Excellent Speech by Caroline McGrotty, Vice Chairperson of Deaf Village Ireland

Monday, March 4, 2013

Caroline McGrotty, Vice Chairperson of Deaf Village Ireland delivered her speech on the official launch of Deaf Village Ireland which was held on the 4th of March 2013.

Welcome everyone to Deaf Village Ireland!

It gives me great pleasure and honour to be a part of the opening of this brand new beautiful facility here in Cabra.

I remember when I first got involved in the Deaf Village project back in 2008, the concept was somewhat like a dream. A dream of a community centre managed by Deaf people, where both Deaf and hearing people would integrate with each other and all organisations working together to achieve a goal of inclusion. It never occurred to me back then that just 4 and half years later, that this dream would be realised and I still don’t think it has sunk in yet!

The location of Deaf Village Ireland was and still is, well renowned for being the site for St. Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys which I have an extended association with. Clearly I wasn’t a pupil of St. Joseph’s; however my father and my paternal grandfather were both boarding pupils here in the 1950s’ and 1920s’ respectively. Every time I come to the Deaf Village, I have a great sense of pride to know that almost 90 years later, I could quite possibly be standing on the exact same spot where my grandfather and my father once were.

With the opening of the Deaf Village, we now have a space in which we can educate and empower both Deaf and hearing people. Educate through the sharing of knowledge and skills with each other utilising all the resources and facilities available to the organisations in the Village. A primary aim of the village is educate the wider community on Irish Sign Language (ISL) and Deaf awareness by creating a Deaf-friendly space to ensure everyone feels welcome here. One of my favourite things and an example of just a small way of promoting Deaf awareness and ISL is the ability to order a coffee in ISL, there is nowhere else quite like it!

The establishment of Deaf Village Ireland involved consultations with the Irish Deaf community, the local Cabra community and with the international Deaf community. Several trips were made to prestigious Deaf centres abroad in Finland, The Netherlands, Scotland, England and to Gallaudet to try help inspire this space we have here today.

I would like to thank all of the organisations involved, many of whom are voluntary. It was the culmination of many years of dedication, commitment and hard work by the organisations here present that the Deaf Village project was successful; thank you all. I could try and name each and every person who contributed to the success of this project, but I think we’d be here all night if that was the case! Although I will mention Minister Varadkhar for agreeing to officially open Deaf Village Ireland- it really is fitting that in the year of The Gathering that Minister Varadkhar opens a community facility where both Deaf & hearing can gather within an ethos of inclusiveness & learning.

It is my hope that we all recognise that a community does not simply mean living next to each other. A community is when a group of people, like us all here, hold the same values and interact with one another to create a strong sense of cohesiveness where Deaf Village Ireland will now be the focal point. Deaf Village Ireland’s vision is ‘to create an inclusive place/centre showing community life celebrating Deaf Culture’.

I hope you enjoy the opportunity today to explore the beautiful features of Deaf Village Ireland and find out exactly why we now hold the title of prestige!

Thank you all for coming today to our launch and for watching.