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President leads tributes following death of 'inspirational' disability rights campaigner

Martin Naughton has died at the age of 62.

Naughton at the launch of the HSE's National Guidelines on Accessible Health and Social Care Services in 2015.
Naughton at the launch of the HSE's National Guidelines on Accessible Health and Social Care Services in 2015.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has praised disability rights campaigner Martin Naughton who has died at the age of 62.

Naughton, who had muscular dystrophy, was originally from An Spideal in Co Galway.

He founded the Centre for Independent Living and campaigned for the rights of people with disabilities for many years.

President Higgins said he learned of Naughton’s death “with great sadness”, describing him as an “indefatigable advocate for human rights”.

“Martin Naughton gained widespread respect through his lifelong campaign for the inclusion of people living with disabilities and through his work with countless statutory and non-governmental organisations, including the Independent Living movement, the Disability Federation of Ireland, Áiseanna Tacaíochta, Disability Options and Vantastic.

Having experienced in his early years the once widespread practice of institutionalised living, he became a formidable and tireless campaigner for the right of people with disabilities to live in their own communities and homes.

“As a political activist, Martin Naughton had the vision, skills and determination to build solidarity between all those who strive for equality, dignity and the fulfilment of human rights for all groups in society, making him a valuable ally for a multitude of social justice groups.

“His struggle for equality in Ireland and internationally has been an inspiration.”

Higgins added that Naughton will be “deeply missed not just by his sisters and family but also by his wide circle of friends and supporters”.

Read: Residents’ privacy not respected by staff at Waterford hospital

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Órla Ryan

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