Majority of candidates happy to use Irish in Europe, says Conradh na Gaeilge
Conradh na Gaeilge are calling on the public to support the politicians most willing to champion the Irish language in Europe in the upcoming elections on 5 June 2009, especially with regard to the use of Irish in the European Parliament and to ending the derogation currently in place regarding the language's status in the European Union.
The Conradh wrote to every European candidate from the main political parties regarding these Irish-language issues within the European Union, and have prepared a leaflet based on the answers received from each candidate, which will be distributed among their members and the general public nationwide.
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, Conradh na Gaeilge President said: "Past MEPs have already set a great example in speaking Irish in Parliament and it is a source of satisfaction for the Irish language community and Conradh na Gaeilge that the majority of candidates in this election are both happy and willing to speak Irish in the European Parliament if they are elected. They may even inspire more members of Dáil Éireann to follow their lead and speak more Irish in the Dáil in the future."
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of the Conradh said: "Not only is it obvious that the majority of candidates understand the vital importance of our MEPs speaking Irish in the European Parliament, but they also understand that the derogation in place regarding the Irish language's status in the European Union must be abolished. Under this current derogation, the EU is not obliged to provide an Irish translation of every law but this derogation has been misinterpreted and the Irish people are being denied a multitude of documents and services in their language, which was not the case with other official languages such as Maltese, and Slovenian, among others. The excuse given by the EU and the Government of Ireland is that there is a shortage of translators, interpreters, and lawyer-linguists available to undertake the necessary workload involved in having full status for the language without a derogation, but the EU is not employing those who are already qualified and available."
"The EU has only employed half of the translators who were successful in the competition for translation jobs organised by the EU itself, but the European institutes urgently need to employ qualified translators immediately so as to give Irish equal standing alongside the other official working languages in the EU." END
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
066 7124169 / 087 2901154
Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 086 8142757
The Derogation of the Irish Language's Status in the European Union
- Since 1 January 2007 Irish has been recognised as an official language of the EU under the Council Regulation 1/1958 (as amended). Under Regulation 920/2005, however, this status is subject to a derogation until the end of 2010, which can be renewed every 5 years. Under this derogation, the EU is not obliged to provide an Irish translation of every law, except for regulations adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
- Due to a misinterpretation of this derogation Irish people are being denied a multitude of documents and services in their language which was not the case with other official languages such as Maltese, Slovenian, etc. They claim (wrongly!) that only co-decisions need be translated. The same derogation was used in the case of Malta (Regulation 930/2004) but, unlike what is currently the case with the Irish language, the Maltese were not excluded from Union affairs.
- The excuse given by the EU, and the Government of Ireland, is that there is a shortage of translators, interpreters, and lawyer-linguists available to undertake what is necessary to achieve full status for the Irish language without a derogation. At the same time, however, the EU are not employing those who are currently qualified and available. Only half of the translators, who were successful in the competition for translating jobs organised by the EU itself, have actually been employed.
- The EU pays for these language-related jobs from a central translation fund, as is the case with all other official languages. Ireland contributes to this fund. This is a great employment opportunity for politicians to gain for Irish speakers throughout the island of Ireland.