December 9, 2020
Masla don Ghaeilge agus do Theachtaí Dála agus plé ar Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla curtha ar fionraí – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Léirigh Urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir de chuid Shinn Féin Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD a díomá toisc Céim an Choiste do Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2019 a bheith curtha siar go Mí Eanair 2021.

D’fhógair Rúnaíocht na gCoistí do Teachta Ó Snodaigh mar Chathaoirleach ar Choiste na Gaeilge inné nach raibh sé de chumas ag Oifig na mBillí  san Oireachtas an próiseas maidir le leasuithe a ullmhú ar bhonn dátheangach a chríochnú roimh na Nollag.

Mhínigh an Teachta Ó Snodaigh nach raibh sé “ag díriú locht ar foireann Oifig na mBillí atá ag obair faoi bhrú, ach is léir nach bhfuil dóthain achmhainn nó an tacaíocht atá ag teastáil uatha chun go mbeidh an Coiste seo in ann a chuid dualgais a chomhlíonadh.”

“Rinne mé gach iarracht”, a dúirt Ó Snodaigh, “cúnamh a thabhairt don tseirbhís i dTithe an Oireachtais chun an jab a dhéanamh níos éasca dóibh – d’fhógair mé i bhfad roimh an spriocdáta go raibh roinnt mhaith leasuithe á chur isteach agam; lorg mé spriocdháta uathu a bhí in oiriúint dóibh i bhfad roimhré; agus mar chuidiú chuir mé 90% de mo leasaithe acu breis is seachtain roimh an spriocdháta – seo fiú sular chuir an tAire féin leasuithe an rialtais isteach.”

Dúirt an Teachta Ó Snodaigh:

“D’fhógair an tAire Catherine Martin go raibh sé i gceist aici an Bille seo a bheith achtaithe roimh na Nollag. Anois ní bheidh plé fiú tosaithe air sa Choiste roimh na Nollag agus tá Céim Tuarascála sa Dáil fós le teacht sula rachaidh sé os comhar an Seanad. Is ar éigean go mbeidh an Bille seo achtaithe roimh na Cásca 2021.

“Bheadh muid i bhfad chun cinn mar gheall ar an mBille seo murach an botún a bhí déanta ag an tAire Stáit Jack Chambers a sheol an Bille go dtí an Coiste mícheart agus nár cheartaigh sé a bhotún féin go dtí os cionn mí ina dhiaidh. Níor fhoilsigh sé ach oiread na leasuithe a bhí fógartha aige nó, fiú mar a ghealladh, an dréacht-chaighdeán a bheadh mar cuidiú dóibh súid a bhí ag ullmhú leasuithe.

“Ní haon ionadh é seo do phobal na Gaeilge, atá seasta fágtha ar an méara fhada ag fanacht ar ghníomh ón rialtas i leith na teanga. Táimid ag fanacht ar an mBille seo ó d’fhógair an rialtas é i 2011. Anois agus é os ár gcomhar, is léir nach bhfuil sé sásúil chun an Ghaeilge a tharrtháil, agus taispeánann meon an rialtais agus an Státchórais nach bhfuil aon deifir orthu tabhairt faoin méid atá de dhíth.

“Is masla é don Ghaeilge agus do Theachtaí Dála le Gaeilge nach féidir gnó bunúsach an Oireachtas a dhéanamh as Gaeilge gan bac i gcomparáid le chomh héasca sin nach n-áireotar é más as Béarla atá an reachtaíocht atá á phlé. Cén saghas Sríomhtheanga Oifigiúil é nach féidir leas a bhaint aisti sa pharlaimint?

“Is gnách nach mbíonn cothrom na féinne i gceist nuair a thriallann muid Gaeilge a úsáid i dTithe an Oireachtais. Faigheann muid freagraí ar cheist parlaiminte Gaeilge níos déanaí ná cinn as Béarla, agus tharla sé i mbliana go bhfuair muid freagraí trí Bhéarla ar cheisteanna Gaeilge. Is Béarla amháin nó chun tosaigh atá formhór na gcomharthaí i dTeach Laighin. 

“Ba é seo an chéad Bille dátheangach ó Acht Gaeltachta 2012, agus roimhe sin ní raibh ach Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla é féin siar i 2003. Bhí go leor ama ag Thithe an Oireachtais chun ullmhúcháin a dhéanamh, nó chun rabhadh a thabhairt dúinn go raibh níos mó ama nó áiseanna ag teastáil.

“Beidh mé ag déanamh gearán leis an gCeann Comhairle agus leis an Aire faoin dímheas atá taispeánta do phobal na Gaeilge sa chás seo. Gach nóiméad caite amú gan reachtaíocht níos láidre, éiríonn an Ghaeilge níos laige sna ceantair Gaeltachta gan seirbhísí ar fáil don lucht labhartha. Tá súil agam go dtapóidh an tAire an deis leis an breis ama seo chun leasuithe níos suntasaí a dhéanamh ar an mBille, agus chun éisteacht cheart a thabhairt d’éileamh phobal na teanga agus na leasuithe atá molta agamsa ar a shon.”

An insult to the Irish language and to TDs as discussion on the Official Languages Bill suspended – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD is extremely disappointed by the postponement of the Official Languages Bill 2019 until January 2021 due to the Oireachtas being unable to process the work bilingually within the timeframe set out and despite all the amendments being submitted before the deadline given to members.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh, who serves as Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Irish Speaking Community – which was due to begin debate on the Bill tomorrow – was informed yesterday by the Secretary of Committees that the work required could not be completed before Christmas.

He stressed that he was “not directing blame at Oireachtas staff who are working under pressure, but it is clear that there are not enough resources or the support necessary for the Committee to fulfil its duty”, and as a result, “the most important piece of Irish language legislation in nearly twenty years will now not be discussed by the Committee until next year.”

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“Minister Catherine Martin promised to have this Bill enacted by Christmas. Now we will be lucky if it is passed by Easter 2021. We would be much further ahead with this Bill if the Minister for the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers hadn’t sent the Bill to the wrong Committee and taken over a month to correct his mistake. He has yet to publish the government’s amendments, or the draft-standards which were also promised and would help those of us preparing amendments.

“This grinding to a halt sadly comes as no surprise to the Irish-language community, who are used to being put on the long finger waiting for government action. We have been waiting for this Bill since the government recommended it all the way back in 2011. The Bill, in its current form, is clearly not adequate to save the Irish language.

“It is insulting to the Irish language and to TDs with Irish that they cannot do even the most basic work through Irish in the Oireachtas without barriers, compared with how easily the same work is done through English. What sort of First Official Language can you not even use in parliament?

“This was only the third Bill this century to be moved bilingually, and the Oireachtas had more than enough time to prepare for this, or to give warning that more time would be needed. I will be complaining to the Ceann Comhairle and the Minister about the disrespect shown to the Irish speaking community. I also hope that the Minister will take this extra time to reflect on the amendments necessary to improve this Bill and to give consideration to the ones I have submitted.”

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