We would like to extend our thanks to President and Dr. Mc Aleese for
inviting members of our service to a Garden Party in Aras an Uachtarain last
Thursday. This event was for held for Community Groups from all over

In her speech, the President said “Community is the place where we live, not
as strangers to one another but as friends who look out for one another and
who look after one another. It is something Ireland does particularly well
as I have reason to know from travelling around Ireland and meeting the
Irish abroad. I see the massive investment made by volunteers in thousands
of organisations designed to enhance the quality of our lives. Today is a
way of saying thank you for all you do and all you represent. If you stopped
investing your time and talents in community, Ireland would be plunged into
a Dark Age, an awful grim Ice Age. But because you care and keep on caring
week in and week out, good things happen in our communities and hundreds of
thousands of people know the joy of support, encouragement, care, inclusion,
opportunity in every possible sphere and age group. So this day is yours –
designed for your comfort and entertainment so enjoy it all”

The MC for the event was Derek Mooney, a well-known face on Irish TV. In
addition, entertainment was provided by the winners of Fame The Musical-
Jessica Cervi and Ben Morris, the winner of the All Ireland Talent Show-
Chloe Coyle, the brass quintet from DIT, the Harmony Singers, the Dublin
Male Voice Choir and Cibé.

We would like to thank Willie White for interpreting on the day and our
thanks to Patrick Doody, Christina O’ Donoghue, Grainne Moloney, Trevor
Jones, and Sheila Cronin for representing our service at the event. Trevor,
Patrick and Christina also had the privilege of sitting in the front row
immediately next to President Mc Aleese and her husband Dr. Martin Mc

The annual mass at Rath Cemetery, Rathass, Tralee will take place on
Wednesday 14th July at 7.30 pm. A Sign Language interpreter will be
On Thursday evening, the 8th of July the Seanad (the upper chamber of the
Irish Parliament) passed all Stages of the Civil Partnership Bill. Following
an intense debate over two days, a vote was finally called with 48 senators
supporting the Bill and 4 voting against.

All political parties strongly welcomed the Bill in their closing statements
in the debate. Senator David Norris in his closing statement said: “I am
proud that this day has come. It is a massive overwhelming victory. It is a
victory, not for gay people nor for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party,
Labour or the Independents; it is a victory for decency and for this

Very many speakers from all political parties recognised the omission of
children from the Bill and strongly affirmed the need to quickly bring
forward legislation to recognise, protect and support children in same-sex
families as part of urgently needed reform to address family diversity in

The Bill has now completed its passage through the Oireachtas (Parliament)
and goes to the President of Ireland to be signed into law.

When this Bill is signed into law, we must ensure equal access is given to
members of the Deaf community. For example, if same sex couples want to have
a civil partnership ceremony, we need to ensure a Government Department
takes responsibility for the sanctioning and payment of sign language
interpreting services. Another example would be to ensure any publicity on
TV or on video/DVD is signed or subtitled. These would be considered
‘reasonable accommodation’ measures as outlined in the Equal Status Acts and
the Disability Act.

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