Thursday, 30 March 2006
Irish Language: Statements.
John Deasy (Waterford, Fine Gael)
Thank you. Implementation of the Act is all over the shop. Some Departments are spending €200,000 or €300,000 to implement the Act and some are spending €3. In many cases they have decided to comply with the legislation and in other cases people have a difference of opinion. People are confused. The amounts involved in some Departments run to hundreds of thousands and in others it is less than €10. I have the figures, which I requested from each Department.
The Opposition needs to make it clear that if we are in Government after the next general election, aspects of the Official Languages Act should be repealed. We should not be afraid to say so. We made a mistake in voting in favour of some provisions in the Act and the Government did also. I am man enough to stand up and say so and the Minister should acknowledge that he made a mistake regarding spending on Irish translation.
If measures are shoved down people's throats, they will react badly. I get that impression from officials who provide a very good service in the Irish language. People feel resentment as a result of the Act, which does not do the Irish language any favours. In some cases, officials have more important matters to attend to than catering to the Minister's whims, of which this measure is an example and which is not working.