Conradh na Gaeilge Takes Heart From Triumph in EU

Government aims to end Irish-language derogation in EU incrementally by 2021

Conradh na Gaeilge welcomed the Government’s revised aim for the status of Irish in Europe as disclosed today (Wednesday, 15 July 2015), as this will see the current derogation on the Irish language, which limits the use of Irish in the European Union, done away with on an incremental basis over the next five years.

Prior to today’s disclosure, the Government’s stated aim was to work towards ending the derogation during the lifetime of The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030. Conradh na Gaeilge is therefore pleased that the Government has now stated that it is actively working towards ending the Irish-language derogation in Europe almost a decade earlier on 31 December 2021, while also taking an incremental approach to the provision of additional services so as to narrow its scope over that period.

Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:


“Conradh na Gaeilge has been calling for a step-by-step plan to end the Irish-language derogation in the EU for over ten years, and we are pleased that – at long last – the Government seems to be focused on achieving full status for our country’s national language in Europe, and not before time.


“This is a huge milestone for the Irish-speaking community, and Conradh na Gaeilge would like to sincerely thank everyone on the ground that supported this campaign to end the Irish-language derogation in the European Union, and indeed the politicians from every political party – both at home and in Europe – that campaigned for this incremental plan of action.”

Thousands upon thousands of people took to the streets of Dublin to demand their language rights and to call for the recognition of Irish as a full official language of the European Union at the Lá Mór rally on 24 April 2004, and again as part of the demands of Lá Mór na Gaeilge on 14 February 2014 ten years later.

While the Irish Government is requesting a further five-year extension on the current Irish-language derogation in Europe this year, today’s Government announcement indicates that this will be the last time that this happens, and that no other extension will be sought for the derogation after 2021. The recommendation has yet to be agreed by the Council of the European Union.

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


“It is great to see that the Government is now set on doing away with the Irish-language derogation in Europe by 2021 at the latest, and if it is possible to achieve this goal any sooner, Conradh na Gaeilge will certainly campaign for that as well.


“The Conradh trusts that the Council of the European Union will agree upon an incremental plan to this end as a matter of urgency, and hopes that the process will begin immediately. The EU recruitment competitions will offer Irish speakers some great opportunities in the future, and the Government should establish tangible, measurable goals with the various EU institutes as to the number of proficient graduates that will be provided for employment in the European institutions every year between now and 2021, step by step, year by year.”

Conradh na Gaeilge is available and willing to play an active part in the Government’s incremental plan to end the derogation on Irish achieving full official language status in the European Union in the next five years, and the advocacy organisation plans to maintain its central role in the campaign for this cause to bring about full status for Irish as soon as possible.

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge