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30 September 2010 (VOL 8 WEEK 38)

WFD Congress Durban, South Africa.
As many of you will know the World Federation of the Deaf organises its international congress every four years. Our service has been fortunate to send delegates to many of these events throughout the world. The next WFD congress will be held in Durban South Africa from the 18th to the 24th of July 2011.

In his press release, the President of WFD Markku Jokinen states, "DeafSA will host the first ever WFD General Assembly and WFD Congress to be held in Africa continent. I am sure it will bring the biggest number of African Deaf people, activists, professionals, interest groups to these important meetings to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise to be used for welfare and improving human rights of Deaf people in Africa and all over the world. It will also be very exciting to share what we have achieved through using the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first international Treaty ever that recognizes sign languages and linguistic human rights, linguistic identity and culture of Deaf people. I am sure participants all over the world will enjoy beautiful nature and city of Durban and South African culture with its great hospitality and friendliness as well".

Information on the congress venue, accommodation, registration details, commission themes, special interest groups and facts about South Africa is available at

WFD - Deaf Youth Renaissance
Prior to the congress, the WFD will organise an International Deaf Youth Camp from the 6th -14th July 2011 in Durban.

The main objectives of the WFD camps is to give opportunity directly to Deaf Youth to meet on an international level, share ideas, experience and grow as individuals as well as leaders, to strive in making this world a better place for everyone.

The camp aims:
  • To train and develop organisational and leadership skills in Deaf Youth;
  • To facilitate networking among Deaf Youth;
  • To experience cultural exchange.
To attend a WFD Youth Camp, Deaf Participants must be between 18-30 years of age. National Associations of the Deaf / Youth Associations can select up to four participants (2 selected and 2 alternatives). Further information is available from

WASLI - Call For Papers
The World Association of Sign Language Interpreters will also hold its international conference in Durban from the 14-16 July 2011. The organisers hope it will be three days of learning, sharing, networking, renewing old friendships and making new ones, and having fun - all taking place a few metres from the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

WASLI issued a call for proposals for papers and posters to be presented at the conference. Thematic areas include (but are not limited to):
  • Deaf peoples’ experience with interpreters and interpreter education and research;
  • Local ways of promoting education, certification, consumer knowledge and involvement;
  • How we teach and here is what we do in our areas;
  • Innovative and new ideas, work in progress;
  • Ethics;
  • Mentoring;
  • Resources;
  • Developing the field of interpreting worldwide;
  • Collaborative work;
  • Development of interpreting, research, and practices for interpreting and teaching;
  • Emerging practices and research;
  • Deaf and hearing team interpreters;
  • Deaf Interpreters and researchers.
Durban is the political capital of KwaZulu-Natal, a province which encompasses South Africa's history, its dramatic landscapes and some of its best wildlife parks. The organizers hope you can make the time to go beyond Durban and enjoy more of KwaZulu-Natal.

For more information, go to
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23 September 2010 (VOL 8 WEEK 37)

Hi, welcome to the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre update of 20th September 2010. We had the wrong date on last week’s update. Of course it should have been 13th September. Apologies for any inconvenience caused!

Upcoming Activities in Conjunction with ITT
The Health & Leisure Department at the Institute of Technology Tralee has been in touch about upcoming activities as follows:
  • 29th September: surfing in Banna;
  • 9th October: Canoeing/Kayaking in Fenit (Cappanalea if winds are high);
  • 20th October: Adventure Games at ITT North Campus;
  • 10th November: Orienteering in Currachase;
  • 24th November: High ropes in Dingle;
  • 8th December: Rock climbing in Dingle.
If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, please let us know. A group of KDRC members went rock climbing in Dingle last year with the ITT, and great fun was had by all. We are sure that it will be equally successful this year. Contact us by text or email (details below) for more information or to put your name on list.

Irish Deaf Youth Association youth club reopens
The Irish Deaf Teens' Youth Club will reopen again on 20 September 2010. The Club will meet every Monday from 7.15pm to 8.15pm in St. Joseph’s School hall. For more information about the Youth Club, contact Ronan by email:

Decision on challenge to deaf juror disqualification
The long-awaited decision in the case of Deaf woman Joan Clarke case was given in the High Court on 14th July last. The case, taken by Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC), was heard in the High Court over two years ago. Ms. Clarke, who is Deaf, had been summonsed for jury service, and wanted to undertake this civic duty as an Irish citizen. She requested a reasonable accommodation in the form of a sign language interpreter in order to do so. However, she was excused from jury service because of her deafness.

Ms. Clarke won part of her case in the High Court the ban when the court ruled that a County Registrar was not entitled to exclude Ms. Clarke from jury service. However, the judgment does not clear the way for deaf people to serve on a jury. The judge Mr Justice O'Keefe said the presence of a sign language interpreter in a jury room would breach confidentiality, which is an integral part of trial by jury.

Very little has changed as a result of this decision, as it stated that Sign Language interpreters could not be present for jury deliberations. Therefore, Deaf people will continue to be excluded from jury service.

