A new law ensuring public services are provided through Irish Sign Language is expected to pass
Ireland's deaf community is celebrating the expected passage of a new law that ensures public services are available through Irish Sign Language.
The 'Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill' is due to pass all stages in the Oireachtas today and should be signed into law in the coming weeks.
The Bill was sponsored by Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly.
In a statement he said the passing of the legislation will be another step towards the recognition of the civil rights of 50,000 members of the Irish deaf community.
He said the bill puts an onus onto State agencies including hospitals, schools and the Courts to “make services available for the Irish deaf community.”
“Irish deaf citizens should be able to access State services in their own language,” he said.
“With the President expected to sign the bill into law before Christmas, I am hopeful that its provisions can be put into practice as quickly as possible.”
In celebration of the expected passage of the bill, three Irish students have created a Christmas Carol video using Irish Sign Language.
Amy Durkin, Abbie O'Neill, and Joanne O Donnell are students at the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College and have posted 'Let It Snow' on Facebook.
Brian Crean from the Irish Deaf Society hopes the new law will improve the lives of Ireland's 50,000 deaf people:
“It is not going to solve all barriers in Ireland – but hopefully it will reduce them,” he said.
“The deaf community itself will be less marginalised.
“For example, the services on all public service providers must then provide interpretation for the deaf community that wants to access services.”
He said the marginalisation of Irish Sign Language has had a massive effect, adding that the new legislation is “big step forward” for the deaf community.