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Did you know the Oireachtas offers Irish and French classes?

They do. And it cost nearly €18,000 last year.

Image: Dictionary via Shutterstock

THE OIREACHTAS SPENT nearly €18,000 on providing Irish and French language classes to members and civil servants last year.

In total, five Oireachtas members, 14 political staff and ten civil servants took 99 classes in Irish in 2013.

For 2014, seven members are registered, along with four staff and six civil servants. This year, 66 classes have been held, costing €5,280.

100 French classes were held in 2013, with three members, 11 political staff and 18 civil servants running up a €6,400 bill. This year, no members are signed up, but five political staff and 11 civil servants are registered and have had 66 classes, costing €3,072.

An Oireachtas spokesperson said that the classes are used both to promote Irish and because of the French language’s role in the EU.

“The Houses of the Oireachtas Service provides in-house language classes in both Irish and French. The Service is committed to promoting the use of Irish within the Oireachtas as part of its Language Scheme 2012-2015 prepared under the guidelines of Section 12 of the Official Languages Act 2003 (Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht).

“The Lisbon Treaty of 2008 has provided for an ever greater role for national parliaments in European decision making The French language was selected to allow Members and Civil Servants, who may have to attend meetings in Brussels, to increase their proficiency and conversational skills.

“Classes are held either at lunchtime or early in the morning, the classes are of one hour’s duration and 3 classes are held weekly at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level. Classes generally run from October to July with a break at Christmas and Easter.”

Read: Here’s how the new Gaeltacht minister got on answering a question as Gaeilge

Read: Why are some foreigners being “ridiculed” for learning Irish?

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