Three Trinity students have received a massive social media response this week for their Irish sign language rendition of a well known Christmas Carol. Abbie O’Neill, Joanne O’Donnell and Amy Durkin are students in the Centre of Deaf Studies.
The three girls released “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” onto the sign language vlog page last Friday and since then it has been viewed over 95,000 times and shared by numerous Facebook pages and papers such as The Independent, Lovin Dublin and her.ie. The girls released the video as a way of spreading festive cheer as well as creating awareness of the lack of Irish Sign Language (ISL) recognition in Ireland. Speaking to Trinity News, O’Neill said: “It’s a fab opportunity to raise awareness about the fact that Irish Sign Language isn’t recognised in Ireland, meaning that deaf people here are often cut off due to lack of interpreters and language rights in general.”
Their video comes after Seanad Éireann accepted the ‘Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill’, proposed by Senator Mark Daly, at the second stage of process last month. Currently, ISL isn’t officially recognised in Ireland even though it is the second indigenous language of the country. The bill has to go through a 5 stage process before continuing to the Dáil.
Speaking about the reception the video has received, O’Neill describes how “Deaf people from all around the world are sharing it and talking about it! It’s such a wonderful reaction to something we did for a bit of fun and maybe a like or two. We really hope it might help the cause a little bit. In any case we’re so glad people are enjoying it, Deaf and hearing people alike are loving it!”
Amy Durkin added: “The whole of the Centre for Deaf Studies are working together to promote the awareness of ISL and vibes around the centre all week have been amazing. It’s not very often an opportunity like this comes along to really spread awareness throughout the country. Let’s hope that this time next year there will be lots of signed Christmas songs for Deaf children throughout the country in a recognised ISL.”