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'We're asking for state agencies and bodies to engage with us now': Concerns about commitments to the Irish Sign Language Act

We spoke to Deaf Communtiy representatives at an event at Leinster House about their concerns for the 2020 deadline. / YouTube

MEMBERS OF THE Deaf community are concerned that state agencies and bodies are not prepared to integrate the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Act by the 2020 deadline.

We spoke to Lianne Quigley and John Sherwin, Chairperson and Chief Executive of the Irish Deaf Society respectfully, at an event for the Deaf community at Leinster House yesterday.

Hosted by the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality and launched by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the event was promoting an ISL music video by the O’Neil Pipe Band from Co Monaghan.

Quigley says the video was wonderful in the sense that the idea for it came from the hearing society, showing that some are looking at ISL as important.

But Sherwin says that while some groundwork has been done to implement the Irish Sign Language Act, more work needs to be done. 

“Many state agencies and bodies are just not prepared to live up to their commitments in the Act in 2020,” he says, which is the goal deadline of when ISL is meant to become an integrated part of government and public bodies in Ireland.

We’re asking for state agencies and bodies… to engage with the deaf community now and start to lay out a plan so the key provisions of the Act can be achieved.

The Irish Sign Language Act was signed in 2017 and provides for the recognition of ISL, its use in legal proceedings, and the provision of interpretation into ISL by public bodies and for related matters.

Watch the video for our full report.

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