Monthly Archives: December 2017

President’s recognition of Irish Sign Language is best Christmas present for the Deaf Community – Daly

–  Fianna Fáil bill signed into law by Uachtarán na hÉireann this morning –

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has said that the signing into law of the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill by the President this Christmas Eve, is the best gift that the State could give to the 50,000 members of the deal community this Christmas.

Senator Daly made the comments following the President’s formal signing of the bill into law at Áras an Uachtaráin earlier today.

The Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf enshrines the right to access state services in Irish Sign Language the primary Language of the Deaf community in Ireland.

“Members of the Irish Deaf Community have been suffering extreme marginalization by the State for some time now. Today’s signing by President Michael D Higgins means that Irish deaf citizens will now be able to access State services in their own language,” he explained.

“In addition, it puts an onus onto State agencies such as hospitals, schools and the Courts to make services available for the Irish deaf community.

“This means so much to many nationwide and this news is the best Christmas present that the State could give to these citizens.

He added, “This Bill had been hard fought and the rights that it will give members of the Irish deaf community have been hard won but ultimately, today’s signing is good for society and good for Ireland’s deaf citizens.

“I am pleased that as an opposition member of the Upper House I had the opportunity to introduce this private members’ bill and for it to have passed both Houses of the Oireachtas. Today’s signing marks the 6th private members bill to be passed into last by an opposition members since the constitution was enacted 80 years ago.

“I am hopeful this Christmas Eve that its provisions can be put into practice as quickly as possible to ensure that deaf citizens will now have their civil rights fully protected,” concluded Daly


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Irish Sign language set to be officially recognised as native and independent language

Legislation that will give official recognition to sign language for the first time will move closer to becoming law when it is debated in the Dáil.

The bill, which was initiated by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly in the Seanad last year, is set to pass all stages in the Dáil tonight.

It is expected to be signed into law within days by President Michael D Higgins.

Sign language is used by 50,000 members of the deaf community and thousands of others to communicate with them.

The passing of the Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill would mean that deaf people would be able to access State services in their own language.

Every public body would have to devise and implement an action plan to promote the use of sign language within the organisation.

The bill advocates better access to education through sign language and the provision of classes for the parents of deaf children.

It would also permit the use of sign language within the courts.

Statutory targets regarding the accessibility of TV programming would be introduced.

The bill, which the deaf community has spent decades campaigning for, advocates the establishment of an Irish Sign Language Council.

The new body would regulate sign language interpreters, teachers and deaf interpreters.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Senator Daly said the Bill will have a major impact and will end the extreme marginalisation of the deaf community.

Mr Daly said he expects there will be a transition period of a number of years as there are not enough sign language interpreters available in Ireland.

“What we are doing is making sure there is a register of interpreters available,” he added.

He said situations of having “not up-to-scratch interpreters” has happened in Ireland in the past and this Bill will make sure there is a list of interpreters who are up to standard.

He said until now many people in the deaf community have been left isolated as they have had no right of access to Government services.

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‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ deserves legal protection

Amhrán na bhFiann is Ireland’s hymn and “must be legally protected for our future generations”, the grandson of Peadar Kearney, the man who penned the national anthem, has told a Seanad committee.

Conall Kearney was addressing the committee conducting a public consultation on the status, treatment and use of the national anthem.

Mr Kearney said: “Both the English and Irish version of Amhrán na bhFiann/The Soldiers’ Song must be given the respect, dignity and protection it so rightfully deserves.”

He was speaking as the committee considered calls by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly for the State to renew copyright on the anthem, which ended 2012, 70 years after after the death of Mr Kearney.

Mr Daly said the anthem no longer had any formal recognition by the State in legislation.

He has criticised the use of the anthem for commercial use including a campaign for a range of clothes in which phrases from the song were used on T-shirts.

He said unlike the harp and flag, it was the only national symbol not protected by copyright.

Mr Kearney said his grandfather wrote the lyrics of the song in late 1910 or early 1911 and not as mistakenly believed in 1907. He quoted from an affidavit or sworn statement Mr Kearney made in 1926 when the State adopted Amhrán na bhFiann as the national anthem.

He also pointed to “stand out” moments when the anthem was sung including “when it was sung by the volunteers as they marched into the GPO on Easter Monday 1915 when Pearse proclaimed a free and independent Ireland”, and when Ireland played England at rugby in Croke Park in 2007.

Mr Kearney said “our identity as a nation and as citizens is defined by our history. The Soldiers’ Song/Amhrán na bhFiann links us to our history and therefore our identity”.

Director of the Defence Forces School of Music Lt Col Mark Armstrong, in a statement to the committee, said the music adopted by the executive council on July 12th 1926 as the Irish national anthem and played on the day by the Army No1 band “remains substantially the same as that performed today”.

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Seanad committee hears call for national anthem to be legally protected

Ireland’s national anthem should be legally protected and guidelines for its use need to be drawn up, a Seanad committee has heard.

The copyright for Amhrán na bhFiann/The Soldier’s Song expired at the end of 2012 and a Seanad committee was set up to protect it from inappropriate use and to look at drafting guidelines for its use.

Conal Kearney, grandson of Peadar Kearney who wrote the lyrics in late 1909 or 1910, told the committee that both the English and Irish version of the anthem must “be given the respect, dignity and protection, it so rightly deserves.”

He described his grandfather as a visionary and revolutionary.

He said: “Our identity as a nation and as citizens is defined by our history. The Soldier’s Song/Amhrán na bhFiann links us to our history and therefore our identity.”

On 1 January 2013, the anthem fell out of copyright protection and at that time Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly proposed legislation to protect it.

It is out of that proposal that the current public consultation has come about.

He told the committee today that the anthem belongs to everybody and “is a key symbol of the State and is worthy of our protection”.

Dublin City councillor Nial Ring, a grandnephew of Liam Ó Rinn, who translated Soldier’s Song into Irish, said it was sung before the evacuation of the GPO in 1916.

Following on from these hearings, a draft report will be prepared for the committee.

It will then be reviewed and a final report will then be published.

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‘Fianna Fáil’ to remain safely embedded in national anthem

The words “Fianna Fáil” will not be removed from the first line of the national anthem, although a small number of submissions requesting the change have been received by a Seanad committee.

The Seanad public consultations committee will meet on Tuesday to hear from the Minister for Finance, the Defence Forces, the Lord Mayor of Cork, schools, experts on copyright and members of the deaf community.

The committee has already received about 100 submissions from the public on the issue, which is being considered because copyright in the original song lapsed in 2013, 70 years after the death of its author, Peadar Kearney.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly said only a couple of the submissions received related to removing the words “Fianna Fáil”, and that polling indicated that more than 80 per cent of Irish people did not want to see the anthem changed in any way.

Other submissions related to the use of Ireland’s Call at sporting occassions, but this was not an issue in which the State had any role to play.

“Over the past number of weeks, there has been a public consultation on the use of, and guidelines surrounding, Amhrán na bhFiann,” Senator Daly said. The issue is complicated by the fact that the State’s copyright in the anthem prior to 2013 related to Kearney’s English language version, The Soldier’s Song, rather than the now more familiar Irish version by Liam Ó Rinn.

Ó Rinn wrote his translation of Kearney’s original in 1923, three years before Eamon de Valera founded the Fianna Fáil party.

Prof Eoin O’Dell of Trinity College Dublin says it is unlikely de Valera got the party name from the song, but that the phrase would have been known in the Irish political milieu of the time. It was only from the 1930s onwards, when Amhrán na bhFiann became a part of the preamble to every GAA match in the country, that the Irish language lyric became the more popular.

From time to time in the decades since, there have been suggestions that the words should be changed, either because of their militaristic tone or because they were believed to give an advantage to one political party.

It has been pointed out that “Sinne Fianna Fáil” is not a literal translation of “Soldiers are we” in the English version.

Senator Daly had expressed concern last year following the use by former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin of words from the English version of the anthem in ads for his Vanguard fashion line for Dunnes Stores.

While the Senator called then for the State to assert copyright in the song, the Senate committee will now consider three options: to maintain the status quo; to follow the Candian model of recognising the official position of the anthem; or to cement that position with guidelines on appropriate use of the song and protections against inappropriate commercial exploitation.

The third option forms the basis of a draft Bill on the issue drawn up by Prof O’Dell, who will present his proposals to the committee tomorrow.

The professor, one of the country’s foremost experts on copyright law, told The Irish Times that Senator Daly’s original proposals were not the correct way to safeguard the anthem, as copyright existed to protect the rights of content creators and encourage innovation.

With tongue somewhat in cheek, he described the involvement of Mr Galvin, Senator Daly and himself as “an argument between three Kerrymen” and said his Bill was “very much a first draft for discussion”.

Other issues likely to be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting include recognition of an Irish sign language version of the anthem.

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