IDS Press Release

22nd September 2022

Irish Sign Language Awareness Week 2022

Press Release

The International Week of Deaf People (IWDP) is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and is celebrated annually by global deaf communities each year. This year the week starts on September 19th. In Ireland, the Deaf community takes part by celebrating “Irish Sign Language Awareness Week.”

During this week of celebrations Deaf communities around the world welcome the involvement of families of Deaf people, professional and accredited sign language interpreters, other stakeholders including national Governments, human rights organisations, and disabled persons organisations.

The theme of the 2022 International Week of Deaf People and ISL Awareness Week is “Building Inclusive Communities for All”.

The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and other Deaf organisations have a range of activities planned to recognise and celebrate the week. IDS will also highlight some of the main concerns and barriers facing Deaf people in Ireland today.

The Irish Sign language (ISL) Act 2017, implemented in 2020, has had a positive impact on the experiences of Deaf people. Under the Act, the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) have been able to expand the availability of provided through the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS), also SLIS have established a register of sign language interpreters (RISLI).

There is a growing awareness of the barriers Deaf people face in Government organisations and State service providers but there is still a lot of work required to fully implement all aspects of the Act in the coming years.

The National Disability Authority (NDA) has been given responsibility to report to Government on the operation of the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act 2017, on behalf of the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

This report has been ready since December 2021 but publication has been delayed multiple times with no clear reason why. Now it seems that the report is not expected to be published until 2023, this unacceptable and unexplained delay is impacting on the development of important access and services for Deaf people and IDS calls for the report to be published immediately.

With many obstacles to equality for Deaf people the Irish Deaf Society has started an exciting project to develop a strategy for the next 3 years. We are asking for members of the Deaf Community throughout Ireland to take part in our survey to help us determine our priorities for the next 3 years. This includes Deaf people, their families, people who work in service provision and supporters of ISL. The survey can be responded to in ISL and you can find the link on the IDS website

The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) is the only national Deaf-led representative organisation of the Deaf and is recognised as a Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPO) under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). IDS campaigns for equality and rights and provides advocacy and education services for Deaf people and Deaf Awareness Training and ISL courses to the general public.


Contact: John Sherwin CEO – 089 427 8663

Irish Deaf Society