AGM 2024 (Reporting on financial year 2023)

Welcome to our website page for AGM 2024 on 8th June at 14:00 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone hosted by Athlone Deaf Social.


List of the ISL videos on this page:

  • Annual Report 2023 in ISL - Chairpersons Address, CEO Report, Advocacy Dept. Report, FET Dept. Report, International Affairs, Financial Report and Report on our Strategic Goals
  • What are the different types of AGM motions members can send IDS and what are the deadlines?
  • What is Proxy Voting
  • Directors Elections 2024
  • IDS Membership 2024

Annual Report 2023 - Chairpersons Address

2023 was a challenging and interesting year for the Irish Deaf Society. We completed and launched our Strategic Plan, we developed a new service - the IDS Information Office in the Atrium in DVI, and we recruited new staff in our Advocacy and Education Departments.

We work hard every year to represent Deaf people in Government policy consultations and in 2023 we made many submissions on topics such as accessibility and equality in the census, education, work and sports.

National ISL Day and ISL Week were great successes this year and we saw an increase in interest from the hearing community and the media and we hope to build on this in 2024. You can find more information about our representation achievements in the Advocacy Department report in this document.

IDS Further Education and Training Department provides education courses for Deaf adults and ISL courses for hearing people throughout Ireland, in-person and online. Our Advocacy Department provides Deaf awareness training for State and private organisations and this report has details on our targets and achievements in this area.

We launched our Strategic Plan 2023-2026 in June 2023. The term of the 3 year plan is from September 2023 to September 2026. We consulted widely with the Deaf community in 2022 to create this plan and it resulted in 3 agreed pillars:

  • Campaigning for Deaf Rights and Advocates of Irish Sign Language (ISL)
  • Advancing Education & Training Opportunities
  • Public and Community Engagement

We have 51 goals across these pillars for the next 3 years, all informed by your feedback and your opinions, these are your goals and we will work tirelessly to achieve them. This report is the first time we are reporting on our progress and you will see a special section in the CEO, Advocacy and Education reports that detail what our achievements were from September 2023 to December 2023 on each goal.

If you want to understand the overall Strategic Plan remember you can see the plan on our website in the “publications” section where you will find ISL videos for all the content and the English language PDF.

2023 was a busy year with IDS sending representatives to World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and European Union of the Deaf (EUD) meetings and consultations including the EUD General Assembly in Stockholm and the WFD General Assembly in South Korea. There is more information about these events and more in the International Affairs section of this report.

A note on board elections at the upcoming AGM in June 2024. In May 2023 Lydia Mendes stepped down from the Board and Aidan McArdle will step down at our 2024 AGM. There are now 2 board director positions available. We welcome members to make nominations for new board directors and we are especially looking for someone who could act as Treasurer and representatives from minority communities within the Deaf community.

I would like to congratulate our board director Sofiya Kalinova who graduated at the bar, a historic milestone for the Deaf community as first Deaf barrister in Ireland.

Many thanks to our board, CEO, staff, volunteers, and IDS members within the Deaf community for your unwavering support for our campaigns, services and activities. We will continue to work for your rights, access and equality.

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Annual Report 2023 - CEO Report

In 2023 the Irish Deaf Society has continued to grow, develop our team and our ability to effectively represent Deaf issues for you, our members and our community.

A key achievement was launching our Strategic Plan on June 16th. The event was a great success and was a hybrid meeting in the Deaf Village and via Zoom with over 60 attendees across both. The Strategic Plan is based on the Deaf community’s feedback and opinions, it is your plan and ours.

We have been very busy finding ways to increase our sustainable income so that we can add more staff to our team. We have many goals in our Strategic plan that will need resources so that we can achieve more for Deaf people throughout Ireland.

Our report from the Finance Department shows that our financial situation is stable and we will continue to manage our income and expenses in a responsible way, at the same time making sure we are confident about spending to achieve our goals, investing in new initiatives and supports.

In November of 2023 we recruited a new Manager for our Retail and Fundraising Department, whose main goal will be to expand our shop operation, we have goal of adding two new shops in 2024 and another two in 2025.

Our Advocacy team recruited an Information Officer and commenced leasing an office in the Atrium, in the Deaf Village, and design and renovated the office to serve as a community information office, which was formally launched in early 2024. This is an exciting development and provides a presence for IDS in DVI and easy access for the Deaf community to information supports in ISL.

We also successfully recruited a Front Desk Administrator to the Advocacy team, this role provides support to all of our staff and carries out many administration tasks including interpreter booking, internal policy development and monitoring, membership records, health and safety, to name a few.

In 2023 a number of new staff joined our Education Department team including Media Services Administrator, coordinating our ISL translation service, and a new ISL course administrator who coordinates the learners and teachers for all of our ISL courses for hearing people.

IDS have a new staff role, Research & Policy Officer. This new staff will work with the CEO and senior management to develop evidence-based policy positions and proposals of relevance to the Strategic goals, mission and constitutional objects of IDS. The new staff recruited for this role commenced work in 2024.

I would like to thank all of our members, Chairperson and Board, our staff, the National Council, our peer advocates, FET teachers, tutors, and everyone in the Deaf community for their support in 2022. We look forward to the coming years and what we can achieve together for Deaf people in Ireland.

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Annual Report 2023 - Advocacy Department Report (Part 1)

Annual Report 2023 - Advocacy Department Report (Part 2)

The Advocacy Department plays a critical significant role in the Irish Deaf Society. This service leads the way in advocating for the organisation's goals and mission.

