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Kerryman local news  

31 October 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 44)

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24 October 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 43)

Historic Week For Irish Sign Language (ISL).
This week was a very historic week for the Deaf Community in Ireland. The 'Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016' was debated in the Seanad (Senate). The Bill was presented by Senator Mark Daly with support from the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and the Deaf community here in Ireland. We are delighted to say the Bill was passed with no objections from the Government.

What happens next with the bill?
This was the 2nd reading of the Bill. It was debated in the Seanad which is one of The Houses of the Oireachtas. The Bill will need further debate at various levels within the Oireachtas.
  • First Stage: The initiation of a Bill
  • Second Stage: Whether the law should be amended as broadly envisaged in the Bill
  • Third (Committee) Stage: Detailed examination and improvement of what is proposed
  • Fourth (Report) Stage: A review of changes made at Third Stage
  • Fifth (Final) Stage: Whether the Bill, in its current form, would constitute good law
  • The Bill, if passed, is then sent to other House
  • Amendments made by Seanad to Bill initiated in Dáil
  • Amendments made by Dáil to Bill initiated in Seanad
  • Enactment: As a general rule, the President is required to sign a Bill presented to him or her for signature not earlier than the fifth day or later than the seventh day after it has been so presented (Art.25.2.1).
A Bill becomes law on the day it is signed by the President and, unless the contrary intention appears, comes into operation on that day (Art. 25.4.1). A Bill may, for example, contain provision for its commencement (in whole or in part) by way of Ministerial order.

What is in the Bill?
The Bill if it passes all stages of debate and becomes Law will require public bodies:
  • To prepare and implement action plans on Irish Sign Language
  • To provide for classes for the parents of deaf children
  • To permit the use of Irish Sign Language in legal proceedings
  • To provide for the making available of sign language interpreting services
  • To introduce statutory targets regarding the accessibility of television programming;
  • To provide for the regulation of Irish Sign Language interpreters, deaf interpreters and Irish Sign Language teachers and for that purpose to establish the Irish Sign Language Council
  • To provide for the establishment of registers
  • To provide for continuing education requirements
  • To provide for offences
  • To amend the Broadcasting Act 2009; and to provide for related matters.
The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) Needs Your Support?
The IDS is calling on everyone to support the official recognition of Irish Sign Language (ISL). With your support, ISL could become an official language here.
  • Contact your local Senators
  • Contact your local TD
  • Make contact with Government Ministers
  • Ask your local Councillors to contact their political parties and ask them to support the campaign.
Go online and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter etc. Use the hashtag #YesToISL
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17 October 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 42)

Happy 50th Anniversary Cork Deaf Association.
We would like to extend a very Happy 50th Anniversary to our friends and colleagues in the Cork Deaf Association (CDA). We would also like to thank them for inviting our Manager, Willie White as a guest to their Black Tie Gala Ball on Saturday night.

he evening was a wonderful celebration of the work of CDA and the Deaf community in Cork city and county. CDA have been a great support to our service over the years and we look forward to working with them in the weeks, months and years ahead. Happy Anniversary to everyone in CDA and keep up the great work.

Deaf Adult Literacy Service (DALS) Classes.
We are delighted to announce that our DALS classes are back again for this academic year.

The classes are provided in conjunction with the Deaf Adult Literacy Service (DALS) and the Irish Deaf Society (IDS).

Literacy and computers classes will run every Tuesday morning and afternoon and on Thursday mornings. The tutor for the classes is Christina O'Donoghue who is also a Deaf sign language user.

DALS classes are funded by the Department of Education and Skills and are provided to Deaf people all over Ireland. All our classes are free and run for 30 weeks (September - June). To see information on DALS in Irish Sign Language (ISL) go to:

Arts and craft classes and social get-together for Sign Language users.
We are delighted to let you know that our Arts and Craft classes have started again. They will be held here in our office on Thursday afternoons. This is also a great opportunity for sign language users both Deaf and hearing to come together and chat in their preferred language. Our sincere thanks to Christina O'Donoghue for all her work with this group. All classes are free. Tea and coffee is also provided free of charge.

Deaf Education Conference Feedback.
As many of you know, a very successful Deaf Education Conference was organised in Portlaoise on the 1st of October.

The conference organiser Andrew Geary is now looking for your feedback if you attended the event. This feedback survey is designed to be anonymous and to allow the organisers to shape any educational conferences for the Deaf and hard of hearing community into the future.

For those of us who attended, this conference was a fantastic opportunity not only to learn about what was happening on a national level but also to hear from Deaf experts from around the globe. We know Andrew would appreciate it if you could fill in this survey.

If you did not receive an email with a link to the survey, you can email Andrew at

Equipment applications now on order.
Just a short update for all our clients who have been on a waiting list for equipment. We are pleased to say that this equipment has now been ordered. We are expecting the equipment to be delivered before the end of the month. We will be in touch with all those who have applied once the equipment arrives.
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10 October 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 41)

Thank You to The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle.
We would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle for providing a grant of €2,000 to our service. The cheque was presented a Gala Banquet on Friday night in the Gleneagle Hotel.The grant will go towards the purchase of staff computers. These will also enhance our VIS-Video Interpreting/Information Service.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) Bill - Debate by Senate.
As you may know, the Recognition of ISL Bill will be debated in the Seanad on the 19th of October 2016. The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) are concerned that the Government do not plan to support this Bill. The IDS are calling on the Deaf and hearing community to contact their Senators, TDs and County Councillors to inform them of your views on the ISL Bill and urge them to support the Bill. The IDS believe every means of communication is important ranging from meeting them in person to sending messages through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. The IDS has sent us a draft letter and the email addresses of all the members of the Seanad and their respective Twitter details. Contact us if you would like a copy.

