Oppressionby David Somers
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ABOUT THE ART
Irish Sign Language (ISL) still has not received recognition as an official national language of Ireland.
What is Irish Sign Language (ISL)?
ISL is the native language of Irish Deaf people and of the Deaf Community. It has been passed down by generations of Deaf people. It is a visual, spatial language with its own distinct grammar. Not only is it a language of the hands, but also of theface and body.
Is ISL officially recognised in Ireland?
No. ISL has been acknowledged in such recent legislation as the 1998 Education Act and the 2005 Disability Act, but it still has not received recognition as an official national language.
Why is ISL recognition important to the Deaf Community?
The right to use one's own language is an important human right. Like all linguistic minorities, members of the Deaf Community have different degrees of access to the majority language of the wider community. For many, English is only a second or even third language. Consequently, written materials and spoken communciation are often inaccessible to Deaf people.
If ISL is officially recognised, Deaf people will enjoy the same linguistic rights that hearing people enjoy and the status of ISL users will be fully acknowledged.