Lead responsibility for this matter rests with my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality.
I can confirm however, that in terms of implementation of the policy, the network of public libraries is proactive in terms of stocking books and material on Irish Sign Language which is on display on the library catalogue. There are currently 484 sign language books on the catalogue which includes over 270 Irish sign language books
My Department also provides funding to the Irish Deaf Society under the Scheme for Supporting National Organisations (SSNO). This scheme provides multi-annual funding towards core costs of national organisations in the sector, with a focus on organisations that provide supports to those who are disadvantaged. The current iteration of the scheme runs from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2019 and the funding allocation provided to the Irish Deaf Society under the 36 month period of the scheme is €269,700.
Furthermore, I can confirm that my Department is providing funds (under the Digital Innovation Programme), in the order of some 8,000, to the HSE Tipperary Town Gold Star Disability Awareness Project, which, working in partnership with a number of specialist agencies in the community, including DeafHear.ie and Tipperary County Council, aims to create and design an interactive learning tool to work with young people and members of the Deaf community in Tipperary. This is suitable for use with young people in post primary schools and anyone who has an interest in learning to communicate through Irish Sign Language.
It would also be the intention to build on the post primary school base to have a basic app available for use in all civic and public offices across the county, for all community and voluntary services. This will ensure that when a client presents to any of these services that the staff have the resource to enable them to communicate, and with the same facility replicated across the county this will ensure consistency and increase access to services throughout the county. This project will involve the local authority, Transition Year students, students of Limerick Institute of Technology, DeafHear.ie, Tipperary Gold Star Disability Initiative and volunteers from the deaf community.
This project has the potential to significantly benefit the community, deaf and non-deaf alike. It also demonstrates a strong level of engagement across the community, demonstrating a collaborative approach to this important issue.