The Irish Deaf Society welcome new Ministers and seek commitment to Irish Sign Language Act

2nd July 2020

We would particularly like to welcome Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Minister of State Anne Rabbitte in the newly formed Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration.
We would also like to congratulate Senator Mark Daly on his election as Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann. He was the Irish Deaf Society’s nominee in three Seanad elections and campaigned with the Deaf community to ensure the Irish Sign Language Act was passed in 2017.

“The Deaf community in Ireland have always considered themselves to be a cultural minority with its own unique language, Irish Sign Language (ISL). The incoming Governments introduction of the new Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration is a welcome recognition that our struggle for equal rights is not a health issue. We look forward to meeting Minister O’Gorman confirming that the programme for Government ensures the success of the Irish Sign Language Act due to be commenced in December.” – Lianne Quigley, Chairperson, Irish Deaf Society.

We will be writing to new Ministers in the coming days to arrange meetings to introduce the Irish Deaf Society, our plans and priorities. Although the Programme for Government does not mention the ISL Act explicitly, we will be asking Minister O’Gorman to confirm his commitment to an inter-departmental strategy in respect of the Act.
During Covid-19 it has been clear that we have much work to do to ensure equal access to State services and information for the Deaf community. We look forward to engaging with all public bodies to achieve this goal.

“The Irish Government is working to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). A requirement of the CRPD is that Disabled Persons Organisations are funded and engaged with as part of this process. It is essential that people with disabilities are included in policy formation and developing implementation strategies.” – John Sherwin, CEO, Irish Deaf Society.

The Irish Deaf Society is a DPO and has joined a coalition of DPOs to create a shadow report on Ireland’s progress on the implementation of CRPD.