A young Gaeltacht man brought a constitutional case against the Government recently and won.
There is a duty on the courts and on all state services to provide a service in Irish to citizens. Why then did this man not choose to fight his case in Irish?
This right is stated on the website of the Language Commissioner:
"The Constitution permits the public to conduct its business – and every part of its business – with the state solely through Irish. As a result of this constitutional right, public bodies have a duty to comply with this right."
The judgement is available on the Court Service website in English only.
This site is quite good as quite a large proportion of the site is available in Irish however funnily enough this particular judgement is only available on the English version.
The Government has Irish. They say they are “absolutely serious” about the languge question. Many of the Judges and advocates have Irish, indeed they must pass an examination in Irish in order to practice. And of course the basic language of the Constitution is Irish not English.
So why then did this young man of the Gaeltcht, a man who is a member of a party that prides itself on its Irishness above all the other partys, why did he choose to take this case in English?
We are told in the press release issued by his party that this was a victory for democracy. It is clear however that there is no place for his own language nor that of a vast percentage of the constituents of Donegal South West.