“ACADEMICS, IRISH language organisations and former minister for the Gaeltacht Éamon Ó Cuív have criticised the decision to merge An Coimisinéir Teanga’s (the Irish Language Commissioner) office with that of the Ombudsman.
The merger, announced as part of the Government’s public sector reform programme, has been described by Mr Ó Cuív as “window-dressing” and a move that would cost more than it would save.
The language commissioner’s office costs about €600,000 annually and is charged with ensuring language rights are adhered to under the Official Languages Act.
Its annual report has been critical of a number of departments and public bodies for failing to meet these requirements.
NUI Galway Irish lecturer Dr John Walsh said that the move was “incomprehensible”. “It will not save any money, and contradicts other policies on the Irish language,” Dr Walsh said. “This is a severe blow to the promotion of Irish and undermines years of efforts to strengthen language rights.””
Which is sort of the whole point. It is increasingly clear that the Fine Gael dog, with its Labour Party tail, is set on a policy of rolling back two decades of civil rights legislation and equality for Ireland’s Irish-speaking citizens. The anti-Irish agenda of the present coalition government is only going to grow in the months and years ahead. This week it is the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga. Next time it will be the Official Languages Act itself. And after that?
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