Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (252)

Clare Daly

Question:

252. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made to enact the Irish Sign Language Act 2017. [52034/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017 - 2021 contains several commitments in respect of the development and expansion of Irish Sign Language (ISL) services for deaf citizens, as follows:

- Extension of ISL remote interpretation service;

- Resourcing of the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) to increase the number of trained sign Language and deaf interpreters, to put a quality-assurance and registration scheme in place and to provide on-going professional training and development for interpreters;

- Legislation that will ensure that all public bodies provide ISL users with free interpretation when accessing or availing of statutory services.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 was signed into law in December 2017 and provides for the following:-

- Recognition of the right of ISL users to use ISL as their native language;

- The placing of a duty on public services to provide free interpretation services when accessing statutory services;

- The placing of an obligation on courts to take all reasonable steps to allow persons competent in ISL to be heard in ISL.

The Act will come into operation in December 2020.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is responsible for progressing the commitments under the Inclusion Strategy that relate to the extension of the ISL remote interpretation service, the  increase in the number of interpreters, the establishment of a quality-assurance and registration scheme and the provision of on-going professional training and development for interpreters. Work has commenced on the implementation of this programme, completion of which is expected by 2021. DEASP will be reporting periodically on its progress in this regard to the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, (which comprises the Interdepartmental Committee, the Disability Stakeholders Group and the National Disability Authority), and at local level through its Departmental Consultative Committee.