Irish Sign Language is handed official status at last
There were scenes of jubilation at Leinster House as members of the deaf community celebrated the quick passage through the Dáil of a bill that officially recognises Irish Sign Language (ISL) as a language of the State.
The Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016 is to be signed into law in the next few days by President Michael D Higgins.
There is an estimated 5,000 people for whom Irish Sign Language is their first or only language.
The bill will significantly enforce their right to use ISL as their native language and place a duty on public bodies to provide ISL interpretation free of charge whenever they seek to access State services and avail of their statutory entitlements. It will also give them the right to use ISL in legal or court proceedings.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly had initiated the legislation through a private member's bill.