Press Release – National Irish Sign Language Day 2021

10th December 2021

Celebrate our 4th Anniversary on the 14th of December 2021

On the 14th of December 2017, the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act was passed by the Dáil. This date was a momentous day as it followed years of hard work and campaigning by the Deaf community, led by the Irish Deaf Society and supported by Senator Mark Daly. The Act recognises Irish Sign Language (ISL) as the native language of Deaf people and used by the Deaf community. The State have a responsibility to provide ISL access to ensure that Deaf people can participate in society. Recently, the good practice of having access in ISL can be exemplified by the presence of ISL/English and Deaf interpreters on RTÉ’s The Late Late Toy Show and during the governmental press briefings. We also noticed the increased presence of interpreters on public webinars in recent months.

To commemorate this milestone for Deaf people in Ireland, the Deaf community now celebrates National ISL Day every year on the 14th of December. This celebration is essential to the Deaf community and allows us to promote ISL and celebrate our achievements as we campaign for changes in law, policy and attitudes in Ireland. Also, we are celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year, but sadly we can’t celebrate the way we hoped due to Covid restrictions.

One visual way we mark these important dates is by using blue. We ask people to wear blue; we ask state organisations to light up landmarks in blue for these occasions. For instance, Trinity College Dublin decided to light up their building in blue colour on the evening of National ISL Day. Blue is also the colour of the IDS, and below we explain why blue is so significant to Deaf people.

Dark blue was chosen by the World Federation of the Deaf and Deaf associations worldwide to represent Deafhood. That means an individual and collective journey to campaign against audism and a focus on the positivity of Deaf identities, including Sign Languages, Deaf Culture and Deaf History. The concept of Deafhood was introduced by Dr Paddy Ladd, who also established the ‘Blue Ribbon’ ceremony to commemorate the experiences of Deaf people around the world. The colour blue also symbolises Sign Language and represents how Deaf communities cherish their language.  For more information – you can check out this link: 

Now that you know why we use the colour blue to represent ourselves, why don’t you encourage landmarks in your locality to light up blue for our upcoming National ISL Day on the 14th of December! We are very excited to release some videos to celebrate the importance of Irish Sign Language and the memories of 40 years of work.

John Sherwin CEO

Mobile: 089 427 8663



Irish Deaf Society