Thursday, April 17, 2014

10th report from Coimisinéar Teanga published!

An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, published the Annual Report 2013 of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga this morning (17 April 2014).

This is the tenth annual report published by the Office. In those ten years over six thousand complaints have been raised with the Office in relation to language rights. Approximately 23% of those complaints related to Government Departments and Offices and 32% related to local authorities while the rest concerned a wide variety of state organisations.

Publishing the 2013 Report, Rónán Ó Domhnaill said: “Clearly the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga has achieved a great deal in the last ten years with regard to protecting the language rights of Irish speakers. In that context I welcome the decision of the Government to reverse the plan to merge the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman; this decision safeguards the independence of the Office.

"I am delighted to announce that the post of Director, Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga, at Principal Officer grade in the Civil Service, will be advertised shortly. This appointment will greatly enhance our ability to implement the aims of the Office in the coming years.”

Rónán Ó Domhnaill also recognised the achievements of the Report’s author and first Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, in creating a space for the Irish language in public discourse and protecting language rights.

Complaints and investigations
In 2013, the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga dealt with 775 cases of difficulties or  problems accessing state services through Irish. Most cases were resolved by means of informal negotiations with the relevant state bodies or by providing advice to the complainant.

A total of 13 formal investigations were carried out in 2013 and findings of breaches  of individual elements of language legislation were made against certain public  bodies. Two of the investigations concerned the Department of Education and Skills  and the issue of education through Irish in the Gaeltacht.

Language schemes 
98 language schemes (statutory language plans) covering a total of 184 public bodies were confirmed by the end of 2013; however, 72 of those 98 schemes had expired by  the end of that year. In the case of local authorities 94% of language schemes had  expired.

Perhaps the most incredible thing about this report is that all this detailed and precise work was carried out with a miserly budget of just over €500,000.00. Many Government bodies would do well to examine how this was accomplished.

The full version of the report in pdf form may be viewed here.

• Report from the Irish Times highlighting concerns voiced by Irish Language Organisations. (17/4/2014)
Ireland's English state (An Sionnach Fionn, 18/4/2014_

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