Our staff represent and promote the interests of Deaf people, our stakeholders and grassroots Deaf clubs. Our Advocacy team works with clients to ensure they have access to information and services in Irish Sign Language (ISL).

The Advocacy department grew in 2023, with two new roles being added to our team – Front Desk Administrator and Information Officer. With these extra roles, our team can now focus on more tasks ensuring that our service is meeting the needs of the community. We also adapted our office in the Thomas Mahon building to include two private client areas. We received great feedback from the community, as clients now feel the service is more confidential.

In 2023 our Advocacy service supported 560 client interactions, with our busiest months being May and November. We have created a graphic that reports on our client interactions in more detail and that graphic can be seen in this report. At the AGM, held in 2023, we recognised a lack of clarity amongst members about the reporting of our client interactions surrounding whether all clients recorded were different people or whether it was the number of queries we dealt with – the answer is that we record queries rather than individual people. From 2024 we will develop a new query recording system that will ensure more accurate details on clients and queries.

Representation

We have worked with many groups within the Deaf community to ensure that the voice of the community is heard and considered:
ISL Act Cross Community Group: IDS leads this group of National Deaf community organisations. The group's purpose is to coordinate Deaf community activity to campaign for the full commencement and implementation of the ISL Act 2017. The group continues to monitor the State’s progress in delivering on its responsibilities under the Act and campaign to have those responsibilities fully met.

DVI CE Scheme: The IDS has been actively involved in advocating for members of the Deaf community to have equal access to the Community Employment (CE) programme. As part of this effort, a member of our team attended meetings between Deaf Village Ireland (DVI) and Chime to discuss the issue and to submit a letter to the Minister of Social Protection. The IDS believes that the success of the DVI CE scheme, which is provided in a Deaf-friendly sign language environment, should be extended to more Deaf people across the country, and is committed to working towards this goal.

Deaf Usher’s Syndrome Support Group: A group of Deafblind people and their personal assistants (PAs) met with members of our Advocacy team to discuss how to work effectively with Deafblind individuals, particularly with regards to interpreters. The group wants to ensure that Deafblind people have access to IDS videos, while also being mindful of potential sensitivities around clothing and backgrounds depicted in the videos.

SLIS Stakeholders Group: SLIS established a steering group called the SLIS Stakeholder Group. The group is made up of representatives from CISLI, IDS, CDS, NDA, Chime, CDA, and KDRC. The group had a specific focus on the development of the services provided by SLIS, particularly the update of the voucher scheme update, the report of the ISL Act Report, the development of the IRIS app, and many more.

National Council Members: Our team regularly collaborates with National Council Members (NCM) to improve governance and to support organisations such as IDYA, NDWI, and Greenbow Deaf LGBTQ+. A proposed plan has been underway since May 2023, including a policy document and legal understanding, to ensure a strong partnership. IDS aims to engage NCM members, prioritise communication, and foster better governance practices. During the year we collaborated on many things including the International Week of Deaf people and National ISL Day.

We have also been involved in many advisory groups, steering groups or focus groups organised by public bodies and some at a government level:

HSE: We were involved in focus groups to inform the development the HSE Guiding Principles meeting, the COVID-19 Vaccine Community Network, and accessible information for GPs. We have raised concerns about accessible National Screening Services and the lack of accessible information coming from the HSE.

Irish Rail Disability User Group: This group was established as an advisory group for Irish Rail, to ensure their services are accessible to disabled people. The Advocacy officer was part of this group but was unable to attend several meetings due to a failure on the side of Irish Rail to provide ISL interpreters. IDS attended the Iarnród Éireann's inaugural Customer Experience (CX) Awards, which were set up to recognise and promote the outstanding efforts of Iarnród Éireann railway workers.

Disability Stakeholders Group: DSG is an established group recognised for the important role that it plays in the monitoring of the Government's disability policy and strategies. DSG has an important role in monitoring the implementation of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy. The NDIS is the key framework for policy and action to address the needs of person with disabilities in Ireland. Many topics were addressed by the group this year including the departments Traffic Light Report and the awareness campaign for the group.

ResPoNCE Project by Centre for Disability Law and Policy, University of Galway: In May of 2023, The University of Galway held the final conference for the RePoNCE Project. IDS has been involved with since the beginning of the project. The project gathered information on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people. The project involves seven European countries, including Ireland, the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. The project team spoke to people involved in creating national laws and policies related to the pandemic, people working in health and social care who put these into practice, representatives of DPOs about what their members experienced during Covid-19, and disabled people about their experiences of Covid-19.

ENSPIRED: The Advocacy Manager was one of the ENSPIRED Steering Committee. The aim of this is to enhance Social Participation across Ireland for people with communication disabilities and differences (ENSPIRED). The project team consists of speech and language therapists and researchers who work with people who have communication difficulties and differences across Ireland. They conduct research in universities across Ireland and have invited many organisations to assist them in understanding how to make communication easier for people in their daily lives, and how to ensure they are included in conversations at home, work, and in the community. The team also seeks to address the challenges faced by people with communication difficulties and provide practical solutions to these challenges.

