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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 20 October, 2014

Abolition of points system means there won’t be enough Irish speaking civil servants, claims group

The government is abolishing a scheme that gave bonus marks to people sitting civil service entrance exams if they speak Irish.

Connemara, Diamond Hill and Ballynakill Harbour.
Connemara, Diamond Hill and Ballynakill Harbour.
Image: Hugh Rooney/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED yesterday that it was abolishing the system which gave bonus marks to people sitting civil service entrance exams if they use the Irish language.

Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge has criticised the move as a blow to the Irish language-speaking community, stating that it is “another backward step” taken by government.

The government says the system has not worked in promoting Irish and there are better ways to promote the language.

New employees with Irish extremely low

Conradh na Gaeilge said “the new replacement system announced to set aside 6 per cent of recruitment panels in the civil service for new employees with Irish is extremely low”.

He said that the panel will have to be distributed amongst the 16 government departments and “this will mean that there will be no significant increase in people competent in Irish in any Department any time soon,” he said.

President of Conradh na Gaeilge, Donnchadh Ó hAodha said:

This decision to abolish the bonus marking system without replacing it with a satisfactory system is another blow to the Gaeltacht and Irish language speaking community… instead of being ambitious, brave and doing the right thing, the Government is going to further weaken the service provided by the state in Irish for the Gaeltacht and Irish language speaking community.

How can it be said that this decision abides by the Government’s own 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-30?

Providing a service through Irish

He said that the new system is wholly inadequate, and is calling on the government to increase the percentage from 6 per cent to 30 per cent for a 5-10 year period to ensure that there will be real and adequate increase in the numbers  of civil servants that can provide a service through Irish.

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge said since the 1970s the government “has made a mess of encouraging the Irish language in the civil service” and in providing a service of a high standard in Irish to the Gaeltacht and Irish language speaking community.

He said: “It is a great pity that this Government was not willing to rebalance the situation and set a percentage of 30 per cent for recruitment panels in the civil service for new employees with Irish, and also link an internal promotion system to an ability to use Irish.”

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