A Brief Summary of the Irish Sign Language Act
In brief, the ISL Act:
- recognises ISL and the right of the ISL community to use, preserve and develop the language
- requires public bodies to do all that’s reasonable to provide free ISL interpretation for ISL users that can’t hear or understand English or Irish, when they are “seeking to avail of or access statutory entitlements or services provided by or under statute by that public body”
- establishes a right to use ISL in any court, and the responsibility of the courts to do all that’s reasonable to ensure that people that can’t hear or understand English or Irish can be heard in ISL in court without being at any disadvantage
- requires all public bodies and courts to only use ISL interpreters that have been accredited through the government-funded scheme. There is more information about this scheme (the Register of Irish Sign Language Interpreters) on our page about finding an ISL Interpreter.
The Act requires the Minister for Education to:
- establish a scheme to provide Irish Sign Language classes for parents, siblings, grandparents and guardians of deaf children
- establish a scheme to provide ISL support for children that attend recognised schools whose primary language is ISL
- make sure that there are enough higher education places offering ISL training for teachers of children who are deaf or hard of hearing that are attending recognised schools
- set minimum qualifications for teachers of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
Other requirements of the Act include
- Requires broadcasters to act by principles of equality, dignity and respect when promoting and broadcasting ISL programmes.
- Allows for the option of a scheme to fund ISL access to events
- Sets out reporting requirements, such as requesting a report on the operation of the ISL Act every 5 years after the first report, ensuring the deaf community are consulted in the reporting process, what the report must assess, and making sure the report is presented to both Houses of the Oireachtas.
The full text of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 can be found at the online Irish Statute Book.
An ISL summary translation of the ISL Act can be found on the Oireachtas Irish Sign Language page. It is not an official translation of the Act.