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Kerryman local news  

31 July 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 31)

Golf Classic Reminder
For all those Golf enthusiasts out there, don't forget our Golf Classic on the 22nd of August in Dooks Golf Club in Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry. The event is being organised by Enda Curtayne and hosted by JB O' Shea. The cost is €250 per team, which is great value. You are guaranteed a great round of golf, followed by a BBQ and spot prizes. If you would like to register a team or sponsor the event, please contact Enda at 086 192 6160.

DCC New Website
The Deaf Community Centre in Limerick has set up a new website: The local Deaf Community and parents of deaf children in the Limerick and surrounding areas established the DCC in November 2006. DCC aims to promote the participation of the Deaf Community in education, community, social and cultural activities with ISL- Irish Sign Language as the main language of communication.

Here are some of the activities, DCC have planned for August Sat 2nd 2.00pm-5.00pm ­ Deaf club, this is the 2nd meeting of the over 40s group and will be in DCC, all welcome!! Tue 5th 6.00pm ­ CIC information night, Mairead will be in DCC to help with enquiries regarding employment, social welfare etc Tue 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th 7.00pm ­ The first 4 yoga classes will start, if interested please let Sandra/Christina know. Thurs 7th 10.00am ­ 1.00pm ­ DCC’s coffee morning, all welcome to call in for tea/coffee and a chat etc. We would like to wish the DCC all the best with their website and congratulate them on the hard work they have done since their opening.

Meeting In Cork Re National KODA Conference USA
There will be a meeting of Deaf parents with hearing children on the 3Oth of Aug from 2pm-5pm. Cork Deaf Association, 5 Mac Curtain Street. The meeting will look at sending delegates to the National KODA conference at Gallaudet University, Washington DC, USA from 8th ­ 12th July 2009. The KODA event will look at fostering an exchange of information among Deaf parents of hearing children, and to provide educators, family service professionals, adult children of Deaf parents, and other members of the community with a better understanding of the unique bicultural/bilingual experiences of families of hearing children with deaf parents. If you would like more information contact: Veronica White,, Text: 086 890 1359/ Susan O’Callaghan,, Text: 086 8535574. A fundraising group is going to be established to help with costs with attending the event. The deadline to join the fundraising group is 11th October 2008. Our thanks to Krista and Steve Walker for all their help in getting this idea up and running.

Two PhD's Studentship In Automatic Sign Language Translation
The Centre for Next Generation Localisation (CNGL) in Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, is recruiting 2 PhD candidates to work as part of a localisation research group on *machine translation technology to assist patients with limited English proficiency when communicating with healthcare professionals. *Although the project is two-fold, focussing on both new linguistic minorities in Dublin, such as Polish, as well as the Irish Deaf Community and Irish Sign Language, candidates will focus on one particular language pairing (spoken or signed) and will work on a specific area aligned with their interests and skills. Candidates for these positions will ideally have a demonstrated background and interest in social science and/or sign language, as well as computing competencies with an interest in Natural Language Processing and/or Machine Translation. Please email applications with C.V. to:

Get Safe Online
The Deaf Community is benefiting greatly from the Internet and social networking sites such as Facebook, BEBO and My Space. With the benefits, also come risks such as online bullying, disclosure of private information, cyber-stalking, and access to age-inappropriate content and, at the most extreme, online grooming and child abuse. For adults, who are also using these sites in greater numbers, there are serious risks too. They include: loss of privacy and identity theft. Adults too can be victims of cyber-bullying and stalking. A new website has been established to give people clear information and guidelines and is well worth looking at
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24 July 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 30)

Project Manager Vacancy in Centre for Deaf Studies
The Centre for Deaf Studies hope to recruit a Project Manager for a 3 year contract. The appointment will be tenable from 1st October 2008. For further information or a confidential discussion please contact Dr. Lorraine Leeson email: or Dr. Brian Nolan email: Candidates should submit a cover letter, together with a full curriculum vitae, to include the names of three referees, to: Ms. Joanne Smith, Recruitment Executive, Staff Office, Trinity College, Dublin 2 Email:; tel: +353 1 896 1749; fax: +353 1 677 2694. Trinity College is an Equal Opportunities Employer. For more information, go to

SLIS Bookings in ISL
The National Sign Language Interpreting Service are pleased to announce it will be accepting bookings through sign language, using ooVoo or Skype for two half-days a week.

