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Kerryman local news  

30 April 2009 (VOL 7 WEEK 18)

Accreditation For Sign Language Interpreters
The closing date for applications for the upcoming Accreditation process for sign language interpreters has been extended to the 8th of May. The accreditation process is open to hearing and Deaf applicants who high proficiency in Irish Sign Language (ISL) and interpreting experience. An application form must be completed and sent to the Chairperson of SLIS along with a copy of your CV and two references (references must not be older than 3years). The application form is available at

Accreditation Open Meetings
There will be two information meetings on the Accreditation process for those interested in applying. The 1st session will be held in the Dublin Deaf Club on the 29th of April at 7.30pm. The 2nd session will be held in the Deaf Community Centre in Limerick on the 1st of May at 7pm.

Breast Check/ Cervical Screening
A reminder of our talk on Cancer screening. A number of Deaf women have died from cervical cancer over the past few years and we are keen to ensure Deaf women get proper advice and support. The information session will be held in conjunction with the Tralee Women’s Resource and the National Cancer Screening Service. It will be held on the 11th May 2009 from 11.30am-1pm in the Rahoonane Community Centre (Tralee). Please come along to this important meeting.

Please download 'Breast Screening Promotion'
in Word doc Download (size 372k)

Kerry And Cork Elderly Group
The Cork and Kerry Deaf Elderly Group will hold their next get-together on the 5th of May and 19th of May in Cork. The group is also planning a 3-day trip to Galway on the 12th of May. If you would like more information on this group, please contact our service or the Cork Deaf Association.

Cork Deaf Disco
There will be a Deaf Disco on May 22nd at 9 pm in Scott's Bar, Oliver Plunkett Street! Admission is ten euro and all proceeds will be split between the Cork Deaf Association and Spirit of Sign, Cork Deaf Drama Group. If you are interested in being a part of the Signed performance of chart music on the night, text Robert Quinlan of Spirit of Sign on (086) 3624351.

Signature Awards
To our sign language tutors and those who were involved in our Education Equality Initiative, the Signature (CACDP) Annual Awards will be held in November this year. Nominations are being accepted until the 3rd of May. You can nominate someone who deserves recognition of their dedicated efforts to overcome barriers to communication, whether that’s teaching people communication skills, or learning them, practicing as a professional or making an organisation properly accessible.

The Teacher of the Year and Learner of the Year are regional awards, so plenty of chance to get someone recognised for their efforts. The regional winners will form the shortlist for the national award!

The following categories are also open for nominations and the closing date is the 28th of June: Communication Professional of the Year Organisational Achievement Joseph Maitland Robinson Award for Outstanding Contribution

All awards will be presented at a glittering awards ceremony in London in November. All the details and the online nominations forms are on our website at

Deaf Expo
The DeafNation World Conference & Expo hopes to be the largest Deaf event in the world in 2010. The expo will be held in Las Vegas from the 18th-23rd of July. The organisers hope to showcase many diverse exhibits from around the world, ranging from professional to cultural, and will display products and services that are sure to attract the attention of the expo attendees.

The Expo and conference will be held in a 200,000 sq. exhibit hall and will include exhibits, workshops, performances, sporting activities and activities for the children. For more information on the event, go to
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23 April 2009 (VOL 7 WEEK 17)

Sign Language Teacher Training
Signature (CACDP) is running a number of workshops for sign language teachers in Cork in June and July. They strongly advise teachers to attend training events to make sure they are up to date with the qualification and confident in what they are teaching and assessing.

For those interested in teaching Irish Sign Language Level 1- the following workshops will be held:
  • Qualification Specification/Assessment Training for New Teacher-Assessors 13 June, Cork
  • Refresher Qualification Specification/Assessment Training for Existing Teacher-Assessors 27 June, Cork
  • Practical Assessment Training for Teacher-Assessors 11 July, Cork.
For those interested in Level 2 teaching- here are the workshop details:
  • Qualification Specification/Assessment Training for New Teachers 14 June, Cork
  • Refresher Qualification Specification/Assessment Training for Existing Teacher-Assessors 28 June, Cork
  • Practical Assessment Training for Teachers 12 July, Cork.
For more information on any of the events you can find the full Training Programme at in the Teachers and Assessors section or alternatively you can contact Jo Wears at

Manipulative Visaul Language Testing (MVL)
In this month’s Irish Deaf Kids newsletter, it has an interesting article on MVL. The article talks about a Glasgow-based charity, Deaf Connections, which is Europe’s first organisation to pilot a new way of teaching English to deaf people as a second language.

