Sign language plans for city council minutes

Sign language plans for city council minutes

Councillor Tony Fitzgerald, seen in 2018 while Lord Mayor of Cork, is one of the councillors bringing forward motions on Irish Sign Language (ISL). Picture: Denis Minihane

USERS of Irish Sign Language (ISL) will soon be able to access interpreted city council meeting minutes.

Motions are to be brought before the council from councillors Lorna Bogue (GP) and Tony Fitzgerald (FF) for approval on Monday night which, if passed, mean the interpretations will be made publicly available following meetings.

Irish Sign Language is the first or preferred language of 5000 Deaf people in Ireland and approximately 40,000 people across the country communicate in ISL in their daily lives. State agencies and bodies are expected to provide ISL in all their services and communications by 2020.

In a separate motion, the councillors will ask for the council to provide ISL interpreters when speakers access local authority services.

ISL became recognised as an official language when the Irish Sign Language Bill 2016 was signed by President Michael D Higgins in December of 2017.

The Act states that public bodies should do “all that is reasonable” to ensure that interpretation into ISL is provided for a person who is competent in that language and cannot hear or understand English or Irish when seeking services provided by that public body.

The Act also allows for the provision of availing of a remote, web-based service if the ISL user consents to meet the obligations of a public body under section 6 of the Act.

The Irish Deaf Society has campaigned for more than 30 years for legislation to recognise the language which has been used for centuries in the country.

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