DeafHear Regional News

Regional News


Question 15 is important!

Posted: 12th April 2016 Census 2016

Census 2016 is almost upon us, and forms are due to be completed on the night of April 24th. The Census gathers important information on the needs of our population in the years ahead and helps inform planning for the future.

In 2011 the Census included a question which for the first time allowed people to indicate if they (or someone in their household) uses Irish Sign Language (ISL). However, the question was poorly constructed and only 1,077 people were identified as being ISL users in the 2011 survey.

There is clear evidence that this is a considerable underestimation of the true number. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, virtually the same form is being used again in 2016, with every possibility that many ISL users will not be indentified again.


Deaf people do not ‘speak’ Irish Sign Language,
they are ‘Irish Sign Language users’


Question 15

The focus of Question 15 in the Census was mainly to find out how proficient foreign national people living in Ireland were at speaking English, rather than identifying how many people were ISL users. The question was misleading and unclear in the language it used.

It asked ‘Do you speak a language other than English or Irish at home?’ Deaf people do not ‘speak’ ISL, they use ISL. The outcome was that many people who were ISL users were not identified by the results. Census 2016This was not helpful in representing the interests of the Deaf Community. Some people quoted this finding to support the view that the Deaf Community was a very small community and that they were already receiving sufficient support and resources.

It was also not helpful in the campaign for ISL recognition.

The truth is that Census 2011 reflected the reality that many Deaf people are marginalised and excluded within our society to such an extent that even the Census process does not include them.


If you use ISL at home, complete Question 15!

DeafHear is urging everyone who is an ISL user to indicate this at Question 15 on the Census form. Remember also that you don’t have to be deaf to be an ISL user! If you are hearing and live with a Deaf relative and use ISL in the home… then you use a language other than English or Irish in the home.

Be informed! Question 15 is key!

If you are a head of a household and are due to complete a Census form on April 24th, make sure you are fully informed about completing the form. If you are an ISL user, make sure this information is included in Question 15. And if other people in your household use ISL, make sure that this information is included for each person at Question 15. Question 15 is important if you are in anyway connected to the Deaf Community!

To learn more about Census 2016 in ISL, see video below:


More information on the Census 2016can be found here: Census 2016

Media Contacts will provide spokespersons to comment on issues relevant to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people on request.

To contact Brendan Lennon; Head of Information and Policy, click here...


Would you like to make a comment?




more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


go to top...

Legal, Compliancy & Security


Registered Office:, 35 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.

Tel: +353 (0)1 8175700 Minicom: +353 (0)1 8175777 Fax: 01 8723816 Text: 087 922 1046

Charity Number:
CHY 5633 Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) Number: 20008772
Copyright © 2017 DeafHear      Legal      Returns Policy      Accessibility      Contact

Secure on-line payment using realex payments

All major Credit / Debit Cards accepted