DeafHear Regional News

Regional News

Minister launches report on
Irish Remote Interpreting Service

Posted: 29th November 2016

The Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar TD launched a report on the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS) in Deaf Village Ireland on November 28th. The MInister welcomed the report, and commited to having IRIS available in at least one INTREO office in each region of the country by the end of 2017.

The IRIS report was completed by social researcher Ann Clarke, and concluded that IRIS was an innovative and cost effective service that could help imporove access to services for Deaf people. It found that there was an increasing demand for the service among the Deaf Community, but that service providers were slow to respond.


What is the Irish Remote Interpreting Service?

IRIS provides an online video link to an Irish Sign Language interpreter using video chat programmes such as Skype. The IRIS interpreter joins a meeting by video link and translates between ISL and spoken English for the participants. Click play to Watch the IRIS demonstration video. [Play]


The report’s recommendations included developing a three year strategic plan for IRIS, extending the hours of service and developing technology partnerships to help deliver the service more efficiently and reliably.

Minister Comments

Minister Varadkar also commented at the launch on the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016, which recently passed the Second Stage in the Seanad. The Minister said that while the Government were supportive of the recognition of ISL in principle, they were concerned by some of the measures contained within the Bill. Minister launches report on Irish Remote Interpreting Service. Pictured with Minister Varadkar at the launch of the IRIS Report are Keith Adams, CIDP, Sandra Ivory, DeafHear, Angela Black, CIB and Brendan Lennon DeafHear.

Pictured with Minister Varadkar at the launch of the IRIS Report are Keith Adams,
CIDP, Sandra Ivory, DeafHear, Angela Black, CIB and Brendan Lennon DeafHear.


The Minister referred to a number of specific measures that were of concern to the Government. Theses included the proposal to establish new Public Body (an Irish Sign Language Council), the functions of which the Minister said should remain with the Citizens Information Board. The Minister also referred to proposed requirements on all Public Bodies to publish ISL plans, which is regarded as onerous, while proposed fines and/or imprisonment for people who were not on an official register and are convicted of seeking remuneration for ISL tutoring and/or interpreting, is viewed as excessive.

Nevertheless it is encouraging that Minister Varadkar has echoed comments made by Minister Finian McGrath in the Seanad when the Bill was passing the Second Stage that there was ‘no opposition’ at Cabinet to the official recognition of ISL.


For more information on IRIS (Irish Remote Interpreting Service)
check out




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