Today’s passage, from second stage to committee stage, of the Irish Sign Language Bill is a great day for the Irish Deaf Community said Fianna Fáil Senator, Mark Daly who introduced the bill into Seanad Éireann.

“The cross-party support that my bill received today is testament to the hard work of the Irish Deaf Community in raising awareness of their needs, and shining a spotlight on the challenges they face on a day to day basis.”

“I welcome Minister Finian McGrath’s support for this bill, and its progression to Committee Stage. It was great to have members of the Irish Deaf Society, and students from Bishopstown School in the Seanad Chamber to witness this important milestone.

“I will be working with a variety of government departments on future amendments to ensure that the bill will pass Committee Stage with Government support.”

“Fianna Fáil will be pushing hard for the next stage of the legislative process to take place as early as possible, hopefully in January when the Seanad returns from its Christmas break.”

“Under the bill, Irish Sign Language 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 impact of this piece of legislation would be truly transformative for the deaf community enabling ISL to be used in legal proceedings and would require Irish TV broadcasters to have subtitling on a greater proportion of broadcasts.”

“From interaction with social protection services to buying a TV license or dealing with your local authority, the Irish deaf community have been denied equal rights and opportunities for years.

“When this bill is passed, it will also require the State to provide interpreting services for students who use Irish Sign Language, and would require every public body to devise and implement an action plan to promote the use of sign language within the organisation.”

“I want to thank every Senator who spoke so passionately in favour of the bill. This legislation means so much to Irish Sign Language users across Ireland, and ensures that their rights are protected in law,” concluded Daly.