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Legislation to officially recognise Irish Sign Language set to pass through Dáil today

The bill is expected to pass through all stages of the Dáil today.

LEGISLATION THAT WILL give official recognition to Irish Sign Language for the first time is set to pass all stages in the Dáil today.

It is expected that the bill, which was put forward by Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, will be signed into law over the coming days by President Michael D Higgins.

Under the bill, Irish Sign Language (ISL) would be designated as a native and independent language that is used as the primary means of communication by over 5,000 members of the Deaf community.

The Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill would see Deaf people able to access State services in their native language.

All public bodies would have to create and implement an action plan to promote the use of sign language within the organisation.

The bill outlines a need for better access to education through sign language.

It would see the introduction of statutory targets regarding the accessibility of TV programming.

The bill would also allow the use of sign language within the courts.

Speaking ahead today, Daly outlined the importance of the bill: “Irish Deaf citizens should be able to access State services in their own language. In addition, it puts an onus on State agencies such as hospitals, schools and the Courts to make services available for the Irish Deaf community.

The bill is so vitally important. This bill has been hard fought and the rights that will give members of the Irish Deaf community have been hard won.

“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 to ensure that the 50,000 members of the Irish Deaf community have their civil rights protected and secured.”

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