Irish Sign Language should be added to the Leaving Certificate curriculum

10 January 2024

Labour’s Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Riordáin TD, has today called on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to add Irish Sign Language (ISL) to the leaving cert exams.

Deputy Ó Riordáin said:

“Despite encompassing 17 languages on the Leaving Certificate curriculum, Irish Sign Language is overlooked. This sidelines the linguistic needs and cultural importance of 5,000 Deaf individuals and approximately 40,000 others who communicate using ISL in various capacities. The exclusion of ISL is a profound oversight, disregarding its status as the primary language for a portion of Ireland’s population.

“The absence of Irish Sign Language as a Leaving Certificate subject not only marginalises the Deaf community but also ignores the fundamental linguistic and cultural significance of ISL. This exclusion contradicts the very essence of inclusivity and equity that our educational system should uphold.

“The Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill, passed in 2017, marked a milestone. However, its implementation remains incomplete without the inclusion of ISL in the Leaving Certificate curriculum. This exclusion perpetuates inequality, denying over 250 Deaf Leaving Certificate students the acknowledgement and recognition they rightfully deserve.It is essential to address this oversight promptly, affirming the linguistic and cultural importance of ISL for the Deaf community and society at large.

“We’re calling on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to include the Irish Sign Language as a Leaving Certificate subject. This would be a positive and progressive move that would enhance the diversity and quality of education in Ireland.”

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