Tallaght Deaf club raising public awareness of Irish Sign Language
By Brendan Grehan
LAST WEEK was Irish Sign Language Awareness Week and to mark the event DeafHear and the Irish Deaf Society came together to organise a unique project for all primary school pupils in the country.
Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the everyday language of over 5,000 deaf people in Ireland. When family, friends and colleagues are included, more than 40,000 people use the language on a daily basis.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of sign language and to give the children an opportunity to learn a few simple words in ISL.
Each day during ISL Awareness Week an email is being sent to every primary school in Ireland with a link to a short video.
Each video will have a number of people, adults and children – including a number of well-known celebrities – signing a simple phrase or word.
All teachers and children are encouraged to learn the ‘sign for today’ by watching the daily video. Schools have also been invited to submit photos and videos of pupils signing the ‘sign of the day’ and submitting them for posting on the DeafHear and Irish Deaf Society websites and Facebook pages.
Over 3,000 schools were emailed with details of the project and on the first day alone garnered almost 2,500 unique visits to the site – with the video being viewed over 22,000 times.
ISL Awareness Week was also celebrated by Tallaght Deaf Club with a reception in Graham O’Sullivan’s in The Square.
There was a good turnout for the reception, with members of Tallaght Deaf Club. Liz Kennedy the Vice-Chairperson of Tallaght Community Council also attended, accompanied by Catherine Keane.
The manager of the Tallaght branch of DeafHear, Martina Joyce, also attended, accompanied by staff members Julianne Gillian and Shane Keogh. The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD was unable to attend, but sent a representative.
Valerie Greaney, the Chairperson of Tallaght Deaf Club thanked everyone for attending.
She told The Echo: “It was great to see so many people here. We want the government to recognise and understand our right to Irish Sign Language. I would like to thank all Tallaght deaf members for coming.
“It is an important day for them too. This means a lot to me for all who came, because it is my first time being chairperson of Tallaght deaf club. Many thanks to all the committees involved in printing leaflets, handling social media, creating posters and sending out messages. I would also like to thank Graham O’Sullivan for hosting the event.”