If you want to book an interpreter, or ask questions about booking, you can contact SLIS on:
ooVoo: slis_bookings
Skype: slis_bookings

Cormac Leonard will be available to interpret your call to one of the Booking Officers ­ Audrey Campbell or Niamh Barry. The quality of the video call may vary depending on the broadband connection speed. If you prefer to make a booking face-to-face, you can drop in to SLIS Offices at Hainault House, The Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24. Cormac is available Tuesdays and Thursdays 2.00pm to 5.00pm.

You can also now contact SLIS through MSN Messenger, Monday to Friday, 10.00 ­ 5.00pm:, Tel: 01 4139775; Fax: 01 4139677; Mobile: 087 980 6996; Web:

Irish Deaf Kids Website
The Irish Deaf Kids project was set up in July 2007 by Caroline Carswell, who is profoundly deaf. The aim of the website is to meet the needs of parents of deaf children. Their mission is to support inclusive education for deaf children at mainstream schools in Ireland while enabling parents to help their child to reach their full potential. The website has information about Sign Language, speech & lip-reading, bilingual education, reading & writing. There is also information on the ear, hearing loss, hearing aids and cochlear implants. Parents of deaf children can also meet on the website to chat with other parents and exchange tips in a peer-support network. For more information see, Terenure Enterprise Centre, 17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, Dublin 6W. Email:; Tel: 01-4903237.

Camp and Surf for Gambia Deaf
The GADHOH-Ireland Committee is organising a surf/activity weekend in aid of the Gambian Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It will take place at Strandhill, Co Sligo, on Friday 29 - Sunday 31 August.

There will be a marquee, free tea/coffee/toast all weekend. Games, sports and fun guaranteed! Dog friendly. All under 18's MUST be accompanied by adults. Parents are responsible for their children at all times.

The cost of the weekend is €70 for adults, €55 for the unemployed or parents, €45 for children or €40 for the children of unemployed parents. This includes camping, surf lessons with an ISL interpreter, all activities. Bring your own tent, sleeping bag, suitable clothes/boots. If you do not want to surf there is a price reduction. If you want to stay in a hostel or bring your own camper/caravan please contact the organisers.

For more information text 0861952782 or email To book please send a deposit (non refundable) of €20 to Bernie Costello, IDS, 30 Blessington St, Dublin 7 or if you are in Northern Ireland you can make a deposit of £20 pounds to Sean Gilligan, 91 Beechill, Enniskillen, N.Ireland BT74 4AR.

Deaf Model on BBC Three
'Britain's Missing Top Model' is currently showing on BBC Three. It features eight girls with a disability who are want to become models. They are battling it out to win the prize of a fashion shoot in a top style magazine. The show highlights the discrimination that those with disabilities face. One of the girls taking part is Kellie Moody from Leicester who is Deaf. Kellie is hoping that people will change their attitude towards deafness and other disabilities. She would like people in public services, to be more aware and open-minded to people with disabilities. If you would like to read more, click on this link.

Best Wishes to Geraldine
Best wishes to one of our staff members, Geraldine Broderick, who is in Serbia this week with the Irish Deaf Youth Association at the European Deaf Youth camp. The theme of this year's camp is “Equality in education - achieving equality”. For more information see
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17 July 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 29)

mycharity.ieOur service is now registered with My an online fundraiser/donation service. If you would like to donate or fundraise for us, you can do so at

