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Question

193. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 482 of 15 January 2019, the number of Irish Sign Language interpreting hours provided to the Irish Prison Service in each of the years 2015 to 2018. [11732/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In my response to Parliamentary Question 482 I indicated that it was not possible to collate the information sought within the relevant timeframe.  I have since been advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that as the data requested by the Deputy is not recorded centrally, a manual review of records was carried out. The information requested is detailed in the following table.

Year No. of hours
2015 9 hours
2016 25 hours
2017 13 hours
2018 32 hours

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that the Irish Prison Service facilitated a 10 week Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) level 3 Irish Sign Language training course in Mountjoy Prison during 2018.  The course was presented by respesentatives from the Irish Deaf Society and was completed by 12 Irish Prison Service staff.
In June 2018, the Irish Prison Service commenced the recording of data from committal interviews undertaken by prison governors on the Prisoner Information Management System. Amongst the data recorded is whether the assistance of an interpreter in a particular language including Irish Sign Language, is requested by the prisoner.  I can confirm that since the introduction of this electronic system in June 2018, there are no recorded instances where a prisoner has sought the assistance of an Irish Sign Language interpreter on committal to prison.