Deaf Community

It is necessary to briefly describe the Deaf Community. The Deaf (note the capital D) refers to persons who see themselves as culturally Deaf and mainly use indigenous sign language. They base their identity on shared experience, common linguistic characteristics and share a set of collective beliefs and values. Their perception of personal identity bears little or no connection to the hearing world. Members of a Deaf community may not all be necessarily deaf themselves. They can be hearing children of Deaf adults and hearing people working with the Deaf community who use sign language. This group of people are commonly known as the Deaf Community.

In Ireland, there are circa 5,000 Deaf sign language users, for whom Irish Sign Language (ISL) is their language of choice. It is estimated that for every one Deaf person there are nine hearing people who use ISL in their everyday lives. Therefore, it is estimated that there are 45,000 people in the Deaf community, made up of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing families, friends of the Deaf and those working with the community.