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28 November 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 48)

Thank you for feedback on new national access policy for DSP services.
In our update, last week, we talked about a new national access policy which enables Deaf people to request Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters for DSP appointment.

This policy covers appointments with Community Welfare Offices (CWO), Intreo (FAS) Employment Services and Social Welfare Offices.

We would like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who contacted us afterwards via text, email and via social media congratulating us on our work on improving access to DSP services.

Information sharing on the new DSP policy.
We would also like to thank everyone who contacted us for more information on the new policy.

In addition, our Manager has been in touch with a number of Deaf services to see if they would be interested in learning more about the new policy?

As part of our Video Information Service (VIS), we can share this information via FaceTime and Skype. We are also happy to share this information at face-to-face meetings.

We would like to thank Cork Deaf Association who hosted our 1st information service via FaceTime with their staff during the week. This was followed by a presentation in person to staff of DeafHear Killarney.

A number of other services including the Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) and DeafHear Limerick has expressed an interest in hosting an information session with their staff, students and services users.

We are delighted with the interest from other services and we look forward to sharing the information on an individual or group basis in the coming weeks and months

Job vacancy - train escort for deaf students.
The Catholic Institute for Deaf People (CIDP) are looking for transport escorts for deaf students who attend boarding school.

In particular, they are looking for escorts for Galway, Athlone, Tipperary, Limerick, Donegal, Kerry and Mayo. The escort gets free travel as well as being paid for the position.

The panel of Transport Escorts facilitates the safe travelling of the young deaf students that CIDP work with to and from boarding schools, and as such are an important element of the staffing.

Any interested applicants should forward their CV and a short covering letter stating their suitability for the role to recruitment@cidp.ie.

In addition, if you require further details on this role, you can contact CIDP's HR Co-ordinator Mary Stringer by email at mary@cidp.ie.

New APP 'on signing terms' for deaf people in palliative care settings.
The HSE has developed a new App for Deaf people in Palliative Care settings.

The 'On Signing Terms' App provides information to assist and support health care practitioners caring for Deaf patients and patients with significant hearing loss (SHL), particularly in palliative care contexts.

The app includes:
  • Good practice guidelines for person-centred care of Deaf patients and patients who have significant hearing loss (SHL).
  • Guidelines for the use of interpreter services, including Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreters.
  • Information on palliative care.
  • Links to further resources.
The app was developed due to the difficulties Deaf people can experience within the health care system that are not only related to language but also due to long standing misconceptions.

The app can be downloaded on Apple and Android phones/iPad/tablets

To download for an Apple device (iPhone/iPad) go to: https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/on-signing-terms/id1079101819?mt=8.

To download for an Android phone or tablet, go to: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app_signingterms.layout.
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21 November 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 47)

Irish Sign Langauge Interpreting Access - Dept of Social Protection (DSP).
We are delighted to announce that after 3 years of lodging an Equal Status Act complaint against a Community Welfare Office (CWO) office, the Dept. of Social Protection (DSP).

have issued us with a national access policy for Irish Sign Language (ISL) interpreting. The complaint is now withdrawn.

The policy is called the TRANSLATION/INTERPRETIVE/SIGN LANGUAGE SERVICES, AND THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION IN ALTERNATIVE FORMATS POLICY.

What Services Does The Policy Cover?
The policy covers the following services throughout Ireland.

How is an ISL Interpreter Booked?
A TRANSLATION and INTERPRETIVE SERVICES APP has been developed to make it easier for staff members to book a sign language interpreter. This is what the app looks like?

A staff member in the Social Welfare Office, Community Welfare Office or the Employment Service (Intreo) logs into the DSP intranet which is called STÓR (DSP Corporate Portal).

They choose one of the six options. Please note: If you prefer a particular interpreter, make sure to inform the staff member before they send the request.

