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Thursday 30 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Shutterstock/Peter Krocka Department of An Taoiseach
# Gaeilge
Amendment tabled to facilitate social media messaging in Irish with public bodies
Another amendment would require 20% of new public staff to be competent in Irish by 2030.

PEOPLE MUST BE allowed to communicate with public bodies through Irish on social media, an amendment would require.

Currently, if a person sends a letter or email to a public body in an official language, the body is required to respond in the same language.

A proposed amendment would extend that obligation to communication on social media.

Cabinet has approved 32 amendments to the Official Languages Bill which will now be presented to the Dáil. 

Another amendment would require one in five new recruits to the public service to be proficient in Irish within the next decade.

It sets a target for public bodies that 20% of new staff must be competent in Irish by the end of 2030.

Under the amendments, public bodies will be required to have at least 20% of their annual advertising as Gaeilge and place 5% in Irish language media.

Their ICT systems must accommodate the use of fadas and each body must designate a member of senior management to oversee the implementation of the Official Languages Act.

Minister of State for An Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said that the “increased and improved provision of public services through the Irish language will ensure that issues regarding the provision of State services through Irish to both Irish speakers and Gaeltacht communities will be addressed, along with challenges and opportunities regarding the recruitment of Irish speakers to public bodies”

In a statement, Chambers said the “publication of the Official Languages Amendment Bill in 2019 was broadly welcomed at the time but a number of criticisms centred on the lack of target dates or a timetable for initiatives provided for in the Bill”.

“Earlier this year, we saw the acceptance of a number of Government amendments at Committee Stage. I welcome these additional 32 amendments which will be brought by me to Dáil Éireann at Report Stage,” he said.

“After listening to comments by deputies at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Irish Speaking Community yesterday, I will be providing opposition representatives with the opportunity to sit down with me over the coming weeks to discuss these amendments.”

Minister for Culture and Gaeltachta Catherine Martin said the amendments “address many of the concerns and issues that have been raised following extensive consultation with stakeholders and some 25 hours of debate at Committee Stage”.

The Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019 was approved by Cabinet last October after a long wait for its arrival.

If passed, it will enact a series of measures aimed at encouraging and facilitating the use of Irish.

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