ISL Bill passes third Stage at Seanad

22nd June 2017

Irish Sign Language Bill passes third Stage at Seanad
On Wednesday 21st June 2017, The Seanad accepted the ‘Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill’ proposed by Senator Mark Daly, at the third (Committee) stage of process. The result has been welcomed by the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and the Deaf Community who have been campaigning for Irish Sign Language (ISL) and Deaf rights issues for the last 30 years. The Bill will now continue to the fourth stage, known as Report Stage, of a 5-stage process before continuing over to the Dail.
The Irish Deaf Society cited the experience of the Irish Deaf community in their proposal as “one of extreme marginalisation due to the lack of sign language recognition and provision.” The IDS outlined how access to services including the education system, the health service, the courts system and the national parliament itself amounted to “unacceptable systemic exclusion that must be addressed urgently.”

European Union of the Deaf (EUD) states that such legalisation must include provisions that ensure full and equal access to education and employment, the right to sign language interpretation in all areas of life, and access to information and communication through media accessibility

The Bill aims to ensure access for Deaf people to public services and information, promoting greater inclusion and participation for Deaf citizens, and for registration and regulation of ISL interpreting services which will ensure quality control and protection. Ireland remains one of the last few countries in the EU to have not yet recognised their native sign language, despite signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and recommendations to do so in an EU Parliamentary resolution in 1988 and the 2010 Brussels Declaration on Sign Languages in the EU.

The fourth (Report) stage will commence in four weeks’ time before the summer recess. The outcome of 3rd (Committee) stage is reported back to the Seanad for consideration and review.