Committee Reports::Report No. 03 - Survey amongst the Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas in connection with the Irish language::20 July, 1988::Appendix



A. The Irish language and the Political Parties

1. The President of each Party should use the Irish language as much as possible in his normal activities.

2. If the President has not got an abundance of Irish he should not feel inhibited from attending an intensive course to improve his capability.

3. The Executive Committee of every Party should adopt the following responsibilities to themselves in relation to the Irish language, viz.:

(a)to ensure that the Party will have a comprehensive policy in relation to Irish and that efforts will be made to promote that policy in a positive manner;

(b)to ensure that the other policies of the Party will not be detrimental to the Irish language;

(c)to show leadership in relation to the language to other levels in the Party through organising meetings — or part thereof at least — through the medium of Irish on a regular basis; and

(d)laying down guidelines and advising the other levels of the Party on language matters.

4. The Parliamentary Parties could act in a number of ways as follows, viz.:

(a)Members should use as much Irish as possible within both Houses;

(b)the officers (e.g. Chairman and Secretary) should make every effort to promote a bilingual atmosphere within the Parliamentary Party; and

(c)in order to assist Members of both Houses to prepare speeches, etc., in Irish it would be worthwhile for the Parliamentary Parties to request the headquarters to make arrangements for the provision of translation services for them.

5. An atmosphere conducive to Irish should be promoted in the headquarters of the Parties through the erection of signs and bilingual notices and ensuring that staff would be available to conduct business through Irish.

6. The Irish language should be seen in all documents of the Parties which are issued from the headquarters — particularly those which go to the public.

7. The Parties should conduct some publicity work in Irish or at least on a bilingual basis.

8. Services such as the following should be available in every headquarters:

(a)a service for the writing and typing of letters, speeches and statements in Irish;

(b)a service to conduct telephone business through Irish; and

(c)an information service in Irish i.e. brochures, forms etc. in Irish (or bilingually) to be available.

9. Officers and Spokespersons of the Parties should adopt the following steps in their normal activities, viz:

(a)to indicate that they welcome business through Irish about any subject at any time;

(b)to avail of opportunities to use Irish — for example when delivering speeches; and

(c)to give a prominent place to Irish in all the activities of the Parties — business and social — with which they are associated.

10. A fluency in Irish should be included, inter alia, when people are being nominated to preside in both Houses.

11. There should be a portion in Irish in any major speeches of a political nature delivered in the Houses e.g. Debates on the Adjournment at the end of Term.

B. The Irish language and the work in the Houses of the Oireachtas

1. All major speeches delivered by Ministers and Spokespersons from other Parties from both Houses should contain a substantial portion in Irish. The portion in each case should have particular importance and should not be mentioned in that part of the speech being delivered in English.

2. It would be worthwhile to establish a practice whereby Members with Irish would be included in the rota to take the Chair in the course of debates in Irish, if necessary.

3. The following recommendations in relation to Question Time should be implemented, viz.:

(a)that every Deputy would make an effort to put down one Parliamentary Question in Irish on any subject every week;

(b)that Members would have permission to include an additional Parliamentary Question in the lottery every day if it was in Irish;

(c)that an additional Parliamentary Question nominated for Priority could be put down each day if it was in Irish; and

(d)that every Deputy serving a Gaeltacht area should make a special effort to put down as many Parliamentary Questions in Irish as possible in connection with the affairs of the Gaeltacht community.

4. A practice should be promoted in both Houses regarding the use of some Irish every day when the Order of Business is under discussion.

5. There should be a practice in existence that the Debate on the Adjournment — on any subject — should be in Irish one day out of every twenty, say, or two or three times in each term.

C. Support Services in Irish for Members of both Houses

1. The following support services should be available to Members of both Houses, viz.:

(a)a specific room to be available on a full-time basis for the benefit for everything associated with the Irish language;

(b)that official staff be available in the aforementioned room to assist Members with the preparation of official speeches, official statements, motions for both Houses and Parliamentary Questions;

(c)that a summary of relevant phrases in Irish be distributed in association with each Bill issued;

(d)that the authorities in the Parties consult with recognised experts to see if intensive courses in typing in Irish could be prepared and implemented for the secretaries to Members;

(e)that every Party would ensure that one or two secretaries would be available to do work exclusively in Irish for Members i.e. in addition to the other secretaries; and

(f)that lists of terms associated with the work of all the State Departments/Offices be prepared and that these be published in Irish.

2. To serve the Members of both Houses who wish to learn Irish in particular the following recommendations should be examined, viz.:

(a)the authorities of the Houses should consult with linguistic experts with a view to preparing the specification for a course in Irish which would be geared principally towards the work of the Houses;

(b)when the comprehensive specification mentioned at (a) above would be ready the authorities of the Houses should invite tenders from companies/organisations who would be prepared to make facilities available and run the course; and

(c)when the tenders mentioned prior to this would be received a short-list could be prepared and further recommendations sought from the companies/organisations in relation to price, times, frequency, teaching methods and so forth. It is on the basis of that submission that a final decision would be made.

3. Enquiries regarding intensive week-end courses in the Gaeltacht should be made on the same basis as for the instructional courses mentioned prior to this.

D. The Irish language and the Oireachtas Committees

1. Oireachtas Committees should discuss various subjects in Irish from time to time.

2. Oireachtas Committees should ensure that there would be some Irish from the beginning in every report published.

3. Every Oireachtas Committee should ensure that publicity material would be available in Irish when reports are being issued and in relation to the work of the Committee in general.

4. It would be worthwhile for every Oireachtas Committee to nominate a member to deal specifically with the media in Irish regarding all aspects of the work on hand.

E. The staff of the Houses and the Irish language

1. The telephones in Leinster House should be answered using the phrases “Tithe an Oireachtais” or “Oireachtas” henceforth i.e. use Irish rather than English.

2. The authorities of the Houses should consult with Gaeleagras na Seirbhíse Poiblí regarding courses which could be organised for specialist groups.

3. In the medium-term the aim should be to have at least one person in every office — excluding the reception offices where more than that will be involved — to deal with business through Irish.

4. The authorities of the Houses must ensure that staff will be given every opportunity to attend various courses organised by Gaeleagras na Seirbhíse Poiblí.

5. Clear signs should be hung in the various reception offices indicating that business through Irish is welcome.

6. Current magazines in Irish should be available in the reception room in a prominent position at any time visitors are present there.

7. More staff must be recruited for the Translation Branch as a very urgent measure.

F. The Media and the Irish language

1. It would be worthwhile to provide a special fund to teach Irish to trainee reporters while they are learning the profession.

2. It would be worthwhile to award Gaeltacht scholarships to a certain number of trainee reporters each year to enable them to attend intensive Irish courses.

G. Social contact and the Public

1. The establishment of a Cumann Gaelach in Leinster House would help considerably in the promotion of the Irish language amongst the Members and staff.

2. Members should encourage visitors to the Houses to use Irish as much as possible.

3. Members should inform visitors that Irish is welcome and they should also be informed of the standing which Irish enjoys in the Houses in accordance with Standing Orders and in relation to the steps which are being taken to promote the language.