DEAF VILLAGE IRELAND OPENING:
Deaf Village Ireland (DVI), the new home of Deaf Sports Ireland (DSI), is an all-inclusive state-of-the-art community facility officially which opened its doors on Ratoath Road, Cabra on Monday 4th March.
DVI aims to facilitate and support members of the Deaf community nationally to encourage inclusivity with the local community and communication between the two groups. This is aided by the bi-lingual approach taken, whereby Irish Sign Language (ISL) and spoken English are the two primary languages present and both are used constantly.
The introduction of this facility to the community so far has, and will continue to have a huge impact by providing sporting, social, religious, heritage, educational, community and cultural services and amenities for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and hearing people alike. Services are available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing youths and senior members.
4th March, 2013
Bohemians FC played a 6-a-side football match on the DVI all-weather pitches, against a DSI team consisting of Deaf players.
A Water-Polo exhibition between Deaf school boys & seniors took place in the Inspire Fitness Centre.
Deaf Sport Ireland (DSI)
Irish Deaf Sports Association (IDSA) was founded in 1968, and then rebranded to Deaf Sports Ireland in December 2011.
As with any opening of a new facility, there was a huge amount of work in the planning stage but after a two year construction time frame and a €15m budget thankfully the village opened this year.
Deaf Village Ireland
Over 500 people attended including the Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism, Mr Leo Varadkar who officiated the opening.
Volunteers from each of the organisations with offices within DVI (including DSI) and from DVI itself helped out on the day.
The Launch itself lasted from 10am until 10pm with multiple events taking place. The morning saw a water-polo exhibition between Deaf school boys & senior take place in the Inspire Fitness Centre within the premises. At 11.30, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar officiated the opening by cutting the ceremonial ribbon and releasing doves alongside manager Sylvia Nolan.
Following Minister Varadkar’s opening, there where speeches by a number of people, including Manager Sylvia Nolan, Caroline McGrotty of the Vice Chairperson of DVI, Kevin Lynch, Chairperson of the Sportco before Fr. Gerard, Chaplain for NCDP gave a blessing of the official opening.
There was also a performance by the Deaf choir from the local girls’ school, St. Mary’s School.
The afternoon saw presentations from a few of the Deaf organisations at the Cabragh hall, such as DSI, IDYA, Deafhear, DDA, SLIS, the Deaf Heritage Centre and Deaf Drama. This was followed by a 6-a-side football match on the DVI all-weather pitches, between local club Bohemians FC and a team consisting of Deaf players. Bohemians players wore ear plugs in order to experience what it is like to play sports Deaf. Both lunch and dinner were served to guests, as well as light refreshments throughout the day and at 8pm DVI hosted a Ceili that pulled in a large crowd, both Deaf and hearing.
There’s a busy year ahead for DSI, with athletes competing in multiple sports across the country in preparation for National Championships and the 2013 Deaflympics. The Deaflympic Summer Games will, this year, be held in venues in the cities of Sofia and Pravets, Bulgaria. This means it will be a busy year for DSI with training camps to coordinate as well as working on the grassroots programme that is in place. As part of this grassroots work, DSI will be working hard to organise and run activities and training that will help to promote and develop the social and community benefits of participation in sports within the Deaf community.
….and for the Irish Team?
The 2013 Deaflympic Summer Games will run from the 26th of July until the 4th of August, with 18 sports competing.
The Deaflympics is the 2nd longest running multi-sport event in the world, second only to the Olympics. Since the first Games in Paris, 1924, the Deaflympics have been held every four years, barring a short break during WWII.
The Deaflympics offers a more inclusive platform for Deaf and Hard of Hearing competitors, free of communication barriers and the social isolation and marginalisation that can accompany them. Visual signals, rather than audio, are used throughout the Games and hearing aids, cochlear implants etc. are not permitted when competing, placing all of the athletes on a level footing.
To qualify for the games, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their ‘better ear’. Other examples of ways the games vary from hearing competitions are the manner in which they are officiated. To address the issue of Deaflympians not being able to be guided by sounds, certain sports use alternative methods of commencing the game. For example, the football referees wave a flag instead of blowing a whistle and on the track, races are started by using a light, instead of a starter pistol. It is also customary for spectators not to cheer or clap, but rather to wave – usually with both hands.
The Irish Team has a great track record with medal success at the Deaflympics. Ireland first entered a team into the Games in the 12th CISS World Games for the Deaf (the previous name of the Deaflympics) in 1973 sending swimmers.
Since then, the Irish Team (with entries in athletics, badminton, basketball, football, swimming, table tennis & water polo) obtained medals in a further 8 Deaflympics Games, winning 17 gold, 14 silver & 11 bronze medals.
This year, the Irish Team will most likely consist of entries into Badminton, Men’s Football and Swimming. Not all of the qualifying tournaments have yet been held, but the Irish Men’s Football Team, which ranks in the top 5 world-wide, has been successful, after drawing against Germany last September.