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CDS students sign Christmas Carol

Posted: 30th November 2016


Three Irish students have created a Christmas Carol using Irish Sign Language (ISL) to highlight the lack of recognition of ISL and access to services for Deaf people. Amy Durkin, Abbie O'Neill, and Joanne O Donnell are students in the Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) in Trinity College; Abbie and Joanne are training to be interpreters.

“This video is for Deaf adults and especially Deaf children so that they can watch this and be included in festivities like songs at this time of year,” said Abbie. “Currently ISL isn't officially recognised in Ireland, which is unbelievable as it is the second indigenous language of Ireland. It’s actually recognised in Northern Ireland (where they use both Irish Sign Language and British Sign Language) but not here.”

“It not being recognised means that Deaf people don't have services or representation that they should be entitled to, such as interpreters and access to government websites through their first language” she added.

In October the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016 passed the Second Stage in the Seanad with all party support. This was the third time that the Bill had been introduced by Senator Mark Daly in the Seanad, having been defeated on two previous ocassions.



Official recognition of ISL is important for not only giving status to ISL as an indigenous and native language, but also in ensuring that the Rights of Deaf people to access public services and engage in active citizenship are upheld. In November, at the launch of a report on sign language remote interpreting, the Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar TD stated that while the Government had some reservations about some measures in the proposed Bill, in principle the Government were in favour of officially recognising ISL. Hopefully significant progress will be made in this regard in 2017

In the meantime Christmas is on the way and it is time to start enjoying those Christmas Carols!  “We hope that people watching this video might learn a few signs, lots of our friends already have! Members of the Deaf community have asked us to interpret more Christmas songs which we plan to do very soon,” said Abbie.







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


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