This is Me - Mary Stringer
This is Me is a new eight-part television documentary series following the lives of eight exceptional Irish people. On Monday, 21st July the programme will focus on Mary Stringer, a CODA and Sign Language interpreter from Dublin. Each week viewers are invited to spend time people who have allowed cameras to access their lives and to see how they live each day. The central character is given the space and time to share their thoughts, experiences and reflections on their life. This is Me is part funded by Rehab and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Radio Kerry Interview and Kerry's Eye
We would like to thank Radio Kerry for allowing our service highlight the recent death of one of our clients from advanced cervical cancer. The item was aired on Radio Kerry last Friday. Suzanne Carey represented our service and Kevin Stanley from the Irish Deaf Society spoke over the phone via an interpreter. Immediately after the showed aired, Kerry's Eye newspaper contacted us and they intend to run an article in one of their upcoming editions. Our thanks to everyone involved for helping us raise awareness of the importance of access for Deaf people to vital issues such as cervical cancer.

Hearing Aid Grant
From 1st July 2008, the maximum grant for the supply of a hearing aid under the Medical Appliance Benefit Scheme has been increased to ¤830.00. The Government pays half the cost of a hearing aid subject to a fixed maximum per aid. It also pays half the cost of repairs to aids.” The Medical Appliance Benefit may be paid in respect of hearing aid(s) supplied in other EU member states. Claim forms and details regarding the amounts, which the Department will pay, are available directly from Treatment Benefit Section. For services received abroad the patient pays the practitioner in full and afterwards sends the application form (completed by the supplier) to the Department. Payment is issued to the patient directly, rather than to the practitioner. For detailed information, check out

European Deafblind Union Croatia Conference
The European Deafblind Union (EDBU) was held in Zagreb, Croatia in April of this year. Unfortunately, we were unable to send any delegates to this year’s conference. However, we hope that this situation will change for the next conference, which is planned to take place in Bulgaria in 2012. The Zagreb conference covered a wide range of topics, with plenary sessions on the right for equality and diversity for deafblind people, how to promote full and equal participation of deafblind people, as well as the promotion of a more cohesive society with greater respect and tolerance. Several workshops were also held on the development of services for deafblind people, accessibility and adaptation of information and ethics. We have attached a copy of the plenary speeches as well as the presentation by Jirí Langer, from the Department of Special Education, Palack University in Czech Republic: Progress and Implementation of Tactile Sign Language in Czech Republic. For more information see

World Deaf Football Championship Update
The Irish Deaf men’s football team are out of the World Deaf Football Championships, which was held in Greece recently. The Hellenic Athletic Federation of the Deaf hosted the event. Fifteen men’s teams and five women’s teams from 16 countries participated in this Championship. For the first time, a South African women team took part in a world football event.

Ireland beat Ukraine 4-1 in the last of the group matches, putting them in second place in the group after Italy. Ireland faced France in the men's quarter finals on Tuesday 8th July but lost 2-1 in extra time when France scored from a free kick in the 114th minute. Ireland finished sixth overall after being beaten 1-0 by Greece on Friday 11th July. The overall winner of the tournament was Germany who eventually won out over Turkey in penalties. France was third. In the Russia match, the original score was Ireland 0 Russia 4, but this result was changed to Ireland 3 Russia 0 because of an infringement by Russia of a World Football Championship rule. Well done to everyone for all their hard work and congratulations for getting to the quarter finals.

Contented Living Workshop Tralee
A new and exciting workshop will be held for the first time in Tralee from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday 26th July. "Contented Living" is offered in a safe, fun-filled environment and places are limited so that participants can benefit from a small group.

Martine Brennan, a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist is now working as a Life Coach in Kerry. Martine works with people from all walks of life who are committed to improving the quality of their lives. Contented living has been described as freedom from want, anxiety or need. In this one-day workshop, participants will draw up a personal map for a contented life, identify areas that are preventing them from living that life and learn skills to help them live the life of their dreams. Booking and pre-payment (€80) are essential. Martine can be contacted on 086 8385345 or by email at

KDRC Closed in August
The Kerry Deaf Resource Centre will close from Friday, August 1st for annual holidays. The Centre will re-open Monday, 1st September at 9.30am.
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10 July 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 28)

Feedback to Kathleen O'Brien Tribute
We have received a lot of feedback to our tribute last week to Kathleen O'Brien. We have gotten emails and calls from members of the Deaf community, from hearing individuals and from organisations. Many have commented that the Health Service in Ireland frequently fails to provide adequate and appropriate supports to Deaf people in health care, particularly in relation to health awareness and the prevention of illness. As was the case with Kathleen, it is often the most vulnerable people in society who have to fight the hardest to get full access to healthcare. Last October the HSE convened a group to work on developing a policy for the protection of vulnerable adults in the health system. We are still waiting for the draft policy from this group.

