Press Release – BAI

28th July 2015

Deaf organisations criticise BAI for ignoring Irish Sign Language

Deaf organisations have criticised the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for once again failing to deliver  any programme with Irish Sign Language presentation. Every year the BAI awards over €10m in grants to programme producers through its Sound and Vision Scheme. Last month the Authority announced a further round of grants totalling over €5m.

The BAI has subsequently confirmed that, once again, none of the TV projects approved will include ISL presentation, even though the BAI claim that they strongly encourage programme makers to do so.

Deaf organisations claim that this is further evidence that the BAI simply doesn’t care about people who are Deaf, and is failing in its duty as an Authority to treat all citizens equally. The Sound and Vision Scheme aims to support programmes on Irish culture and heritage, and programmes that raise public awareness and understanding of global issues. But the BAI seem to think that access to such programmes for Deaf citizens is not important.

According to Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Information “the BAI are just concerned with funding programmes and have no regard for the access needs of Deaf people who are sign language users. This Scheme is funded from TV licence fees, which are in essence public monies, and therefore subject to Equality and Disability legislation” he said.

Eddie Redmond, Chief Executive of the Irish Deaf Society said his members are angry with the BAI. “Even though it is in the Programme for Government to examine ways to recognise Irish Sign Language, the BAI continue to ignore the rights of the Deaf Community,” he said. “They seem to favour exclusion over inclusion” he added.

Both organisations have committed to raising the matter directly with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.