January 28, 2021
Tá deis fós ag an Aire Jack Chambers bun-inniúlacht Gaeilge B2+ a chinntiú sa Státsheirbhís – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Tá deis fós ag an Aire Jack Chambers bun-inniúlacht Gaeilge B2+ a chinntiú sa Státsheirbhís – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD  

Déanfar plé arís ar leasú suntasach faoi cad is brí le “inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge” atá molta ag Aengus Ó Snodaigh, urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir de chuid Shinn Féin, ar Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2021, nuair a leanann Céim an Choiste den Bhille seo ar aghaidh Dé hAoine 29ú Eanair.

Tá sé molta ag an Teachta Ó Snodaigh, agus a chomhghleacaithe Mairéad Farrell agus Pa Daly, gur chóir go mbeadh sainmhíniú soiléir agus daingean ar “inniúlacht” sa Bhille seo mar bhunleibhéal, chun a chinntiú go mbeidh daoine atá fostaithe sa státsheirbhís de bharr “inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge” in ann an Ghaeilge a úsáid go nádúrtha agus go héifeachtaí agus iad i mbun caidreamh leis an bpobal.

Moltar leibhéal B2 sa Chreat Comhchoiteann Tagartha Eorpach le haghaidh Teangacha – caighdeán eisithe ag Comhairle na hEorpa – mar bhunleibhéal do fostaí a bhíonn ag feidhmiú trí Bhreatnais sa Bhreatain Bheag, nó in aon teanga sna hinstitiúidí de chuid an Aontas Eorpach.

Cháin go leor eagraíochtaí – Conradh na Gaeilge, Misneach, agus Oifigigh Pleanála Teanga na hÉireann ina measc – an cinneadh a bhí déanta aon leasú a dhícheadú a bhain le seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht mar a bhí geallta chomh fada siar le 1926.

Ag aontú leo, dúirt Ó Snodaigh, atá freisin ina Chathaoirleach ar an Roghchoiste:

“Ar a laghad, bheadh feabhas éicint suntasach curtha ar na seirbhísí Gaeilge atá curtha ar fáil leis an leasú seo, agus súil ann sa Bhille seo go gcuirfear go mór le líon na státsheirbhísigh atá inniúil sa Ghaeilge. Pioc difear a bheidh ann muna bhfuil á fhostú ach líon níos mó duine nach bhfuil in ann níos mó ná “Dia duit” a rá.

“Ní haon caitheamh anuas é seo ar foghlaimeoirí ach oiread, ach ní poist iad seo do foghlaimeoirí, ach poist chun freastal ar riachtanais agus cearta phobail na Gaeilge seirbhísí a fháil ina theanga féin.

“Faoi láthair níl mórán poist ann ina bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge bainte leo, agus fiú sna cásanna sin níl ann go minic, mar a dúirt Breandán Ó Beaglaoich ar Raidió na Gaeltachta le gairid, ach ceist ag an agallamh “Do you speak Irish?”

“Ní leor sin, agus is mar gheall ar an easpa caighdeán sin atá ann nach bhfuil muintir na Gaeltachta, ach go háirithe, in ann seirbhísí a fháil ón Stát trí Ghaeilge, rud tubaisteach atá ag cur brú orthu iompú ar an mBéarla.

“Ní mise a tháinig suas leis an leibhéal B2. Is bunaithe ar thaighde agus dhé-chleachtais idirnáisiúnta atá sé, mar a bhí molta ag Teachtaí Dála as gach páirtí i dTuarascáil Chomhchoiste an Oireachtais i 2018 tar éis aighneachtaí ón bpobal. Cuireann ollscoileanna cáilíochtaí ar fáil chun an leibhéal seo a chruthú cheana féin do phoist san Aontas Eorpach, ar nós TEG in Ollscoil Má Nuad, agus bheadh sé thar a bheith seafóideach dá mbeadh caighdeán níos fearr Gaeilge de dhíth ar státsheirbhísigh sa Bhruiséil ná mar atá anseo in Éirinn.

“Léirigh Teachtaí Dála ón rialtas agus ón bhfreasúra nach raibh siad sásta le freagra an Aire Stáit Gaeltachta, go ndéanfaidh sé inniúlacht a shainiú amach anseo, “mar is cuí” i gcaighdeán teanga nach bhfuil fiú dréacht feicthe againn go fóill in ainneoin geallúint i ndiaidh gheallúint.

“Beidh an deis ag an Aire Stáit éisteacht leis na saineolaí agus lena pháirtí féin agus tacú leis an leasú seo nuair a thagann muid ar ais ag an Roghchoiste Dé hAoine.”

Minister Jack Chambers still has chance to ensure B2+ minimum competence in Irish for Civil Service jobs – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Debate will resume on an important amendment proposed by Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, defining what “competence in Irish” means in the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2021, when Committee Stage continues on Friday 29 January.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh, and Sinn Féin colleagues Mairéad Farrell and Pa Daly, believe a clear and concrete definition for minimum “competence” is needed in the Bill, to ensure anyone “competent in Irish” employed by the civil service will be able to use Irish naturally and effectively when interacting with the public.

B2 Level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – a standard issued by the Council of Europe – is the minimum standard for employees working through Welsh in Wales, or in any language in European Union institutions.

Many organisations – including Conradh na Gaeilge, Misneach, and the Language Planning Officers of Ireland – criticised the decision not to allow any amendments dealing with the provision of services through Irish in the Gaeltacht as was promised as far back as 1926.

When agreeing with their criticism, Ó Snodaigh, who also chairs the Select Committee, said:

“At least this amendment could significantly improve those services which are provided in Irish, and it is hoped that this Bill will greatly increase the number of civil servants competent in Irish. It won’t make much difference at all if that only means employing more people who can just about say “Dia Duit”.

“That’s not any criticism of people learning the language, but these jobs are not for learners, they are to serve the needs and rights of the Irish speaking community to avail of services in their own language.

“At the moment, there are very few jobs where Irish is required and often, as Breandán Ó Beaglaoich said on Raidió na Gaeltachta recently, even in those few cases all that involves is being asked in the interview, in English, “Do you speak Irish?”

“That’s not good enough, and it is because of this lack of standard that people, particularly in the Gaeltacht, are unable to get services from the State through Irish, forcing them to switch to English.

“I did not come up with the B2 Level, it is based on international best-practice and research, as was recommended by TDs from all parties in the Oireachtas Joint Committee Report in 2018 after public submissions. Universities already offer qualifications to demonstrate this level of competence for EU jobs, like the TEG in Maynooth University, and it would be beyond ridiculous if civil servants in Brussels required a better level of Irish than here in Ireland.

“Government TDs, as well as those on the opposition, made clear they were unhappy with Gaeltacht Minister Jack Chamber’s response, that competence would be defined in language standards “as appropriate” in the future. We were promised drafts of these language standards months ago and are still waiting.

“The Minister of State will have another chance to heed what experts and those within his own party have been saying and support this amendment when it comes back before the Committee on Friday.”

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