– Friday 22nd Sept 2023

Achieving Sign Language Rights for All 

Explore the journey towards achieving sign language rights for all as we delve into the significance of the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act. In this enlightening video, John Bosco Conama discusses the ISL Act’s pivotal role in upholding Deaf people’s rights and ensuring access for all. Discover the strides made and the ongoing work needed to establish sign language as an essential element of communication, symbolizing a world where Deaf individuals can sign freely and without barriers

Dr John Bosco Conama - Director of the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College / Board Director of the IDS


Today’s theme is ‘Achieving Sign Language Rights for All’. What does the theme mean? The WFD have said that 60% of countries throughout the world have yet to recognise their indigenous sign language. Ireland are one of the lucky ones, in that we have done it the right way and we have recognised our sign language since 2017.  

Some people are saying it is 6 years since it has been passed, what is important is that this is now documented in law and it is clearly evident and it states that the Deaf community have the right to use their own language, their own language being ISL, Irish Sign Language. This means that when you go into a public service such as the HSE, the county council and others, in your interaction you no longer have to write notes, talk or gesture, you have the right to book an interpreter without having to pay for it. 10 or 15 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that this would be the case by now.  

At the same time, or more importantly, Deaf children in Deaf schools have the right to access to ISL and not only in Deaf schools, but also in mainstream schools. We now have the legislation and the Act and we would hope that this will influence them, and they can learn ISL and that would mean for the next 20, 30, 40 years sign language will be sustained and that is thanks to the ISL Act being passed in 2017. Enjoy the day!  


Irish Sign language (ISL) Act 2017 - What does it mean to me...

The Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act of 2017 marked a groundbreaking moment in the journey towards inclusivity and equality for the Deaf community. For countless people, the ISL Act means more than just legal recognition; it signifies the right to communicate, express, and be understood in their native language. This legislation reinforces the belief that ISL is not just a language, but a vital component of one's identity. It represents a commitment to creating a society where Deaf people can participate fully, access public services, and enjoy the same rights as everyone else. As we celebrate achievements in sign language rights, the ISL Act reminds us of the progress made and the ongoing work needed to ensure that everyone can sign anywhere and everywhere, making our world more inclusive and diverse

Kevin MulQueen / Valarie Mahon / Derek Duke / Louise Coss / Stephen Bates

Creating Accessible Videos in Irish Sign Language.

Our Advocacy Manager and ISL Media Coordinator participated in a significant event aimed at promoting accessibility and sign language rights. In partnership with the Irish Computer Society (ICS), they attended the National Disability Authority (NDA) webinar titled 'Creating Accessible Videos in Irish Sign Language.' This insightful event provided practical guidance on achieving compliance with the EU Web Accessibility Directive and emphasised the importance of universal design considerations. Their participation underscores our commitment to advancing sign language rights, inclusivity, and equitable access for the Deaf community. We look forward to applying the knowledge gained from this webinar to our ongoing efforts in making a more accessible and inclusive world for all.

Elaine Grehan - IDS Advocacy Manager


NDA and the Irish Computer Society invited Joanne Chester and me to their training webinars in the area of web accessibility. NDA and ICS must follow guidance on the EU Web Accessibility Directive as well as universal design. Today's webinar, titled 'Creating Accessible Video in ISL,' aims to raise awareness about legal obligations and how to create ISL videos

Irish Deaf Society