The website of the Dept of Health and Children - states that Deaf and hard of hearing patients are entitled to interpretation services in public hospitals in Ireland. If you have experienced difficulties getting an interpreter for appointments with healthcare professionals working in public services or if you have been offered the services of unqualified person to communicate for you, let the HSE know, by emailing

In the meantime we would like to thank everyone who passed on our update about Kathleen. By sending this email to other people you are making women aware of the importance of regular smear tests and highlighting the problems for Deaf people when accessing health services. This way we can all work together to improve the health and well-being of everyone.

Annual Mass at Rath Cemetery
The annual mass at Rath Cemetery will be held on Wednesday, 9th July at 7.30pm. Veronica White from the National Chaplaincy for Deaf People will interpret at the Mass.

Deaf Education Research New Date
Elizabeth S. Mathews (PhD student) will give a talk on Education Research on Tue 15th July and Wed 16th July 2008 in our Centre. The meetings are open to the Deaf Community and parents of D/deaf and hard of hearing children. Elizabeth's research will look at the mainstreaming of education for children with a hearing loss. The meeting on Tue will be an information meeting. On Wed Deaf people can discuss their concerns and/or experiences of the education system (mainstream or Deaf schools). The open meeting and focus group will run for approx. two hours, from 7pm-9pm. An ISL interpreter will be provided. If you are interested in participating and/or if have any questions you can contact the KDRC or Elizabeth at tel: 01 7086219, MSN: or email:

Visit to President of Ireland
A group from our service had a wonderful day at Áras an Uachtaráin last week. The President of Ireland held one of her annual Garden Parties. Even though the weather was not great; it did not dampen the spirit of the day. The President gave a wonderful speech, which was followed by musical entertainment, wine, food and salsa dancing. The day ended with a tour of the formal rooms of the Áras. Our thanks to Willie White and Suzanne Carey for interpreting at the event.
Áras an Uachtaráin

Deaf Football
Best wishes and congratulations to the Irish men's Deaf football team who are playing in the 1st World Deaf Football Championships in Greece. In their first match the team from Ireland had a convincing win over Italy. The final score was 2-0 with both goals coming in the second half. On Friday Ireland defeated Venezuela last Friday evening - at the end of the 90 minutes Ireland had scored 9 goals to Venezuela's 2. On Monday, the 7th of July Ireland play against the Ukraine. More information about the tournament, including results are available at or at the tournament website
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3 July 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 27)

A tribute to Kathleen O'Brien - too young to die
This week's update is dedicated to our client and friend Kathleen O'Brien who passed away last week at the tender age of 39. She passed away peacefully after a brave battle with advanced cervical cancer.

Kathleen was Deaf and a sign language user. She had a learning disability, night-blindness, was a member of the traveller community and lived alone for many years. A couple of years ago she was attacked in her home in the middle of the night and had to live in a homeless hostel for many months. She had difficulties with literacy skills and retaining information.

However, this did not stop her from being a very well liked person. She was a regular visitor to our Centre- sometimes coming in for a chat and a cup of tea up to four times a day. She always had a smile, a wink, a nod and thumbs up for everyone she met.

Kathleen required the support of accredited sign language interpreters and Deaf advocacy services. Given her range of disabilities and challenges, you would imagine, it would have been easy for our service to get support for Kathleen? With the introduction of Equality and Disability legislation, supports would be provided with little or no trouble?

The reality was shocking!!!

Kathleen attended many appointments with public services and Government bodies without any access being provided to her. When she scribbled down she wanted an interpreter, this request was ignored on many occasions.

