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  • Northside West

Pilot scheme for deaf at Cabra Garda Station

Thursday, 4th April, 2019 1:00pm
Pilot scheme for deaf at Cabra Garda Station
Pilot scheme for deaf at Cabra Garda Station

CABRA Garda Station is one of just two stations nationwide chosen to pilot a new service designed to provide support to members of the local deaf community.

The service has been created through a partnership between An Garda Síochána, the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College and the Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS).

Also running in Tralee Garda Station, the scheme began at the beginning of last month.

Chief Superintendent Matthew Nyland, who heads up the Garda Síochána Human Rights Section explained how the pilot scheme came about.

"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,” he said.

“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, the ‘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).

 John Stewart, National Manager of SLIS talked about how the service works.

"The interpreter is based in the SLIS/IRIS offices and will interpret the conversation through Irish Sign Language,” he said.

“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 welcomed the initiative.

"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,” she said.

The pilot initiative is part of a wider preparation of An Garda Síochána for the implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act, due to be commenced in 2020. 

Learning and experience from the pilot initiative in Cabra and Tralee will be reviewed over its six-month duration.

It may later be rolled out to other Garda stations around the country.

The service in Cabra is available for assisting in routine short enquiries from members of the deaf community and processing official documents such as passport forms and driving licences.

However, it’s not yet suitable for taking a statement from a deaf person regarding any crime or translating any information that forms part of a legal or criminal case.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here