Dáil to debate deaf advocacy service cut

Irish Deaf Society say withdrawal of funding will leave ‘gaping hole’ in supports for deaf

Fianna Fail disability spokesman Colm Keaveney said the decision by the Department of Environment to stop funding an advocacy service for deaf people  “defies logic”.Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fianna Fail disability spokesman Colm Keaveney said the decision by the Department of Environment to stop funding an advocacy service for deaf people “defies logic”.Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A decision by the Department of Environment to stop funding an advocacy service for deaf people is to be debated in the Dáil today.

Fianna Fail TD John Browne is to raise the matter, and its implications for other voluntary bodies, under topical issues in the Dáil this afternoon.

The Irish Deaf Society has closed its office and laid off staff following the announcement by the Department that its funding is being discontinued. The decision puts an end to 11 years of services for the deaf community, with 5,000 people affected, it said.

According to the society, the closure will leave a “gaping hole” in services for deaf people, which it described as a “marginalised, socially isolated and discriminated against minority group”.

“The service’s closure puts the Deaf community at further risk of social and economic isolation and a decline in living standards.”

Fianna Fail disability spokesman Colm Keaveney said the decision “defies logic” and called on Minister for Environment Phil Hogan to provide a full explanation.

The Department said in a statement that it provides support to national organisations through multi-annual funding towards core costs associated with the provision of services. A new funding scheme started on Tuesday on the basis of a competitive assessment process.

“Pobal was engaged by the Department to manage the application and appraisal process and to make recommendations for decision to the Department. Pobal recently completed their analysis and grant allocations have been notified to groups.”

The society said it would appeal the decision to Pobal.