The Housing Agency: The Advocacy Officer attended the consultation with the Housing Agency about their information and communication strategy 'National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022 – 2027' which had four main parts: Accessible Information, Accessible Communication, Stakeholder Participation and Additional Resources. The Advocacy Officer discussed creating accessible videos, including ISL videos and subtitling. She also mentioned services like ISL Media production and explained the Irish Remote Interpreting Service

NDA/DCEDIY National Disability Strategy online consultations: As Ireland has now ratified the UNCRPD, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth (DCEDIY) is creating a new plan called the National Disability Strategy. They are seeking assistance from the National Disability Authority (NDA) to hear from people with disabilities about their experiences and challenges. The aim is to create a plan that deals with these challenges, making it simple for people with disabilities to be included in different parts of society. The National Disability Authority hosted online focus groups throughout late 2023 as part of DCEDIY’s consultation on the development of a new National Disability Strategy. The IDS participated in these focus groups, as well as encouraging members of the community to also be involved.

Government and policy consultations and submissions: IDS took part in consultations held by Government and State bodies and compiled submissions on many different topics focused on human rights and equality issues including:

  • Census 2027 Public Consultation
  • Education for Person’s with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 Review
  • Public Consultation on Lifelong Guidance
  • Pathways to Work
  • Repot on the implementation of the ISL Act
  • The European Disability Card Survey
  • Inclusion People with Disabilities in Sports
  • National Equality Data Strategy online survey
  • Consultation on Draft Code of Practice for Accessible Public Buildings
  • NDA Ethical Guidance for Research with Disabled People
  • ComReg Consultation on measures to support equivalent access to and choice of Electronic Communications Services (ECS) for people with Disabilities
  • Safe Ireland Survey

Irish Deaf Society submissions to Government are available on our website in the publications section. We share news about our consultations and advocacy work in the monthly “Community News” which is available on our website and social media. If you want to stay informed about our work you can also contact us to receive our e-info newsletter.

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Annual Report 2023 - Further Education and Training Department Report (Part  1)

Annual Report 2023 - Further Education and Training Department Report (Part 2)

The mission of our Education Department is to provide high quality education and training for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people all over Ireland through ISL, the first and preferred language of Deaf community.

As the only FET provider in Ireland that delivers courses through ISL, we are uniquely positioned to meet the educational needs of our students. Our aim is to provide accessible courses that not only educate but also enhances the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people by empowering them with the skills and knowledge to thrive in society.
In addition, we also provide ISL Classes not only for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who may never had the opportunity to learn ISL but also for the general population who are interested in learning ISL to foster inclusivity. These courses are designed to bridge communication gaps, promote better understanding of ISL, and promote interaction within the wider community. By providing ISL courses, we aim to build a more inclusive society where ISL is recognised and valued as a language of the Deaf community.
In 2023 the education Department worked on a range of goals from our new Strategic Plan which was launched in September. There is a commentary on each goal in a table at the end of this report.

Highlights include validation of ISL QQI Level 5, ongoing quality assurance and development of new course materials for our online learning management system (LMS) and successful engagement with the Coding Institute to provide specialised coding course for 5 Deaf students.

ISL Tutor Training

As mentioned in the previous report, there is still currently shortage of teachers and tutors to teach ISL courses whilst the demand for classes is growing. We continue our work with the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College to develop an 18 month ISL tutor training programme which is funded by Solas. Graduates of this course will be qualified to tutor QQI Level 3 and 4 ISL courses and we expect to deliver this course in 2025.

Digital Education

Since we introduced the Learning Management System in 2022, learners and teachers have found it to be very useful, user friendly and it has helped IDS to deliver quality education to remote learners throughout Ireland.

For the ISL Classes, there are ISL video resources for those learning ISL Level 3 and 4 such as quizzes for the learners’ receptive skills.
For the Deaf Adults Classes many of the resources for the such as Tutors’ Powerpoints were all English-based. This year we successfully applied for some additional funding from SOLAS to produce first ever ISL video resources of English-based Powerpoints for our ISL Linguistics course. The ISL video resources for ISL Linguistics course video production were completed in December 2023 for use in classes during 2024.

Deaf Adult Courses

In 2023, we continue to make significant progress in delivering accessible, high-quality education and training for the Deaf and hearing communities.
The target number of beneficiaries of both Deaf and Hard of Hearing and hearing in 2023 was 700 and the actual number of beneficiaries was 898.
In the charts provided you can see a comparison of the number of courses and beneficiaries ovre the past three years, the number of courses in 2023 in different subject areas and the number of ISL courses delivered to both hearing and Deaf adult learners.

The majority of the Deaf adult ISL learners in 2023 were from Ukraine. Learning ISL is an important support for them to integrate with the Irish Deaf Community.

Survey of 2023 Deaf Adult Learners

Pre-course survey rating results:
Satisfaction rates with registration and early courses.

  • 83.50% satisfied
  • 8.75% somewhat satisfied
  • 6.25% not satisfied

Post-course survey rating results:

  • 95% would recommend the course to others
  • 98.33% satisfied with the services we provide

ISL Courses for Hearing Learners

  • Non-QQI Courses: Casual learning, ideal for beginners.
  • QQI Level 3: Foundation skills in ISL, with certification.
  • QQI Level 4: Advanced skills in ISL, enhancing proficiency and opportunities.

Survey of 2023 Hearing Learners on ISL Courses

Pre-course survey rating results:
Satisfaction rates with registration and early courses.