If Irish Sign Language does get recognised, this will ensure:
More legal rights for ISL users
  • Better access to public services through ISL
  • Better education for Deaf children
  • Better third level education and training for Deaf adults
  • Better interpreting quality and monitoring.
10 Main Reasons - Why ISL must be recognised as an official language.
Here are 10 reasons why the IDS believe Irish Sign Language (ISL) should be recognised as an official language in Ireland.
  • There are 5,000 Deaf people using ISL on a daily basis and an additional 35,000 hearing people.
  • For these regular ISL users, it is an innate and integral part of their personality.
  • ISL is the only natural and fully accessible language for deaf children. It does NOT hinder any ability to learn how to speak and listen.
  • There is no national register of ISL interpreters and ISL teachers and furthermore there are no accreditation or monitoring systems.
  • ISL has been in use for centuries despite repressive attempts to destroy the language.
  • Service providers such as Government bodies are not legally obliged to respect Irish Sign Language - they will translate information into English and Irish but rarely into ISL. Though, their respective websites have other language translations (Chinese, Polish, Romanian for example).
  • The motion calling on the government to recognise ISL has been passed by more than 40 local authorities.
  • There is no automatic right for Deaf people to have an ISL interpreter in the justice system (excluding criminal court proceedings).
  • No Deaf child can fully learn ISL, as not all teachers are fluent or even qualified in ISL.
  • There is no access for Deaf people to emergency or helpline services in ISL.
Important Survey for Deaf Community - All Questions in Sign Language.
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) are carrying out a study to see if there are ways to improve access to public and social services and related information for members of the Deaf Community. Consultants Tom Martin and Associates (TMA) would strongly urge you to respond to this very important survey to ensure that your voice is heard to improve your access to public and social services. To fill in the survey, go to
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3 October 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 40)

Successful Deaf Education Conference in Portlaoise.
We would like to extend our best wishes to Andrew Geary and his team, which included our own Catherine White for organising and hosting a very successful Deaf Education conference in Portlaoise at the weekend.

Our Manager, William White represented our service at the event. In addition, 3 interpreters from Co. Kerry Catherine White, Suzanne Carey and Veronica White worked as sign language interpreters throughout the conference.

Andrew Geary decided to organise the conference as one of his four children is deaf. On a recent DeafEdConf16 Facebook blog, it says "The education of Deaf and hard of hearing children in Ireland has been a cause of concern to many parents and educators over the years. We know that Deaf and hard of hearing children have not been achieving educational levels in school on a par with their hearing peers of similar ability. We know that only a small proportion of them go on to third level education. And we know that parents, members of the Deaf community and the IDS, Deafhear and CIDP have been battling on a daily basis often for months and years, to get their children the support and services they need in our schools - services and supports which are their right as enshrined in Irish legislation.

One of those parents, Andrew Geary, has been battling with some success to get his son the supports he needs in school. The Deaf Education Conference 2016 is the brainchild of Andrew, who recognises the need to provide a forum to move the education of our Deaf and hard of hearing children into the 21st century. The conference is fully supported by the Education Partnership Group, an independent peer group made up of Deaf and hard of hearing interest groups. Parents Groups such as Our New Ears and Sharing the Journey have also championed the cause of many families over the years, opening doors and supporting parents in their battles"

The conference was aimed primarily at parents of Deaf and hard of hearing children, educational professionals working with these children, policy advisors in this area and anyone with an interest in this area of education. A key aim of the conference was to identify a number of key objectives to improve the education of Deaf and hard of hearing children in Ireland and to signpost a clear pathway towards achieving them.

National and International Panel in Attendance.
The conference included a panel of both Irish and international experts on Deaf education who presented on a range of issues including:

Best practice in the education of Deaf and hard of hearing children. What can be achieved through best practice? What is happening in Ireland today? The panel included a host of Deaf experts and academics including:
  • Dr Markku Jokinen, President of the European Union of the Deaf and former honorary President of the World Federation of the Deaf.
  • Dr John Bosco Conama- Asst. Professor in the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College and the 1st Deaf person in Ireland to be awarded his PhD.
  • Dr Noel O'Connell, the second Deaf person in Ireland to be awarded with a PhD Doctorate when he graduated from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.
  • Dr Patrick Graham, Asst. Prof. Western University of Oregon.
  • Jaana Keski Levijoki, a Co-Teacher from Levijoki, Finland.
  • Leah Katz-Hernandez, who works for the Obama/White House Administration in the United States.
  • Claudia L. Gordon, the first Deaf African American female attorney in the United States and who also works for the Obama/White House Administration. Leah Katz-Hernandez, Claudia L. Gordon, Dr Markku Jokinen and Janna Keski Levijoki Dr John Bosco Conama, Dr Noel O'Connell and Dr Patrick Graham.
In addition to Deaf experts and academics, there was also a range of hearing leading academics from Ireland including Dr Lorraine Leeson, Professor in the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College (TCD) and Dr Elizabeth Matthews from Dublin City University (DCU).

If you would like to learn more about the conference, presenters and comments from people who attended the event, go

Further information is also available on Twitter at

Our sincere thanks to Andrew and Helen Geary and their team who worked tirelessly to ensure this conference was a success. The conference was a fantastic learning opportunity for everyone who attended and we hope it will lead to positive developments in education for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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