Saturday, April 26, 2014

What will our prospective MEPs do to further our national identity! #Gaeilge

Some sample questions on the the Irish language to be put to candidates for the European Parliament have been suggested by Conradh na Gaeilge. They also include some points that these candidates should be aware of as the go seeking support next month!
In passing, it is of interest that the EU Parliament has an extensive site, which also gives recognition to all official languages.

The parliament is also very active on twitter, frequently tweeting in Irish @Europarl_GA.

Question 1
(a) If you are elected as a Member of the European Parliament, are you willing to speak Irish regularly and as common practice in Parliament? or

(b) If you are not comfortable with your own standard of Irish, will you improve upon your level of Irish by taking classes or a self-taught online course so as to ensure that you will have sufficient Irish to appropriately represent, the Irish speaking community especially, in the European Parliament?

Question 2

Are you willing to announce in public as part of your electoral campaign that you wish to have the derogation concerning the status of the Irish language in the European Union ended at the end of the year 2016? In order for that to happen, the Irish Government would need to inform the Council of the European Union, without delay, that it intends to propose the ending of the derogation at a formal meeting to be held in 2015.

  • Irish became an official language of the European Union on 1 January 2007.
  • A derogation was implemented regarding that status, initially for a period of 5 years until the end of 2011, and again until the end of 2016, so that not all of the legal documents which must be translated to the other official languages have to be made available in Irish. A shortage of Irish language experts was given as the reason. That shortage no longer exists.
  • In addition representatives from Ireland don’t have the same opportunity to use Irish in the European Union due to a lack of interpreters.
  • It is up to the Irish Government to officially submit a request to the European Union not to renew the derogation, and they need to take that decision soon if a recruitment campaign is to be properly administered between now and 2017
  • People are being employed by the EU at present (e.g. 10 posts for Irish-language lawyer linguists are to be filled in 2014). There will, however, be more than 180 additional jobs by 01/01/17 if the derogation is ended.
  • Election Notice in Maltese!
  • Maltese was adopted as an official language in 2004, and they were successful in removing the derogation relating to the language within 3 years. This was achieved by giving temporary contracts to many Maltese experts to facilitate them learning a third language while working in EU institutions. The third language is necessary to obtain a permanent job as a language expert. What additional benefits would arise for Ireland with the ending of the derogation on the status of Irish in the EU?
  • Irish would be on a par with each of the other 24 official languages in the European Union, including Maltese, Estonian and Latvian.
  • 183 high value jobs would be made available between now and 2017 (103 translators, 32 lawyer linguists, 42 secretaries and 6 unit heads) at no cost to the Government of Ireland.
  • There would be a long-term benefit on the influence of Ireland in the European Union, as a certain proportion of these people would go on to jobs with responsibility for policy areas in the European Union.
  • It would improve the status of Irish and the image of the language in the community in Ireland, especially amongst young people of school age and at third level.

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