Thursday, 14 October 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Irish Sign Language
I thank the Acting Chairman. I will always concede time to the Minister of State, if she wants it. I appreciate her frank response. To follow up on how she finished in terms of the delay of Departments in coming back to the Minister of State, it is quite apparent from the report I cited earlier that a number of Departments are not compliant with the Act, which was established in 2017. It is also quite obvious that a number of State bodies and even a number of Departments did not bother to even respond to requests in terms of the NDA report. To be honest, that type of behaviour is a travesty. We are at a point where, if one peruses the report, a number of education and training boards, ETB, did not bother to respond to say whether they were compliant with the Act. The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science did not respond to the request to see if it was compliant. A number of city and county councils, An Garda Síochána and the Office of the President did not respond to the request from the NDA. There is a problem here with communication. There is a problem with people having the manners and grace to respond to requests from the NDA to say whether they are compliant with the Act.
Of those people who did respond, a number of Departments in government are only partially compliant or not compliant at all. That will all come out when the report is published. I am hoping that report will be published in the coming weeks. I would appreciate if the Minister of State could elaborate on whether she has a date or a timeline of when that is going to come before us.
I will finish on this point. I take the Minister of State's point that we must be realistic. This cannot be done overnight and that is fine. The Act came in in 2017 and, fine, it only came into effect last year but that is still a significant period of time. The Minister of State and I have met, and I know she cannot comment on this individual case, people such as the Geary family in Cork. Their child has now been in school for the last four years without a properly trained and qualified language interpreter, as is his constitutional right. That is what we are talking about here. People are being lost in the system and falling through the cracks. That is four years of his education that he will never get back.