Irish Sign Language (ISL) finally recognised by the Irish Government

It is difficult to believe that in 1988, Irish MEP Eileen Lemass presented a resolution on sign languages which was unanimously passed in the European parliament recognising the sign languages of member states as official languages. Consecutive Irish Governments had ignored (until today that is) the plight of the Irish Deaf community and need to recognise Irish Sign Language despite many countries affording it the status it truly deserves.

Without legal protections Deaf people face uncertain and limited access to society. From access to education and healthcare, to interpreting standards and television programming, legal recognition will go a long way towards removing barriers that exclude Deaf people on a day-to-day basis. Irish Sign Language has become a keystone for achieving Equality for Deaf people, without which places Deaf people at social, economic, and cultural disadvantage.

But today is not a day to speak or sign in a negative light. A gigantic leap has been made. The Deaf and Irish Sign Language community has received an early Christmas present  as the Irish Government has just passed The Irish Sign Language Bill, presented by Senator Mark Daly, in Dáil Eireann. Another page in Irish history and culture has been written.

In this very short announcement, we are proud to be associated with the Deaf community in which we work and live, and offer our heartiest congratulations to the Irish Deaf Society, the Irish Sign Language Recognition Committee and its Chair Dr. John Bosco Conama from the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin and of course the Irish Deaf and Sign Language Community who have worked tirelessly to make this day happen.

It is through awareness that knowledge is acquired. It is through knowledge that attitudes shift. It is through attitudes that behaviour changes.

 Please keep tweeting #YestoISL. #ProudOfISL and tag: @haarissheikh @igimedia @IrishDeafSoc @ISLRecognition

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