It is expected that the Bill will pass the fourth stage this month (October 2017). Once it has completed all five stages in the Seanad, the Bill must go through another five stages in the Dáil in order to become law.
The Irish Deaf Society has been campaigning since the 1980s for ISL (Irish Sign Language) to be recognised as an official language of the state.
Back in 1988 Irish MEP Eileen Lemass put forward a EU resolution that all member states recognise their own sign language/s. Since then many countries have done just that (including Iceland, Finland, UK (which recognises in ISL in Northern Ireland), Spain, Malta, etc.), but not Ireland.
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 Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016 is due to pass through all stages of the Dáil today, 14th December 2017, and become enshrined in law as the Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Act.
The new law will place a clear responsibilities on government funded bodies to provide access to Deaf service users through Irish Sign Language (ISL).
This is a historic day for the Deaf community.
It is also a big step for Ireland as a whole, challenging us to ensure that Deaf citizens participate in society on an equal footing to their hearing peers.
This has been a long journey for the Deaf community that began in the 1980s when FF MEP Eileen Lemass tabled an EU resolution that all member states recognise their national sign languages.
Since that time many EU and non EU countries have done just that, but Ireland has lagged behind.
Finally things are about to change for members of the Irish Deaf community. We are all looking forward to this new era which, hopefully, will bring great improvements in access to all aspects of Irish life, including (but not limited to!) the justice system, healthcare and education.
When requested, Dept. of Social Protection will provide interpreters for appointments and meetings, such as with your Community Welfare Officer (CWO), Intreo (FAS) appointments and at social welfare appointments.
DSP staff can book an interpreter for you by placing a request on the DSP intranet (STOR).
When requested, interpreters can also be booked for the following DSP services:
These new developments are part of the DSP’s Customer Charter Action Plan 2013-2015.
The plan covers
·125 Social Welfare local and branch offices
·84 former FÁS Offices
·Community Welfare Services Offices
·The General Register Office (GRO)
·The Social Welfare Appeals Office
·The Pensions Board
·The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman
·The Social Welfare Tribunal
A number of statutory agencies operate under the aegis of the Department including:
·Citizen’s Information Board
·MABS- Money Advice Budgeting Service
·The National Advocacy Service
Last Saturday the 19th January, the Sign Language Interpreters Munster (SLIM) group got together for a session on mental health interpreting. Using both real-life experiences and the most comprehensive recent theories and models, we discussed issues around dealing with mental health interpreting scenarios and had a very productive and fun day.
Veronica White and Suzanne Carey were our presenters. We looked at the work of Neil Glickman and Charlene Crump in the USA in relation to exploring options in mental health scenarios, the role of the interpreter and how to interact with Deaf service user and mental health practitioner during these settings.
We used role-play and group discussion to tease out the issues. It was a fantastic session for those of us new to the area as well as those with more experience.
We had a fantastic venue in The Arches, Mallow, which was spacious, friendly and kept us liberally supplied with coffee, tea and does a great lunch!
As 2012 draws to a close (and as interpreters around the country continue to frantically finger-flap in colleges, hospitals and courts), we thought it would be worthwhile to have a look at some of our achievements in Cork over the past few years. It’s been a busy and productive period for us. There is obviously a lot more to do in terms of improving access and awareness of interpreting services, but we feel that we can be proud of what we’ve accomplished to date, and face confidently into 2013.
There has been close collaboration among interpreters in Cork and the wider Munster area for many years, and especially since 2009 when SLIM (Sign Language Interpreters in Munster) was active before the SLIS Accreditation of that year. SLIM organised workshops to prepare for that Accreditation, and we are happy to say that Cork uses the services of 6 SLIS-accredited interpreters. We are very proud to have contributed and indeed, to have benefitted from the energies of that time – and strive to continue this work in Cork.
CorkInterpreter.com is a loose affiliation of ISL / English interpreters working in the Cork area. We’re not an agency or a representative body; just a group of working interpreters with a common goal – the increased provision of access through interpretation in the Cork and wider Munster area. We have a fantastic working relationship with each other and are dedicated to both our own professional development and the development of the profession. We work both freelance and for reputable interpreting agencies. We are in touch with each other as a way to inform ourselves about best practice and developments in the area.
