Conradh na Gaeilge has given an initial guarded welcome to the Government's decision yesterday for the statutorily appointed Coimisinéir Teanga to continue to be based in the Gaeltacht, and to continue to independently exercise existing powers of the Language Commissioner's Office under the Official Languages Act, 2003.
Conradh na Gaeilge assumes that the merging of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman will not damage or interrupt the functions of An Coimisinéir when the statutory powers and functions of An Coimisinéir Teanga under the Official Languages Act, 2003, transfer to the Ombudsman, and thereafter are delegated to An Coimisinéir Teanga under the amending legislation; the finer details of this proposed merger are still to be still publicly published however.
Donnchadh Ó hAodha, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "In the past 12 months, the Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking community have repeatedly expressed the need for an independent Language Commissioner so that he can satisfactorily fulfil the duties of his office, and it seems that both the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and the Government have listened to them. Not only that but we are delighted that An Coimisinéir Teanga will continue to be based evermore in the Gaeltacht."
"Having said that however, we hope to receive the finer details of the merging of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman soon, to ensure the functions, resources and powers of the Language Commissioner will not be adversely affected nor diminished in any way as a result."
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "The efforts of every individual and of every organisation involved in the campaign to keep An Coimisinéir Teanga independent are to be applauded - we have obviously succeeded in influencing the authorities in this. Now we want to focus on the review of the Official Languages Act, 2003, to guarantee a stronger Act and to ensure the provision of better Irish-language services for the public, a cornerstone of which should include the provision of every service from the State in the Gaeltacht through Irish by 2016, as recommended by Conradh na Gaeilge."
Conradh na Gaeilge will be contacting the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht seeking clarification on the merging of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman soon, in addition to pushing for the strengthening of the Official Languages Act, 2003. Towards this end, Conradh na Gaeilge are calling on the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to publicly publish all the recommendations they received from the public as part of the review of the Languages Act last January.
Donnchadh Ó hAodha
President, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)87 2421267 / +353 (0)1 4757401
Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)1 4757401 / +353 (0)86 8142757
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community working to promote the language. There are over 200 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and since its foundation in 1893, members of the Conradh have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland and especially its use in their own areas. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish language community. It is also possible to register as an individual member of the Conradh. Conradh na Gaeilge runs Irish courses in Dublin, Galway, Mayo and other places throughout the country as well. www.cnag.ie/courses
Aontas Phobal na Gaeilge (APG) is an alliance of Irish-language organisations working to promote Irish across Ireland and the world through more strategic language-planning. Aontas Phobal na Gaeilge consists of Comhaltas Uladh, Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge, Comhluadar, Conradh na Gaeilge, Glór na nGael and Seachtain na Gaeilge, organisations dealing with different aspects of the promotion of Irish in the community that came together to form a working alliance that would ensure a better provision of services and more value for money. www.aontaspg.ie