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Irish Sign Language Act 2017

The Irish Sign Language Act 2017 (Act 40 of 2017), was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on 24th December 2017. Irish Sign Language is now an official language of Ireland.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is used by 5,000 deaf people in Ireland as a first and/or preferred language and overall around 40,000 people use ISL to communicate. Prior to this Act, ISL had no official status in the Republic of Ireland however, it is recognised in Northern Ireland along with British Sign Language.

The Irish Sign Language Act, 2017 recognises ISL as a native and independent language and will improve access to public services, legal proceedings, education, interpretation services and television programming.
Under the Act, public bodies will be required to prepare and implement ISL action plans, and provide free ISL interpretation to people using or seeking access to statutory entitlements and services.

The Act provides for the use of ISL in any and all legal proceedings and ensures that ISL interpretation services, where required are only provided by accredited ISL interpreters. It also provides for the making available of sign language interpreting services, and the regulation of ISL interpreters.

The Act also provides for educational supports for deaf children attending recognised schools and ISL classes for families of deaf children. It will also introduce statutory targets regarding the accessibility of television programming.

For further information on the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 and to visit the website for the Oireachtas please click here.

If you need further information on how to make services and products more accessible and inclusive, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on 01-4151285 or e-mail [email protected]