The Irish Deaf Society is to host a number of events in Cork as part of Irish Sign Language Awareness Week.
Sign language is used by 40,000 people in this country.
One of the most interesting events takes place tomorrow at 7.30pm in the Cork Deaf Club at 5 MacCurtain St. John Bosco Conama, the senior lecturer at the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College, and former chairman of Irish Deaf Society, will speak about the importance of officially recognising sign language.
The campaign for Irish Sign Language (ISL) recognition has been ongoing for over 30 years and has received widespread public support.
Currently, the Irish Sign Language Bill is before the Seanad. This bill would help recognise ISL as the first and preferred language of the Irish deaf community and would grant users the right to access services in their first language.
The legislation would also be an important step in breaking down barriers in many areas, including employment.
Dr Conama will speak about how members of the deaf community face numerous access issues, and how Ireland lags behind other countries in addressing these difficulties.
Schemes such as interpreting vouchers for employment have been established successfully in other places, reducing the cost to businesses of employing deaf people and improving deaf employee retention.
In the digital age, websites with a sign language translation are vital sources of information about services, However, in 2014, the only Irish deaf magazine television programme was Hands On.
Cork Deaf Club is extending an open invitation to anybody wishing to attend to come along to the lecture.
Meanwhile, on Thursday at Paddy the Farmers pub, Cork, ISL users, both deaf and hearing, will put their fingerspelling skills to the test. The event gets underway at 7.30pm.
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