Announcement of New Coimisinéir Teanga Welcomed But Conradh na Gaeilge Criticises the Government Strongly For Doing Nothing To Implement Current Commissioner’s Recommendations

Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the announcement of Rónán Ó Domhnaill as the new Language Commissioner today (Tuesday, 11 February 2014), but the organisation has strongly criticised the Government for not declaring that they have taken the recommendations of the current Coimisinéir Teanga on board, or that they have begun acting upon those recommendations as a matter of urgency. The Government are leaving the new Language Commissioner in a difficult predicament considering that he will have to contend with the same problems as the current Coimisinéir Teanga from the start, and Conradh na Gaeilge don’t believe that is fair on Mr Ó Domhnaill.

The biggest problems arising in relation to the satisfactory provision of state services for the Irish-language and Gaeltacht communities – as recently elucidated by the current Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin - include the marginalisation of the Irish language in the public administration system; the inadequate implementation of statutory language schemes by public bodies; the poor standard of the schemes themselves; the void left in the wake of the review of the Official Languages Act; the Government’s decision to merge the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman; insufficient resources essential to the Office to duly and fully fulfil its statutory obligations; the lack of staff proficient in Irish in the civil service; and the faulty new system that is to take the place of the bonus marking scheme. Today’s Government announcement made no reference to resolving any of these issues prior to Rónán Ó Domhnaill beginning his position as Language Commissioner.

Donnchadh Ó hAodha, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:

“The announcement of the new Language Commissioner by the Government is good news, and I welcome Rónán Ó Domhnaill on starting his challenging role after 23 February 2014. The Government is, however, avoiding facing up to the most important action needed, that is the implementation of the recommendations made by the current Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin.”

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says:

“The Irish-language and Gaeltacht community north and south will have the opportunity to air their anger and disillusionment at Lá Mór na Gaeilge in Dublin this coming Saturday, especially in relation to how the Government in the south treated the current Coimisinéir Teanga.

“The Irish-language and Gaeltacht community are angry with the Government, both for their lack of action and their lack of progress in ensuring that State employees have enough Irish to deal completely and satisfactorily with the Gaeltacht community, without condition or question, by the end of 2016 at the latest. State services must also be made available in Irish to the Irish-speaking community at the same standard as they are provided in English. We are looking forward to getting huge crowds out on the streets on Saturday to achieve these demands and I’m certain that the absence of any mention of these concerns, or to the possible solutions, in the Government’s announcement today will not satisfy the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community.”

Lá Mór na Gaeilge is being organised following The Language Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s announcement that he would be stepping down on 24 February 2014 as a result of the lack of support for the language rights of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community from the Government in the south. The campaign for human rights gained momentum with the publication of a report by The Council of Europe on 16 January 2014 which noted that the growth and promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland is being blocked by hostile attitudes in Stormont, and a lack of support for its use in the courts and in education. END

FURTHER INFORMATION:

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)86 8142757 / +353 (0)1 4757401

NEWS RELEASE
Date: 11 February 2014
For immediate release

NOTE FOR THE EDITOR:

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 and other locations across the country. www.cnag.ie/courses

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge