An Post has issued a stamp to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Irish Wheelchair (IWA).
The Irish Wheelchair Association was founded on 10 November, 1960, when a group of eight wheelchair users came together in the Pillar Room of the Mater Hospital, Dublin. The individuals who came together were driven by one similar cause; "to improve the lives of people with physical disabilities living in Ireland".
Since its foundation, the IWA has played a key role in bringing many improvements and changes to the lives of people with physical disabilities in Ireland. Today, the IWA provides services nationally, including 57 research and outreach centres; personal assistant services, motoring advice, assessment and tuition; youth services, training and education; respite and holidays; wheelchair sales and rental; as well as sports and advocating for legislative changes.
From its modest beginnings in 1960, the IWA has grown to a vibrant network of 20,000 members and over 2,000 staff, as well as many dedicated volunteers. The ethos of the IWA is the same today as it was in 1960; focused on the needs of the individual and directed by its members.
Oliver Murphy, the last surviving member of the founding group of eight is featured on the stamp alongside Shane Barker, a young IWA member. The first day cover image features members of the inaugural Irish Paralympic Team, including Oliver, as they board a flight to Rome in September,1960 (courtesy of the Irish Times)
The stamp and first day cover were designed by Steve Simpson with photography by Diarmuid Doran.