April 2024

Community News: April 2024

This month, the Information Office provided ISL (International Sign Language) videos every week through social media, our website, the weekly newsletter, and on TV displays to ensure that information is shared with the Deaf community. The Advocacy Department has been very busy assisting Deaf people from Dublin and other counties with their advocacy needs and inquiries. 

ISL Act Cross Community Group (CCG)Meeting  

Six out of 13 organisations attended the CCG meeting. They went through the full agenda related to Deaf Education, ISL Teachers, and Interpreter issues. It is time to conduct an ISL Act Review as it will be due next year. It was agreed that the CEO will contact the NDA to inquire if they would be expected to be nominated to review the ISL Act, as they did in the previous report. It was suggested to explore whether anyone relevant to the ISL Act would be interested in joining the sub-committee focusing on the ISL Act Review. SLIS has shown interest, but IDS hasn’t heard anything from them yet. The Chairperson can advise us on when to involve or invite a suitable person in the process. 

IDS & IHREC Breaking Barriers in Employment Conference by Noel O’Connell 

The IDS hosted the Breaking Barriers in Employment Conference to launch Dr. Noel O’Connell’s recent research, which was funded by IHREC. The Advocacy team provided support with this event, with the FET Course Management Assistant leading the event on the day. The research looked at inequalities and lived experiences of Deaf people in employment and the conference had 3 presentations by Dr. Noel O’Connell, Dr. John Bosco Conama and Dr. Jennifer Van Aswegen and the attendees found it extremely impactful and insightful. Also, the conference received a lot of attention on social media, which helped spread its message to more people and highlight the valuable work being done.


This month, the Advocacy Administrator and the Advocacy Manager supported the Research and Policy Officer in their new role as Research and Policy Officer and will now be responsible for submissions. It was agreed that both will provide support and information to the Research & Policy Officer as they transition into this role.  

The submissions that were completed this month are as follows:  

  1. Green Paper on Disability Payment Reform 
  2. IHREC Strategy Statement 2025–2027:  
  3. Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) Survey:  
  4. Mental Health Working Group (MHWG) Position Paper: 
  5. IHREC Grant Scheme 2024-25: The Advocacy team helped the Research & Policy Officer apply for a grant to address barriers faced by ISL interpreters in education and employment. 

All will be translated in ISL and put on our website under publications page. 

Trinity College: Centre for the Deaf Studies   

Three second year CDS students visited the IDS Information Office. As part of their Deaf Studies course, they had the opportunity to research information on IDS, WFD, and EUD through IDS. They enjoyed the tour at DVI and learned more about IDS from the staff. 

Social Media  

In April, we saw increased engagement with more likes and positive comments, especially on recent posts featuring photos and ISL videos by the Advocacy Manager and Advocacy Project Officer at the Mansion House explaining about the IDS Deaf Career Project conference titled ‘Future Learning and Work.’ 

IDS Website Update Summary  

We’re still working hard on our website, keeping everything updated and interesting for our visitors. We aim to make it easy for them to find what they need. 

E-Info Newsletter 

The Information Officer keeps sending the E-Info to over 600 emails, sharing the same updates as on social media every Friday at 5 pm. We’re getting more info from hearing groups, like theatre shows with ISL interpreters. We still need to receive information from deaf organisations about their own events. 

EUD – Is it Time for EUD Census?  

EUD invited the NAD to attend their webinar titled ‘Is it Time for an EUD Census?’, which the Advocacy Manager attended. EUD reached out to discuss something really important for the Deaf community: conducting a large-scale survey to count all the deaf people in the EU. EUD currently lacks official numbers, making it challenging to formulate policies and advocate for them. However, with this survey, they aim to gain a better understanding of the deaf population and their needs. They the NAD, were provided with numerous questionnaires on how to collect statistics, the benefits and challenges of conducting a census for the Deaf community, and the potential problems associated with the census. It was an interesting discussion. Also, EUD announced that they will celebrate their 40th anniversary next year and will meet the NAD at EUD General Assembly in Brussels on 23rd May. 

Youth Homeless Service Training Steering Group 

The Advocacy Administrator is involved in a steering group focused on developing a HSE training module aimed at youth homeless service staff. The group met to review a draft of the first module which focuses on Understanding Disabilities and Homelessness. The Advocacy Administrator provided feedback to the group on the need to specify the needs of Deaf people, as the module initially was too generalised. There was no specific mention on communication needs of Deaf people and no reference to ISL. The group will meet in June again to review the changes.  

Social Inclusion Forum Focus Group on Disability by Community Work Ireland (CWI) and European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) 

The Advocacy Manager participated in a focus group workshop organised by CWI/EAPN to discuss the Mid-Review document, focusing on themes related to disabled people and policy implementation. The workshop had four breakout sessions, and the Advocacy Manager joined the one on Employment and Unemployment, which led to fruitful discussions. We discussed various topics, including the cost of disability, policy versus implementation issues, lack of consultation or engagement with DPOs, the medical model, delays in the NDI Strategy, the role of designated persons working with disabled people, and GDP expenditure on social protection for disability. It was noted that EU countries spend an average of 2% of their GDP on this, whereas Ireland’s expenditure stands at 0.8%, making it the second lowest in Europe. 

The Advocacy Manager registered for the Social Inclusion Forum happening on 30th May. The Social Inclusion Forum was launched in 2020 alongside The Roadmap to Social Inclusion 2020-2025, so the theme of this forum covers Communities, Families and Children, Core Essentials, and Disabled People. 

Mental Health Reform (MHR) Prisons Report Launch 

The Advocacy Manager attended the launch of the MHR Prisons Report, which proved to be quite engaging. Minister McEntee’s video speech emphasised her commitment to supporting prisoners’ mental health needs, including the provision of psychologists to address the long waiting lists for assistance. The report, published by MHR, specifically addresses the mental health and addiction challenges faced by male prisoners, highlighting the prevalence of drug addiction among the 4,500 males currently detained in Irish prisons. It also notes that a significant portion of these individuals struggle with alcoholism, often as a result of boredom, isolation, and misuse. Following mixed-methods research, the report proposes various tiers of support, but it also identifies key challenges such as understaffing, language barriers, overcrowding, and the absence of dual diagnosis services. 

You can find other community news in ISL this year from January to March, including this month April, on our website under the Publications page.

Irish Deaf Society