The Citizens Information Board (CIB), a statutory body under the aegis of my Department, provides funding to the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) - the national service for the development, promotion and delivery of sign language interpreting services to the Deaf community in Ireland. The Remote Interpreting Application was a six-month pilot project developed by CIB and SLIS, and funded under the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Innovation Fund 2020.
The Pilot commenced on 1st January 2021 and as planned, ended on 30 June 2021. The Deaf community and service providers had already been made aware of this by CIB and SLIS.
CIB has informed me that an external independent evaluation of the Pilot is currently underway and that CIB and SLIS will review the evaluation report and its recommendations in detail, in considering the continuation or mainstreaming of the Application.
CIB has also informed me that due to the procurement arrangements in place, it was not possible to continue to operate the Application on an interim basis during the evaluation process.
It should be noted that although the Remote Interpreting Application is not currently available the Sign Language Interpreting Service is still available to deaf customers.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.