Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2720)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire


2720. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the resources provided to increase the number of trained sign language and deaf interpreters since the implementation of the national inclusion strategy 2017-2021. [32776/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS), which is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board, (CIB) is the national service for the development, promotion and delivery of sign language interpreting services to the Deaf community in Ireland.

CIB has allocated a budget of €700,000 to SLIS for 2019. This includes over €300,000 in addition to its regular operational grant, to expand its activities in order to deliver on the commitments set out in the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017 - 2021, which include:

- the extension of the operating hours of Irish Sign Language (ISL) remote interpretation service to evenings and weekends;

- to increase the number of trained Sign Language and Deaf interpreters; and,

- to put a quality-assurance and registration scheme for interpreters in place and to provide ongoing professional training and development.

To date, four additional permanent part-time Irish Sign Language interpreters and a part time Administrator have been recruited, which has allowed for the extension of service hours provided by the Irish Remote Interpreting Service ( IRIS), over the period from March 2018.

The Irish Remote Interpreting Service ( IRIS) is now available throughout the following hours:

8am-8pm - Monday to Friday

10am – 4pm – Saturday

12pm – 2pm - Sunday

A research report commissioned by SLIS, into ways in which the number of Sign Language Interpreters in Ireland could be increased, has recently been completed and its recommendations are under consideration by SLIS and by CIB.

SLIS has also recruited a Quality Development Officer who is working with its key stakeholders to research, develop and deliver a national registration scheme for ISL interpreters. In addition, a continuous professional development and training programme to support the provision of a high quality sign language interpreting service is being developed.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.