Bill promoting Irish language in public services to be signed into law

Bill promoting Irish language in public services to be signed into law

Jack Chambers

Legislation aimed at making more public services available in the Irish language has been approved by the Oireachtas and will now be signed into law.

Under the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019, the number of Irish speakers recruited to the public service will be increased to 20 per cent of new recruits by the end of 2030.

State services will be provided through the medium of Irish in the Gaeltacht and all public offices located in a Gaeltacht area will operate through the medium of Irish.

The bill also provides for the establishment of an Irish Language Services Advisory Committee which will publish a national plan for the provision of public services through the medium of Irish.

Jack Chambers, the government’s chief whip and minister of state for the Gaeltacht and sport, said: “With this new bill, we, as a State, have laid a solid foundation to demonstrate real leadership in preserving the language for future generations.

“The use of Irish at an official level is an integral part of the ongoing efforts to ensure that the language is used among future generations.”

He said the legislation would address “a number of developments” since the Official Languages Act was enacted in 2003.

Catherine Martin, the minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media, said: “This is a historic day for the Irish language and Gaeltacht community. I understand the importance of the language as the first official language of the State, as a valuable part of the heritage of this island and, more importantly, as a living language in the Gaeltacht community.

“The 20-year strategy for the Irish language ties in with this new language bill and specific actions set out in the strategy and five-year action plan 2018-2022 which addresses the challenges of recruiting Irish speakers to the public service, among other things.”

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