June 1, 2021
Tuairisc an Choimisinéir – “Léiriú eile go bhfuil an Bille Teanga ró-lag” – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Tuairisc an Choimisinéir – “Léiriú eile go bhfuil an Bille Teanga ró-lag” – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

“Léiriú sonrach gur gá leasú suntasach a dhéanamh ar Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla chun cearta Gaeilgeoirí a chosaint agus chun freastal ar an éileamh nach bhfuil á sású ar sheirbhísí Gaeilge, go háirithe sa Ghaeltacht” a dúirt urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, tar éis Tuarascáil Bliantúil Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga bheith foilsithe inniu.

Mhínigh an Teachta Ó Snodaigh, atá mar Chathaoirleach ar Chomhchoiste Oireachtais na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus Phobail Labhartha na Gaeilge go raibh díomá air “faoin neamhaird tubaisteach atá déanta ag rannaí rialtais agus comhlachtaí poiblí ar a ndualgais reachtúla teanga le bliain anuas agus atá sonraithe go mion sa Tuarascáil, ó thairseach Ardteiste na Roinne Oideachais go Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, cathair atá ceaptha a bheith ‘dátheangach’.

Lean sé ag rá go gcuireann an Coimisinéir in iúl rud a bhí feicthe againn go léir mar Ghaeilgeoirí, agus is é sin “go raibh agus go bhfuil comhlachtaí Stáit ag gníomhú amhail is nárbh ann in aon chor do na rialacháin (faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla).”

“Ba chóir don Stát aird a thabhairt don Choimisinéir nuair a deir sé ‘Níl an teidlíocht reachtúil seirbhís a fháil as Gaeilge ag brath ar thosca, tosaíochtaí nó acmhainn an chomhlachta phoiblí.’

“Is léir ar an gcéad dul síos nach bhfuil aon fiacal san Acht atá ann nó sa Bhille molta chun a chinntiú nach sárófar dualgais teanga amach anseo, agus sin an fáth go bhfuil Sinn Féin ag moladh córas píonóis do chomhlachtaí nach gcomhlíonann a gcuid dualgais.

“Is léir chomh maith gur gá gníomhú chun go mbeidh seirbhísí uilig an Stáit ar fáil i nGaeilge sna ceantair Gaeltachta. Dá nglacfaidh le leasaithe uaimse ar an mBille bheadh an Aire agus a rialtas ag tabhairt faoi an bun fadhb faoi bhun alán de na gearáin a bhíonn ar an Coimisinéir iomrascáil leo go bliantúil – teip seirbhísí stáit bheith ar fáil i nGaeilge do saoránaigh san Ghaeltacht.

“Treaslaím leis an Choimisinéir as an ceist a ardú arís eile, ach gan cur cuighe ceart reachtúil go luath, b’fhéidir go mbeadh gáth tabhairt faoi cás nó cásanna Bunreachtúla a ghlacadh chun cuir air an Stáit cearta teangan saoránaigh a deimhniú.”

Commissioner’s Report – “further proof that the Languages Bill is too weak” – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

In response to the publication today of the Annual Report published by the Office of the Language Commissioner, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that “the report sets out clearly that big changes to the Official Languages Bill are needed to protect the rights of Irish speakers and to serve the demand that is not being met for Irish language services, especially in the Gaeltacht.”

Teachta Ó Snodaigh, who also chairs the Oireachtas Committee on the Irish language, Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking community, explained he was disappointed to see “the damaging disregard shown by government departments and public bodies to their statutory language obligations over this past year which is laid bare in this report, from the Department of Education’s Leaving Cert portal to the failure of Galway City Council to live up to its bilingual status.

Ó Snodaigh continued stating that the Commissioner outlines something we in the Irish speaking community have all encountered, “that public bodies have been, and are still, acting as if the regulations (under the Official Languages Act) don’t exist”.

“The State should pay heed to the Commissioner when he says ‘the statutory duty to provide a service in Irish does not depend on the particular situation involved, the priorities or resources of the public body’.

“It is clear to begin with that the Act, and the proposed Bill, have no teeth to ensure that language obligations will not be violated in future, and this is why Sinn Féin is recommending a system of penalties for bodies who do not fulfil their obligations.

“It is obvious also that there is a need to act to ensure all State services are available in Irish in the Gaeltacht regions. If my amendments to the Official Languages Bill were accepted by the Minister, his government would be addressing the underlying reason behind many of the complaints annually to the Language Commissioner – the failure to provide State services in Irish to citizens in the Gaeltacht.

“I support and welcome that the Commissioner has raised this question again, but without a speedy and proper legislative approach, the may need to be recourse to take a constitutional case or cases to affirm citizens’ Irish language rights.”

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