Irish language status now on par with other official EU languages

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The Irish language’s status in European istitutions will be on a par with other official languages of the EU from midnight tonight.

The Irish language was given official and working status on 1 January 2007 – but a shortage of translation staff has restricted the amount of material translated into Irish.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers, said that the end of the derogation of the language’s status in the EU is a ‘crucial step’ in the development and future of Irish.

“Irish is now on a par with other official and working EU languages and this will strengthen the relationship between citizens and European administrative systems,” said Minister Chambers.

“Together with the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 signed by the President of Ireland last week, the role of the Irish language in national and European systems of administration has now been significantly strengthened.”

Minister Chambers said that the European institutions and the staff of his Department deserve ‘a great deal of credit’ for putting in place the appropriate structures and initiatives to achieve this goal.

“It was an ambitious project, but thanks to the close cooperation between the EU institutions, the Irish Government and stakeholders under the Advanced Irish Language Skills Initiative among many other initiatives and projects, the European institutions are now ready to translate the full suite of content into Irish along with other official and working languages of the EU.”

Irish was a treaty language when Ireland became a Member State in 1973, which meant that only EU treaties were translated into Irish.

The Irish Government applied in 2005 for Irish to become an official and working language and it was granted this status on 1 January 2007.

Due to the shortage of translation staff and Irish language technological resources at the time, the scope of the status was derogated and the number of documents to be translated into Irish were limited.

In support of those applying for language posts with the EU in the future, NUI Galway is now providing support material in Irish as it relates to the European Union’s EPSO recruitment tests.