The manipulative visual language (MVL) system, devised a decade ago at Gallaudet University, uses wooden blocks to depict grammar components.

Indigenous sign languages have different grammar and syntax to spoken languages. Children and adults who use sign as a first language need to understand and use a new syntax when learning written English, or another language for that matter.

The MVL system addresses this issue by using over 100 wooden blocks of different shapes & sizes to depict specific parts of the English language.

Apart from the benefits of MVL, it ties in with a relatively new theory that mainstream culture is becoming more visually literate as a result of increased computer use and digital literacy.

This convergence of text and visuals is very powerful for deaf people, language teachers and developers of educational and generic technology.

For more information, take a look at this article or go to

Grants For Leadership Training
The next deadline for grants for leadership training in Ireland under the Ray Murphy Fund is the 31st July and 30th October. The Ray Murphy grants are for building leadership within the community sector from 2008 - 2017. The Community Foundation of Ireland manages the fund.

The grants will be for a maximum of €4,000 each and 5 grants will be awarded per year. The fund will support management or members of management teams within community and voluntary groups to access leadership education or training.

The Ray Murphy Fund Application Form is not freely available. Therefore, potential applicants must contact the Grants Officer to discuss the suitability of a proposed project prior to making an application. You can get further information via email at or tel 01 874 7354

For more information on the range of grants available from the Community Foundation of Ireland, go to
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16 April 2009 (VOL 7 WEEK 16)

This article is in a local paper to celebrate our ten years in service. We thought we'd share it with you in this week's update.

Celebrating Ten Years in Service
The Kerry Deaf Resource Centre has been providing a wide range of services to the people of Kerry for the past ten years. Deaf & hard of hearing adults and children, their families, educational bodies, employers and public bodies have all benefited from the supports and services they offer.

"It’s a full-time drop-in service," says Willie White, who set up the Centre ten years ago and manages it to this day with a team of Deaf and hearing staff. "Everyone is welcome to call in to 4 Gas Terrace, Tralee and see what is available to them."

The Kerry Deaf Resource Centre provides support and outreach to families with deaf children. This includes information on hearing tests, communication support, educational options and assist with applications for domiciliary care allowance and other entitlements.

Therese Gallant and Noreen Cronin from the Centre offer an outreach service for the elderly. They travel all over Kerry to speak to groups – in day-care centres, in active retirement groups and the like. Hearing loss is significant in the older population and it is important that they avail of our support.

Specialised equipment is available for Deaf and hard of hearing such as flashing light doorbells, vibrating alarms clocks, TV and conversational listening devices and loop systems for churches and public buildings. Information on these products is available in the Centre. Assistance is provided with application forms for grants to purchase any of these items.

If any equipment is required, the staff of the centre can install the equipment for you. They will show you how to use it, ensuring that you get maximum benefit from the technology.

As a result of an Education Equality Initiative project, accredited Sign language classes are taught here and in a number of other locations in Kerry. Freelance Sign language interpreters can be booked. These interpreters are trained and accredited and are available to work in a wide range of settings.

Deaf awareness training can be provided to employers and to training, educational and health bodies. “This training is designed to make people more aware of the issues that Deaf and hard of hearing people face in the workplace, at school and in accessing mainstream services,” explains Willie White. With the introduction of Equality and Disability legislation, being able to access services is critical for Deaf and hard of hearing particularly in health settings.

Basic literacy tuition is also provided at the centre by Deaf tutors. They have the necessary communication skills and can teach in a linguistic and cultural manner that suits Deaf students.

Clients of the centre can avail of Internet, email and webcam access. Basic training can be offered to clients is they are not computer literate.

Minor work is carried out on hearing aids such as tube replacement and ear mould cleaning. Packs of hearing aid batteries are on sale for the very competitive rate of €3 per pack.

The centre also fulfils a social function. It organises activities such as flower arranging, a monthly mass in sign language, Christmas parties and other events on a regular basis.

"We work closely with the local community and various agencies that operate in Kerry," says Willie White. "We owe them huge thanks. Without the support from funding bodies, Deaf organisations, and agencies such as Partnership Tralee, FÁS, the National Chaplaincy for Deaf People, and the Institute of Technology, I don’t know if we’d be here to day. In many ways, our ten years of success are down to them and many more agencies."

We are also indebted to our staff and to those who fundraise on our behalf. A particular word of thanks goes to the Curtayne family who organise a Golf Classic on our behalf every two years. We are reliant on goodwill and donations from the public as these funds help to pay for overhead costs.

