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30 October 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 44)

The use of Non-Accredited Interpreters
Our service has been campaigning for a long time to ensure Deaf people are provided with appropriately qualified interpreters.

In the Corkman newspaper on the 16th of October, they ran an article on a court case where all the charges were dismissed due to the mishandling of interpreting access.

The paper reported that "the difficulties arose regarding a statement made by witness Marie O’Sullivan — who can’t hear or speak on the night of the incident, and the qualifications of an interpreter for Ms O’Sullivan used at a previous court hearing. Tom O’Sullivan, defending solicitor for Laura Kelly, called for the case to be dismissed on the basis that there had been a statement taken from a witness without an interpreter on the night of the incident..... In addition, he said, an interpreter used in court at a previous sitting, on September 3, had not been properly qualified.

Following that sitting, Mr O’Sullivan had sent Gardai information contending that the interpreter used for key witness Marie O’Sullivan in court was not properly qualified. “She [Laura Kelly] is entitled to fairness,” said Tom O’Sullivan. “I believe that the issue that has arisen is due to the interpreter, as she was not properly trained"

This is certainly a wake up call for Gardai, Courts and other agencies. There have been a number of incidents in Cork where a non-accredited person has been booked via Access Translations. The HSE and Court Services use Access Translations for sign language interpreters, however none of the agencies ensure the person booked is appropriately accredited to do the work. We will continue to campaign to ensure only accredited interpreters are booked for all interpreting assignments.

Please download 'The Corkman Nonqualified Interpreters'
in Word doc Download (size 44k)

Ministerial Order on Interpreter use in Garda Interviews
To prevent cases collapsing as the one above, we need to be aware of the rights that Deaf people have in Ireland and ensure these rights are respected.

In the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Siochana Stations) Regulations, 1987. (8) (a) Where an arrested person is deaf or there is doubt about his hearing ability, he shall not be questioned in relation to an offence in the absence of an interpreter, if one is reasonably available, without his written consent (and, where he is under the age of seventeen years, the written consent of an appropriate adult) or in the circumstances specified in paragraph (7) (a) (iii). For more information on this regulation, check out the following www.irishstatutebook.ie/1987/en/si/0119.html.

Deaf Patient Receives 400,000 Dollars for Denial of Interpreter
A Hudson County jury's $400,000 verdict for a deaf patient whose doctor refused her an interpreter may be a wake-up call for all professionals including lawyers that they risk liability for disability discrimination. Worse, malpractice liability insurance does not usually cover such liability, says plaintiff's attorney Clara Smit. Smit's client, Irma Gerena, claimed she repeatedly asked Jersey City rheumatologist Robert Fogari to hire an American Sign Language interpreter and the requests were refused.

While this is an American case and the legal system there is very different from Ireland, it is only a matter of time before Deaf people take cases in Ireland. Our service has now the services of a Barrister, Senior Counsel and a Solicitor who have agreed to work with us on a Pro Bono basis on any cases of alleged discrimination. We would urge all our readers to become aware of their legal rights particularly with the Equal Status Acts 2000+ 2004 and The Disability Act 2005. More information and support is also available from the Equality Authority www.equality.ie.

Mums & Soon Mums To Be.......
Are you interested in talking about your experiences of Maternity and Early Childhood Services in Ireland? Are you Deaf or hard of hearing? Are you over 18 years? Are you pregnant? Have you had a baby in the last 2 years? If yes and if you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Denise Lawler at 086 3789758. The study will provide valuable information about women’s experiences and may improve maternity and childhood services in Ireland.

Please download 'Mums & soon to be Mums' in Word doc Download (size 908k)

Email Scam
On behalf of a very good friend of our service, Jane Nyando, we would like to let you know of an e-mail scam that is being circulated claiming to be from Jane. If you receive an email which asks you to send money to Jane in London, be warned, this is a scam. Jane has nothing to do with this and is horrified that it has been sent to so many people on her e-mail contact list.

Sympathies
We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Susan Foley on the recent death of her mother. Susan is well known in the Deaf Community and founded Bridge Interpreting Service. We would also like to extend our sympathies to Cllr Terry O Brien on the recent death of his brother. Terry has been a great supporter of our service. Our thoughts are with both families at this time.
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23 October 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 43)

Synopsis of Budget 2008
There has been huge criticism of this year's budget.

The introduction of means testing for the over-70s medical card, has received major criticism although the Government says most of the 140,000 people involved will end up with either a full or a GP only card, or a new health support payment. Medical card UDATE: www.rte.ie/news/2008/1021/budget.html.

