Irish Deaf Society / CISLI Press Release, Hurricane Ophelia: #WheresTheAccess?




Version in Irish Sign Language can be seen here:

Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and the Council of Irish Sign Language Interpreters (CISLI), on behalf of the Irish Deaf community and interpreters, wish to express deep disappointment and annoyance at the National Emergency Coordinating Group / Met Eireann’s failure to alert Deaf Irish Sign Language (ISL) users of the imminent dangers out of Hurricane Ophelia.Neither organisation has followed the growing international trend of using sign language interpreters when holding a public briefing session. This omission puts their lives and property of Deaf Irish citizens in danger. The incident has left us wondering if the State has any concern for the lives and safety of Deaf Irish citizens at all.

We have seen a number of live streaming videos from various media sources, with visual and verbal announcements which can be seen and heard, but for the vast majority of Deaf ISL users, these announcements are inaccessible. Hence we miss out on vital emergency information, which could end up being harmful to us and our dependents.

Were it not for interpreters who have volunteered to translate some of these safety announcements via social media, the situation may have been even worse. We stress how serious and dissatisfactory this situation is. Given literacy issues within the Deaf community after decades of substandard educational provision for Deaf children, it cannot be assumed that all Deaf ISL users have access to such warnings in English.

fl-hurricane-irma-governor-sign-language-interpreter-20170909The ideal situation is for a public body such as the National Emergency Coordinating Group to follow recent examples of interpreters being used in emergency / disaster briefings in the US and Australia, with interpreters being fully visible on the broadcast throughout (see the attached photos).

Coincidentally, it may be well for such public bodies to heed our advice – with the Recognition for Irish Sign Language Bill coming up for its final stages in the Seanad. Within the Bill, public bodies are reasonably expected to provide such interpretation. We do appreciate the severity of red-status warnings, and so we hope this debacle will be a ‘red flag’ to be learnt from for public bodies in the future.

Contact details:
Eddie Redmond CEO – Irish Deaf Society – 087 2345744
Cormac Leonard, chairperson of CISLI – 085 1051792

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EGM – Adoption of Health & Safety Policy, changes to CISLI’s Constitution

CISLI held an Extraordinary General Meeting on Saturday 23 September. This was to deal with two Motions proposed by the Committee, held over from the AGM in June. We also used it as an opportunity to discuss and adopt the Occupational Health and Safety Policy developed by our sub-Committee.

There was a low turnout and the meeting was not quorate, but the EGM followed IDS procedures in asking those present if they wished to go ahead nonetheless with the meeting.

Both Committee Motions were passed. The Student Representative position has now become the Member Care Liaison, currently filled by Ciara Grant. Changes have been made to our CISLI Constitution to enable us to more flexibly deal with issues and developments around the national statutory registration of sign language interpreters. You can see the new Constitution here.

It was also decided to adopt the Occupational Health and Safety Policy developed by our sub-Committee as a working document, subject to regular review and additions. The most recent version of the Health and Safety policy can be seen here.


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CISLI Training Workshop – Being a Self-Employed Interpreter

CISLI recently had an extremely successful workshop on the ‘tricks of the trade’ of being a self-employed sign language interpreter.

Presenting their own systems and tips were Ray Greene, Ali Stewart, Lisa Dunne and Cormac Leonard, extolling the virtues of colour coding, record keeping, and online packages such as Billings and Brightbook.

Notes from the session will be kept to make available for CISLI members.

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‘What’s Up, Doc?’ – CISLI’s Report on efsli AGM and Conference

Curious to know what the Irish crew got up to in Toulouse this year? Have a look at our Report from the conference outlining what we learned!

P.S. May contain disturbing images of interpreters dancing… 😛

We have also prepared this short report on the AGM and Conference that may be of interest. Click here to see the Report.


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CISLI Survey – Health and Safety Report

CoverCISLI are proud to announce that they have consulted with Irish professional interpreters via an online survey to find out some of the issues and concerns about health and safety for sign language interpreters.

The survey shows that many interpreters are working regularly under conditions which respondents feel are harmful to health and safety. It also shows that there is a range of interpreting configurations and arrangements considered by interpreters to be best practice in regards to health and safety, with encouraging signs that a greater awareness of health and safety is widely distributed about the profession, but it is however concerning that some interpreters continue to believe that one interpreter, rather than two, is the optimum solution for two- and three-hour assignments.


You can read the full report here.






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New additions to CISLI’s Committee

CISLI are very happy to welcome some new faces to the Committee!

Leanne Saurin joins us as Acting Secretary, filling the shoes of Pauline McMahon, who in the meantime has switched roles and rejoined us as Treasurer. Wendy Murray comes to us as one of the representatives of the Irish Deaf Society.


We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Imelda Gibbons for her work as Treasurer over the last three years.


Looking forward to working with you!

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New CISLI Training Calendar!

The CISLI Training Sub-Committee are delighted to bring you our new training calendar. We have been busy planning events following the June to June calendar. See below for dates to put in your diaries so far:

  • Tuesday 19th September 2017: A Practical Guide to Self Employment : Panel Discussion
  • Thursday 30th November 2017: Information Evening, Topic TBC
  • Saturday 27th January 2017: “The Big One” CISLI CPD Training Day Limerick (Joint Day provided by CISLI and SLIS)
  • Sunday 22nd April 2017: Workshop, Topic TBC

In addition to this, we will be working closely with CDS, SLIS, and other CPD providers to make sure that everyone has the dates as far in advance as possible and we will be sharing them with you also on our calendar.

The calendar can be accessed here (no need for Gmail or Google accounts – anyone can see it). Click on the top right hand tab “Agenda” and search for more dates if you want to see a list view.
We think this calendar, (which will be available on Facebook, Twitter and the website soon) will be a valuable shared resource for all interpreters. We will do our best to keep it as up to date as possible, but with limited time and resources this will be tough. If you come across any events or anything that you think other interpreters would be interested in please pop us an email and we will add it in to the calendar.

Each event will be advertised individually too so keep an eye out for more information coming really soon!

See you all soon,

Lisa, Tracey, Aoife, Orla, Anna and Natalia

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