If you feel that you or anyone you know could benefit from the supports and services available at the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre, the staff there would love to hear from you. Call 066 7120399 for more information. Alternatively, you can email or even send a text message to 087 633 4687. You can visit their website at

Hands On Review Meeting
Hands On TV has now completed filming for this series. Although Hands On will still be on air up until May 24th (including best ofs) they would like to get some feedback from the viewers.

This year, RTÉ is not automatically renewing the contract for Hands On. RTÉ need to review the situation before they make a decision. Hands On are hopeful that it will carry on as normal but there is a certain risk attached to it. As a result they need the support of all the presenters and the audience!

They are inviting the Deaf community to an end of series meeting to share their views in the Dublin Deaf Club, Saturday April 25th at 4pm.

If you have a few seconds, do the Hands On survey:
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9 April 2009 (VOL 7 WEEK 15)

Hands on
Hands On wants to know what you think of the programme so we can make it even better for you!

If you have a few seconds, do the Hands On survey:

There is also an open meeting in Drumcondra Deaf Club on 25th April at 4pm. Hands On wants to get your views and thoughts about the programme so please try and fill out the survey and attend the meeting!

Thanks, see you on April 25th, 4pm, Deaf Club Drumcondra!

Breast Check & Cervical Cancer Open Meeting
As part of our campaign to raise awareness amongst the Deaf Community on cancer- we will team up with the Tralee Women's Resource Centre for an Information session on the 11th of May. It will be held from 11.30 to 1pm in the Rathonane Community Centre.

This will be an opportunity to learn about Cervical and Breast cancer and the services that are available for women in Kerry. A sign language interpreter will be present. Tea and coffee will also be served. If you would like to attend, please contact us.

Scandinavian Deaf Education- An Overview Of Bi-Lingualism
Ms Ulla Sivunen will give a presentation on ‘An Overview to Bilingual and Scandinavian Deaf Education' on the 16th of April in Dublin. Ulla is from the Department of Applied Sciences, HUMAK University, Finland. Her talk will be held from 7-9pm in the Ui Chadhain Theatre in Trinity College.

Ms. Sivunen will examine the current situation of bilingual education in Finland and other Scandinavian countries. The lecture will include the perspective of Deaf children in mainstream education. The lecture is based on Ms. Sivunen masters’ degree research thesis. Ms Sivunen lecture is timely given the current situation in Ireland. Mainstreaming is a dominant factor in the education for Deaf children in Ireland for many years. Relay and voiced interpretation will be provided, as Ms Sivunen will use international sign language.

Graduates With Disabilities/Specific Learning Difficulties
The Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) work placement programme is getting underway for 2009 and the organisers are currently looking for graduates with disabilities to register their interest for the programme. The WAM Programme is an exciting and innovative venture providing a unique opportunity for both graduates with disabilities and employers to improve inclusion in the workplace for all. Although this year is shaping up to be one of the toughest yet for employment prospects, there will still be a number of work placements available on the programme in 2009.

GET READY will also be hosting its annual GetReady 4 Work seminars in a number of locations throughout the country. Placements are limited and need to be booked in advance.

For more information on these programmes contact Fiona Ring, WAM Project Worker at email: or via the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability

EU Ruling On Funding For Equality Bodies
A key amendment to a new European equality directive approved by the European Parliament in Brussels this morning requiring 'an independent functioning and adequately funded' Equality Authority, 'ups the ante' on the Government over the 43 per cent cut it made to the Authority's budget last December.

This new EU directive seeks to tackle discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in the provision of commercial and professional goods and services (e.g. health care, education, housing etc) outside the workplace. Previous directive only covered discrimination in the workplace on these grounds.

Article 12 of this directive requires the Government to designate a national body to promote equal treatment of all persons irrespective of their religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Under other, existing European equality legislation (the Race directive), this function is performed in Ireland by the Equality Authority.

However, in approving this particular clause the European Parliament inserted a key amendment specifically stating that such bodies had to be 'independently functioning and adequately funded'. This is an important new provision and one designed precisely to stop Governments from undermining these national bodies, as the Irish Government has done.

The European Commission said that a budget cut in itself does not constitute a breach of the directive 'unless it is so significant as to make it impossible for the equality body to function’; adding that bodies like the Equality Authority 'should in general have sufficient resources to perform all their tasks'.

