Official Languages Bill


A chara, – John Thompson (Letters, June 10th) denounces measures to increase the ability of people to access public services through Irish. He ends his letter by denouncing the compulsory status of Irish in the education system. Perhaps we can summarise his ideology as compulsory Irish bad, compulsory English good? – Is mise,


Chill Mhantáin.

A chara, – The stated aim of the Official Languages Bill is to review and improve the Language Act which was passed by the Oireachtas almost 20 years ago. Many of the proposed changes are very modest indeed. A letter writer in Saturday’s Irish Times regards an amendment to the Bill by which 20 per cent of new recruits to public bodies would be competent in Irish by 2030 as discriminatory. In fact Irish speakers have long regarded the lack of services through Irish by Government and public bodes as a form of linguistic discrimination. For instance, when one tries to access Government services which are supposedly offered in Irish, the caller is often obliged to request a call back, and the subsequent frustratingly long delay, before someone with a knowledge of Irish returns the call, can run into the following day. A lack of basic services through Irish in Gaeltacht areas, which is often reported in Irish language media, is a more pressing problem.

Finally the number of Irish speakers who speak Irish on a daily basis is incorrectly given as 20,000 in the same letter. The correct CSO figures, based on the 2106 Census, are as follows – 74,000 speak Irish on a daily basis and 111,500 speakers do so on a weekly basis (the next set of figures provided). – Is mise,


Baile na Manach,

Co Bhaile Átha Cliath.