An Garda Síochána in partnership with the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin and Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) has developed a Pilot initiative to support members of the Deaf community attending Cabra and Tralee Garda stations. The scheme was launched on 1st March 2019.
Speaking about this initiative Chief Superintendent Matthew Nyland who heads up the Garda Síochána Human Rights Section said "This initiative is part of the ongoing commitment of An Garda Síochána to respect the human, constitutional, and equality of treatment rights of the Deaf community in Ireland. It aims to provide enhanced access to Garda services for members of the Deaf community in these pilot areas where they will be able to speak and be understood in their own language ‘Irish Sign Language’.”
The initiative, delivered through a webcam enabled computer in the two pilot Garda stations will allow video-link access to Irish Sign Language interpretation through to the Irish Remote Interpreting Service (IRIS). Mr. John Stewart National Manager of SLIS who provide the service said "The interpreter is based in the SLIS / IRIS offices and will interpret the conversation through Irish Sign Language. This additional service enhances access for the Deaf community and will facilitate initial and routine enquiries, while face-to-face interpreting will still be provided by An Garda Síochána for other needs.”
Professor Lorraine Leeson from the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin in welcoming the initiative said "We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in An Garda Síochána and Sign Language Interpreting Services to identify how best An Garda Síochána can be ready to service the Irish Sign Language needs of the Deaf Community nationally.”
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The Pilot initiative is being launched as part of the wider preparation of An Garda Síochána for the implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, due to be commenced in 2020. In this respect learning and experience from the Pilot initiative will be reviewed over its six month duration.
The service is available for assisting in:
• Routine short enquiries from members of the Deaf community at the two Garda stations.
• Processing of official documents e.g. Passport Forms, Driving licence production etc.
• Taking contact details and basic information from a Deaf person who has attended the station as a victim or witness to a crime.
• Arranging a booking for the Deaf person to provide a statement at a later date with a "Face to Face” interpreter.
The service is not suitable for:
• Taking a statement from a Deaf person regarding any crime.
• Translating any information that forms part of a Legal/Criminal case.