Irish Government Violates Supreme Court Ruling - Fails To Provide Mandated State Services in Gaelic - Conradh na Gaeilge Condemns

In a damning report issued by the Minister for the Gaeltacht (Irish Speaking Areas), the government admits to a shortage of Irish speakers dedicated to delivering government services in Irish. This latest example of the Irish government’s indifference to Gaelic has been reported by the Irish Independent under the headline “Public Bodies Do Not Have Enough Staff Able To Carry Out Business Through Irish, According to a Government Department Report.”

Minister for the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, announced that the government is in violation of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling which guarantees the right of Irish speakers to receive State services in Gaelic.  In well-honed bureaucratic double talk, the Minister stated “public bodies had a fundamental difficulty due to lack of staff with sufficient competence. This has resulted in many public bodies encountering difficulties in implementing all of the statutory commitments.”

What Minister Humphreys should have said is that it is the government’s October 2013 decision to abolish a long standing system which gave bonus marks to people sitting for civil service entrance exams in Irish that is at issue. The Minister should have said that that decision is the root cause of the current shortage of qualified Irish speakers in state service.

The 2013 policy reversal was condemned by the Conradh na Gaeilge, calling it a “another backward step” taken by government.”  Donnchadh O hAodha, President of The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), made the following statement at that time: “The decision to abolish the bonus marking system without replacing it with a satisfactory system is another blow to the Gaeltacht and the Irish speaking community instead of being ambitious, brave and doing the right thing the Government is going further to weaken the service provided by the state for the Gaeltacht and Irish speaking community”

The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge) is the main voluntary community organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad. The League’s primary objective is the reinstatement of the Irish language as the common tongue of Ireland.  Since its founding in 1893, members have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland, from legal and educational affairs to the development of media and services through Irish.  Members of the Gaelic League are in the forefront of campaigns to strengthen the rights of the Irish speaking community.

Map of Gaeltacht, the Irish-Speaking areas of Ireland. Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Map of Gaeltacht

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