Under 3% of Government employees have 'ability to conduct business through Irish'

Under 3% of Government employees have 'ability to conduct business through Irish'

Just over 500 staff out of more than 20,000 working in Government departments can speak Irish.

The first monitoring report from An Coimisinéir Teanga also found that only 84 positions have an Irish language requirement.

Only the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht had more than 10% of its positions recognised as having an Irish language requirement.

The report found that " government departments have employed a very low number of staff with Irish."

The report stated that based on the information provided "government departments had employed 21,060 at the end of May 2018.

"551 (2.62%) of those were recognised as employees with the ability to conduct business through Irish."

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection had the most staff members with competence in Irish (190 employees out of 6,853).

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht had the highest percentage of Irish speakers on 11.43%. This figure represents 76 staff members out of 665 with competence in Irish.

The departments with the fewest number of staff with competence in Irish were the Departments of Finance; Communications, Climate Action & Environment; and Children and Youth Affairs.

Of these three, the report found that the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment had the smallest percentage (1%) of staff with competence in Irish.

The audit also found that out of 10 local authorities, just two - Galway County Council and Dublin City Council - were complying Irish language commitments on their websites.

The report concluded that: "There is very little evidence of government departments operating towards the stated objective in the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language of identifying posts with an Irish language requirement in language schemes.

"Where such a commitment is given it seems that government departments are adopting a minimalistic approach for the most part."

The full report can be read here.

Conradh na Gaeilge has called on the Government to act on the "alarming" report.

The group's president, Niall Comer, said: “An Coimisinéir Teanga and his staff are to be commended for publishing such a comprehensive monitoring report.

"It is shocking that only 2.62% of those employed by government departments are identified as having competence in the Irish language.

"It is important that services in Irish are provided to the same standard as English across all government departments.”

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