The Commission made this statement before Niall Crowley resigned as CEO of the Equality Authority precisely because, in his belief, 'the Equality Authority has been rendered unviable' and has been 'fatally compromised’ by the cuts and the decentralisation plans. The Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern this week confirmed that he does not intend to restore the budget.

"Before these cuts were made, the Commission had already issued the Government with a formal warning concerning its failure to live up to its commitments under EU equality legislation.
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2 April 2009 (VOL 7 WEEK 14)

Interpreting Access Within The HSE
Our service along with other Deaf services and Hands ON TV have been campaigning for many years for improved access to services particularly to the Health Service Executive (HSE). We wrote to the HSE to ascertain how much money was spent on sign language interpreting access in Kerry. We made this request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The response was ".... a head can refuse to grant the request if the record concerned does not exist......". The letter goes on to say, "The funding details you have requested are not held in that specific nature either locally or centrally. Our financial records of funding are divided into set structures so as to conform to a national standardisation. Funding for Sign Language is contained within our Interpreter expenses total spend and allocation."

Given the introduction of the Equal Status Acts 2000 + 2004, and The Disability Act 2005 - it is shocking to hear that there are no specific records for sign language interpreting spend within the HSE.

The only information that is available was the overall spend on all interpreting services, which includes spoken language interpreting. Given the large number of languages now in use in Kerry, we anticipated that the spend would be quite high? Not so, in 2008, the HSE Kerry only spent €29,749.69. If you take spoken language interpreting out of this amount, it confirms that the HSE is spending very little on sign language interpreting access.

In Cork, the overall spend is remarkably higher €302,387. Again, there is no specific information available on sign language spend. This needs to change and we must continue with the campaign for better access. Deaf people's health and their lives are at risk if they are not provided with appropriate access/support.

Emergency Alarm Technology
The Irish Deaf Society in conjunction with Isle Systems will give a presentation on Safety and Security systems. The presentation will cover: Alternatives to “999/112” service / Facilities available to the Deaf community / Alarm activation using mobile phones / Alarm activation using personal security devices / Demonstration of the proposed system / Your input to enhance the service.

It will be held on the 4th of April at 8pm at the Dublin Deaf Club, 40 Lwr Drumcondra Rd. Interpreters will be available and admission is free.

CODA UK & Eire Conference
There has been a fantastic response to the upcoming Children of Deaf Adults (CODA) conference in the UK from the 17th - 19th of April. The cost for a full Conference ticket with 2 nights full board is 100 sterling. For a day conference ticket without accommodation, it is only £25 sterling. If you would like to attend or get more information, send an email to

Hands On Review Meeting
Hands On TV has now completed filming for this series. Although Hands On will still be on air up until May 24th (including best ofs) they would like to get some feedback from the viewers.

This year, RTÉ is not automatically renewing the contract for Hands On. RTÉ need to review the situation before they make a decision. Hands On are hopeful that it will carry on as normal but there is a certain risk attached to it. As a result they need the support of all the presenters and the audience!

They are inviting the Deaf community to an end of series meeting to share their views in the Dublin Deaf Club, Saturday April 25th at 4pm.

If you have a few seconds, do the Hands On survey:

Interpreting Accreditation Process
The National Sign Language Interpreting Services (SLIS) will facilitate an Accreditation Process from the 8th of June 2009. SLIS has undertaken this function as a quality assurance measure to benchmark interpreting practice against set standards to facilitate the matching of interpreters to assignments.

The planning of the next Accreditation Process is now underway and a planning committee was established to organise the process.

The appointment of the Accreditation Panel has now been made and the panel includes Deirdre Byrne, John Bosco Conama (Chair), Senan Dunne, Liz Scott-Gibson and our own Willie White.

SLIS is interested in receiving expressions of interest from interpreters as to whether they wish to take up this opportunity as part of the SLIS quality assurance process. There is an expectation that R2s, T1s and graduates from CDS will put themselves forward for this process. Others may also apply.

The accreditation process is open to any applicant with high proficiency in ISL and with interpreting experience. An application form is now available for completion and return by latest 30th April 2009. More information is available at

Gill Harold lecture in CDS
Gill Harold, Doctoral Student, UCC will give a Public Lecture in the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College on the 30th of April. The lecture is titled "Deaf People and Cities in terms of Social identity"

Many of you will have met Gill in the past. She has been very supportive of the Deaf Community locally and nationally. She has travelled in Ireland and the UK as part of her research. For more information on Gill's talk, you can contact the CDS via email at or by fax at 01 830 1211.
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