Michael Farrell, a solicitor with FLAC, said the decision made "an important dent" in the ban on deaf jurors which was "offensive and hurtful" to deaf people and had "no place in a modern and inclusive society". He also said "It was unfortunate the judge did not go on to accept that sign language interpreters could be used in a jury room without interfering with the jury," he said.

For details of the case and decision see the FLAC briefing note:

Change To Free Legal Aid Clinics
Free Legal Advice Centre (FLAC) will hold its free clinic every second month at their North Frederick Street Centre, Dublin ( offices). All are welcome, and a Sign Language interpreter will be available. The next FLAC clinic will be held on October 7th at 8pm.

Deaf British Diplomat Sues Ministry
A British diplomat is suing the foreign ministry after it withdrew her posting as deputy ambassador to Kazakhstan on the grounds that her deafness made it too expensive. Jane Cordell accused the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of discrimination after it said it could not afford the £500,000 sterling cost of providing her with specialist lip-speakers. Ms. Cordell said that the ministry was "imposing a glass ceiling on the career prospects of the disabled".

One of her laywers, Catherine Spain, commented that "The FCO has a budget of £2.2 billion sterling a year and what they're asked for Jane is not much." Ms. Cordell also argues that the figure is unrealistic and her needs could be met for £176,000 sterling per year – a slight increase on what the Foreign Office was willing to pay while she was stationed in Warsaw. The FCO defended its decision, saying it was "fully committed" to providing equal opportunities to disabled staff.

Ms. Cordell entered the FCO in 2001 and was posted to the British embassy in Warsaw in 2006 where she was provided with lip-speakers and won an award for championing the rights of the disabled. Before starting her job in Warsaw she took Polish language classes, stunning her Polish counterparts, and developing such a high level that she spoke Polish on Polish TV and helped the Polish parliament draft new disability legislation.

A decision in the case is expected in November.

For more information see:
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16 September 2010 (VOL 8 WEEK 36)

International Congress on the Education of The Deaf (ICED 2010)
The 21st International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) took place in Vancouver, Canada from 18 to 22 July. The theme of the conference was "Partners In Education". The conference was accessible to Deaf people with a team of over 30 Deaf and hearing interpreters.

The congress started with the presentation of a document - A New Era: Deaf Participation and Collaboration. This document rejected the resolutions of the 1880 Milan Congress, which banned the use of sign language from educational programs for deaf children. The banning of sign language has had a long-lasting and detrimental affect on the quality of education for deaf children around the globe, leading to a lack of equality for Deaf adults and the participation of Deaf people in society being severely compromised. You can watch a presentation about the New Era document in International Sign at this weblink:

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, the New Era document "expressed deep regret for the detrimental effects of the Milan resolutions, and promoted the acceptance of and respect for all languages and forms of communication in educational programs." The Document makes a commitment to working with national governments to adhere to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This Convention states that sign language is a human right and that education includes full acquisition of language, academic, practical and social knowledge.

The New Era Document also endorses the resolutions adopted by the World Federation of the Deaf at its 15th Congress in 2007 for equal and appropriate access to a multi-lingual, multi-cultural education; inclusion of Sign Languages as legitimate languages equal to the nation’s spoken languages; the inclusion of Deaf people in all aspects of education from the very onset; and the promotion of human rights for all.

Markku Jokinen, President of the WFD stated: "Education, which is much more than just scores, curriculum, and pedagogies, means nurturing deaf children to become full human beings with rights, knowledge and skills. It means enabling them to their maximum potential as individuals in today’s society. We must also recognize and value diversity within the Deaf community – Deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-blind, with full rights to language, culture, community and choices.

The tremendous support for the New Era Accord shown at this Congress is inspiring. However, our work has only just begun. It will take time, patience and wisdom to sustain permeating change. We all have been hurt, excluded, marginalized and angry at hearing people for the damage visited upon us over generations, 130 years since Milan. We need to forgive ourselves and those others, to become spiritually liberated to forge forward with new alliances towards a positive, productive future together."

At the Closing Ceremony a book of signatures in support of the New Era document was passed on to Markku Jokinen, who will collect signatures at the 16th Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in Durban, South Africa next year. The book will then go to the next ICED Congress in Greece in 2015.

For information about the Conference and to read the New Era document see the ICED website: The WFD’s report from the ICED congress is here:

DGB (German Deaf Association) Survey
The German Deaf Association has created a short survey to examine the situation of Deaf people around Europe. The survey is available in English, German and International Sign.

To fill out the survey please visit their website:

For any questions related to the survey please contact:

Supporting Deaf People Online Conference: Call For Papers
The 8th Supporting Deaf People online conference will take place from 9 to 12th February 2011. There will be two themes: 1) Communication, Education and the Future and 2) Industrialisation, corporization, charity and control.

