President Michael D. Higgins today formally signed a new bill into law that makes the State finally recognize the Irish sign language .
The new bill means that Irish deaf citizens will now be able to access State services in their own language.
Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill by the President this Christmas Eve is the best gift that the State could give to the 50,000 members of the deal community this Christmas.
In addition, it puts an onus onto State agencies such as hospitals, schools and the Courts to make services available for the Irish deaf community.
“This means so much to many nationwide and this news is the best Christmas present that the State could give to these citizens," said Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly.
"Members of the Irish Deaf Community have been suffering extreme marginalization by the State for some time now."
He added, “This Bill had been hard fought and the rights that it will give members of the Irish deaf community have been hard won but ultimately, today’s signing is good for society and good for Ireland's deaf citizens.
“I am pleased that as an opposition member of the Upper House I had the opportunity to introduce this private members’ bill and for it to have passed both Houses of the Oireachtas.
"Today’s signing marks the 6th private members bill to be passed into last by an opposition members since the constitution was enacted 80 years ago.
“I am hopeful this Christmas Eve that its provisions can be put into practice as quickly as possible to ensure that deaf citizens will now have their civil rights fully protected."