General Meeting(s) in Dublin, April 2018 – discussion of CISLI Strategy 2019-2022

CISLI recently held two separate meetings as part of the yearly Dublin General Meeting with the specific purpose of examining the draft CISLI Strategy 2019-2022 document prepared by the Policy and Strategy Committee.

The GMs were poorly attended. Each had just two non-Committee interpreters show up. Nevertheless each time we took the opportunity to have a discussion around the Strategy and possible additions / amendments. These are some of the additional points that came up from the meetings.

Complaints Procedures: There is a need to push strongly for effective and clear:complaints procedures and to lay down the process a Deaf person (or interpreter) needs to follow when they have a grievance. The information collated by the CISLI Grievance Procedure Research sub-committee needs to be collated and followed up on. Complaints need to be anonymised by someone handling the complaints at first so that they can thereafter be handled impartially by any complaint handling body. It also needs to be established what the hierarchy of complaints is, i.e. does a complaint first attempt to be solved locally with an agency, then with CISLI / SLIS Register if response is unsatisfactory? At the moment we need to do some advocating – we cannot implement a complaints process yet but we can certainly take details of a particular situation and write a response to it.

Involvement in Deaf Community: Many interpreters simply do not get involved in the Deaf community sufficiently. Mixing with the Deaf community is essential for standards maintenance and keeping abreast of changes in ISL. A discussion was had about the changing profile of CDS students in terms of their background (now younger, less likely to have any contact with Deaf people / ISL, perhaps more likely to lose interest). CISLI should make a commitment to explore ways with SLIS, CDS and IDS to increase the presence and profile of interpreters in the Deaf community, in all its manifestations, as an essential component of skills and quality – a campaign possibly named “SHOW YOUR FACE!” – CPD credits could be earned for attending Deaf social / community event. Also, we could do ‘interpreter of the week’ type videos – every week new interpreter video distributed thru social media. Video – Name, where from, where they work, when qualified, if CODA, 1 interesting thing etc. Could be linked to member list on our website so Deaf people can see who we are.

Revalidation: a need for us to explore ways in which to regularly assess interpreters who have been out of training for a long time. No guarantee that interpreters will have the same skill levels 5 or 10 years after qualifying. Need to explore this as Deaf community have been calling for this for a long time. Attendance at CPD is great but very rarely any assessment component.

To see a copy of the Draft CISLI Strategy as of June 2018, click here.

AGM Notice

Council of Irish Sign Language Interpreters
Saturday 7th July 2018
10.30am – 1.00pm
Cabragh Hall, Deaf Village Ireland, Cabra, Dublin 7
Please confirm your attendance to as soon as possible.
Committee Motions, Annual Reports, etc. will be forwarded to members before Saturday 16th June
Currently there are 2 Committee positions available:
  • Chairperson
  • Treasurer
Nominations for these positions should be made to before Saturday 9th June.

‘Summer Camp’ – Meet the next generation of ISL / English Interpreters!

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CISLI had a brilliant ‘Summer Camp’ last night for upcoming interpreting students studying in the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin.

Presentations were given on:

  • being self-employed ISL / English interpreters
  • working with agencies
  • staying in the Deaf community after you graduate
  • knowing your limits – and unlocking your potential!

In the video above, you can meet five of our new interpreters-to-be waiting on their exam results… Good luck, guys! 😀

Interpreting in Workplace Settings – an exciting CISLI Training opportunity!

The Designs project team and the CISLI Training Committee present 

“Interpreting in workplace settings”

April  22nd 10am – 4pm

Centre for Deaf Studies, Leinster St South, Dublin
featuring Dr John Bosco Conama, Prof. Lorraine Leeson and Haaris Sheikh.

ISL interpreters will be provided. It’s a free event not to be missed!

This is a very limited event with only 16 places so reserve your place by emailing before the 16th of April to avoid disappointment!

CISLI General Meeting, Dublin – POSTPONED until 21st and 24th April

Dear Members,

Our proposed General Meeting in Dublin, originally announced for the 6th / 7th April, has been postponed.

The new dates are now:

  1. Saturday morning, 21st April – location: Dublin city, tbc
  2. Tuesday evening, 24th April – location: Dublin city, tbc

Please note: members do not have to attend both meetings – this is simply to facilitate as many people as possible to attend and give their views.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the upcoming CISLI Strategy, 2019-2022. We will be emailing a draft version of this document to all members very soon.

We’d appreciate letting us know at if you can attend, and if so, which day (or both!)



Committee, CISLI





A tribute to Evelyn Conroy

Photo of Evelyn ConroyWe are greatly saddened at the news of the passing of one of our founder members and long-standing colleagues in the interpreting profession, Evelyn Conroy (née Nolan).

Evelyn was a hugely talented, inspirational and energetic practitioner and trainer. She was one of the graduates of the very first university-level training course for sign language interpreters in Ireland, organised by the Irish Deaf Society, Trinity College Dublin and Bristol University, and one of the pioneers of the ISL / English interpreting profession. She was a former Chairperson of the Irish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (IASLI) and later, a member of the steering committee established in 2010 to oversee the establishment of a new professional body, which became CISLI.

A Dublin native, Evelyn relocated to Galway and with her husband Martin Conroy, established the Conroy School of ISL, which became the Centre for Sign Language Studies in 2001. CSL offered an interpreter booking service, ISL classes, and Signature Level 6 and 7 qualifications in ISL and interpreting. The ISL Interpreting agency now continues the work of CSL’s interpreter booking services, run by Evelyn’s sister Susan McCormack.

Evelyn offered CPD and training to practitioners in a wide range of topics over the years, including legal, medical and religious interpreting, translation and cultural aspects, and was a published author on sociolinguistics of signed languages. With Patrick Matthews and the Cork Deaf Association, she set up a weekend pre-interpreting course in Cork in 2002 for aspiring interpreters and other interested persons, which many current interpreters will have fond memories of attending.

Evelyn was a well-known and well-loved figure in the Deaf community, particularly in local area of Galway, and a trailblazer in the field – certainly in terms of CSL’s work in the west of Ireland. She was supportive and approachable, and a mentor to many interpreters and students. A tremendously reflective practitioner, she loved the challenge of making bold new ideas into reality. She was also a warm and funny woman who brought that warmth into everything she did. Those of us who knew her were hugely saddened to hear of her illness and inspired by her courage and energy in fighting it.

We send our sympathies to her husband Martin, her three girls, her sister Susan, her family and friends, and all who knew her.

Rest in Peace.

Palliative Care training with CDS

The Centre for Deaf Studies in collaboration with CISLI will host a talk on ‘Palliative Care’ for interpreters, delivered by Regina Mc Quillian.

Free entry for CISLI members (join here!).

Date: Saturday March 3rd, from 11am – 1pm.

Location: Sign Language Interpreting Service, Deaf Village Ireland, Ratoath Rd, Cabra, Dublin 7

Click Here for our Facebook event page for the training.



IMG-20180209-WA0016.jpgDr Regina McQuillan is a palliative medicine consultant at St Francis Hospice and Beaumont Hospital. St Francis Hospice is the specialist palliative care service for North Dublin. The catchment population is 580,000 and last year they provided care for 1,600 people with life-limiting illnesses. Most of this care is provided in people’s homes. Regina is interested in social inclusion and providing care for disadvantaged groups and has done work to support caring for people with limited English proficiency, travellers, homeless people and also people who are deaf, or who have acquired hearing loss.


CISLI Update, February 2018

Hello all,

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