Irish sign language set to receive official recognition

Irish Sign Language Equality Committee pictured outside Leinster House in 2016

Ireland’s deaf community is celebrating the expected passage of a new law that ensures public services are available through Irish Sign Language.

The ’Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill’ is due to pass all stages in the Oireachtas today.

The President is expected to sign the bill into law before Christmas.

Brian Crean from the Irish Deaf Society hopes the new law will improve the lives of Ireland’s 40,000 deaf people.

"It’s not going to solve all barriers or anything but hopefully it will reduce them and the deaf community will be less marginalised," Mr Crean said.

"For example, all public service providers must then provide interpretation for the deaf community that are going to access services."

Mr Crean says that getting the recognition is a big step forward.

"Irish sign language is a full language but it has been marginalised and excluded and has a massive affect on the deaf community," he explained.

Mr Crean says that it impacts things such as education, employment, medical situations, court settings and social situations among many others.

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