ISL Act is now official

8th January 2018

Irish Sign Language is finally an official language of the State

The Irish Deaf Society (IDS) welcomes the recent announcement that the Dail Eireann approved the Recognition of Irish Sign Language Bill for the Irish Deaf Community on Thursday, 14th December 2017 and then approved by the Seanad the following day.

IDS have campaigned for more than thirty years for legislation to recognise our language, a language used by 5,000 Deaf people across the country. Irish Sign Language (ISL) has been used for centuries, as shown by documentary evidence, making it high time to recognise its usage and existence in the Irish life. Despite the presence of the language around us, it rarely enters into Irish public awareness, and indeed it has had an unhappy experience of being repressed, misrepresented and ignored.


President Michael D. Higgins signed the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 into Law on 24th December 2017

This is an historic day for the Irish Deaf Community.

Our sincere thanks to the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Official Recognition Campaign led by the Irish Deaf Society especially Dr. John Bosco Conama and Lianne Quigley for all their tremendous work over the years.

Sincere thanks also to Senator Mark Daly for sponsoring the ISL Bill through the Seanad and for ensuring it passed all stages in the Dáil also.

Our thanks also to Minister Finian Mc Grath, Minister for Disability Issues for all his support too.

Our deep appreciation to everyone especially Deaf community and its supporters, family members, friends and colleagues, who worked so hard to make the dream of an ISL law a reality.

Main Keys to the ISL Act:

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is now an official language in Ireland.

ISL users will have legal rights to access Government Departments & Public Bodies through Irish Sign Language.

ISL users will have legal rights to access ALL courts through Irish Sign Language.

Certified Skilled Irish Sign Language Interpreters

Educational Support for Deaf Children