The Courts Service, the Dublin Coroner’s Court and the Irish Prison Service have launched an initiative aimed at helping those with hidden disabilities.
The JAM (Just A Minute) Card allows people to ask for a minute of patience in any situation in which they need it – including in shops, restaurants, public transport, and accessing public services.
The project was launched with the NOW Group, a Belfast-based social enterprise that supports people with learning difficulties and autism.
The JAM Card is also available as an app for smartphones that allows users to select different screen-display options, including ‘I have autism’, ‘I have a condition’, and ‘I have a brain injury’.
Anyone looking for ‘just a minute’ can do so at public offices across the Courts Service, at the Dublin Coroners Court, and at two pilot locations (Midlands Prison and Castlerea Prison) across the Irish Prison Service.
Angela Denning (Courts Service chief executive, pictured) said that the body was on the way to becoming the first JAM-friendly civil-service organisation in the State, with more than 70% of staff already trained to operate the initiative.
Maeve Monaghan (chief executive of the NOW Group) said that there were more than 75,000 JAM Card users, and 1,800 organisations that had trained their staff to offer the best possible customer service to people with hidden disabilities.
“Equitable access to public services is, of course, essential and I welcome the commitment shown by these leading organisations in the justice sector,” she added.
Séamus Beirne of the Irish Prison Service said that the initiative would be expanded throughout the prison estate in the coming months.
Dr Myra Cullinane (Senior Dublin District Coroner, Dublin Coroner’s Court) and Dr Emily Jordan (Coroner’s Service Operations, Department of Justice) said that its staff hoped to offer further support to those who encounter the service.