When our service became aware of this, we began to lobby on her behalf and came up against obstacle after obstacle particularly within the Health Service Executive. It was difficult to get through to the relevant people within the HSE to arrange, sanction or book an interpreter. We were sent from pillar to post, time and time again.

As it became apparent that Kathleen was becoming unwell, Veronica White from the National Chaplaincy for Deaf People (NCDP), Deaf Advocates and freelance interpreters began to work with Kathleen. On many occasions, these people worked with Kathleen without pay.

The Medical Centre that Kathleen attended started to insist on interpreting access. When these requests were made to the HSE, it was a huge challenge to get sanctioning. We received one e-mail from the HSE asking if it was absolutely necessary for Kathleen to have interpreting access, given she had been attending many appointments on her own for many years.

Government Departments and Public Services are obligated to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with a disability. According to our Barrister, it is clear that the HSE are failing to meet their obligation under The Equal Status Acts and The Disability Acts.

As Kathleen's condition started to deteriorate, she was admitted on a number of times to hospitals in Kerry and Cork. Again, it was a huge struggle to ensure accredited interpreting and advocacy was provided for her. Our service sent e-mails, interpreting leaflets, made phone calls, and typed up a business card stating Kathleen required the services of an interpreter. Staff from our Centre, the NCDP, Cork Deaf Association and freelance interpreters began to lobby on Kathleen's behalf. Requests were ignored many times.

As the process was time consuming and very tiring, we were forced to contact the Ombudsman's Office, The Equality Authority and The Minister for Health. Independent mediation was brought in and thankfully all the necessary supports were put in place immediately.

Unfortunately for Kathleen, this support was too late. It was provided to her in her last few weeks on earth. Why wasn't this support put in place years ago?

If professionals were able to communicate effectively with Kathleen, they would have been more able to assess, diagnosed and treat her earlier. Communication is a central aspect of our daily lives. Our ability to communicate with others dictates our access to vital resources such as healthcare. According to Bagley (1998), communication underlies everything else and is the most important issue for most disabled people.

Is the difficulty of access just a Kerry based issue? Unfortunately not!! Hands On, a TV programme for the Deaf ran two programmes recently on the problems that Deaf people are facing throughout Ireland with the HSE.

It's time to stop talking and time to start acting. Kathleen like many other Deaf people are not being afforded equal rights. We need equality of access for all Deaf people before anymore of them die.

In addition to communication support- why was Kathleen not given a smear test? Pre-cancerous changes that occur to cells in the cervix can be detected by means a smear test. This is the 2nd Deaf woman to die of advanced cervical cancer in Kerry in the last three years.

The Government needs to implement a national screening programme for ALL women. Deaf women are not being tested and have died as a result. How many more women need to die!!

In the end, our fight for Kathleen was worth it. Kathleen died with dignity surrounded by family and friends.

We would like to thank all those who supported us in our fight for Kathleen. We would particularly like to Veronica White, Suzanne Carey, Susan O Callaghan, Ray Greene, Willie White, Dearbhla Lenihan (Independent Mediator), the staff of the Clounalour Medical Centre, Arlington Lodge, Dr. Sheahan and all those who cared for Kathleen, Mairead Carey and to the staff of our service. We could not have provided Kathleen with the love, care and compassion she deserved without your hard work and commitment.

We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to Kathleen's family. They accepted us into their lives at a very hard and sad time. It was an honour and a privilege to work with them all. It was clear to see that Kathleen was deeply loved by all of those from the travelling community. Many of her family and friends had learnt a very unique signing system that Kathleen devised and taught them. It showed that she was a very intelligent and loyal person who had great ability to communicate with people.

It's just a shame that many of the professionals who dealt with Kathleen didn't communicate with her in her chosen language- sign language.

Kathleen was a great lady - a true inspiration and a hero. She struggled throughout her life and never lost her smile. Even in her last days, she had a smile, a wink, a nod and thumbs up for people.

We will work hard to ensure her struggle changes the lives of many people for the better.

May she rest in peace xxx
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