An annual cash grant of €400 per person will be paid to those over seventy who do not qualify for a medical card or a GP visit card subject to an income threshold.

Fuel Allowance is being increased by two weeks from next April, while the rate of payment is being increased by €2 per week, to €20 per week, with effect from 1 January.

State Pension will be increased by ¤7 per week for all pensioners. This will bring the State (Contributory) Pension to €230.30 per week State (Non-Contributory) Pension to €219 per week.

Maternity, Adoptive and Carers benefits are all to increase but Child Benefit for 18-year-olds is to be phased out while a Commission on Taxation will examine the tax treatment of universal child benefit payments. The personal rates of all working age payments, including both the Carer's Benefit and the Carer's Allowance, are being increased by €6.50 per week from 1 January.

The minimum rate of Maternity and Adoptive Benefit is being increased by €8.50, to €230.30 per week.

There will also be an increase in the Qualified Child rate by €2, to €26 per week, and an increase in the Family Income Supplement thresholds by €10 per week per child.

Child Benefit payment will cease for 18 year olds from January 2010 and will be halved for that group to €83 per month from the 1st of January next.

Maximum qualified child increase by €2.00 week to €26.00 a week.

Early Childcare Supplement will cease at 5 and half years of age.

People will also have to pay up to €100 a month for their medicine before the State begins to reimburse them any additional costs under changes to the Drug Payment Scheme.

Charges for attending accident and emergency departments will go up to €100.

Third level institutions are being allowed to increase student registration fees by more than 50% from around €900 to €1,500.

New air travel tax will be imposed on all passengers departing Dublin airports - €10 per passenger with a lower rate of €2 for shorter journeys.

Motor tax will increase by 4% for smaller vehicles and 5% for larger ones. Tax on all other vehicles will increase by 4%, except electric vehicles, on which there is no increase.

Levy in the major urban areas of €200 where an employer provides car parking facilities for employees.

Domiciliary Care Allowance is being extended from 16 to 18 year-olds.

In respect of new claimants, the minimum age threshold for entitlement to Disability Allowance will be 18 years and the maximum age for payment of the Domiciliary Care Allowance will increase to the same age.

Disability Allowance present €197.80 rise to €204.00 in 2009.

The contribution to rent supplement is being increased from €13 per week to €18 per week.

A&E charge is being increased from €66 to €100 for non medical card holders who attend A&E departments without a letter from their GP, while the public hospital statutory in-patient charge is being increased from €66 to €75.

The rate of the National Fuel Scheme will increase by €2 to €20 per week, from January 2009.

Maximum qualified child increase payments will receive a general increase of €2 to €26 per week, from January 2009. Proportionate increases will apply where persons are in receipt of a reduced child dependant allowance payment.

Family Income Supplement income thresholds will increase by €10 per week in respect of each child, from January 2009.

In respect of existing and future qualifying children for Child Benefit aged 18, a half rate payment will be made from January 2009, and from January 2010 entitlement for Child Benefit will cease once the child has attained the age of 18 years.

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance payment will increase by €50 to €150, effective from June 2009.

Health Expenses relief will be granted at the standard rate only from 1 January 2009, with the exception of nursing home expenses, which will be standard, rated from 1 January 2010.

The current rate of mortgage interest relief is being increased from 1 January 2009 for first-time buyers from 20% to 25% in year 1 and year 2 and to 22.5% in years 3, 4 and 5. The additional relief will be available to new first-time buyers and first-time buyers who have bought a house in the last 4 years.

School transport charges for primary pupils to rise standard €300 to a family maximum of €600.
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16 October 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 42)

CE Vacancy With Our Service
We have a vacancy for a part time person to work with our service in November. The person will be expected to work with clients and have relevant office/computer skills. Knowledge of sign language and Deaf issues is a definite advantage. Applicants must be eligible to participate on a CE scheme. If you are interested, please send your CV to our service.

Farewell to staff member
We would like to say a huge thank you and a farewell to one of our office staff, Annie Cooney who will be leaving shortly. Annie was very popular in our office and will be missed.

While our service benefits greatly from having CE participants, it is very disappointing not to be able to offer permanent work to great workers like Annie when their scheme comes to an end. We continue to lobby for increased funding but Government Departments have been very slow to increase funding. We will celebrate our 10th anniversary in February and have provided great value for money to date. It is a pity Government Depts and services such as the Health Service Executive don't recognise our great work and increase funding accordingly. While there is talk of a recession lately, we didn't exactly benefit from the Celtic Tiger and certainly don't expect to benefit during a recession. However, Deaf people have been afforded rights in the Equal Status Acts and The Disability Act. Deaf people exist in Celtic Tiger economies and recessions and we will do all that is necessary to ensure these rights are obtained.

