Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the Report of the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht on the General Scheme of the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2014 which was announced by the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Sub-Committee on the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030, An Seanadóir Labhrás Ó Murchú, yesterday, Tuesday, 27th of January, on Raidió na Gaeltachta.
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said:“We are very happy with the recommendation that 10% of all civil servants in each department should be proficient in Irish, the recommendation that all official documents should be published bilingually in a single document, with the English and Irish language versions appearing side by side, the recommendation that the visibility of Irish on the State’s online resources and social media presence be greatly increased, and many of the other recommendations made in the Report of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
If accepted, these recommendations would strengthen the bill to amend the Official Languages Act, and would guarantee better services for the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities.
Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, said:
The Conradh supports the recommendations made by the Joint Committee, but we feel that many important proposals have been left out of both this report and the Bill itself.
For example, we are strongly recommending that Welsh best practice be followed, namely that every minister should have to submit to the Language Commissioners Office any new policy proposal or Bill to seek the Commissioner’s opinion on whether the new policy or Bill will damage the use of Welsh. The names of all new public companies should be in Irish, and should be publicly used in Irish. This would increase the status of the language at no extra cost. In addition, the system of language schemes, which has not been working effectively since it was introduced, should be abolished in public companies and departments, and replaced by a system of standards, similar to what has been done in Wales recently. This would guarantee the range and standards of service in Irish that citizens can expect from the state.