Méid an Téacs

New Coimisinéir Teanga welcomed despite reservations by Conradh na Gaeilge

Feabhra 13, 2014

Conradh na Gaeilge has welcomed the announcement that Rónán Ó Domhnaill has been installed as the new language commissioner this week. However, the organisation has strongly criticised the Government for failing to implement the recommendations of the current commissioner.

The Government is 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 does not believe that is fair on Mr Ó Domhnaill. According to Conradh na Gaeilge, there are several outstanding problems which have been outlined by the current language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin which have been repeatedly ignored by the Government. These include the marginalisation of the Irish language in the public administration system; the inadequate implementation of statutory language schemes by public bodies; 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 potential faults of the new system that is to take the place of the bonus marking Leaving Certificate scheme.

“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,” said Julian de Spáinn, general secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge. “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 am 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 February 24 as a result of the lack of support for the language rights of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community from the Government. The campaign for human rights gained momentum with the publication of a report by the Council of Europe on January 16 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.