Irish Deaf presenter talks family issues

Sarah-Jane Moloney O'Regan

Irish TV news and weather presenter Sarah-Jane Moloney O’Regan has spoken out about the unfair responsiblity placed on the young children of Deaf parents due to a lack of recognition for Irish Sign Language.

Moloney O’Regan, who is Deaf herself and whose first language is Irish Sign Language, recently appeared on “The Late, Late Show” to publicise a new documentary called “Deafening” in which she features. She told presenter Ryan Tubridy through an interpreter: “ISL is not recognised here in Ireland and I spent a lot of time when I was younger interpreting for my parents.

“My Dad doesn’t speak at all so I would have to go out and do personal business for him like banking and I shouldn’t have to do that as his child. There was no interpreter and sometimes it was too much responsibility for me as a young child.

“My Dad once had a heart attack and I had to interpret for the anesthetist, I counted him under. A horrible experience for a child”

The documentary follows Moloney O’Regan as she worries about what her twins will go through if they’re born Deaf and have to face the same barriers she had to work so hard to overcome.

But, having been successful after a fourth cycle of IVF, she gave birth to hearing twins, Connor and Louisa.

Sarah-Jane and her husband were offered a genetic choice to remove the deaf gene and make sure the twins would be hearing. They refused claiming it would have been like taking a part of them out of their children.

“Deafening” was made by Mind The Gap, an independent television production company based in Dublin. The film aims to challenge the viewer to experience the world through the eyes of four Deaf people with uniquely different lives.

The documentary will be shown on RTE One in Ireland on Thursday evening (March 2nd) and is, say the films makers,: “An audiovisual feast that weaves seamlessly between speech, sign language and visual communication and represents a first for Irish television.”

Sarah-Jane Moloney O’Regan