Opposition to Irish language merger
A chara, – We, as members of the Irish language community both within and outside of the Gaeltacht, expect that the Government will change its decision to merge the functions of the Language Commissioner with the Ombudsman Office in 2012 and are calling on the Government to make that change now rather than dragging out the process and further damaging the effectiveness of the office.
The language commissioner has been widely recognised as a highly efficient and dynamic commissioner who has been praised not only for his work in defending citizens’ rights but also for being a proactive advocate of best language practice. A recent example of this would be the highly attractive module on general language rights that his office recently developed for use in transition year at second level.
We now know that the decision, as admitted by the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht in the Dáil on November 24th, could actually cost the state money. The decision also did not take in to account the fact that the current language commissioner has been reappointed until 2016 as an independent commissioner and therefore could open the State to the risk of legal action which could cost the State even more money. Indeed, An Bord Snip Nua when it looked at the office identified no efficiencies to be made and made no recommendation to alter the status of the office of the language commissioner as an independent office.
All political parties and the Irish language and Gaeltacht organisations have backed the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2012-2030. We acknowledge that funding will be a problem in the short term, but why undermine the strategy and the goodwill behind it with this decision that has been acknowledged as having no savings to make to the exchequer?
We believe that the Government should look at the economic arguments coupled with the wishes and the belief of the Irish language community both within and outside of the Gaeltacht that the office of the language commissioner should be supported, that it has our trust and that it has been a very effective service since been set up in 2004. Reversing their decision is therefore the logical and correct thing to do and should be done without delay. – Is muidne,