Driving Lessons Booklet
The Driving Instructor Register of Ireland has produced a book called "Teaching the Deaf to Drive". The book gives basic tips when teaching people with a hearing loss to drive. It demonstrates basic hand signage for the driving instructor and contains diagrams and written explanations. It is designed to operate with visual teaching aids, such as the Colourfile and the In-Car Road Sign Trainer. This book focuses on driving lessons, that once a person has successfully completed the theory test. For more information or to purchase the book, see www.dir.ie.

Navan Deaf Ladies Morning
We would like to send our best wishes to the Meath Deaf Association who will have a Deaf Ladies Morning on the 15th of November in Navan from 10am to 1pm. Activities will include floral holiday arrangement demonstration and crafts. Ladies will be able to bring their arrangement home with them. Breakfast will also be served at 10.15 am. It will be held in the Meath Deaf Association, 3/4 Liscarton Villas, Kells Road, Navan, Co Meath. It will cost €10 per person and you need to book it by the 13th of Nov. For more information, text: 087 9553611 or e-mail: meathdeafassociation@gmail.com

Guardian Newspaper Deaf Articles
The Guardian Newspaper recently ran a number of articles of interest to the Deaf Community in their G2 section. It looked at issues such as British Sign Language being the preferred means of communication for 50,000 deaf Britons, and, like any language, it has its regional variations and idiosyncrasies. It also had an article on "Can a hearing person ever really know what it is like to be deaf?" Sam Wollaston spends 24 hours with a deaf family - meal times, school run, play and discipline - and discovers what it feels like to be the one who can't understand. In addition, it looks at Deaf men and women who are flying high in their careers and also looks at Deaf comedy. Great to see such an important paper focus on Deaf related issues. For more information, go to www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/g2.

Mental Health Awareness
The National Learning Network is holding a FETAC (Level 6) accredited Mental Health Awareness course in Portlaoise on 11 & 12 November and 3 December 2008. It is a 3-day programme, costing 936 euro, which includes tuition, course materials, FETAC administration, ongoing learner support, lunch and refreshments. The course is aimed at anyone working with people who experience mental health difficulties and will cover understanding mental health and the realities of living with mental health difficulties, intervention and treatment approaches, recovery and advocacy. For more information or to book a place on the course please contact Chloe Benville Chloe Benville, CPD Secretary, National Learning Network at fax: 01 2000156, tel: 01 2000150, email: cpd@nln.ie and web: www.nln.ie.

Film of Deaf Man's Arctic Journey
James Duthie was a profoundly Deaf Scotsman who crossed continents on two wheels back in 1951. He cycled alone from Cairnbulg near Fraserburgh, Scotland, via France, to the Arctic Circle covering 3,000 miles in three months. His epic trip cost him just £12. When he returned to the UK Jim penned an account of his travels, which was eventually published as a slim volume called ‘I Cycled Into the Arctic Circle ‘. He became a figure of intrigue and notoriety to the close-knit communities in and around his hometown who knew him fondly as ‘Dummy Jim'. He has since achieved a rare cult status amongst cycling enthusiasts and the Deaf community. His story is being brought to life in a feature film project directed by Edinburgh-based artist & filmmaker Matt Hulse. A new interactive web site - supported by Scotland 's Alt-W scheme and featuring Deaf actor Samuel Dore - offers an opportunity to explore Duthie's world in advance of the film's making. Visit the web site: www.dummyjim.com.
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9 October 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 41)

Tuition For Deaf
We would like to extend our thanks to the Deaf Adult Literacy Service (DALS) within the Irish Deaf Society for establishing tuition for Deaf adults in our service. This week we will see eleven Deaf adults receive tuition from a Deaf tutor provided by DALS. This is a great development and we look forward to working with the tutor and students over the coming months. Our thanks also to Susan Whelan for all her support in setting up the classes..

Tralee Women's Resource Centre (TWRC)
TWRC will hold a Creative Women's Group every Thursday from 2.30- 4.30pm starting on the 6th of November. TWRC is keen for Deaf women to participate in the group. This will be an opportunity for women to have time to themselves, to be creative in a relaxed atmosphere. Attendance is free. You can bring your own materials or pay a small fee for them. If you would like more information, please contact us or TWRC at 35 Ashe St, Tralee.
Please download 'Creative_Women's_Group.doc' in Word doc here (size 136k).

