Deaf brother and sister settle High Court action

A High Court action brought on behalf of a deaf brother and sister over the provision of Irish sign language as part of their education has been settled.

A High Court action brought on behalf of a deaf brother and sister over the provision of Irish sign language as part of their education has been settled.

The two children, a brother and sister cannot be identified for legal reasons, had taken proceeding against the Minister for Education, Ireland and the Attorney General aimed at securing a court order directing that they be provided with adequate education, therapies and support services in accordance with their constitutional rights.

The had further sought a declaration that a failure to provide such needs was to deprive them of their constitutional rights.

The family brought the action in a bid to increase of the children's tuition in Irish sign language from two hours to seven and a half hours per week, because they believed that the children required appropriate bilingual education in line with the best international educational practice.

Today at the High Court Mr Justice O'Neill said that he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

At the High Court yesterday Mr Tony O'Connor SC, appearing with Mr John Hanlon Bl, informed Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill that the parties had reached an agreement, and that the family were happy with the settlement. The case had been expected to last for six days.

Mr O'Connor said that included in the terms of the settlement the Minister now recognises ISL as a language in the education of the two, a boy aged 14 and a girl aged eight.

The Minister has also agreed to support the continuing professional development of the teachers at the children's schools in respect of ISL and will fund the teachers ISL training.

The Minister will also encourage and the children's schools to prepare and implement an individual education plan within three months in order to address the children's needs, with particular regard to Maths and English. The Minister also agreed to pay the applicant's costs.

In the case of the boy, the Minister further agreed to support his application to the HSE for counselling in regard to his social and personal adjustment.

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