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

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Press Release – CISLI welcomes the imminent passing of the Recognition of Irish Sign Language Bill into law


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.


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Policy and Strategy Committee: CISLI Strategy, 2019-2022

Our Policy and Strategy Committee has recently regrouped and set ourselves a task for 2018: to draft a three-year Strategic Plan for the organisation, in consultation with  members and the main Committee.

We will begin work in January, creating a draft that will be accessible to all members. We hope to use the upcoming Dublin General Meeting to further consult and amend the document, before we finalise it prior to the AGM in the summertime.

Once the membership has approved the Strategy, it will become the guide for the organisation in its dealings with external bodies and in its internal focus.

More info very soon!

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Our Committee deliberating on Skype!

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‘Interpreting Systems’ – Upcoming Training Session, Limerick

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CISLI Self-Care Session – Anthony Claffey

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The CISLI Training Sub-Committee recently held a very successful and lively ‘Self Care’ workshop. Led by Anthony Claffey, the session focused on posture, the effects of stress and tension on the body, and the importance of self care in the interpreting profession.

There was no time to sit still though, as this was a highly interactive workshop. There were plenty of chances to “get to know your skeleton” and learn breathing techniques to find your inner zen!

Anthony also covered how to warm up before interpreting using techniques that you don’t even need to stand up for, so you can be ready to go no matter where you are!

Check out the photographs and video to get a little taster of how it went…

Thanks to Lisa Harvey, Ciara Grant, Natalia Gavrilova Gryzlova and Aoife Blake for their photography and video skills!

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“Beyond the Pale”: CISLI General Meeting, Fri & Sat 24 & 25 November


Left to right: Suzanne Carey, Mary Dermody, Catherine White, Valeria Fullam, Veronica White, Leanne Saurin, Amanda Mohan, Ciara Grant

CISLI had a highly successful catch-up with interpreters outside Dublin over the weekend, where interpreters based ‘beyond the Pale’ came together to receive updates on national interpreting affairs, as well as sharing concerns and patterns for local interpreters.

Several key themes emerged from discussions, including



  • the ‘Dublin-centricity’ of many of the bodies driving reform in ISL interpreting, and the resultant need to emphasise the national aspects of current State interpreting policy
  • the benefits, as well as the many disadvantages, that remote interpreting provision has brought to the profession, and the need to research same
  • difficulties in ensuring Deaf patients are told who their interpreter will be
  • instead of just pushing for more and more self-employed interpreters to cluster around the Dublin area, there is a need for a ‘mixed provision’ approach (combining self-employed freelancers, employed and contracted staff interpreters, and remote interpreters) as a key component to successfully deal with issues of interpreting supply and demand

Stay tuned for a full Report on the General Meeting!

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CISLI Self-Care Workshop – 30 Nov 2017

CISLI training committee want to remind you all that next Thursday the 30th NOVEMBER, Anthony Claffey will be doing an interactive information evening on topics such as stress, the nervous system and tension in the body. It will be on in SLIS from 730-9pm.

There will also be a social night in the Back Page in Phibsborough after! 🍻

This event is open for all CISLI members and if you’re not a member yet you can join on the night. Hope to see you all there!


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