Press Release
National Irish Sign Language Day 2021

Celebrate our 4th Anniversary on the 14th of December 2021

On the 14th of December 2017, the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act was passed by the Dáil. This date was a momentous day as it followed years of hard work and campaigning by the Deaf community, led by the Irish Deaf Society and supported by Senator Mark Daly. The Act recognises Irish Sign Language (ISL) as the native language of Deaf people and used by the Deaf community. The State have a responsibility to provide ISL access to ensure that Deaf people can participate in society. Recently, the good practice of having access in ISL can be exemplified by the presence of ISL/English and Deaf interpreters on RTÉ’s The Late Late Toy Show and during the governmental press briefings. We also noticed the increased presence of interpreters on public webinars in recent months.

To commemorate this milestone for Deaf people in Ireland, the Deaf community now celebrates National ISL Day every year on the 14th of December. This celebration is essential to the Deaf community and allows us to promote ISL and celebrate our achievements as we campaign for changes in law, policy and attitudes in Ireland. Also, we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year, but sadly we can’t celebrate the way we hoped due to Covid restrictions.

One visual way we mark these important dates is by using blue. We ask people to wear blue; we ask state organisations to light up landmarks in blue for these occasions. For instance, Trinity College Dublin decided to light up their building in blue colour on the evening of National ISL Day. Blue is also the colour of the IDS, and below we explain why blue is so significant to Deaf people.

Dark blue was chosen by the World Federation of the Deaf and Deaf associations worldwide to represent Deafhood. That means an individual and collective journey to campaign against audism and a focus on the positivity of Deaf identities, including Sign Languages, Deaf Culture and Deaf History. The concept of Deafhood was introduced by Dr Paddy Ladd, who also established the ‘Blue Ribbon’ ceremony to commemorate the experiences of Deaf people around the world. The colour blue also symbolises Sign Language and represents how Deaf communities cherish their language.  For more information – you can check out this link: 

Now that you know why we use the colour blue to represent ourselves, why don’t you encourage landmarks in your locality to light up blue for our upcoming National ISL Day on the 14th of December! We are very excited to release some videos to celebrate the importance of Irish Sign Language and the memories of 40 years of work.

John Sherwin CEO

Mobile: 089 427 8663




National ISL Day 2021

Next Tuesday is National ISL Day. It has been a phenomenal four years since the ISL Act 2017 was passed by Dáil Éireann and signed into law by President Higgins on the 24th of December. It has been a whirlwind four years. The IDS have worked vigorously on the implementation of the Act, which commenced in December 2020. We celebrate this on the 14th of December, alongside the 40th anniversary of the IDS which would have been held on the 13th of January 2021.  Unfortunately, due to Covid and the restrictions we couldn’t organise any celebrations such as dinner parties or anything like that. What is important to bear in mind is that the IDS was founded in 1981.  

However, what we can do is enjoy a series of ISL videos about the IDS, National ISL day and the 40th anniversary of the IDS. We will hold these on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and our website. The series of videos will include the timeline of the achievements which the ideas have attained from 1981 to 2021. Another video will be Fergus Dunne presenting on his experiences on campaigning and lobbying for Deaf education. Teresa Lynch will speak to the meaning and understanding of ISL. Kay Daly will speak about life with the Deaf Community throughout that time frame. It will be interesting viewing. 

If you can at all, wear blue on Tuesday – if you can wear a blue garment, blue nails, any garment with the colour blue, maybe you would even be willing to dye your hair blue! If so, send your photos to 

The meaning of the color blue is that it shows our appreciation of Sign Language. If you would like more information on the meaning of blue, we have a link on our website explaining why we use the colour blue – 



The Irish Deaf Society Christmas Giving Campaign

We are such a small charity doing life-changing work and every Christmas Card sold, Raffle Ticket entered and donation made, makes a huge difference. Our work over the last 18 months has helped to ensure Deaf people have critical health information during the pandemic and access to adult education as we continue our campaign for equality and rights. You can play your part by choosing one of the support options below.
  • Buy our IDS Christmas Cards
  • Sell tickets for our Raffle
  • Make a Donation
  • Sign-up for our Supporters Newsletter
  • Donate unwanted gifts to our Charity shops

See our fundraising page for more details.



We would like you to join IDS as a member? Why? You might have a question – what does IDS do for me?

  • IDS provides free education to Deaf people to help them learn, to get jobs and further their education.
  • IDS fights for Deaf rights, every year we campaign and make submissions to government to improve rights and access to services for the Deaf community.
  • IDS promotes Irish Sign Language, your language. We provide classes for hearing people and we campaign for more ISL access in every aspect of life.
  • As a member you can vote at our AGM and help us to decide on direction for IDS
  • IDS fundraise and manage Government funding to provide services to you.
  • Our Advocacy service provides free supports for Deaf people to help complete forms, engage with public services and to help you solve any problems that you have!
  • Some of our projects are quick! Some have long term goals and take place over years.
  • Your membership makes IDS stronger!

We need your help, opinions and feedback. Please join IDS.Membership is €10 and you can join by clicking the link below.

Share this message with your friends and family in the community. Join our fight for Deaf rights and ISL today!

Please join today.

Renew membership on our website –

Email – we can post or email you with a membership form.

Thank you from the team at IDS!


IDS Coronavirus ISL Support

Visit our support  page Coronavirus ISL Support for news, ISL translations and links to resources. This section of our website will be a hub for ISL content and we are inviting other organisations to share their information with us and we will add to it.

The IDS is here with you during this difficult time.

Contact our Coronavirus support team by email or text/call 086 440 1443.

IDS fundraising is seriously impacted by the Coronavirus Emergency. Support us by donating nowYou can also support IDS by joining or renewing your membership on our membership page.

The Scheme to Support National Organisations is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Rural and Community Development”.

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