The organizers are looking for papers with possible topics including, but not limited to:
  • Deaf perspectives on interpreting and communication;
  • Childhood and deafness;
  • Communication Issues;
  • Education;
  • Early childhood interpreting;
  • The impact of cochlear implants on the deaf community and language;
  • Interpreting in specialist settings;
  • Who controls deaf people?;
  • Who controls interpreters/interpreting?;
  • The industrialisation/corporization of interpreting;
  • Connecting with the Deaf community;
  • How developing countries are being affected/empowered by western charity/aid;
  • The Deaf experience in developing countries;
  • Charity and modern deaf communities
  • The impact of interpreting on deaf communities;
  • Empowering/building strong deaf communities.
Open topic (papers will be selected on their merits and interest to the field).

Organisers are also interested in alternative presentations, not just papers. For example, videos, discussions between two presenters, lead discussions, workshops and seminars. If you have an idea, but are not sure if it can work in an online format, contact SDP to see if you can find a way to make it work!

Please send your submission in the form of a proposed title, an abstract/outline of your ideas (approx. 200 words) and a short biography to
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9 September 2010 (VOL 8 WEEK 35)

KDRC re-opened after summer break
Just to inform you our service has re-opened after our annual summer leave. We look forward to working with our clients again and hope none of you were inconvenienced by this closure.

Trip to work with the deaf community in Ambo, Ethiopia.
Fr. Stephen Monaghan who worked with the Deaf Community in Ireland for many years is organising a volunteer trip to Ethiopia in October. Veronica White and Willie White from our service will be part of the team travelling there. In addition, four Deaf people from different parts of Ireland will participate in the trip.

Fr. Monaghan is involved with the Vincentian Lay Missionaries (VLM). The Vincentians in Ambo want to develop a specific project for the Deaf in the area, however funding has been an issue. Over the last couple of years two secondary schools from Dublin have been visiting Ambo and teaching English to the local children. They have decided to take on fundraising for a Deaf project and have been very successful to date.

It is hoped that an application will be submitted to the Irish Government organisation Misean Cara for significant funding to develop a Deaf Centre / School Support / Training Facility for the Deaf in Ambo.

The aim of the Centre will be to:
  • Ensure that the Centre is based on their real needs of the Deaf in Ambo;
  • To look at the structures that are necessary to develop a properly functioning Deaf Centre/Association;
  • To work with the Deaf community in Ambo in exploring issues of Deaf Culture, Communication, Identity etc.;
  • To look at the issue of Child Protection and the additional risks people with disabilities face;
  • To be a friendly and supportive group who want to encourage the Deaf in Ambo realise their potential.
It is hoped that the Centre would open up vocational opportunities for the Deaf, that there would be a skills development component and some income generating activities. One of the most important aspects of the Centre is that it becomes a space where the Deaf Community can meet and socialise, organise themselves as a community, improve their sense of esteem and grow in confidence.

Deaf people in Ethiopia have to overcome a great deal of stereotyping and negative attitudes, which often times are internalised and lead to a very poor self-image. It is hoped that a good quality Centre with good facilities will assist in overcoming some of these issues.

The Irish volunteers would appreciate any financial support you can offer with their upcoming trip. Donations can be sent to our Centre. We would like to wish Fr. Monaghan and all the volunteers the very best with their work in Ethiopia.

Good practice guidelines for hse staff in the provision of interpreting services
A set of guidelines for Interpreting Services has been produced by the HSE Social Inclusion Unit (Office of the CEO) and the Health Promoting Hospitals Network - National Intercultural Hospital Initiative. This could make a significant impact on how Deaf people access the Health Service Executive in Ireland.

In the document, it states, "These guidelines have been produced for healthcare professionals to support good practice in the provision of interpreting services. Everyone working with patients who have difficulty in communication, due to limited English proficiency or hearing disabilities will appreciate the importance of interpreting support in the delivery of health care to such patients.

Principles of equity, accessibility and person-centredness are central to the HSE and act as an important driver to the effective and efficient delivery of services. The provision of interpreting services forms a small but essential element of addressing the HSE’s stated 6 priorities within its Transformation programme.

The guidelines provide clear, precise and straightforward advice for staff in accessing and working successfully with trained interpreters.

The overall aim of these guidelines is to enable good communication between healthcare staff and patients by offering guidance on:
  1. Assessing the language needs of patients;
  2. Letting patients know that they can have access to an interpreter;
  3. Arranging interpreting services (face to face and telephone);
  4. Working effectively with interpreters;
  5. Good practice in interpreting.
In the "definitions" section- it says, "Irish Sign language, or ISL, is the indigenous language of the Deaf community. It is a visual, spatial language with its own distinct grammar. Not only is it a language of the hands, but also of the face and body (Irish Deaf Society)

Within the section "Different types of interpreting" it looks at face-to-face interpreting and includes interpreting for "Deaf patients".

Further in the document, it also states, "Note that when you are using a sign language interpreter, the patient will be looking at the signs made by the interpreter. You should still look at the patient when talking to him/her and not at the interpreter. Ensure adequate lighting. The interpreter and the staff member should sit opposite the patient.

It is great to see these guidelines in place. Let’s hope it is implemented across the HSE. If you would like to read the full document, go to the following weblink
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2 September 2010 (VOL 8 WEEK 34)

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