24th June 2021
The publication of the European Commission's Report to the Council of Europe this week ensures that the exemption of the Irish language in the European Union will end and that the Irish language will have full working rights from the first of January 2022. It also means equal rights and status for Irish on par with the other official languages of the European Union.
In addition, the European Commission's Report highlights the enormous work done by a wide range of stakeholders, both at home and in Europe, to end the exemption.
Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
“This Report is particularly important as it is one of the final steps in a process that began back in 2003 at the Conradh na Gaeilge seminar at Oireachtas na Samhna. At that Seminar it was agreed to initiate a campaign to achieve full working status for the Irish language. As part of the STÁDAS campaign, which attracted widespread support from the Irish language and Gaeltacht community, the political system was lobbied, culminating in a march through the streets of Dublin on 24 April 2004. At the end of the march a petition with 80,000 signatures was presented to the Member of the European Parliament Seán Ó Neachtain
As this campaign draws to a close now it is important to acknowledge all those who have supported this campaign. As President of Conradh na Gaeilge I would like to pay special tribute to Dr. Pádraig Breandan Ó Laighin and Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh who were instrumental in launching the STÁDAS campaign. Conradh na Gaeilge and other organisations played a key role in this campaign from the beginning. The then President, Nollaig Ó Gadhra, played a special role and Aoife Ní Scolaí, then Secretary General of the organisation, also played a significant role in achieving status for the Irish language. They all deserve thanks.”
Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge says:
"We have come a long way since the launch of this campaign and we thank many people and organisations for their hard work in achieving this result. Special thanks should be given to the Irish language staff in the EU Institutions for their work to date and for the way in which they have shown that high quality services can be provided through Irish. We recognise and commend also the vital work carried out by the Irish Government, as well as the staff of the various Departments and politicians at home and in the European Parliament who in recent years have to bring about this success.”
“The status achieved by the Irish language in the European Union ensures additional status and recognition for the language as a whole and it is clear, already, the positive impact that this has had - in the education system and in creating employment opportunities for speakers of Irish in the EU. This process also demonstrates what can be achieved for the Irish language when the State seeks to secure language rights in a systematic and resourceful way. There is no doubt that there are lessons to be learned from this process as we work to pass the Official Languages Act (as amended) through the Dáil to ensure language rights at home for the Irish language and Gaeltacht community. ”
Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha
Bainisteoir Abhcóideachta, Leas-ArdRúnaí, Conradh na Gaeilge
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community. The Conradh has over 200 branches and numerous individual members registered around the world, members that work hard to promote the use of Irish in their own areas. Conradh na Gaeilge’s main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland. Conradh na Gaeilge was established by Douglas Hyde, Eoin Mac Néill, and their colleagues on the 31st of July 1893. The organisation runs Irish-language courses; advocates for the language rights of Irish-speakers; raises awareness about the language; hosts the international Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge; manages the Irish-language information hub PEIG.ie and the Irish-language bookshop An Siopa Leabhar; supports Raidió Rí-Rá; and much more. More information: www.cnag.ie