Thursday 29 June 2017

WATCH: Three Irish students create Irish Sign Language Christmas carol to highlight a serious problem

Amy Durkin, Abbie O'Neill, and Joanne O Donnell have created a Christmas Carol using Irish Sign Language
Amy Durkin, Abbie O'Neill, and Joanne O Donnell have created a Christmas Carol using Irish Sign Language

Sasha Brady

Three Irish students have created a Christmas Carol using Irish Sign Language to highlight an important issue.

Amy Durkin, Abbie O'Neill, and Joanne O Donnell are students in the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College; Abbie and Joanne are training to be interpreters.

The three women have come together to create a Christmas carol using Irish Sign Language (ISL) in order to highlight a very important issue.

"This video is for Deaf adults and especially Deaf children so that they can watch this and be included in festivities like songs at this time of year," Ms O'Neill told Independent.ie

"Currently ISL isn't officially recognised in Ireland, which is unbelievable as it is the second indigenous language of Ireland. It's actually recognised in Northern Ireland (where they use both Irish Sign Language and British Sign Language) but not here.

"It not being recognised means that Deaf people don't have services or representation that they should be entitled to, such as interpreters and access to government websites through their first language."

More than a year after the Seanad rejected a bill to legally recognise ISL, county and city councils, all over the country, passed a motion on the issue in October to "help put pressure on local TDs".

In 2008, the Irish government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which contains duties towards native sign language. To date, Ireland remains one of the few European countries that have not ratified the convention into law.

"There is a bill being processed at the moment which would recognise ISL. It's gone to the third stage of being processed by the government but has a long way to go before it's put in legislation, and it's vital that it's recognised, as there are over 5000 Deaf people in Ireland who don't share the same language rights as hearing people do, and this needs to end," said Ms O'Neill.

"We hope that people watching this video might learn a few signs, lots of our friends already have! Members of the Deaf community have asked us to interpret more Christmas songs which we plan to do very soon."

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