  • 88% satisfied
  • 11% somewhat satisfied
  • 1% not satisfied

Post-course survey rating results:

  • 83% would recommend the course to others
  • 90% satisfied with the services we provide
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Annual Report 2023 - International Affairs

As the Irish Deaf Society is a member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the European Union of the Deaf (WFD), we have worked with and attended events with both throughout the year. These events have been attended by Board members and the Advocacy manager and provide an important opportunity for the IDS to network with other national Deaf associations, as well as enabling us to remain up to date with policy and other changes that are being implemented on an international basis. See a summary of the events attended below.

European Union of the Deaf (EUD)

EU Disability Card

The European Commission began to pilot the European Disability Card (EDC) in collaboration with people with disabilities in 2023. The EDC is already in use in eight countries as a voluntary system of mutual recognition of disability status and some associated benefits. The card guarantees that people with disabilities have equal access to benefits across borders, primarily in the areas of culture, leisure, sport, and transportation.

EUD held a webinar in early 2023 to share experiences and feedback on the EDC, ahead of NADs making their submissions to the European Commission. 8 countries were in a pilot project for this and shared their experience with the card – most of the feedback was positive with some negative comments focused on accessing the card.

The Advocacy team used information gathered from the above webinar to complete the EU Disability Card Survey online which was submitted on in May 2023. Our response called for the Disability card to be implemented as soon as possible, with a clear pathway and guidelines established for how Deaf people can access the card.

Following on from the consultation period, the European Commission have launched the proposal of the law for the Card - if timelines are respected, the Card should come into force in 2024.

EUD Webinar: Human Rights and UNCRPD

The Webinar, arranged by EUD reflected on the ongoing efforts and challenges in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) across various European countries. The webinar provided insights into the UNCRPD's implementation in Greece, France, Norway, UK, and Belgium, showcasing both achievements and obstacles in promoting the rights of disabled people. While there are shared goals among countries, such as improving accessibility and employment opportunities for Deaf people, the specific actions and progress vary due to factors like resources and political climate.

EUD Data Collection Survey

The Advocacy department completed EUD’s survey, focusing on the number of Deaf people, the number of Deaf people in education and employment, as well as the number of people with disabilities and related statistics in Ireland.

EUD Project - Making European Elections More Accessible for Deaf Communities

EUD has worked with the European Parliament and is focusing on the 2024 European Elections. EUD has explored European Parliament themes, worked on a toolkit for Deaf people, and is preparing to interview MEPs and Deaf politicians to gain valuable insights. The project will make information about the European Parliament elections accessible to Deaf people, increasing their awareness of the role and democratic values of the EU, and encouraging Deaf communities to be more involved with European institutions and engaged in EU politics. It will also provide information about the upcoming European Parliament elections, focusing on a national level. We look forward to evaluating whether this project has positively impacted the Deaf community when the 2024 EU elections take place, and we will provide feedback to the EUD if required on areas that must be improved.

Stockholm - EUD General Assembly 2023

IDS Chairperson and one Board Director travelled to Stockholm, Sweden to partake in the General Assembly and other webinars and workshops.

EUD Project Workshop: Both participated in workshop focused on technology and data collection organised by the EUD. They discussed the importance of data collection in order to be able to advocate for the Deaf community, both at an EU level and a national level. They engaged with experts, shared insights, and explored innovative ideas shaping the future of our community.

Swedish Deaf Association Seminar on Deaf Rights and Community Support: IDS representatives had the privilege of attending a thought-provoking seminar hosted by the Swedish Deaf Association. The Advocacy Manager also attended this remotely. Sweden shared their Equality policy, encouraging other countries to follow their lead. They also shared information about two projects they have – one focused on Deaf men’s rights and another focused on Deaf women and domestic violence. The webinar also covered mental health issues. Representatives exchanged knowledge, learned from local perspectives, and fostered meaningful connections with fellow advocates.

EUD General Assembly 2023: The highlight of their trip was the prestigious EUD General Assembly. 28 countries were in attendance. The General Assembly went smoothly with a reflection on 2022, as well as a discussion on their proposed projects for 2023. Motions were discussed and focused on the topics of personal assistants and interpreters, EUD’s internal code of conduct.
For full video report see: European Union of the Deaf General Assembly 2023 on Vimeo

World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)

International Week of Deaf People (IWDP)

The World Federation of the Deaf celebrate IWDP every year, with the theme being announced early in the year to allow for NADs to arrange their own celebrations for the week. IWDP 2023 took place from 18 to 24 September 2023, and the International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL), was celebrated on 23rd September 2023. The theme for both events, #IWDP and #IDSL was: A World Where Deaf People Can Sign Anywhere!

WFD created a helpful toolkit that we used to plan our events for the week, and for ISL week which was celebrated simultaneously.
For more information on how the IDS celebrated the week, see the Advocacy AGM report.

WFD General Assembly and Congress

The Advocacy Manager and Board Director attended the WFD Congress in South Korea, where significant developments took place, including the unveiling of the Deaf flag representing the Sign Language Community and Deaf people, designed by Arnaud Balard, a French Deafblind man, with the rights transferred to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). At the congress, concerns were raised regarding the suitability of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to host the next WFD Congress in 2027, as their legislation considers promoting LGBTQ+ rights illegal, potentially hindering the celebration of "human rights for all" at the event. In response to questioning during the General Assembly, the WFD Board opted not to announce the congress's location, pending further considerations.

