Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly says legislation introduced by Fianna Fáil in the Seanad and published today will assist members of the deaf community by giving Irish Sign Language full and proper recognition.
The ‘Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill’ will empower the deaf community by placing sign language on a statutory basis.
Senator Daly commented, “This legislation will ensure Irish Sign Language is designated as a native and independent language. It recognises that the language is used as the primary means of communication by over 5,000 members of the deaf community in Ireland.
“Designating sign language as a native language will empower the deaf community by permitting it to be used in legal proceedings and it will require TV broadcasters to have subtitling. It will also require the State to provide interpreting services for students who use Irish Sign Language. Importantly, it will also require every public body to devise and implement an action plan to promote the use of sign language within the organisation. This will make it easier for members of the deaf community to communicate with state institutions.
“The legislation further proposes the creation of an Irish Sign Language Council to promote the development of the language, regulate its teaching and co-ordinate interpreting services. 16 Local Authorities have passed motions to date calling for recognition of Irish Sign Language and the implementation of supports to aid the deaf community. It’s important that these calls are answered.
“This legislation is sensible and will help the deaf community to continue integrating into wider Irish society. I’m hopeful that it will receive cross-party support when it comes before the Seanad,” concluded Senator Daly.
Translated by Dr. John Bosco Conama, IDS Board member and Co-Chair of the Irish Sign Language Recognition Group