top of page

At least 20% of staff recruited to public bodies in Éire to be competent in Irish language

Conradh na Gaeilge, a social and cultural organisation which promotes the Irish language in Éire and worldwide, has said that it "warmly welcomes" the Official Languages Act 2021 (Amendment) that has been enacted with the signature of the President of Éire, Michael D. Higgins.

The Act marks the end of ten years of community campaigning with politicians. Conradh na Gaeilge described the Act as "a significant achievement, in particular the provision proposed by the Conradh that by 2030 20% of those recruited to the public sector will be proficient in the Irish language".

Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: “Conradh na Gaeilge would like to pay special tribute to all members of our organisation and to all others in the Irish language and Gaeltacht community who stood firm against the very weak proposals for legislation from the Governments between 2011 and 2016, who ensured the independence of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga, and who ensured, between 2017 and 2021, legislation with a sound basis and an opportunity to achieve satisfactory Irish language services for the Irish language and Gaeltacht community in the future. We would also like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the President of Ireland, the current Minister, the Gaeltacht Ministers and other Government Ministers who have supported a strengthening of the Act over the years, the politicians in opposition (especially members of the Oireachtas Committee for Irish Language, Gaeltacht and the Irish Speaking Community), the Language Commissioners, the staff in the Department of the Gaeltacht and others who played a role in the development of the Act.”

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge said: “It is no exaggeration to say that over the last 10 years we have come a long way in updating the Official Languages Act. We started out defending the independence of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga and opposing the weakening of the Official Languages Act 2003. The Conradh did this in partnership with Guth na Gaeltachta in 2011 and, over the next 10 years, with many other groups and individuals in the community and with many politicians who supported the changes we were calling for. Progress has been made. Not only did we succeed in keeping the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga independent but the following was achieved in the amended Act:

  1. At least 20% of staff recruited to public bodies to be competent in Irish by 31 December 2030 at the latest

  2. 20% of advertising by public bodies to be in Irish and 5% of the advertising budget of these bodies to be spent in the Irish language media

  3. All services from public bodies to be provided to the Gaeltacht in Irish (but no target year was set down for this)

  4. Official recognition and systems to be created to enable the public to use their names and addresses in Irish, with síntí fada if they wish, with public bodies (and not to use a title if they don’t want to use one)

  5. Private sector bodies providing services to the public, on behalf of public bodies, to comply with certain provisions of the Act

  6. Balance and certainty of Irish language inclusion in the marketing carried out by public bodies

  7. Existing logos in English only of public bodies to be changed to bilingual logos, or to Irish only, when the logos are to be renewed or changed

  8. Official names of new public bodies to be in Irish only. This will ensure that logos of all new public bodies will be in Irish only or bilingual in the future

  9. Certain official forms by public bodies to be bilingual or in Irish only

  10. The Chair of the Advisory Committee, which will be drawing up the National Plan to address recruitment and service provision in Irish, to be competent in Irish

  11. Representation on the Advisory Committee to include a representative from Gaeltacht language planning areas and another as a representative from outside the Gaeltacht

  12. Language standards to replace language schemes

  13. The Minister for the Gaeltacht to be responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of the National Plan by public bodies

  14. An Coimisinéir Teanga to have additional monitoring power over current legislation

  15. Senior management structure to be responsible for the implementation of the Act in Public Bodies

  16. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to be used in the provision of state services in Irish

The Conradh is in no doubt that there is a huge challenge ahead and that continued pressure will be required to ensure that a satisfactory and ambitious National Plan is formulated and fully implemented, as well as all the implementation of the other provisions in the Act. Conradh na Gaeilge will continue to push to achieve this and will encourage continued participation from the community.”

bottom of page