March 2024

Community News: March 2024

Referendum Commission 

The issues surrounding the Referendum on Family and Care put a lot of pressure on us. We had to remain impartial as many members of the Deaf community expressed concerns about the votes, even though the Referendum Commission provided ISL translation on their information explaining the referendum. The community wanted more opportunities to discuss these issues, so IDS staff made a big effort to invite representatives from the organisations campaigning for a Yes-Yes Vote and a No-No Vote, however we were unsuccessful in these attempts. We therefore decided the best way to provide support was to do our own research on the topics and make a vlog clarifying the information available and explaining why some concerns were raised. We received a lot of support from the Deaf community, and we were disappointed that we could not provide the information session that was requested, but we were glad to see NDWI step in and arrange two evening information session giving both sides an opportunity to explain their voting stance. This helped others gain confidence in their voting decisions. 

Staff Training  

The Advocacy team attended as follows: 

  1. The Wheel Webinar: Introducing Project Management’; Eileen Murphy led the event, where we learned about different parts of project management like planning, setting goals, monitoring progress, involving others, and handling risks. The webinar was helpful for people in nonprofit jobs, giving them practical tips for managing projects, including how it relates to the IDS Strategic Plan. 
  2. The Wheel Webinar: Canva for Beginners: Making the Most of Your Content.’ This workshop assisted people in getting better at making content using Canva, which is a tool for creating graphics. The webinar showed us how to make content that looks good and keeps our audience interested. It is suitable for beginners and people who want to get better. Rob Brown, The Wheel’s Communications & Marketing Officer, led the webinar. 
  3. IDS Strategic Plan for Advocacy Service. The Advocacy Team aims to understand the Strategic Plan thoroughly. While we are clear on how to implement it, we need assistance with consistently documenting our actions in the Strategic Plan report. Several areas require clarification, particularly regarding our top priorities among our wide range of services. 
  4. Governance Code Training: The Front Desk Office Administrator attended this course. Hosted by The Wheel and led by Gerry Egan Consulting, this workshop was designed to familiarise people with each of the principles, core standards and advanced standards of adherence to the Governance Code. The workshop also helped with better understanding of the legal duties behind the code and how to ensure that the company is employing best practice in terms of good governance behaviour. 

Annual CDS Module – Working with the Deaf Community: 

During the CDS module – Working with the Deaf Community, the Advocacy manager gave her annual presentation, focusing on IDS, particularly the Advocacy service as the main service. CDS students attending the 1st year course of their degree programme, visited Deaf Village Ireland and watched the presentation for up to two hours, including interactive conversations and a tour of the IDS office.

Fourth Year CDS Student – Visit to DVI 

The Advocacy Administrator was asked by CDS lecturer to facilitate a visit by fourth year CDS students to DVI, and to share with them her experiences of graduating CDS and getting involved with the Deaf community. It was an informal chat in which they had an opportunity to ask questions and get clarity on their job prospects after CDS. The focus was on ISL and how to become more confident and fluent in ISL.  

IDS submissions to the government – ISL translations for the website

The Information Officer had all IDS submissions from 2023 translated into ISL by IDS Deaf Staff and uploaded them on the website under the publication section at 

The section includes two ISL videos from the Advocacy Manager explaining:  

  1. “Why does the Irish Deaf Society make submissions to the Government?” 2. “The Irish Deaf Society introduces the submissions” which is the same in all at the start of IDS submissions. 

Following these the Information Officer worked with all IDS staff to translate the submission topics listed below: 

  • IDS Submission to Comreg: Review of Service Provider Accessibility Requirements 
  • IDS Submission on CSO Census 2027 
  • IDS Submission to Pathways to Work Consultation 
  • IDS Submission to Public Consultation on Lifelong Guidance 
  • IDS Submission to the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport, and Media 
  • IDS Submission to EPSEN Review 

The Information Officer will now do the same for submissions made in 2021/2022 and this will be completed in the next few weeks and will also keep up to date with any new submissions that are made in 2024 to ensure they are all available in ISL. 

Community News  

The first community news in ISL can be found on the IDS website’s publication section. 

The Information Officer shared monthly news taken from the board’s report for January and February 2024, selecting what is relevant and interesting for the Deaf community. Two ISL videos for January and February were also shared on social media. We can improve the Community News further by adding information from all departments and we will make sure we continue to update the Community News every month. 

Deaf Awareness Training: 

We held 4 DAT workshops in March, with 3 of them for public bodies.Soon, the team will talk about hiring new DAT presenters because we might not be able to keep up with demand as the year goes on. 

Social Media 

In March, the Irish Deaf Society social media was busy. We focused on providing information and translating videos about the Referendum on Family & Care from IDS. It was important to stay neutral on this topic, because of the sensitive topic, and there were many debates within the Deaf community. 

Two main posts for this month were International Women’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. 

1.International Women’s Day: Information Officer made an ISL video to celebrate International Women’s Day. The theme for this year was “#InspireInclusion,” and we shared the video on social media on March 8th. The video was all about why it is important to include and empower women, especially in the Deaf community. The Information Officer filmed Deaf women from IDS and members of the Deaf Day Centre signing and explaining the theme “#InspireInclusion,” giving examples such as women in employment, education, health, and life in general. Working with Deaf women from IDS and Deaf Day Centre members made the video more interesting and involved more faces from the Deaf community. 

2.St. Patrick’s Day: Information Officer filmed IDS staff and created an ISL video to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The video was scheduled to be shown on social media on the 17th of March, featuring lovely stories about St. Patrick’s Day, along with fun facts and myths. It was an enjoyable watch, and this was done with the assistance of the Advocacy Project Officer, who designed an excellent front cover for the video that attracts a lot of viewers to click and watch it. The video got good feedback and interaction online. 

We continue to post and share information that is relevant to the Deaf community. 

International Week of Deaf People 2024 / International Day of Sign Language – WFD 

The WFD has sent us information on the themes for International Week of Deaf people and the toolkit which includes all their logos and support letters, and information on the various events such as the Global Leaders Challenge. 

Info on the themes for the week of 23rd to 29th September is as follows:

Monday 23 September 2024 – International Day of Sign Languages: Sign Up for Sign Language Rights
Striving towards a better implementation of the CRPD at the national level through the linguistic human rights of deaf people in view of the 20th anniversary of the CRPD in 2026 

Tuesday 24 September 2024: Inclusive Education
Advocating for quality multilingual inclusive education that embraces and uplifts deaf learners through national sign language. Focus will be on the declaration on the Rights of Deaf Children  

Wednesday 25 September 2024: Sign Language Advocacy
Encouraging everyone to actively advocate for the rights of deaf individuals and the official recognition of national sign languages. Focus for this day will be the guidelines for Achieving Sign Language Rights 

Thursday 26 September 2024: Building Resilient Deaf Communities
Building the capacity of deaf communities on emergency preparedness and response to mitigate disaster risks and reduce deaf communities’ vulnerability in the face of disasters. 

Friday 27 September 2024: Diversity in Deaf Communities
Embracing the diversity in deaf communities where every deaf individual with intersecting identities is respected, valued and supported. 

Saturday 28 September 2024: Deaf Cultural Celebrations
Celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the deaf communities through the lens of sign language expression. Deaf Culture involves the behaviours, traditions, beliefs, values, history, humour, art that exists within Deaf communities. Deaf communities are proud of their linguistic and cultural identity. 

Sunday 29 September 2024: Investing in the future of deaf communities
Building bridges between deaf children and their families and deaf communities to ensure early exposure to national sign languages and access to language rich environments. We will encourage people to share on social media their vision of the future. 

The Information Officer has shared this information on social media platforms, our website and on the TV display in the Information office, giving us and the Deaf community plenty of time to prepare for the event during that week. 

E-Info Newsletter 

We continue to send out the e-info to over 600 members every Friday. We include our own updates, like what we share on social media, and events from other organisations.

IDS Website Update Summary: 

The Information Officer keeps the website up-to-date and easy to use. We have added important updates on the homepage, with links to more info.


