference addressed the issue of “active patients’ involvement in health care,” and “self-management.”

The meeting heard that cash in the Ulster Bank, Dundalk, in IMPERO’s account, had dwindled to less than 50 euro.  The 3 joint treasurers had not met in the past year.  “We do not need money,” someone remarked.

It was agreed without objection that the following team of officers would operate for the coming year.  President; Ita Daly: chairperson, Anne M. Muldowney: vice-chairperson, Michael Farrelly; secretary, Seán Crudden; joint treasurer, Joan Hardy; joint treasurer, Kevin McGeough.

Other members who will serve on the central committee are as follows: Peter Murphy, Eric Cuthbert, Dermot Mooney, Edward S. Crudden.

Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes was appointed mentor for the coming year with unanimous approval.

The meeting was lively throughout and there were many pertinent questions asked.  Topics arising included, UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities), the purpose and role of IMPERO; capacity legislation; definition of mental illness; guidance; young people; peer support; the broken leg theory of mental illness i.e. help, recovery and no stigma.  The secretary mentioned the presidential commission getting under way in the US and President Obama’s interest in the whole question of “mental health.”  Seán also pointed out that the Vatican is looking into the reasons why so many mind-altering drugs are being prescribed to young people.

The next interim meeting of IMPERO was fixed for Saturday 26 October 2013 starting at 14.00 in the meeting room of Our Lady of The Wayside Church, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louth.

The next annual assembly was fixed for Saturday 14 June 2014 starting at 14.00 in The Old School, Bellurgan.

The secretary remarked that thanks were due Tommie McGuinness, a very obliging man, for the use of The Old School House; a building renovated, owned and operated by the local community.

Fr. Larkin recited the Lord’s Prayer to open the meeting.  The archbishop spoke a short extempore prayer at the end.

Seán and Anne took a few informal photos when the meeting ended.


Click on thumbnails to enlarge.  Click again to enlarge further.

Smashing Times Theatre Company

March 14, 2013


Photo: Eoin Kirwan

Seán Crudden stands up to speak from the gallery at the SmashingTimes Theatre Seminar for Dialogue and Training.  The theme of the seminar was, “Women: Peacemakers or Agitators.”

The seminar took place in The Táin Theatre, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, on Friday 8 March 2013 and Saturday 9 March 2013.  Seán participated on both days and had a whale of a time.  Archbishop Michael Desmond Hynes OMD PhD attended on Saturday and found the going tough.

The underlying methodology was based on the principles of “Theatre of The Oppressed.”

The seminar was part of the Acting for Peace Project funded by the International Fund for Ireland.

The centre piece of the seminar was a solo bravura performance by Cathy White of the play, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” written by Paul Kennedy.  Cathy and Paul took part on Saturday in a post show discussion and improvisation involving 2 facilitators, Idan Meir and Chrissie Poulter, as well as all those attending the seminar; about 50 souls in all.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge.  Click again to enlarge further on some machines.


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