Today the Seanad will vote on ‘The Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2013’.

Irish Sign Language Bill First Page002

This bill will ensure equal rights for the deaf community in Ireland and will guarantee that the government no longer continues to breach the Good Friday Agreement.

The main provisions of the bill are:

* require public bodies and government departments to implement action plans for ISL

* to permit the use of Irish Sign Language in Legal proceedings

* to provide for regulations of ISL interpreters

  * to establish the Irish Sign Language council: to provide for the establishment of registers

Senator Daly said “As citizens, the members of the deaf community must be guaranteed the same rights and access to services as everyone else. Sadly that is not the case.”

Currently Members of the deaf community are not able to communicate with government agencies and the medical profession without encountering enormously difficulties.

“This bill will require all state bodies to put in place ISL interrupters as a right rather than the current ad hoc system” said Senator Daly.

The lack of recognition for Irish Sign Language ISL is a breach of the Good Friday Agreement. Under the agreement ISL was to be officially recognised by both the North and the South. While the Northern Assembly has put in place provisions for ISL the South has yet to officially recognise the language.

Senator Daly commented “amazingly 15 years after the Good Friday Agreement the current government and successive governments in the south have failed to deal with this issue which is also part of the Good Friday Agreement and failed to pass legislation that would allow for the deaf community to interact with the government and its agencies.”

Senator Mark Daly has been allowed by the Government to publish the bill and it will be debated in the house today. The bill will ensure that there is an accreditation process for Irish Sign Language interrupters. This would prevent a situation similar to the one which arose at Presidents Mandela Memorial in Johannesburg where an unqualified sign language interrupter, preformed the signing for the memorial service.

Senator Mark Daly was nominated by the Irish Deaf Society to run for Seanad Éireann in 2007 and 2011.

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