Ante-Natal Course For Deaf Women
The Deaf Community Centre in Limerick is setting up an antenatal/pregnancy course for Deaf pregnant women. The course will cover: Early pregnancy, Pregnancy, Birth/labour and Early parenting. A qualified midwife will teach the course and there will be an ISL interpreter present. Please contact Christina for more information at deafcommunitycentre@gmail.com or text 086 7348641.

Donegal Deaf Club New Website
We would like to send our best wishes to Donegal Deaf Club who launched their new website recently. It's still in its early stages so please bear with them! Any feedback on the site would be much appreciated! If you would like your website or news to be published on their site, email donegaldeafclub@gmail.com. The website details are www.donegaldeafclub.com.

Deafblind Ireland
Congratulations to Deafblind Ireland on their recent establishment. Deafblind Ireland aims to become a representative body of people who are deafblind in the Rep. Ireland in order to raise awareness of deafblindness and enable people who are deafblind to maintain independence and achieve equality of opportunity and access to all life chances.

It is holding a training day for professionals at All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin on 22 Nov 2008. The theme of the day is "Identifying and assessing the needs of Deafblind children with additional complex disabilities" and it is suitable for those involved with carrying out assessments of need in the context of new disabilities legislation. The emphasis will be practical, concentrating on developing core skills in the identification of dual sensory loss. The main speaker will be Liz Hodges, Head of MSI programme at Birmingham University. Liz is an acknowledged thinker and practitioner in this field. Lorna Milway, Children's Services Co-ordinator will share her experiences of working with Deafblind children in Northern Ireland and Eileen Boothroyd, Head of Education for Sense UK will present the UK policy perspective.

This is a free training course and promises to offer practical skills and insight. For more information see www.deafblindireland.org.
Please download 'Flyer_for_22_November_event.doc' in Word doc here (size 44k).

AHEAD 20th Annual Conference
AHEAD, the Association of Higher Education Access & Disability is hosting its 20th Annual Conference on 29th October 2008. The theme is 'What's good about our teaching, and what could we learn from it?'

In 2008 over 12,000 students with special needs applied for accommodations in state examinations in Ireland. Each year an ever-increasing number of students with disabilities take their place in third level courses and graduate to successful careers. Research shows that in comparison with the general population, students with disabilities are only half as likely to progress on to third level as their peers.

Over 3,600 students with disabilities are doing third level courses. But, there are still many attitudinal and institutional barriers which affect the learning experienced by students with disabilities. In order to ensure that a student with a disability has the same quality of learning experience in third level, a ‘whole college' approach is required; the lecture hall, the library, the discussion group and in particular the academic and administrative staff. This conference will emphasis how good quality teaching and learning together with the innovative use of technology will not only significantly reduce the barriers to learning experienced by students with disabilities but will improve the experiences of all students. Contact AHEAD, Tel: 01 716 4396, Email ahead@ahead.ie, www.aheadweb.org.
Please download 'conference_brochure.doc' in Word doc here (size 60k).

An Post Installing Induction Loops
An Post is investing nearly 20,000 euro in the installation of hearing induction loops in main Post Offices throughout the country. Eamonn Harrington of An Post hopes to have the installations complete in 47 Post Offices by the end of the year. This is an important element of An Post's plan to revitalise and improve post office facilities for all customers. Induction loops have already been installed in Dublin's GPO and St. Andrew's Street Post Office. We look forward to the rollout of this scheme over the next few months.

Consultation on the NCSE Research Framework
The National Council for Special Education is an independent statutory body set up to improve educational services to persons with special needs arising from disabilities, with particular emphasis on children. Conducting research is one of the Council's key functions.

NCSE are currently preparing a Research Framework which will outline priority areas for research for the period 2009-10. To inform the preparation of the Framework, views on potential research themes are being sought. Suggestions should be given in broad terms; highlighting why research in these areas is necessary; and indicating briefly how these themes relate to the NCSE aims and functions.

Suggestions may be provided in writing, on video/DVD or cassette tape and must be received no later than 5pm on Friday September 19, 2008. Send to: info@ncse.ie or posted to the following address: Research and Development, National Council for Special Education, 1-2 Mill Street, Trim, Co. Meath. Further information on the NCSE is available at www.ncse.ie.
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2 October 2008 (VOL 6 WEEK 40)

Senator Mark Daly's Newsletter
We were delighted this week to read Senator Mark Daly's newsletter. In his newsletter, he talks about Irish Sign Language Week, which is an annual week of events organised by the Irish Deaf Society to raise aware of Irish Sign Language (ISL) issues.

Mark says "as the Irish Deaf Society were one of the groups who nominated me to the Seanad they asked me to give a lecture on Citizenship and Language from a political perspective. While preparing for the lecture I was reminded that, although the EU had recommended in 1988 and again in 1998, Sign Language should become an official language of each Member State, Ireland has yet to do this. In fact, Irish Sign Language is an official language in Northern Ireland but not in the rest of the country. I have now drafted an Irish Sign Language Bill, which I plan to present to my colleagues in the Oireachtas this term. With this draft of legislation I intend to raise awareness of the minority language of ISL and promote better understanding and attitudes towards the Deaf Community"

We would like to thank Mark for his commitment to Deaf issues and wish him all the best with the Bill. For more information on Mark, go to www.senatormarkdaly.com.

Connections An Opportunity To Explore Your Faith
A 6 week course, each Tuesday evening beginning Oct 7th, will be run in St. John's Pastoral Centre, Tralee. Different speakers will give a talk and discuss some of the issues around faith and belief. Veronica White of the National Chaplaincy will be available to interpret if Deaf people register for the training. To register or to find our more about the course, go to www.dioceseofkerry.ie.

Cork Deaf Enterprise Celebrations
We would like to extend our best wishes to Cork Deaf Enterprises who celebrated their 21st year in service recently. Our congratulations to Jim Egan who received an award for 19 years of service to CDE. Over the past 21 years, over 80 Deaf people from all parts of Ireland have benefited from the training provided at Deaf Enterprises and many have progressed to other open employment and to self-employment. The training and employment offered at Deaf Enterprises centres mainly on the restoration of furniture and in particular Re-Upholstery and French Polishing.

Greenbow Part-Time Administrator
A part-time administrator vacancy for six months is available with Greenbow from Oct-March 08 in Dublin. The ideal candidate would have experience in administrative skills, proficient in English, good communication and interpersonal skills, organisational skills of office management. Knowledge of Irish Sign Language desirable. Training will be provided. Wages will be negotiated and work for 19 ours per week. If you want like more information, please contact Dominic McGreal at deafgreenbowlgbt@yahoo.ie CLOSING DATE: Monday, 6th October 2008 at 5pm.

Deaf Community Centre Youth Group
DCC Limerick is trying to set up a youth group for Limerick and the surrounding mid west areas. They are hoping that this group would be run by young Deaf and hard of hearing people themselves. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact the DCC via mobile at 086 734 8641, email: info@dcclimerick.eu Website: www.dcclimerick.eu.

IDYA'S Got Talent
The Irish Deaf Youth Assoc will hold a "Talent Night" on the 3rd October in the Dublin Deaf Association Drumcondra, Free Admission. Show starts 7pm. Registration begins at 6pm.

The Talent Show is open to those who have a special skill? Anything from having the longest burp to break dancing on your head? Are you superhuman and can lift a table with one finger? If you have something that no one else can do or you think you're better at, there are prizes to be won!!! ;)

To enter: 1. You can email the IDYA at a special email address: talent@irishdeafyouth.com. 2. Come to the Deaf Club at 6pm for registration.

IDYA AGM
IDYA will also be holding their AGM that night, so if any of you would like to join the IDYA board, please contact them. For more information, go to www.irishdeafyouth.com.

Launch of South East Deaf Women's Group
Congratulations and best wishes to all those involved in the launch of the South East Deaf Women's Group. Their official launch will be held in The Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny on Sat 4th of Oct at 5pm. If you would like to represent our service at this event, please contact us. For more information on the launch, you can email: southeastdeafwomengroup@gmail.com.

Information Evening
"Future of Deaf Village and Centre of Excellence" Information evening will be held on Saturday, 11th October 2008. It will be presented by Liam O'Dwyer, CEO, Catholic Institute for Deaf People. It will be held in the Dublin Deaf Club, 40 Lower Drumcondra Road, Dublin 9 at 7.30 pm. Tea/Coffee served. Admission is free and all are welcome. For more information, contact the Irish Deaf Society

European Commission Traineeship For People With Disabilities
The European Commission is launching a traineeship for people with disabilities in order to facilitate their professional integration.

The purpose of this action is: To offer persons with disabilities a working experience as a trainee in the European Commission, thereby enhancing their opportunities for future employment. To allow them to become familiar with the workings of the European Institutions. To apply the European Commission's equal opportunities principles to young university graduates with disabilities. To raise awareness of disability among Commission staff and to remove barriers to the integration of people with disabilities; To provide the European Commission with the contribution and positive experience that disabled trainees will bring to its work and culture.

For information is available at http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm or you can information via email at eac-stages@ec.europa.eu.
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