Dáil Éireann - Volume 440 - 23 March, 1994

Written Answers. - Irish Sign Language for the Deaf.

16. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform the plans, if any, he has to recognise Irish deaf language as the first and preferred means of communication by the deaf in this country.

39. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform the plans, if any, he has to provide funding to enable Irish deaf people to develop skills in Irish sign language; the plans, if any, he has to introduce legislation to help promote and develop Irish sign language.

Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 39 together.

I presume the questions refer to having Irish sign language recognised as the principal means of communication in the context of the provision of services to deaf people. The position is that my Department [1166] does not provide services to deaf people and there are no funds at my disposal from which funding is available to enable deaf people to develop skills in Irish sign language. The provision of services to deaf people mainly involves the Ministers for Health and Education.

In the interim, I have asked the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities to examine this issue and to make appropriate recommendations in due course. In the circumstances, it would be premature to consider the question of promoting legislation to promote and develop Irish sign language.