A request is then sent to the Information Section in Sligo:
  • The Information Section will send a booking ID number to the staff member.
  • The Information Section will book the interpreter and confirm availability (date and time).
What Does The Policy Look Like?
Information Services, Social Welfare Services, College Road, Sligo. Phone:+353(0)719193284 and LoCall: 1890 22 22 44.

Translation/Interpretive/Sign Language Services, and the provision of Information In Alternative Formats Policy.

The Department's Customer Charter and Action Plan 2013-2015 sets out the Departments commitments to providing a professional, efficient and courteous service to all customers.

Specific commitments are included relating to the provision of information in alternative formats such as Braille or Audio. The following services are provided to customers where required:
  • A translation service for documents required to process a claim.
  • A language interpretive service provided by 3-way phone conversation.
  • A face to face service, where an accredited language interpreter attends in person, to facilitate customer/staff interaction.
  • A Sign Language Interpreter to facilitate customer/staff interaction.
  • Written information or application forms in Braille, Audio or Large Print.
A customer who requires any of the services outlined above should contact their nearest Intreo Centre, Local or Branch Office or the office dealing with their claim. Department staff will assist customers in accessing the required service.

Department staff can request any of these services online through the internal corporate portal (STÓR). The request is processed centrally by Information and Customer Services Section, who make the appropriate arrangements and confirm availability of the service(s) requested.

Detailed information for staff on the procedures to be followed to access these services for customers is available on the corporate portal.

Information for customers on the availability of these services is included on the Department's website www.welfare.ie Work is currently underway with the Department's website developers to highlight the provision of these services on the website home page. In addition, customer service posters are being updated to highlight these services. These posters will be displayed in all Department offices in a prominent place.

Services are provided on request. Demand for the services is monitored and service delivery reviewed regularly with the aim of ensuring that customers are assisted to access the Department's schemes and services in a way that best suits their needs.

The Department welcomes feedback and suggestions from customers on ways in which we can improve service delivery.
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14 November 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 46)

Report from the Dáil debate on Irish Sign Language Recognition.
Last week, Dáil Éireann debated a motion on the ISL Recognition Report by the Joint Oireachtas committee. To see this information in Irish Sign Language (ISL), go to https://www.facebook.com/IrishSignLanguageRecognitionCampaign. Here is a report from John Bosco Conama.

"The report was published by this committee after Wendy Murray, Brian Crean and myself gave testimonies to the committee and they decided to issue the report calling on the government to recognise ISL. The report was published on 13 October. Yesterday, this report was handed to the Dáil for debate.

About 35-40 Deaf and hearing people including those who travelled from afar - from Cork and Monaghan. Two interpreters were there and interpreted from the press gallery. No photograph or filming was allowed.

The debate was interesting and positive. Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin O'Caolain from Monaghan started the debate and spoke about the need for ISL recognition. He is the Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas committee.

The Minister of State for Disability Affairs, Finian McGrath responded and he agreed with the need to recognise ISL recognition but he has concerns with some clauses in the Bill. There was a good debate after the Minister's response.

For example, the opposition told the Minister to go back to civil servants to stop negative thinking and see if they are willing to work with him to create effective clauses. Clare Daly TD said the most important clause is number 4 of the Bill which states that ISL is a language, not a tool. The Minister responded by saying that he supports the Bill too but has to do his job to check the Bill if it can work.

Most of us who were there felt positive but pointed out that the debate was about which comes first- setting up services or recognise ISL? A bit like which comes first- the chicken or the egg situation. We felt it was a repeated belief from the former minister, Kathleen Lynch. Some TDs disagreed with this approach.

After the debate, we retired to the hotel and had a good discussion about the debate and what to do next? The motion is passed and the Minster will go back to the civil servants for more discussion on the Bill.

We have the ISL Bill, which will be examined by the Seanad's committee probably next January, and they will examine the Bill line by line. They will check the implications of costs and may remove the clauses if they think not right.

