This is the text of an letter sent to the English Language and Irish media in Ireland:
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 the 24th November, 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 opens the state up to the risk of legal action which could cost the state even more money. Indeed, An Bord Snip Nua when they 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 le meas,
Aodán Mac an Mhílidh, Gaeilge Átha Luain
Aoileann Nic Dhonnacha, Baile Átha an Róine, Co. Laoise
Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin, Gaelscoileanna Teo.
Breandán Mac Gearailt, Ball d’Údarás na Gaeltachta
Cabríní de Barra, Comhlucht Forbartha na nDéise
Caitlín Neachtain, Bainisteoir, Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach
Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, An Foras Pátrúnachta
Carmel Nic Eochaidh, Spleodar
Colm Mac Séalaigh, Baile an Teampaill, Baile Átha Cliath
Conchubhair Mac Lochlainn, Seachtain na Gaeilge
Cumann Cearta Sibhialta Ghaeltacht Chorca Dhuibhne
Cumann na nOifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge (Earnáil Phoiblí), Roibeard Ó hEartáin & Páid Ó Neachtain
Donncha Ó hÉallaithe, Indreabhán, Co. na Gaillimhe
Donnchadh Ó hAodha, Uachtarán Chonradh na Gaeilge
Éamonn Mac Niallais, Guth na Gaeltachta
Eithne O’Doherty, Craobh na gCeithre Chúirteanna
Eoin Ó Riain, Baile na hAbhann, Co. na Gaillimhe
Feargal Ó Cuilinn, Comhluadar.
Gary Redmond, Uachtarán Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn
Gearóid Ó Murchú, An Spailpín Fánach
Julian de Spáinn, Aontas Phobal na Gaeilge
Liam Ó Maolaodha, Oireachtas na Gaeilge
Lorcán Mac Gabhann, Glór na nGael.
Maedhbh Ní Dhónaill, Ógras
Máirtín Ó Maolmhuaidh, Gaelphobal Cheantar an tSratha Báin
Mícheál de Mórdha, Uachtarán an Oireachtais 2010
Niall Comer, Uachtarán, Comhaltas Uladh
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, Fóram Gaeilge Chiarraí
Peadar de Blúit, Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn
Robbie Cronin, an chéad ionadaí don Ghaeilge thar cheann an ASTI
Ruth Ní Shiadhail, Gaeilge Locha Riach
Seán Ó Murchadha, Craobh Mhuineacháin
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