The congress saw active participation from over 2,000 Deaf people from more than 100 countries, engaging in discussions, workshops, and presentations, highlighting the rich diversity of sign language, and providing valuable knowledge and resources. The decision on the UAE's bid was put to a vote during the WFD EGA meeting, with 86% in support. At this vote, IDS chose to abstain, reflecting ongoing discussions around human rights and LGBTQ+ issues.

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Annual Report 2023 - Finance Department Report

Overall, the financial position of the Irish Deaf Society for the year ended 2023 was a positive one essentially breaking even. The year ended with a small deficit of €1,323. This was particularly positive based on the fact that 2023 saw a major investment in staff resources, recruiting several new roles to the team, the development of the Atrium space in the Deaf Village as an Information office and the work and expense involved in the development of a 3 year Strategic plan.

Key Financial points in 2023:

  • Our income for 2023 was €1,440,591. We had expected additional income in the form of a bequest of €230k which did not materialise due to complications selling a property related to the estate of the donor. We expect that this transaction will be completed and this generous bequest will be received by IDS in 2024.
  • The expenditure for 2023 was €1,441,081, this was significantly lower than expected and much of this variance was due to challenges recruiting new staff which led to a payroll costs being lower than budgeted.
  • The cash position at the end of 2023 was also positive showing a total closing balance of just over €633,576 across the 3 bank accounts.
  • The net asset to liability (liquidity) ratio is healthy at 2.2:1, for every €1 owed we have funds of €2.20 to cover it, this is a good indicator of financial stability.
  • The reserves remain at a similar level to 2022 with retained earnings of €458,059 at the end of 2023. This is a healthy balance and would allow us to continue operating for 4 months if we had no income. It is recommended to retain anywhere between 3 to 6 months of operating expenses which we have now achieved.
  • The Charity Shops performed well over the 12 months of 2023 with income totalling €300,928.

Notes on variances between 2022 and 2023 in our accounts:

  • Government Funding – the funding from POBAL under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) remained relatively the same as 2022. There was an increase in the funding from SOLAS of approximately €15,000 from 2022. However, the ability to utilise the total funding allocated was a challenge and the amount remaining at the year-end was €64,187 which will be repaid to SOLAS in 2024. This was largely due to delays in recruitment which also had an impact on the capacity of the team to deliver on some goals. In addition to the annual SOLAS funding there was also an additional amount received for the Adult Literacy for Life Programme in late 2023 of €11,748 the majority of which was spent with a small amount of €1,485 due to be repaid back to SOLAS in 2024.
  • ISL Class income for 2023 was €113k down on 2022 levels of €140k, a reduction of approximately 19%. This variance is mainly due to a shortage of ISL teacher and a reduction from 3 terms to 2 terms per year.
  • Translation income has improved slightly on 2022 with actual for 2023 being €53,750 as opposed to €40,831 in 2022.
  • Other Fundraising income for 2023 was down by about €45,000 on 2022 and this is mainly due to a decision to hold the Winter raffle in February 2024 instead of December 2023. This was to allow for more ticket sales before the draw.
  • Charity Shop income improved in 2023 by €35,000, total receipts were just over €300,000 with receipts in 2022 totalling just over €265,000.
  • Payroll costs - In 2023 IDS engaged the services of “Adare Human Resource Management” to work with us on a Salary Benchmarking review of all staff salaries to ensure fair pay levels benchmarked against norms in the not-for-profit sector. Pay levels of all staff have been adjusted to independently verified norms.
  • Legal and Professional fee’s for our engagement with external experts, saw a decrease in 2023 by just over €20,000, this was down to less professional fees as a number of projects using external experts came to a close including the FET QQI Re Engagement programme, the Deaf Career Project and the consultants who worked with us on the 3-year strategic plan research and GDPR training.
  • Contractor’s fee’s saw a decrease in 2023 of €14,000 and this would be in line with a reduction in income levels due to reason’s mentioned above in relation to ISL teacher shortages.
  • Interpreter fee’s saw a decrease on 2022 levels by €17,800, with costs in 2023 totalling €56,500 as opposed to €74,300 in 2022. Similar to the point above about professional fees, this was also related to some projects concluding in early 2023 with most costs being incurred in 2022.

IDS remains in a stable financial situation with strong reserves and liquidity ratio. We continue to develop our retail and fundraising Department so that we can create a sustainable fund for core costs, at the same time we are campaigning for Government financial support to ensure we can expand our services and consult with the state on policies and topics of interest to our community.

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Annual Report 2023 - Reporting on the Board of Directors Strategic Plan Goals

The Irish Deaf Society’s current strategic plan was launched in June 2023. Here is an update on each of the Board of Director’s goals and a summary of achievements during 2023.

Board of Directors Goals under Strategic Pillar 1 - Campaigning for Deaf Rights and Advocates of Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Strand 1.1 - ISL Act implementation and review

Be the leading voice on ISL act implementation and compliance (Goal 1.1.2)

The Irish Deaf Society leads the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act Cross Community Group, which is a group of National organisations and service providers working in the Deaf community. We consult with this group in relation to topics of interest to Deaf people including the ISL Act. In 2023 the National Disability Authority (NDA) published a report on the implementation of the ISL Act which was very critical of the Governments performance. We continue to work with stakeholders to campaign for compliance around key areas like education, the Social Inclusion Scheme (Voucher Scheme). In 2024 we are preparing an action plan to seek amendments to the ISL Act as part of the Government 5 year review scheduled for 2025/2026.

