A DECISION BY the Department of of Environment, Community and Local Government resulted in the immediate closure of the The Irish Deaf Society’s (IDS) National Advocacy Service for Deaf people.
The service was operational for the past eleven years and was used by over 5,000 people in Ireland.
IDS produced this video to show exactly what the advocacy did for deaf people on a day-to-day basis:
Source: Irish Deaf Society/YouTube
They said that the closure of the service “leaves a gaping hole in services which sought to bridge a socio-economic divide between deaf people and their hearing counterparts”.
Citing poor employment and salary prospects, low participation in 3rd level Education, and lower health expectancy, the IDS identified the deaf population as a marginalised, socially isolated, and discriminated against minority group.
The IDS Advocacy Service worked to provide access for deaf people to public services, education, healthcare and the means to employment. They said that the closure puts the community at further risk of social and economic isolation and a decline in living standards.
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on Minister Phil Hogan to reverse the decision to cease funding to the Irish Deaf Society.
He said that it “was with dismay” that people learned of the closure.
“Minister Hogan must be well aware that the Irish Deaf Society is the representative group for deaf people in Ireland. He must also be aware of the vital work carried out by the Irish Deaf Society in assisting deaf people to play a full part in society and to gain access to their rights and entitlements in terms of education, employment, healthcare and other public services,” he said.