Deaf community hits out at RTÉ as it cancelled sign plans

Deaf community hits out at RTÉ as it cancelled sign plans
Maria Lee amongst the group from Cork Deaf club, Deaf Enterprises and Bishopstown community school staff during a demonstration calling on RTÉ to show full sign language interpreters for events such as the National Anthem at the All Ireland. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE deaf community in Cork has hit out at RTÉ after the broadcaster cancelled plans to show an Irish sign language interpretation of the national anthem at the All-Ireland football final yesterday.

RTÉ were due to broadcast the ISL interpretation on RTÉ News Now but was forced to abandon its plan due to what it called a lack of ‘availability’ of deaf and hearing ISL presenters.

The #StopHidingISL campaign and the Irish Deaf Society have expressed their disappointment.

“RTÉ has let us down once again,” said Denise Dowling, teacher at Bishopstown Community School, where the campaign to have an official ISL version began.

“RTÉ is not listening; they are totally missing the point. This is not just a box ticking exercise, or for show, to make them look good,” she added.

“This is about principles: equality and respect.”

An online petition asking RTÉ to show the full performance at the final had more than 6,500 signatures yesterday.

The Irish Deaf Society’s Twitter poll on the same issue has more than 10,000 votes, with 95% supporting the broadcast of the ISL National Anthem at the final.

“We want our language to be included, not excluded, or hidden,” said Graham O’Shea, chairperson of the Cork Deaf Club.

“RTÉ stated that it had to cancel the performance on RTÉ News Now, due to the unavailability of ISL presenters.

“There was a performance of the national anthem in ISL on the pitch, there was a camera on the performance for the whole time but RTÉ chose not to show it, except for a few seconds,” he added.

“The national anthem takes one minute to play. I don’t understand why it’s impossible to show that one minute.”

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