Promote status of IDS as DPO under UN CRPD (Goal 1.1.5)

IDS is a founding member of the DPO Network and we worked through 2023 with this group to promote UN CRPD. A key achievement in 2023 was the launch in December of the DPO Network publication “DPO Network position paper on the role of Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) in Ireland”, this is available on www.dponetwork.ie. The network made other submissions to Government throughout 2023 including work on the Green paper on Disability Payments.

Strand 1.3 - Strand 1.3 Advocates of ISL

Establish a permanent Deaf-led ISL advisory committee to support Article 3 of the ISL Act (Goal 1.3.1)

IDS will develop an action plan for this goal in 2024 and will campaign for an amendment in the ISL Act to include an advisory committee.

Board of Directors Goals under Strategic Pillar 3 - Public and Community Engagement

Strand 1.3 - Strand 1.3 Advocates of ISL

Succession planning for board (Goal 3.3.1)

It is critically important that IDS can attract new Board Directors and we will develop a comprehensive plan for this goal in 2024.

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Annual Report 2023 - Reporting on Support Services Department Strategic Plan Goals

The Support Services Department includes CEO, finance, retail and fundraising. The Irish Deaf Society’s current strategic plan was launched in June 2023. Here is an update on each Support Services Department goal and a summary of achievements during 2023. As the Strategic Plan started in September of 2023 we have not started work on many of the goals yet. An important part of achieving all of the goals is making sure we have new staff in recruited and in place and that has been our focus in 2023. In 2024 we are developing action plans for all goals.

Support Services Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 1 - Campaigning for Deaf Rights and Advocates of Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Strand 1.1 - ISL Act implementation and review

A number of goals that are owned by the CEO will be led by the new Research & Policy Officer who has been successfully recruited and will start working with IDS in 2024. Work on these goals have not been started in 2023 but will commence in 2024.

Strand 1.1 - ISL Act implementation and review

Develop a campaign plan to increase number of interpreters (Goal 1.1.1)

Campaign for ISL Act amendments (Goal 1.1.3)

Strand 1.2 - Access to key Public services

Publish policy paper on all key issues (Goal 1.2.1)

Develop team of policy representatives (Goal 1.2.2)

Strand 1.3 - Advocates of ISL

Development of paper for benefits of ISL for all (the general population) (Goal 1.3.2)

Support Services Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 2 - Advancing Education & Training Opportunities

Goals under Pillar 2 will be led by the new Research & Policy Officer in 2024.

Strand 2.1 - Campaign to achieve goals set out in the IDS Deaf Education Policy Paper

Conduct research to support policy (Goal 2.1.2)

Campaign on Deaf education policy and engage with stakeholders (Goal 2.1.3)

Support Services Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 3 - Public and Community Engagement

Strand 3.1 - Expand, promote and resource the personal advocacy service

Develop sustainable fundraising income to support unfunded advocacy service (Goal 3.1.5)

In 2023 we successfully recruited a new Manager for Retail and Fundraising Manager, this is the first step in increasing our fundraising income. We also continue to work with the DPO Network to campaign for core funding for IDS from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Strand 3.2 - IDS Member and Deaf community engagement including activities, information and services

IDS have several strategic goals that relate to communications and membership. In 2023 we expanded our administration team to include the Front Desk Administrator, and this has allowed us to streamline work for other staff, who have some responsibilities for work on these goals. We will develop action plans for each of these goals in 2024.

Develop membership offering (Goal 3.2.3)

Develop Social media strategy (Goal 3.2.6

Develop website content strategy (Goal 3.2.7)

Engagement with local Government and representatives (Goal 3.2.8)

Strand 3.4 - Engagement with parents of Deaf children

Increase parent membership of IDS (Goal 3.4.3)

Strand 3.5 - Engagement of allies that support IDS mission

Stakeholder mapping (Goal 3.5.1)

Develop stakeholder engagement plan (Goal 3.5.2)

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Annual Report 2023 - Reporting on Advocacy Department Strategic Plan Goals

The Irish Deaf Society’s current strategic plan was launched in June 2023. Here is an update on each Advocacy Department goal and a summary of achievements during 2023.

Advocacy Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 1 - Campaigning for Deaf Rights and Advocates of Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Strand 1.1 - ISL Act implementation and review

Conduct awareness campaign for public bodies and State funded service providers (Goal 1.1.4)

During 2023 the Advocacy team made contact with most public bodies and a contact person has been established in approx. 50% of them.

Strand 1.2 - Access to key Public services

Deaf Awareness Training for all Gov funded public service organisations  (Goal 1.2.3)

Deaf Awareness training was provided to 18 public bodies in 2023.

Campaign for an ISL Officer in all healthcare settings  (Goal 1.2.4)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

Develop proposal for Deaf CAMHS in Ireland (Goal 1.2.5)

The IDS Mental Health Working Group (MHWG) discussed the  creation of a CAMHS proposal and has made contact with key people in the UK who are involved in the Deaf CAMHS there. An IDS Position Paper on Mental Health has been started – this paper will assist with creating our CAMHS proposal.

Campaign for better access to media (ISL and subtitles) (Goal 1.2.6)

IDS regularly meets with Coimisiún na Meán – Ireland's new commission for regulating broadcasters and online media, and supporting media development (formerly the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland). In 2024 we will develop a campaign plan to achieve this goal.

Increase access to news and public interest information for Deaf community  (Goal 1.2.7)

In 2023 IDS successfully recruited an Information Officer and commenced leasing an office in the Atrium, in the Deaf Village, and design and renovated the office to serve as a community information office, to be launched in early 2024.

