Members of the public have complained to An Coimisinéir Teanga about Cork County Council’s decision not to use Irish on new signage to be introduced on parking spaces throughout the county.
An Coimisinéir Teanga has reminded Cork County Council of its obligations in relation to the Official Languages Act as a result of a controversy over new signage.
Reported on this site yesterday that the Council had decided not to use Irish on new signage to be introduced throughout the county as it would be ‘cumbersome’ to use bilingual signage.
An Coimisinéir Teanga received a number of complaints from the public about the case following the publication of the story.
With separate parking spaces to be provided for older people throughout the county, it was decided to place English only signage in areas outside the Gaeltacht and to use only Irish in the Gaeltacht.
Members of the public have complained to An Coimisinéir Teanga about the matter, and the Office of the Commissioner has confirmed that it is investigating the matter and that they have been in contact with Cork County Council.
“The County Council’s obligations under the Act in relation to signage have been reminded of them again,” it was said.
“Under the Regulations made under Section 9 (1) of the Official Languages Act, public bodies must ensure that their signs are in Irish or in Irish and English.”
If signage in Irish and English is to be erected, the Act stipulates that the text must first be in Irish, convey the same information as the English text, that the text will not be in Irish smaller, and as readable and visible as the English text.
“Where a bilingual sign is considered to be too large, difficult to read or an obstacle or danger,” said the Office of the Commissioner, “it is possible, in accordance with Section 6 (2) of the Act, to place two signs at that location and the information concerned to be in Irish on one of them and the information concerned to be in English on the other. ”
It was stated that parking signs were also specified in the Traffic Signs Manual for use on public roads and while the Regulations under the Official Languages Act do not apply to traffic signs, statutory obligations regarding the use of both official languages on traffic signs are also specified in the Handbook. .
The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga stated that Cork County Council was to be given an opportunity to respond before making any further statements.