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This Government has failed the Irish language

This Government has failed the Irish language

Fallout from resignation of Language Commissioner


The debate continues following Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s announcement to the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions that he is to resign from his position on 23 February 2013.

An Coimisinéir Teanga has cited the Government’s failure to implement language legislation at the level of the State as the reason for his decision, including the low standard of the language scheme system, the lack of competence in Irish throughout the stateservice, the government’s new recruitment policy for the stateservice and its decision to amalgamate the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Adding to the concern expressed by the Irish language community at Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s decision, opposition parties have condemned the Government’s approach to the Irish language and Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have called for the resignation of both the senior Minister and the Minister of State ar the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

During question time with Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley on Thursday, Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fáil T.D., explained that while he understood the junior Minister’s position, it is clear that he is not receiving Government support regarding Irish language matters.

He called for the resignation of senior Minister Jimmy Deenihan as he believes An Coimisinéir Teanga’s announcement demonstrates a vote of no confidence in this Government, an Taoiseach and particularly in the Minster.

Minister of State Dinny McGinley asked that Irish not be made a question of politics as past experience has led to a party split and was ultimately damaging to the language.

Speaking on Adhmhaidin on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Thursday, Deputy Ó Cuív stated that Irish is a political question and while Jimmy Deenihan’s lack of Irish is a problem, it would be acceptable if the Minister made every effort to support the language. But as far as Deputy Ó Cuív is concerned, it is clear that the Minister has no interest in Irish language or Gaeltacht matters.

Sinn Féin believes that it should be Minister of State Dinny McGinley who should resign. According to Sinn Féin’s Irish Language and Gaeltacht spokesperson, Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, “It is crystal clear from statements made by Ó Cuirreáin over the last couple of years that the state organisations have not being co-operating with him, that the Department of the Gaeltacht has not been fulfilling its obligations in ratifying language schemes and that the implementation of the Twenty Year Strategy leaves a lot to be desired”.

“This is a damning indictment of this government. It is quite clear to me that this government and in particular the Minister for the Gaeltacht are failing completely in fulfilling their responsibilities properly and that he should be the one to resign and leave the job to someone who is willing to do it properly”, he said.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com 12 Nollaig 2013

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