Advocacy Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 2 - Advancing Education & Training Opportunities

Strand 2.1 - Campaign to achieve goals set out in the IDS Deaf Education Policy Paper

Campaign for early intervention with education for parents (Goal 2.1.1)

Activities on this goal were on hold until an Information Officer was recruited in late 2023. In 2024 an action plan will be developed.

Campaign for access to interpreters for part-time and private education and related services (Goal 2.1.4)

In 2023 IDS conducted a review of the IDS Deaf Education Policy paper to create clear list of aims and in 2024 an action plan for this goal will be created.

Campaign for establishment of ISL on the National School Curriculum (Goal 2.1.5)

IDS included a call for ISL on the curriculum in a submission to the Department of Education’s review of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act.

Strand 2.3 - Initiatives, support and guidance to provide educational and career pathways for Deaf people

Establish permanent Deaf Career Service (Goal 2.3.1)

In 2023 we successfully finish the POBAL-funded Deaf Career Project, involving peer mentor training, Career workshops, and ISL resource development. Following this we went on to artner with Enterprise Rent-A-Ca, to establish workplace training workshop series tailored to both inhouse staff and the Deaf workshop attendees. We hosted a webinar aimed at providing guidance counsellors with insights and strategies for effectively supporting Deaf people in their career development, continued to train our peer mentors and published career guidance materials that were translated into ISL.

Advocacy Department Goals under Strategic Pillar 3 - Public and Community Engagement 

Strand 3.1 - Expand, promote and resource the personal advocacy service

Awareness campaign to promote service to Deaf people throughout Ireland (Goal 3.1.1)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

Develop strategy to establish regional drop-in centres (Goal 3.1.2)

In 2023 we analysed information gathered from engagement with the National Council Members at various events to start establishing a “needs assessment report”. This work is ongoing and in 2024 IDS will develop a clear action plan to implement regular IDS meetings in locations throughout Ireland.

Campaign targetted to older Deaf (Goal 3.1.3)

This goal will be led by a new role, Community Outreach Officer, to be recruited in 2024.

Campaign targetted to Deaf+ (Goal 3.1.4)

This goal will be led by a new role, Community Outreach Officer, to be recruited in 2024.

Engagement with clients to investigate and clarify results of survey (Goal 3.1.6)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

Strand 3.2 - IDS Member and Deaf community engagement including activities, information and services​

Develop and expand Roadshow (Goal 3.2.1)

This goal will be led by a new role, Community Outreach Officer, to be recruited in 2024.

Develop community strategy for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (Goal 3.2.2)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

Develop plan to expand ISL Awareness week (Goal 3.2.4)

In 2023 the Advocacy team engaged with the community to help Deaf organisations promote their events and engaged with public bodies who illuminated landmarks with blue light. We also engaged with schools who conducted events and signing activities and organisations who requested Deaf Awareness Training. In 2024 we will develop an action plan to further engage the hearing community.

Develop programme of online events connecting with online communities (Goal 3.2.5)

In 2023 IDS provided regular updates and submissions on our initiatives, government news, and relevant information to the Deaf community via social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Strand 3.3 - Plan, development and promote Deaf leadership and youth engagement​

Develop strategy to engage with Deaf youth communities (Goal 3.3.3)

This goal will be led by a new role, Community Outreach Officer, to be recruited in 2024.

Strand 3.4 - Engagement with parents of Deaf children

Awareness campaign including Deaf Awareness Training (Goal 3.4.1)

IDS conducted ISL Linguistics workshops in 2023 and through the ISL Week Deaf Awareness workshop we established initial connections with a group of parents.

Develop collaborations with parenting organisations (Goal 3.4.2)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

Establish Family Support Group (Goal 3.4.4)

An action plan for this goal will be developed in 2024.

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Annual Report 2023 - Reporting on Education Department Strategic Plan Goals

The Irish Deaf Society’s current strategic plan was launched in June 2023. Here is an update on each Education Department goal and a summary of achievements during 2023.

Education Department Goals Under Strategic Pillar 1 - Campaigning for Deaf Rights and Advocates of Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Strand 1.3 Advocates of ISL

Feasability study for ISL Dictionary of English Vocabulary (Goal 1.3.3)

This goal is to develop a dictionary that will provide an ISL explanation for English words. This has never been done before and we have planned to conduct a feasibility study for the project in 2024 with activity in 2025.

Education Department Goals Under Strategic Pillar 2 - Advancing Education & Training Opportunities

Strand 2.2 - Development of Further Education and Training programmes

Develop ISL QQI level 5 and 6 accredited courses (Goal 2.2.1)

Our application for validation for an ISL Course, QQI Level 5, was successful in 2023 and work is scheduled in 2024 to develop the programme and plan for courses to start in September 2024.

Develop employer engagement process for course development (Goal 2.2.2)

In 2023 the Deaf Career Project conducted a successful engagement with Enterprise Rent a Car which led to a publication describing the process and advocating for best practice for engagment with employers. In 2024 we will use this model to commence development of guides and processes around employer engagement.

Implement Quality Assurance Procedures (Goal 2.2.3)

Quality Assurance is an ongoing task and in 2023 we focussed on improvements to ISL QQI course teaching materials and ongoing monitoring of standards in our course delivery.

