Today’s passage, from second stage to committee stage, of the Irish Sign Language Bill is a great day for the Irish Deaf Community according to Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill. The Donegal Senator has welcomed the cross-party support in Seanad Éireann today (Wednesday, 19th October) for the passage of legislation on Irish Sign Language (ISL), which is testament to the hard work of the Irish Deaf Community in raising awareness of their needs, and shining a spotlight on the challenges they face on a day to day basis.
Speaking in the Seanad during the debate, Senator Ó Domhnaill said; “The Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Bill, which was published by the Fianna Fáil Seanad grouping, will empower the Irish Deaf community by placing ISL on a statutory basis. Under the bill, Irish Sign Language would be designed as a native and independent language that is used as the primary means of communication by over 5,000 members of the deaf community in Ireland”.
“I am very pleased that the Seanad is taking to steps today to support a minority group within society. The Seanad was established initially under the 1922 and then 1937 constitutions to protect and represent the rights of minority groupings within Irish society. I think we are certainly living up to the obligations placed upon this house by dealing with this particular issue here today”.
“If ISL continues to go officially unrecognised, then deaf people will continue to be left vulnerable to the threat of social and economic exclusion and marginalisation”.
“Currently, deaf people in Ireland face lower education attainments, higher unemployment rates and poorer health rates than the hearing population. They are at greater risk of poor mental health and significantly decreased mobility. It has been shown that the greatest cause of these statistics is the lack of communication access, which is why protections under the law need to be set in place”.
“The impact of this piece of legislation would be truly transformative for the deaf community enabling ISL to be used in legal proceedings; enhanced access to public services, education provision for deaf children and third level education and training access for deaf adults with much improved interpreting quality monitoring. When this Bill is passed, it will also require the State to provide interpreting services for students who use Irish Sign Language, and would require every public body to devise and implement an action plan to promote the use of sign language with the organisation”.
“This is a sensible, pragmatic yet highly transformative piece of legislation. I strongly welcome the cross – party support which brings the Bill to the next stage of the legislative process”.
“This is an important step in fully, and properly, integrating the deaf community into wider Irish society”.Tags: