Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Finance

An Fhoireann Rannach

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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183. To ask the Minister for Finance cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974 [47286/14]

Photo of Michael NoonanMichael Noonan (Limerick City, Fine Gael)
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The Department is aware of its obligations under Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003.  This Department has set out its obligations as part of our Irish Languages Scheme 2014-2017.

There are no records available of those with a proficiency in Irish for the years 1974, 1984, 1994 or 2004.

Please note that a Language and Qualifications survey was carried out during 2014 which indicated that 7 members of staff have some proficiency in Irish.  This represents some 2.3% of the current staff compliment of the Department.

An earlier survey within the Department revealed that in 2013 a total of 15 members of staff dealt with written correspondence in Irish and 2 dealt with telephone calls in Irish, totalling 17 staff or 5.3% of the total staffing numbers.  While most dealt with only a few items (11 staff dealt with 3 or fewer items), one member of staff dealt with more than 9 instances of written correspondence during 2013.  In addition, 3 items of Ministerial correspondence were received and answered in Irish during 2013.

In 2009, there were 49 people who had a proficiency in Irish representing 8% of the staff.  Please note that there were 612 staff in the Department of Finance, at that time, before the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was formaly set up.

As part of the 2014-2017 Irish Languages Scheme within this Department, the Department plans to carry out the following activities:

Services that the Department Provides Bilingually

Generally the Department does not provide services directly to the public but where there is a need for translation and Divisions do not have a member of staff proficient in Irish, or where such a person is not available, a designated member of staff from another Division will provide a service in Irish where required.

Means of Communicating with the Public/Information to the Public

In conjunction with this new Irish Language Scheme, the Department is updating its Customer Service Action Planand Customer Charter. The revised Charter will continue to reflect the principles of Quality Customer Service and in this way ensure that persons who wish to conduct their business through Irish are facilitated as much as possible.


All correspondence (letters, phone calls, requests) received in Irish will continue to be logged to allow for monitoring of demand and will be responded to in Irish.

In addition to fulfilling the legal obligation to reply in Irish to correspondence received in Irish, the Department will strive to correspond in Irish with those who are known to prefer correspondence in Irish. Standard messages on the Department's e-mail system, such as disclaimers of responsibility, will be both in Irish and English. Staff will be encouraged to provide automatic out of office messages in Irish and English.

Department Website and Computer Systems

While a limited version of this website is available in Irish, it will be enhanced and developed to have at least 25% of documents made available in Irish and in addition to the provision of static content, the Department will continue to build on the Irish language content on its website.


Speeches or statements, given by the Minister in the Oireachtas or elsewhere as well as made by senior officials will continue to be made in the language in which they are delivered.

Official Invitations

The Department will ensure that invitations to official functions hosted by the Minster or Ministers for State are printed bilingually.


The Department produces a range of publications from various policy areas. The Department undertakes to provide bilingual versions of core publications (major policy statements, strategies etc.) preferably within the same cover (either hard copy or electronic publications). It is not the intention to publish bilingually all technical documents or those having a small circulation.

Under Section 10 of the Official Languages Act 2003, the Department publishes the following documents in both Irish and English:

- Documents setting out public policy,

- Annual Report,

- Audited Accounts,

- Statement of Strategy,

- Documents of major public importance.

The Department also publishes the following documents in both Irish and English:

- Annual Appropriation Accounts,

- Budget (summary of Budget Measures),

- Finance Accounts,

- Irish Language Scheme,

- Legislation,

- Medium Term Economic Strategy,

- White Paper on Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure.

Oral Announcements/Telephone Communications with the Public

In line with the principles of Quality Customer Service, the Department continues to ensure that the switchboard operators and receptionists, who are the first point of contact with the public, give:

- The name of the Department in Irish and English,

- Are familiar with basic greetings in Irish,

- Put members of the public in contact without delay with whatever offices or officer is responsible for offering services required through Irish.

Press Releases

Over the period of the Irish Language Scheme 2014-2017 the Department intends to issue 30% of press releases bilingually.  Where possible press releases in Irish will issue at the same time as English language ones but where this is not possible, Irish language versions will be provided on the website within 24 hours.


It is the policy of the Department that, when warranted, staff proficient in Irish will continue to be provided when meeting Irish language organisations where sufficient notice is given.

Learning and Development

The Department includes Irish language awareness as part of the Induction training course, to ensure that staff understand their bilingual obligations under the Official Languages Act 2003.

Seachtain na Gaeilge

The Department is committed to promoting cultural initiatives which support and encourages the use of the Irish language. In this way, the Department supports activities organised during Seachtain na Gaeilge and will seek advice from Irish language bodies in this respect.


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