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25 December 2017 (VOL 13 WEEK 52)

Irish Sign Language Act signed into law by the President 24th of December 2017.
Today, the 24th of December 2017 is a truly historic day for the Deaf community. President Michael D. Higgins signed the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 into Law.

Our sincere thanks to the Irish Sign Language (ISL) Official Recognition Campaign led by the Irish Deaf Society for all their tremendous work over the years. Sincere thanks also to Senator Mark Daly for sponsoring the ISL Bill through the Seanad and for ensuring it passed all stages in the Dáil also.

Our thanks also to Minister Finian Mc Grath, Minister for Disability Issues for all his support too. Our deep appreciation to everyone who worked so hard to make the dream of an ISL law a reality.
  • Irish Sign Language (ISL) is now an official language in Ireland.
  • ISL users will have legal rights to access Government Departments and Public Bodies through Irish Sign Language.
  • ISL users will have legal rights to access ALL courts through Irish Sign Language.
Today is a proud day for all of us who supported the ISL campaign. The 24th of December 2017 will be remembered forever as a truly historic day for all of us. The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 is now a law. Happy Christmas everyone.
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18 December 2017 (VOL 13 WEEK 51)

Historic Day for Irish Sign Language.
On Thursday, the 14th of December, history was made when Irish Sign Language was officially recognised as the third language of the State. The Dáil passed all 5 remaining stages on Thursday evening.

The historic moment was witnessed by members of the Deaf community from across Ireland The ISL campaign has been ongoing for over 30 years. In fact, Irish MEP Eileen Lemass became one of the first politicians to raise the issue at the EU.

In June 1988, the European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling on member states to recognise their national sign languages as official languages of the Deaf.

The ISL Recognition campaign was led by the Irish Deaf Society and we were honoured to support them over the years. It's great to see this hard work finally recognised.

What will the new Irish Sign Language Act mean in reality?
  • ISL is now the 3rd official language of the State along with English and Irish.
  • ISL users will have legal rights to access Government Departments and Public Bodies through Irish Sign Language.
  • ISL users will have a legal right to access all Courts through sign language.
  • Government Departments and Public Bodies will be required to provide interpreters accredited by a scheme that is to be funded by a Government Department.
  • The Government will also introduce a voucher scheme to enable access to private sector settings including social and cultural events.
Thank you to everyone who supported the ISL campaign.
Our service would like to thank the IDS for all their work to secure the new ISL Act. A sincere word of thanks also to all our friends, family members, individuals, and organisations who lent their support to achieve this historic outcome. Sincere thanks to our own Board, Manager, staff and service users for their support. We couldn't have done with you. ISL is now a Law.
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11 December 2017 (VOL 13 WEEK 50)

Historical news on the Irish Sign Lnguage (ISL) Bill.
We are thrilled to let you know that the Government has agreed to finalise the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill on Thursday, the 14th of December.

The Dáil have confirmed it will debate the final stages at approx. 5pm. This will be a historical day for everyone who has worked so hard to secure official recognition of Irish Sign Language (ISL).

If the Bill passes all the relevant stages, it will be sent back to the Seanad on Friday as a matter of procedure. From there, it will be sent to the President of Ireland who will sign it into Law.

Well done to the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and Senator Mark Daly.
e would like to send our congratulations, best wishes and sincere thanks to the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and Senator Mark Daly who have campaigned on this civil rights issue for many, many years.

The IDS along with supporters from across Ireland have worked so hard over the years for official recognition and we are led to believe that all this hard work will pay off on Thursday.

We know they will be celebrating on Thursday once all stages have been passed. They, along with 80 other ISL campaigners will be watching the debate live in the Dáil. Our Manager, Willie White will also travel to Dublin to celebrate with the IDS.

What will the new ISL law mean for the Deaf Community?
The new ISL Act will finally officially recognise ISL as an official language in Ireland. ISL users will also have legal rights to access Government Departments, Public Bodies and any court through ISL. The costs of interpretation will be covered by the Government Dept./Public Body/Courts. These new rights will allow Deaf people equal access to services through ISL and give them civil rights that they have campaigned to secure for so many years.

How will the government ensure interpreters are qualified?
Public Bodies will be required to use interpreters that have been accredited by a scheme funded by a particular Government Dept.

"A court or a public body, in compliance with its obligations under this Act, shall not engage the services of a person providing Irish Sign Language interpretation unless the person's competence has been verified by having been accredited in accordance with an accreditation scheme funded by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection".

What services will come under a public body?
In the new ISL Act, all Government Depts./Public Bodies will be covered including:
  • a Department of State (other than, in relation to the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces) for which a Minister of the Government is responsible;
  • a local authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act 2001;
  • the Health Service Executive;
  • a university or institute of technology;
  • an education and training board established under section 9 of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013;
  • any other person, body or organisation established:-
    (i) by or under an enactment (other than the Companies Acts) or charter,
    (ii) by any Scheme administered by a Minister of the Government, or
    (iii) under the Companies Acts in pursuance of powers conferred by or under another enactment, and financed wholly or partly by means of money provided, or loans made or guaranteed, by a Minister of the Government or the issue of shares held by or on behalf of a Minister of the Government;
  • a company (within the meaning of the Companies Acts) a majority of the shares in which are held by or on behalf of a Minister of the Government;
  • any other person, body, organisation or group financed wholly or partly out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas that stands prescribed for the time being (being a person, body, organisation or group that, in the opinion of the Minister, ought, in the public interest and having regard to the provisions and spirit of this Act, to be prescribed).
Use of Irish Sign Language in Legal Proceeding.
Once the Law is passed: A person may use Irish Sign Language in, or in any pleading in, any court.

Keep your fingers crossed for the 14th of December.
Best of luck to everyone on Thursday. Let's hope their campaign to secure a new Law is a success. We hope to be celebrating with the IDS on Thursday.
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4 December 2017 (VOL 13 WEEK 49)

Thank you to the HSE for 'Children First' training.
We would like to thank the Health Service Executive (HSE) for enabling our staff avail of Children First training this week. The aim of the online programme is to raise awareness and increase knowledge of child protection and child welfare issues.

The training also helps to clarify personal, legal and organisational roles and responsibilities in recognising, responding to and reporting child protection and welfare concerns. These are set out in the policy document Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).

The programme is part of a suite of resources which the HSE has developed to ensure the HSE and organisations they provide funding to, are compliant with the Children First Act 2015, when it becomes fully operational on the 11th of December 2017.

Christmas decorations class every Thursday until Christmas.
Our service will hold classes every Thursday afternoon between now and Christmas on how to make Christmas bauble decorations. The classes will run from 2.30-4.30pm in our Centre in Tralee and are open to Deaf and hard of hearing clients and their family members. If you would like to attend, please let us know as numbers will be limited due to room size.

Advance notice of Christmas holidays.
Just to let you know in advance that our Centre will close for Christmas holidays on Friday, the 22nd of December at 1pm. We will reopen again on Monday the 8th of January at 10am.
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