DeafHear Regional News

Regional News

No Eurovision Sign Language
for Ireland’s Deaf Community

Updated: 26th May 2015

Update: 26th May 2015

May 26th 2015: DeafHear and IDS have asked RTE to explain how and why the decision was made to refuse the offer to broadcast the programme with international sign language.

Although it was reported in the news media that RTE had said that there was a cost to carrying the sign language broadcast, to date they have not responded to our request for further information.


DeafHear: No Eurovision Sign Language for Ireland’s Deaf Community 2015


The decision by RTE not to transmit this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Sign Language has been criticised by representatives of Ireland’s Deaf community.

DeafHear: No Eurovision Sign Language for Ireland?s Deaf Community 2015

If you have an internet connection, you can still watch the Eurovision programme with International Sign Language streamed live here: [Play]

The Austrian broadcaster ORF is transmitting the contest with an International Sign language feed. To date nine European broadcasters have agree to use this feed, however RTE has declined to do so. RTE has also not offered any explanation as to why it will not accept the sign language transmission.

According to Brendan Lennon, a DeafHear spokesperson, “this was an ideal opportunity for our national broadcaster to include the Deaf community in the most watched television programme of the year. What is particularly annoying is that there would have been no extra cost involved for RTE to have transmitted the programme with sign language on its internet streaming site.”

Speaking on behalf of the Irish Deaf Society, Susan Whelan said, “it is disappointing to note that there is an accessible medium for the Deaf community that is not being utilised. The Deaf community are used to being left out and marginalised for many current and public events. The reasons offered usually include the issue of who pays for the Sign Language Interpreter. On this occasion, RTE have been given an opportunity to include the Deaf community and they have chosen to refuse it.”

The Irish Deaf Society and DeafHear have agreed to continue to seek an explanation from RTE for its decision. Both organisations believe that this was an opportunity for RTE as a national public service broadcaster to fulfill its responsibility to all sections of the community – including the deaf sector. However, unless the decision is reversed quickly, RTE will yet again have failed in its public duty to take reasonable steps to include the the Deaf community.


For further information, please contact Fergus Lynch (tel. 087–2569111)

DeafHear: No Eurovision Sign Language for Ireland?s Deaf Community 2015 Line Break Image


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