We in IDS will prepare a plan of what to do with the Bill in near future and we know some of you are anxious and want to offer support and assistance. We in the IDS will promise to keep you informed of what happens to the Bill.

We did search for a legal expert and we are lucky to get a barrister who will work for us for no cost. We will rely on his advice if we are not sure about the amendments and discussion about the Bill. We have not started work with him but will start very soon.

We thank you for your continued support, patience and cooperation. We are considering plans of how to keep you posted and will let you know of our plans.

Yesterday's debate was really a positive step for ISL recognition and there is no way of dismissing this Bill. TDs and Senators have a clear understanding of this great need for ISL recognition".

Full transcript can be seen at this link: https://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2016-11-10a.368.

Hands in Harmony performance in Killarney.
Hands in Harmony is a choir made up of Deaf & hearing members. The choir perform songs in Irish Sign Language (ISL). The choir come from the Limerick/Mid-West region.

We are delighted to hear that they will be performing at a Mass in St. Mary's Cathedral in Killarney Sunday the 18th of November at 12 noon.

Our thanks to Kathleen Daffy in DeafHear Limerick for informing us of the event.

Deaf Community Centre Limerick (DCC) 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations.
The Deaf Community Centre (DCC) in Limerick will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary on 28th January 2017.

If you would like to celebrate with them, book your tickets for a Gala Dinner and entertainment.

The celebrations will include a 3 course meal, Hands in Harmony sign language choir will perform and you will also get to see Deaf comedian John Smith's Comedy Show.

The celebrations will take place in The Strand Hotel in Limerick at 6pm. Tickets are €50. Everyone is welcome.

We would like to extend our best wishes to DCC and wish them a very Happy 10-year anniversary.
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7 November 2016 (VOL 12 WEEK 45)

Thank you Street and Church Collections.
Our service would like to extend a huge thank you to all our volunteers and staff who participated in a number of Street and Church Collections over the past few months.

The income raised in these collections are a vital source of income for our service. The money raised goes towards overhead costs and services for Deaf and hard of hearing clients.

We are especially grateful to all those who contribute financially to the collection. We appreciate all your support. Thank you.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) Official Recognition- Next Stage of Debate.
There are more good developments in the ISL Official Recognition Campaign.

There will be a debate on the Justice and Equality Committee Report on the Formal Recognition of Irish Sign Language in Dáil Éireann this Thursday the 10th of November at 6.48pm for 2 hours.

Members of the Deaf community have been invited to observe the debate. Our Manager, Willie White is also hoping to attend. He will have an update for us next week on how the debate goes? Fingers crossed this will be a successful debate especially with the run up to the Dáil debate in the New Year.

DIY Workshop and Get-Together Afterwards.
A DIY (Do It Yourself) workshop will be held on the 19th of November from 10am-4pm in Tralee.

The workshop will be presented in Irish Sign Language by John Duggan and Brian Crean. The workshops are being supported by the Irish Deaf Society (IDS).

This workshop will be very useful if you want to learn how to do general household DIY skills.

If you would like to attend, please email Susan at susan@irishdeafsociety.ie or text or WhatsApp 085 284 1884.

Lunch will also be provided. The workshop is open to women and men. However, spaces are limited so book your place ASAP.

Afterwards, the presenters and participants will meet for a chat and a few drinks in The Brogue Inn, Rock Street, Tralee.

Kerry Deaf Women's Social Lunch.
The Kerry Deaf Women's Group will be having a social lunch on the 30th of November. It will be held in Scott's Hotel in Killarney at 12.30pm.

The lunch is open to all women. For more information, go to the Kerry Deaf Women's Group Facebook page.

Centre For Deaf Studies Open Day.
Are you interested in studying in a Deaf Studies degree programme in 2017? If yes, there will be an open day in Trinity College in Dublin on the 10th of December. This is a great opportunity to drop in and ask questions about courses in the Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS). You can also get more information in this video https://vimeo.com/190133187.
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