Deaf Society hosts celebration to mark first national Irish Sign Language Day

Deaf Society hosts celebration to mark first national Irish Sign Language Day
Former County Mayor Cllr John Paul O'Shea with members of the Cork Deaf Association in 2016.Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE Irish Deaf Society will host a celebration tomorrow in Cork to mark the first national Irish Sign Language (ISL) Day.

The date was chosen because on this day last year Dáil Éireann approved the final draft of the Recognition of Irish Sign Language Bill for the Irish Deaf Community. The bill was signed into law by President Higgins on December 24, 2017 as the Irish Sign Language Act 2017.

However, December 14 holds special significance for the deaf community here as the day their 30 year campaign to have ISL recognised in legislation as an official language reached a successful conclusion.

Over the past year, Cork Deaf Club, which is affiliated to the IDS, has promoted greater visibility of ISL among the general population in Cork city and county.

Recent campaigns have included a submission to Cork City Council that the new pedestrian bridge at Harley Street be called the Irish Sign Language Bridge.

The new bridge will be located just around the corner from the Cork Deaf Club. A positive and proactive approach to ISL accessibility has been taken in Cork for a number of years: interpreters are provided at Culture Night events, St Patrick’s Day parade, and for the turning on of the Christmas lights, which this year featured the Cork Deaf Community Choir.

The Cork Deaf Club said there is still a lot to do and now that ISL has legal status, public services, including critical services such as health, mental health, education and the courts, must live up to their obligations by making arrangements for access through ISL, especially sign language interpretation.

The Irish Deaf Society, along with the Cork Deaf Club, host a celebration tomorrow at 7.30pm in the South County Bar in Douglas.

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