A belated Happy New Year from the CISLI Committee! Spring is already with us,and we are still recovering from the whirlwind of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017’s passing in December.
It was an extremely busy – but massively productive – year for the Council. We face the year not just with a strong new piece of legislation to assist Deaf people and interpreters, but with several new developments in place for CISLI to begin – and continue – work on. CISLI are very proud of our involvement in the legislative process leading to the ISL Act. We have fought tirelessly for standards and fair treatment for interpreters, and while the new Act is by no means perfect, it puts us in a position we dared not dream of a few years ago. Again, we must congratulate the Irish Deaf Society for their steadfast work on this legislation, and particularly Dr John Bosco Conama and Lianne Quigley, as well as Senator Mark Daly of course.
Thanks to the Act – and the insistence of CISLI and the IDS on this point – we will soon have a new Register of interpreters, to be held by SLIS, that all interpreters working in public bodies must be a member of. We welcome the Register as a much needed first step; CISLI will strive in the short- to medium-term for a fair, transparent and universal system of assessment-based registration in domains such as legal, medical, mental health, etc., where assessment will focus on both practical interpreting skills, and theoretical and systemic knowledge. We will seek to have these elements introduced to the Register as soon as they can be formulated and agreed. CISLI intend to consult intensively with SLIS, IDS, the Centre for Deaf Studies and other stakeholders to ensure that the Register represents a true step forward in terms of quality assurance.
Our Sub-Committee structure continues to grow and develop. Most recently our Training Sub-Committee planned and delivered a wonderful day’s training with Dr Christopher Stone on “Interpreting in Systems”, held in Limerick. Attendance was perhaps the highest we have had for a training event in years, and the evening meal and social night ensured that much-needed conversations on the profession continued well into the night! Thanks to our wonderful Sub-Committee for this.
Our Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Sub-Committee have developed a working CISLI Occupational Health and Safety Policy for the organisation. It is of critical importance that in 2018, when we expect demand for interpretation to increase hugely, that vital standards and principles relating to health and safety are respected and followed. We will soon be contacting all interpreting agencies in the country to remind them of both the new Irish Sign Language Act, but also of the consequent need to ensure that practitioners are treated with respect and in such a way as to encourage and support them to remain in the profession.
Our Policy and Strategy Sub-Committee, established last year, has begun a hugely important project: to develop a CISLI Strategy 2019-2022, an important document that will set out our core beliefs, aims and objectives for the short and medium term. We have already heard much to influence the Strategy at our recent General Meeting in Limerick, ‘Beyond the Pale’, in October. Our upcoming General Meeting in Dublin, on 6th and 7th April, will give members an opportunity to feed into the process of drawing up this Strategy, which will be approved by the main CISLI Committee and voted on – and hopefully adopted – at our next AGM in the summertime.
In other Sub-Committee news, we are delighted to announce that we have a new Deaf Interpreter Sub-Committee within CISLI. Teresa Lynch, Noel O’Connell, Susan O’Callaghan and our vice-Chairperson Frankie Berry, have taken on the task of developing this hugely important and rapidly growing aspect of our profession. We look forward to working with them.
We are delighted to announce also that we have a full CISLI Committee at present – with Irish Deaf Society representatives, Wendy Murray and Elaine Grehan, having joined us as colleagues.
Internationally, CISLI’s contacts and reputation are growing stronger. A CISLI delegation attended the EFSLI AGM and ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ conference in September 2017. A video and report can be found here. We intend to make sure that CISLI will be present at as many international conferences and get togethers as funds and time will allow! And getting down to the practical nuts and bolts of things – we have now made it easier to join the organisation, with a new PayPal feature for both membership (of all categories) and once-off training events!
It’s been a brilliant year for CISLI, but unfortunately our Chairperson, Cormac Leonard, will be stepping down at our next AGM in the summer, due to pressing commitments with his PhD studies. So, we’re planting the seed in your minds now – is anyone out there who’d like to take on the challenge of leading the organisation into 2019 and beyond? We will also have a vacancy for a new Treasurer at the same AGM, as Pauline McMahon is also stepping down. Please let us know if you are interested in either of these positions.
All the best for 2018, and speak to you soon,
Council of Sign Language Interpreters