Journalist Ó Domhnaill named language commissioner

Nuacht RTÉ political correspondent to succeed Seán Ó Cuirreáin as Coimisinéir Teanga

Seán Ó Cuirreáin who is resigning from the role of Coimisinéir Teanga. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Seán Ó Cuirreáin who is resigning from the role of Coimisinéir Teanga. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Tue, Feb 11, 2014, 15:16

The Government has announced today that Rónán Ó Domhnaill, Nuacht RTÉ/TG4’s political correspondent , has been nominated as the next Irish language commissioner .

Ó Domhnaill said it was “a great honour and privilege” to be nominated for “such an important role”.

Ó Domhnaill, from an Cheathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht, is to succeed Seán Ó Cuirreáin who is resigning from the role of Coimisinéir Teanga at the end of the month.

Ó Domhnaill has worked for Nuacht RTÉ/TG4 since 1998 and has been based in Leinster House as political correspondent since 2006. He is a regular presenter of RTÉ’s weekly current affairs programme The Week in Politics. He is married to the journalist Irene Ní Nualláin and they have two children.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley TD, said he was “delighted” that Ó Domhnaill had accepted the Government’s nomination: “He is held in high esteem by the Irish language and Gaeltacht communities in his capacity as a political correspondent and I am certain that his experience will greatly benefit him as An Coimisinéir Teanga.”

The out-going commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin also congratulated Ó Domhnaill on his nomination: “I wish him every success in the challenging work of promoting language rights for the people of the Gaeltacht and Irish speakers in general.”

Mr Ó Cuirreáin, announced last December that he was resigning as Coimisinéir Teanga due to the failure of the State to protect the rights of Irish language speakers.

Mr Ó Cuirreáin told an Oireachtas Committee that the State’s negligence in relation to Irish had left the language in a precarious position: “As we begin to regain our economic sovereignty, it would be a travesty if we were to lose our linguistic sovereignty – a cornerstone of our cultural identity, heritage and soul as a nation. I believe this to be a clear and present danger.”

This is the second time a journalist has been appointed to the role of Coimisinéir Teanga.

Seán Ó Cuirreáin worked as a journalist and broadcaster with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta before becoming the first person to be appointed to the office of Coimisinéir Teanga in 2004.

Pending ratification of his nomination in the houses of the Oireachtas, Ó Domhnaill will be formally appointed as Coimisinéir Teanga by the President of Ireland under the Official Languages Act 2003.