Provide CPD training courses for Deaf teaching staff (Goal 2.2.4)

Our teaching staff attended CPD during 2023 including:

  • Building Capacity for the Recognition of Prior Learning in FET
  • Integration of Programme Delivery and Assessment of Learners
  • Series of Workshops on Learner Assessment

Significant CPD training was completed with our teaching staff in relation to technical skills for our new Learning Management System (LMS) - Brightspace.

Develop awareness and referral between IDS FET and ETB sector (Goal 2.2.5)

In 2023 the Deaf Career Project engaged with ETB’s in a series of podcasts about education and employment. In October 2023 we secured new funding for this project and this work led to a conference which was well attended by ETB’s in April 2024, the Future of Work and Learning, in the Mansion House Dublin.

Engagement with learners to investigate and clarify results of survey (Goal 2.2.6)

Satisfaction surveys were carried out with 2023 learners which show very positive results and can be seen earlier in this report. We will continue in 2024 to explore what survey participants attempted to communicate during the development of the strategic plan

Strand 2.3- Initiatives, support and guidance to provide educational and career pathways for Deaf people

FET collaborations with other FET providers (Goal 2.3.2)

In 2023 we continued working with the Coding Institute to support the development and implementation of an accessible coding course for Deaf students. Following a learner recruitment process 5 learners have been attending this course. In 2024 we are developing plans for more engagement with FET providers.

Education Department Goals Under Strategic Pillar 3 - Public and Community Engagement 

Strand 3.3 - Plan, development and promote Deaf leadership and youth engagement​

Building capacity and pathways to leadership opportunities (Goal 3.3.2)

This goal was on hold in 2023 subject to developing our team in FET to give more capacity for tasks. In 2024 we recruited a FET Course Management Assistant and are working on developing an action plan for this goal.

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AGM Motions: Types and Deadlines Explained

What are the different types of AGM motions members can send IDS and what are the deadlines? There are 4 types of motions you can send for the AGM ...

There are 4 types of motions you can send for the AGM:

  • Director Nomination: The deadline for IDS to receive a “nomination of a director” is 3 days before the AGM and not earlier than 21 days before the AGM. However we ask you to send us nominations as early as you can so that we have time to share information about the nominated person with members before the AGM.
  • Ordinary Motion: The deadline for IDS to receive an “ordinary motion” is 7 days before the AGM. We ask you to send these to us as early as you can and not wait until the deadline. Ordinary motions must be relevant to the business of the AGM – that means related to the Annual Report, Audited Financial Accounts or the appointment of the auditor. If your proposed motion or nomination is not suitable for the AGM we will contact you with an explanation.
  • Special Motion: The deadline for a “special motion” is 21 days before the AGM. A special resolution is a proposal to change the constitution or organisation name. Don’t forget that our Constitution is available on our website in ISL and English: https://www.irishdeafsociety.ie/about/ids-constitution-2021/
  • Extended Deadline Motion: The deadline for an “extended deadline motion” is 28 days before the AGM. An extended deadline motion” is to remove an auditor or a director, must be received by IDS 28 days before the AGM to give the auditor or director a chance to respond to members.You might have heard the word resolution also used to describe motions, they basically mean the same thing. A motion is the same as a proposal, after it is agreed it is called a resolution.

To send us any of these motions you can use the form that can be downloaded from our website. Or you can email membership@irishdeafsociety.ie or ISL/text 086 380 7033 and we will send a form to you.

If you have a general suggestion about how IDS is managed, feedback or a complaint please email it to feedback@irishdeafsociety.ie, text 086 4401443 or phone 01 860 1878.

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Proxy Voting: How to Cast Your Vote at the AGM

Proxy voting means that if you are a member you can ask someone else to attend the AGM and vote for you if you cannot attend the meeting. That person is your “proxy” at the meeting.

The person does not need to be an IDS member, but if you want to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf this proxy form must be received by IDS no later than 48 hours before the AGM.

You will need to send a proxy form to IDS and that will be available closer to the AGM date. The form will contain a list of all the motions for the meeting and it is best if you tell your proxy how you would like them to vote on all the motions.

When the proxy form is available to download we will let you know.

If you need any support in relation to the AGM contact our advocacy Department at advocacy@irishdeafsociety.ie or text 086 4401443 or phone 01 860 1878.

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Directors Elections

Our board director Aidan McArdle will resign from the board at the AGM and this will mean there will be 2 vacancies on the board of directors.

We welcome any nominations for board director positions to represent different sections of the community. This year we are especially looking for suitably qualified Director to act as Treasurer. The meetings are on Zoom and we welcome nominations of board directors from anywhere in Ireland. New directors will be supported and trained with a mentor. If you are interested please contact us and we can discuss it with you.


 IDS membership 2024

Why should you become an IDS Member – What does IDS do for you?

Some people wonder why they should join IDS, the reason is that IDS campaign to Government, business and Deaf service providers for access and equality Nationally. We are campaigning for the implementation of the ISL Act and the UN CRPD to give Deaf people rights and equality. We have been working hard for the community over the last year and we need your support. Please join now or renew your membership today to help us to do our work.

As a member you can vote at the AGM on important issues for IDS and the Deaf community. Your membership is for the calendar year January to December but you can join at any time of the year.

Remember, only members can attend our AGM online or in-person and vote. Non-members and observers can view a recording of our AGM after the meeting.
If you need any support in relation to membership contact our advocacy Department at advocacy@irishdeafsociety.ie or text 086 4401443 or phone 01 860 1878.

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Irish Deaf Society