The NDWI was set up in 1992 by a Deaf woman named Susan O’Reilly. Susan was born in Navan, Co. Meath and went to St. Mary’s school for the Deaf.

Susan got married and had 2 children. When the second child was born and the nurse would come to the house to check the children’s health, Susan found her very rude. Susan tried to get information from the nurse about health but she was unsuccessful and found herself feeling a bit lost. When Susan met other Deaf mothers she realized they had all had the same problem: the lack of information was very bad. Susan was worried about this – Deaf women have a right to this information! She wanted to find a solution. She attended a Deaf Ladies’ Club in Rathmines. She discussed the issue with mothers in the group, and they all found it to be a big problem. The purpose of this Club, however, was just for socialising. Susan travelled to Blackpool, England to visit the British Deaf Association. She was shocked to see that they had many different supports for Deaf people, including a women’s group. Ireland had nothing like that. She decided to campaign for women’s rights in Ireland. She returned to Ireland and discussed this with other Deaf women, and they decided to go to the Irish Deaf Society. The Irish Deaf Society gave them the go-ahead to set up their own Deaf women’s group, which they did in 1982. The newly-formed group spread the word far and wide. They set up a mother and child group, and organised social events at night to share information and ensure Deaf women had access to whatever information they needed. This was a great time for Deaf women, giving them the confidence to do things for themselves and campaign for their rights.

On their 10 th anniversary, the NDWI held their first conference, titled “Deaf Women Proud.” On their 20 th anniversary, the conference was titled “Believe in yourself.” The 25th-anniversary conference was titled, “Let it go.” Irish Deaf Women’s Group changed its name to National Deaf Women of Ireland, after Ellen and I undertook some research: We asked 300 Deaf women if they needed a National Council for Deaf Women, and 100{29b01bd03fa2f64167e230c391c72e7724891d13c5e6a6c74fe8108f3bfc6599} said yes. The name of our organisation was changed, and now we are strongly focused on campaigning for the rights of Deaf women.

Former Board Members

Audrey Conama

Acting Chairperson

Bernadette Walsh

Mar09 – Mar 12

Breda O Grady

Mar 99 – Oct02 /
Mar 08- Mar 09

Breda Whelan Mooney

Mar03 – Mar05

Bridie Power

Mar 98 – Mar 99

Dee Byrne

Mar 06 – Mar 08

Gaye Regan

Mar 12 -Mar 16

Geraldine Figgis

Mar 05 – Mar 06

Noeleen Dunne

Mar 97 – Mar 98

Susan O Reilly

Mar 92 – Mar 97

Teresa Lynch

Mar 16 to Present