Guidance for Public Bodies on Providing Access for Deaf Irish Sign Language Users

Watch the project launch, with ISL-English interpretation and full captioning, by clicking on the image.
Project Aims and objectives

The main aim of the research is to design an auditing template for use by public sector bodies, for the purposes of identifying deficiencies in Deaf cultural awareness. Use of the auditing template will allow public sector bodies to assess their capacity to fulfil their duties as set out in the IHREC Act 2014 (Section 42) in respect of Deaf cultural awareness as well as their capacity to support the effective and meaningful implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 (Section 6).  The purpose of the template will be to support the development of equitable Deaf-friendly public services, towards reducing instances of audism, thereby enabling active citizenship by members of the Irish Deaf Community. The project will: 

  • undertake a review of initiatives in other jurisdictions to support the implementation of Sign Language recognition legislation, to identify best practice
  • co-ordinate a national consultation with the Irish Deaf community to ascertain what constitutes ‘accessibility’ in public services  
  • develop a template for use by public sector bodies, for the purposes of conducting Deaf Cultural Awareness and Accessibility audits
Project Outputs
  • A guide to support public bodies in providing access for deaf Irish Sign Language users was published in January 2021 and can be accessed at the following link: Providing Access For Deaf Irish Sign Language Users.  
  • Senator Mark Daly, Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, officially launched the guidance document at an online event on 29 January. The key note address - “It’s Time to Act to Ensure the ISL Act is Successfully Implemented” - was delivered by Dr John Bosco Conama, Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin. You can watch the recording of the launch event by clicking here. This recording features full ISL-English interpretation. Please note that full captioning will appear by pressing the 'CC' button.
  • O'Connor, M. and Harold, G. (2021) ‘A Milestone for Access for Deaf Irish Sign Language Users', The Ahead Journal: A Review of Inclusive Education & Employment Practices, Issue 12. Accessible here.
Project Funding and Dates

Funded by The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, 2018 - 2021.

Project Team & Advisory Committee
The research team is comprised of Dr  Gill  Harold (Applied Social Studies & ISS21, UCC), Ms. Susan O' Callaghan (Advocacy Officer, Cork Deaf Association) and Mr. Willie White (Manager, Kerry Deaf Resource Centre).
The researchers gratefully acknowledge the support and expertise of the project advisory committee: Dr John Bosco Conama (Centre for Deaf Studies, TCD & Irish Deaf Society); Ms. Anne-Marie Curtin (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit, UCC); Ms. Elaine Grehan (Irish Deaf Society); Ms. Caroline McGrotty (AHEAD); Ms. Fiona Landers (CDA); Prof. Lorraine Leeson (Centre for Deaf Studies, TCD); Ms. Gerrie O' Grady (CDA); Mr. Carl Plover (CDA).

Dr Gill Harold (School of Applied Social Studies)

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30