The Council of Irish Sign Language Interpreters want to echo the congratulations and good wishes that have been seen over the last few days as the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill approaches the final stages in the Dáil and Seanad before passing into law.
The Irish Deaf Society (and particularly Dr John Bosco Conama and Lianne Quigley) have put unstinting, passionate work into this campaign over the decades, and the passage of the Bill is testimony to that work. The last few years have seen an acceleration of this work and its coming to fruition, with the establishment of their cross-community steering group and engagement with Senator Mark Daly. This is a Deaf-led piece of legislation that begins to address the needs and desires of the Deaf community as regards its language, Irish Sign Language. Huge thanks are also due to Senator Mark Daly for his initial sponsoring of the Bill, his parliamentary know-how, passion, and dedication to the process over the last few years.
CISLI, as a partner organisation to the IDS and as the professional body with expertise on interpreting, have been very privileged to be involved in this process and to sit at the negotiating table on several occasions in the lead-up to this moment. We have worked hard to ensure that the views and concerns of practitioners have been heard at that table, and that developments have been communicated back to our members. We are pleased at the major steps forward taken in the legislation towards a national framework within which ISL / English interpreting will operate. We know that the interpreting community will benefit hugely from the Bill, also, and we appreciate the steps taken by all involved to assist in our gradual professionalisation. This will do so much to promote interpreting as a career choice, and hopefully will go towards addressing some of the issues around supply of interpreters. Above all, this Bill guarantees access for Deaf citizens to essential statutory services through quality, professional ISL / English interpretation.
We thank CISLI representatives who have represented us in this process. Particular thanks go to the interpreters who worked tirelessly at the various meetings, briefings, and negotiations in the lead up to this historic moment. We extend our thanks also to supporters such as Prof Lorraine Leeson and the staff of the Centre for Deaf Studies, Willie White in the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre, the Cork Deaf Club (especially Graham O’Shea), John Stewart and Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS), the Cork Deaf Association, Andrew Geary, DeafHear, and all others who were involved.
It’s an amazing time to be involved in the Deaf community. We are once again grateful to the Deaf community for allowing us to be involved so intimately with you all in our work and our lives, sharing your wonderful, beautiful language with us, and giving us the gift of working with ISL in our professional careers.