Oireachtas committee to query resignation of language commissioner

Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned position in protest at failure by Government to provide services for Irish speakers

Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned his position amid claims  that the Irish language is being marginalised by the system of public administration. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned his position amid claims that the Irish language is being marginalised by the system of public administration. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 09:02

An Commisineir Teanga Seán Ó Cuirreáin is due before an Oireachtas committee this afternoon where he will face questions surrounding his decision to resign from the language ombudsman’s role last month.

Mr Ó Cuirreáin, who resigned in protest over the failure by Government to implement legislation protecting the rights of Irish speakers, will come before the sub-committee on the 20-Year-Strategy for the Irish Language at 12.15pm.

Announcing his resignation in December, Mr Ó Cuirreáin told the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions that the Irish language is being marginalised by the system of public administration.

He said he was tendering his resignation following repeated failures by Government to implement measures that would improve access to State services for Irish speakers.

Mr Ó Cuirreáin will leave the post in February.

Language activists and politicians warned at the time that Mr Ó Cuirreáin’s resignation signalled an emerging crisis in the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community.

A public meeting held in Dublin earlier this month heard of plans to stage a nationwide campaign to address the Government’s failure to provide ongoing support for Irish and a major demonstration is planned for the capital on February 15th.

The 20-year plan, published in December 2010, aims to increase the number of people who use Irish daily outside the education system to 250,000 by 2030. It also aims to increase the number of daily speakers in Gaeltacht areas by 25 per cent.