FF’s Jim O’Callaghan ‘not learning Irish for a leadership bid’

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman has denied he is learning Irish to increase his chances of becoming party leader.

Jim O’Callaghan signed up to the classes, run by the Oireachtas training unit, last year.

However, the Dublin Bay South TD, who has been tipped as a potential successor to Micheál Martin, should the latter step aside, said he attended the classes to be more competent in interviews and discussions on Irish-language media.

Party leaders traditionally have a command of the Irish language: Mr Martin is fluent, while Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, took a course to improve his Gaeilge, before he was elected leader of Fine Gael.

Mr O’Callaghan laughed off the suggestion that he had signed up to the classes to add to his leadership credentials. “I already had quite good Irish from school and my son went to a Gaelscoil, but I actually only went to two classes, because of the demands of the Dáil working schedule.

“I think TDs should make an effort to learn and speak Irish,” he said, adding that public representatives have an obligation to also serve the Irish-speaking community and to appear on Irish-language media.


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