Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disabilities, Colm Keaveney has expressed his shock at Minister Phil Hogan’s decision to withdraw funding for the Irish Deaf Society (IDS).
IDS, is the national body for deaf people, and has been providing its services for 11 years. The shock announcement will close the offices of the IDS with the loss of permanent staff.
He commented: “The 5,000 deaf people in Ireland that avail of the services of IDS have been left high and dry by Minister Phil Hogan.
“I find it shocking that the Minister has completely pulled funding with immediate effect. IDS provides an invaluable service to deaf people, including helping with access to education, healthcare and offering avenues to employment. To take this service away from deaf people is appalling and seems to have been done without any thought as to the consequences.
“Minister Hogan needs to justify his decision and provide a full explanation to the staff and service users of the IDS.
“In some ways, we shouldn’t be surprised by this move. The Government has engaged in a continuous attack on people with disabilities over the last number of years. The Minister must outline whether this has been a co-ordinated effort across different Government Departments. Cuts to the Respite Care Grant, Mobility Allowance and the Medical Card debacle highlight how the most vulnerable have been targeted. It seems that the Government has lost all sense of humility and caring.
“The Deaf population has been described by the IDS as marginalised, socially isolated and discriminated against, which can lead to low participation in third level education and poor job prospects. They need to be protected and offered continuing supports in order to fully integrate into society.
“This decision by Minister Phil Hogan defies logic and I am appealing to the Minister to re-think this ill-thought out move.”