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This week - 16 November 2007

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Tune in this Sunday for the second part of our fascinating look at the history of Irish Sign Language. Sean Herlihy presents the show and we have more interesting facts from Senan.

Last time we left off we covered the near devastating effects of Oralism on ISL through the ban on sign language in the schools. This week we look at how ISL survived 40 years of Oralism. We see how the ban on signing in schools led to a generational difference in the language of older generation and younger generations of Deaf people.

From interviews with Stan Foran and John Bosco Conama we find out that in 1979 that the planned International Year of the Disabled for 1981 was the catalyst for the setting up of the Deaf Action Group. This was a committee that campaigned for rights for the Deaf Community and later became the Irish Deaf Society.
We see that in the 1960's and 1970's research in America showed that ASL and other national Sign Languages were separate languages with their own structure and grammar. This motivated Irish Deaf people and they realised ISL was a unique language and they had a right to use it.

In the 1980's ISL got back into schools and around the country Deaf Units began to be set up. This led to regional differences in ISL. From Cathy McCormack we find out how mainstreaming can be difficult both while at school and later when trying to fit in with the Deaf community without having ISL.

We look at the ongoing campaign for the recognition of ISL and how although it has recognition in the Education Act, the next step is for constitutional Recognition.

Don't miss it this Sunday at 10.45am on RTÉ One!

Hands On Aertel page 359

The Deaf Heritage Centre has published a book on the 150th Anniversary of St. Joseph's School for Deaf Boys. If you would like to purchase the book or for more information contact: St. Joseph's Deaf Heritage Centre, Cabra, Dublin 7 or Email:

Irish Deaf Society (IDS)

Centre for Deaf Studies

St. Mary's School for Deaf Girls

St Joseph's School for Deaf Boys

St Joseph's Deaf Heritage Centre
Navan Road,
Dublin 7

Dublin Deaf Association (Deaf Club)
40 Drumcondra Road Lower,
Dublin 9
Tel: 01 830 0522
Fax: 01 860 0231.
Gallaudet University
Trinity College Dublin

Jenny Vanders
Drury Street,
Dublin 2

Sean Herlihy
Cathy McCormack
Stan Foran