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'A disaster and an insult': Government slammed for having no Irish-speaking minister

Richard Bruton’s lack of Irish annoyed the opposition at Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today.

Richard Bruton in the Dáil earlier
Richard Bruton in the Dáil earlier
Image: Screengrab via Oireachtas TV

THE GOVERNMENT WAS heavily criticised for failing to provide an Irish-speaking minister for Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today.

Sinn Féin said that it was “disastrous” that during Seachtain na Gaeilge there was no senior minister to take Leaders’ Questions as Gaeilge as has been the tradition in recent years.

With several ministers, as well as the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, having left the country on their annual St Patrick’s Day missions, it was left to Richard Bruton to take Leaders’ Questions this morning, but he gave answers in English.

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said that while he wasn’t criticising Bruton personally it was “an insult” that no Irish-speaking minister was provided for Leaders’ Questions or the Order of Business.

“I believe that’s disastrous, and it’s the wrong story for the world, and it’s an insult for those of us who are making an effort to have at least one day in the year to advance Irish in this chamber,” he said. “That hasn’t happened properly.”

Bruton admitted that he would not feel competent to answer questions “with the sort of exactitude necessary” in the Dáil with his level of Irish.

But he insisted that there was a far greater amount of people who speak Irish in the Dáil now than in previous years.

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Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív said he had suggested that Leaders’ Questions as Gaeilge could have been done on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week when the Taoiseach and Tánaiste – both Irish speakers – were still in the country.

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Hugh O'Connell

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