Clare Leader Forum’s Historic book “We are Human Too” 

The Advocacy Manager attended the launch of Clare Leader Forum’s book ‘We are Human Too’ in Ennis, Co Clare. This publication is a testament to the resilience, strength, and diversity within the disabled people’s movement in Ireland. The Advocacy Manager contributed alongside 38 others through in-depth interviews, participation in an expert panel webinar, completion of 41 detailed surveys, and engaging in numerous insightful conversations, all of which formed the foundation of this book. The book also includes perspectives often excluded from mainstream dialogues, highlighting the experiences of people within the mental health system, the Deaf community, neurodivergent individuals, those with intellectual impairments, and other intersectional marginalised experiences. This book is a historic achievement as it is the first comprehensive history written by and about disabled people in Ireland. The goal is to ensure it reaches politicians, policymakers, community activists, and allies. 

Chime MDT Webinar Series 

The Advocacy Manager attended the Chime MDT webinar, which focused on Autism and Deaf children. During the webinar, a psychologist highlighted the importance of considering both conditions when children have multiple additional needs, and how they can influence each other. This means that the challenges associated with autism might affect how a Deaf child communicates, while being Deaf may impact how autism is expressed or managed. The discussion emphasised that being both Deaf and autistic can greatly affect communication, language development, learning, and mental well-being. 

Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act and Enduring Power of Attorney Information meeting  

Fine Gael and Local Area Representative Gayle Ralph contacted the Information Officer a few weeks ago, seeking assistance in arranging an information meeting for the Deaf Community on the topic of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act and Enduring Power of Attorney, to be presented by legal expert Áine Hynes, Senior Counsel and Chair of the Law Society’s Mental Health Law Capacity Task Force. The Information Officer was worked with them both to arrange, and Cabragh Hall was booked for Tuesday, 19th March at 2 pm. The Information Officer shared information about the meeting with the Deaf community, Deaf Day Centre members, and members of the Men’s Shed. There was a lot of interest from these groups in attending. 

However, on the morning of the workshop Gayle Ralph informed Information Officer that ISL interpreters were unavailable for the meeting and that they were still trying to find one. Ms. Ralph had also invited hearing residents from Cabra to join the meeting. Despite the interpreter issue, the meeting went ahead for the hearing attendees, leaving the Deaf community disappointed. 

The Information Officer suggested arranging another date and time for the meeting, ensuring that interpreters are properly booked before announcing the next meeting to avoid disappointment. 

Irish Rail 

The advocacy project officer attended their first Disability User Group meeting which was scheduled March 21st via zoom. Discussions were focused on the group’s aims and how each member can give input to promoting accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities. 

Deafblind Community meeting 

The Advocacy Project officer recently attended a Deafblind Community meeting where the focus was on organising a conference. There were mixed feelings about the conference’s purpose and target audience. Some attendees wanted it to be a platform for Deafblind people to meet up, while others suggested inviting policy makers and decision makers to the event. 

Focus Group on Employment Support Schemes – Department of Social Protection 

The Information Officer attended a meeting held by the ISPOS on behalf of the Department of Social Protection at the Hilton Hotel Charlemont Place, along with other people with disabilities. The Department of Social Protection is developing a new programme to provide advice and financial assistance to people with disabilities or health issues affecting their ability to work. 

The meeting’s purpose was to discuss the lists of the seven employment support schemes that the Department of Social Protection wants to rename, seeking advice in suggesting a name to include all of them. The IPOS presented 10 proposed names to choose from. The preferred name was ‘Making Your Workplace Accessible’ as it highlights the need for workplace adaptations rather than focusing on people with disabilities as the problem. It will be announced with the name at the end of March.  

DCPN Mental Health Reform Webinar  

The Advocacy Manager and Administrator attended the webinar. The webinar was for people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, family, friends, carers, and supporters and focused on building capacity in advocating for change and looked at the upcoming elections and how we can campaign for our rights when meeting with potential candidates. This is part of MHR’s work under the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN). 

RISLI Update Meeting: 

The Advocacy Manager attended a meeting with representatives from various organizations. They discussed plans to create an accreditation system, verify interpreters, and provide ongoing training for interpreters. 

Suggestions included having meetings every few months to get feedback from the Deaf community, improving the process. They also plan to define verification criteria and decide what will be included in the accreditation system. For example, in the context of interpreters, accreditation may involve verifying their skills, training, and experience to make sure all up to date.

Additionally, they suggested implementing a recognition program every few years to maintain interpreter quality standards. 

Published: 18th April 2024

Irish Deaf Society