IDS calls on Government for legal recognition of Irish Sign Language

Press Release – Tuesday 21st January 2014

Senator Mark Daly’s Private Member’s Bill enters its 2nd Stage in Seanad Éireann – Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community.
The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) continues to call on the Government in the pursuit of the legal recognition of Irish Sign Language (ISL).
The bill ensures that equal rights can be availed of by Irish Sign Language users. The main provisions of the bill include:
1. The requirement of public bodies and government departments to implement action plans for ISL recognition
2. To permit the use of Irish Sign Language in Legal proceedings
3. To provide for regulations of ISL interpreters
4. To establish the Irish Sign Language Council: to provide for the establishment of registers

The bill on Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community is being brought before the Seanad for the 2nd stage of proceedings this Wednesday. The main sponsor is Senator Daly. This bill seeks to implement guidelines on policy for public recognition of ISL. The bill follows 30 years of campaigning for equality by the Deaf community and the IDS, with momentum having picked up in the last year with 31 Local Authorities voting unanimously in support of the recognition of ISL as a matter of urgency.
Without legal protection, Deaf people face uncertain and limited access to society. From access to education and healthcare, to interpreting standards and television programming, legal recognition will go a long way towards removing barriers that exclude Deaf people on a day-to-day basis. Irish Sign Language has become a keystone for achieving equality for Deaf people, without which places Deaf people at social, economic, and cultural disadvantage.

Dr. John Bosco Conama, the Chair of a cross-community group on ISL recognition, adds “Many of us are keen to point out that a ‘fake interpreter’ incident such as at the recent Mandela memorial service is not solely confined to South Africa. These situations can, and do, arise frequently in this country. We have come to know about several Irish cases where the requirements for professional interpretation have been flouted with quite hazardous consequences. Non-qualified persons are often procured for interpreting tasks ranging from meetings with medical consultants to interpreting for defendants standing before the courts.”
The Irish Deaf Society and some of its members are invited to attend the galley to watch the debate on Senator Mark Daly’s private member bill on Wednesday, January 22nd from 4pm to 6pm. See www.deaf.ie for more information on the Irish Deaf Society.

For more information contact:
Irish Deaf Society: 01 860 1878 – 086 380 7033
Louise Sheerin: 01 8828001
or email: islnow@irishdeafsociety.ie
Irish Deaf Society: www.deaf.ie
Irish Sign Language Recognotion Campaign facebook: www.facebook.com/IrishSignLanguageRecognitionCampaign