Roinn na Gaeltachta has provided information on some of the policies being considered in order to achieve the Government’s target of 20% of new public service recruits being Irish speakers by 2030.
Recruitment campaigns aimed at Irish speakers, opportunities for Irish speakers to work from home, Gaeltacht scholarships for students, language classes and work experience periods working through Irish.
These are some of the policies being considered for the success of the Government’s target of 20% of new public service recruits being Irish speakers by 2030.
According to information provided by Roinn na Gaeltachta, these policies would be implemented as part of the National Recruitment Plan which would be prepared. in order to increase the provision of public services through Irish, as promised in the new Language Bill.
Under the new draft legislation currently going through the Houses of the Oireachtas, the 20% target would be achieved by 31 December 2030, although a Gaeltacht minister may postpone that target in 2028.
There was considerable dissatisfaction when the draft legislation to amend the Official Languages Act was first published because no deadline was stated for the recruitment plan.
But there were also those who thought the 20% target itself was unrealistic, especially without fundamental changes to the recruitment system.
Under the new bill an Advisory Committee on Irish Language Services would be established to support this work and that committee would prepare a National Plan. Under that plan, more Irish speakers would be employed through special competitions, through new methods of recruitment and by offering them opportunities for distance working.
Efforts will also be made to increase the language ability of people so that they will have sufficient fluency to perform certain duties in Irish.
Policies to increase people’s language ability will include language teaching initiatives in workplaces and education centers, scholarships that would attract third level students to spend a semester in the Gaeltacht and opportunities for internships and work experience in Irish-speaking areas. the language of work.
It is also stated that employment opportunities for Irish speakers in the public service will be “actively” promoted in schools and third level institutions.
The new Advisory Committee will not be established until the amendments to the Official Languages Act have been made and six months have been allowed to establish the committee thereafter.
The Advisory Committee will then have two years to prepare the National Plan. This means that the new plan will be published by mid-2023 at the earliest.
Some of the opposition, An Coimisinéir Teanga and Conradh na Gaeilge have expressed doubts that the new committee will consist mainly of representatives from government departments and the public service and that it will only need to have one representative from the Gaeltacht.
There is also unease about the status of the new National Plan and no confirmation of who will be responsible for its implementation.
The Department stated that it would be up to the new Committee to advise public bodies on developing their services through Irish and to increase the number of staff who are fluent in Irish. It was also stated that the goals in the National Plan would be based on “specific research” and “stemming from an evidence-based approach”.
It was agreed in the Dáil last month that the language bill would be taken to the next stage, committee stage.
The Oireachtas Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands will now scrutinize the legislation and the opposition intends to propose a number of amendments to it.
Opposition TDs welcomed the government’s reforms, in particular the proposal to add a deadline – 31 December 2030 – to the bill’s target of 20% of new public service recruits speaking Irish and the proposal to strengthen existing power. by An Coimisinéir Teanga to monitor acts other than the language act.
But all TDs referred to what they felt were still on the bill, and to the amendments they felt were needed at the next stage of the bill.
The Chairman of the Oireachtas Irish Language Committee, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, is seeking the views of the public on amendments to the bill.