Apart from the work of the Deaf Village and at the village in Cabra it is the only organisation working with the deaf community, advocating for them and speaking for them. The world of the deaf community is a silent one so they need a voice and the Irish Deaf Society supplied that voice. They also provided a service in Irish Sign language. I shared the Topical Issue with Deputy John Brown.
The Irish deaf community has felt very isolated in the past and has suffered a decline in living standards. The funding to the Irish Deaf Society was granted every year for the past 11 years. Now it is being withdrawn.I was grateful to have the opportunity to highlight an issue that is causing a great deal of concern, disquiet, and dismay among the deaf community. I am very much aware of the work done by Deaf Village Ireland in Cabra and the need for more engagement by organisations with the deaf community. This decision follows the decision by the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, not to grant official language status to Irish Sign Language. The IDS’s advocacy service is the only service whose entire staff is proficient in that language. The Minister of State said her decision was based on the premise that services for deaf people needed to be provided before Irish Sign Language could be recognised. What is happening instead, however, is that an important service for deaf people has had its funding withdrawn. It makes no sense.