Given the profile of the kind of interpreting work and arrangements for services existing here, we have felt for a long time that it was important for us to assist in getting the message out there. Deaf people have a right to interpretation in many settings; they are entitled to qualified and quality interpretation; and there are bodies that can help in achieving provision of same. We are not paid or funded for this voluntary awareness work that we do.
So let’s look at our achievements since 2009, both individually and collectively…
With the support of the Cork Deaf Association and Cork City Council, we designed and printed an information leaflet about ISL / English interpreting for service providers, listing our names and details, highlighting our role and considerations when booking an interpreter, etc. We have placed this leaflet in the Cork Deaf Centre, UCC, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork Deaf Enterprises, and other centres around the city,
We began a public awareness campaign, posting the leaflet and an appropriate cover letter to dozens of courts, hospitals, employers, service providers, civil service departments etc. The cover letter specifically addressed the area of service that the recipient was a provider of, and mentioned appropriate legislation to be followed in this regard.
We have had a website up and running for 2 years now (www.corkinterpreter.com) where we list individual biographies, contact details, a detailed description of our role, relevant legislation, funding schemes for interpreters, and information about health and safety. Some of this information we have translated to ISL on the site.
We have worked for many months now alongside the Cork Deaf Association and the Cork Deaf Club on ensuring that Cork’s hospitals provide only qualified and/or accredited interpreters for Deaf patients. This was and continues to be a serious issue in Cork, due to existing service level agreements with spoken-language interpreter agencies, and a continuing issue of untrained, unqualified and unaccredited ‘interpreters’ working in Cork and the wider Munster area. This has recently borne fruit in the form of a definite undertaking from the top levels of one major Cork hospital to contact SLIS for Deaf patients’ interpreting needs in the future. We are continuing to monitor the situation.
We have presented on interpreting issues to both the Cork Deaf Club and staff of the Cork Deaf Association on the importance of trained interpreters, legislation, agencies, the Code of Ethics and so on.
We continue to collaborate very closely with each other and access/disability officers in higher and further education colleges in Cork in order to provide the most comprehensive and flexible interpreter cover for Deaf students.
We are working alongside the Cork Deaf Club and the Cork Deaf Association in organizing interpretation for VEC courses and training for Deaf people.
We have also attended training events over the years on areas such as medical interpreting, mental health, religious interpreting etc.
We have attended international conferences such as the World Federation of the Deaf in Madrid in 2007, World Association of Sign Language Interpreters the same year, the Association of Sign Language Interpreters in England (ASLI), “Looking Back, Going Forward” in April 2008, and the European Federation of Sign Language Interpreters in Vienna this year. We brought back news, advice, and best practice information which we gladly share with our colleagues.
Individually we have also achieved much. Ray, Suzanne and Cormac have all worked in their free time with the Spirit of Sign Deaf drama group and found the experience hugely beneficial, both personally and professionally. Suzanne has contributed a video piece to CDS’ ‘Medisigns’ video project and other Cork interpreters have contributed to the Medisigns forum. Suzanne is also currently a board member of the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre. Cormac Leonard recently spent a year as a Committee member of the Council of Irish Sign Language Interpreters (CISLI).
We are very grateful for the support and collaboration we have experienced with the Cork Deaf Association, the Cork Deaf Club, Cork Institute of Technology, Spirit of Sign, and above all the Cork Deaf community who we have the great privilege of working with.
We hope we can continue to work together with the Deaf community and achieve even more in the years ahead!
We will soon have an ISL translation of this update.
The Irish Deaf Society wish to share the news good to all. Senator Mark Daly has informed IDS that
“Members of both Houses of the Oireachtas [Dail Eireann and Seanad Eireann] can now hire recognised sign language interpreters for their clinics.
Could you please pass on this information to both members of the Deaf community and qualified Sign Language interpreters”.
Clinics are TD offices in your own area. This means Deaf people can meet and talk to members of Senate or Dáil TD’s with an interpreter.
The TD or Senator can claim the interpreter’s costs from the Irish Government.