Symposium on the Official Languages Act 2003 in TCD

The School of Law and the Irish Language Office, Trinity College Dublin, in Association with the Four Courts branch of Conradh na Gaeilge (and with the support of Guth na Gaeltachta) are holding a Public Symposium on the Official Languages Act 2003 in Trinity College on Saturday, 21 January 2012.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla: Leasú Chun Feabhais (the Official Languages Act 2003: Increasing Its Effectiveness) will be the title of this symposium, which is being held in the context of the review recently announced by the Government of the operation of the legislation, and its effectiveness.

This symposium will be comprised of three separate elements:

1. SESSION 1 (10.00-11:45 AM): a Review of the Implementation of this Legislation since 2003, with speeches from the Official Languages Commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin in relation to the experience of his own office; from a representative of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; and a perspective from an Irish Language Officer in a public body, in relation to how the legislation operates internally in an public body.

2. SESSION 2 (12.00-1:30 PM): Perspectives on the Effectiveness of the Legislation, with contributions from a legal practitioner (Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL) in relation to how the legislation operates in the legal system; from Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, on the views of Irish language organisations on the effectiveness of the legislation and their proposals for its improvement; and from Éamonn Mac Niallais from the community campaigning group Guth na Gaeltachta on experience of how of the legislation serves language rights on the ground in the Gaeltachtaí, and the improvements which they feel are necessary.

3. SESSION 3 (2.00-3:00 PM): Open Discussion Forum- Differing Perspectives on the Legislation in the context of the Review, with Irish language organisations and individuals. Emer Ní Chonaola, (TG4) will chair this discussion forum. Ms Ní Chonaola is the anchor news presenter on TG4. Originally from Spiddal, she is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway.

It is the objective of this symposium to compile a comprehensive Paper, based on the day's proceedings, on the range of issues which must be taken into consideration in the Governmental Review. This will be achieved through retaining a rapporteur, who will closely follow the proceedings of the day and will prepare the Paper, which will then be submitted to Government for consideration as part of its review process.

This event will be open to students, legal practitioners and the Irish language community, as well as representatives from Irish language organisations and others with an interest in the topic, and all viewpoints will be particularly welcome in the discussion forum.

Refreshments will be available. The day's proceedings will commence at 10.00am with a welcome from Professor Gerry Whyte of the School of Law, Trinity College.


Seán Ó Cuirreáin

Seán Ó Cuirreáin was appointed on 23 February 2004 as the first Official Languages Commissioner, under the Official Languages Act 2003. He was reappointed for a further six year term on 23 February, 2010. The role and powers of the Language Commissioner are set out in the Act, and he enjoys complete independence in his role as Commissioner.

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL

Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh is a barrister. He is also coordinator of the Law and Irish programme at the King's Inns. He lives in the Rath Cairn Gaeltacht.

Éamonn Mac Niallais

Éamonn Mac Niallais is the spokesperson for Guth na Gaeltachta (a non-party political campaigning group focussed on the Irish language and the Gaeltachtaí). He is also the Administrator of the Gweedore Centre of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge.

Further information is available from the following contact persons:

• Aonghus Dwane, Irish Language Officer TCD
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel; +353 (0)1 896 3652, 087 6232841

• Eithne O'Doherty BL, Four Courts Branch, Conradh na Gaeilge This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel 086 8 380 380

• Síne Nic an Ailí, Feidhmeannach Forbartha & Oifige, Conradh na Gaeilge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Teil +353 (0)1 4757401, 087 6546673

Further information:

There are over 510 undergraduate students and 170 postgraduate students in the School of Law, TCD. The school educates future leaders of the legal profession, the public service and society in general. The academic staff of the school are dedicated to scholarship, and have published many textbooks, casebooks and commentaries on various aspects of law, including constitutional law, administrative law, evidence, European Union law and human rights law among others.

The Irish Language Office, TCD is responsible for the promotion of the Irish language in Trinity College, among both students and staff. The office provides services and information to the college authorities and community in relation to the Official Languages Act. The office provides a translation service for staff, and is also responsible for administering the Irish language student residency schemes in College.

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.

Guth na Gaeltachta is a non-political, cross-party campaign concerned with the Irish language and the Gaeltacht. This community campaign was founded in the Gaeltacht to inform the public on the effect the proposed cuts for the Irish language and the Gaeltacht would have and to oppose such cuts. This campaign will focus wholly and completely on Irish language and Gaeltacht issues only.

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, 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.


Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge