Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Business in Irish.

Thursday, 5 December 1974

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 276 No. 7

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66.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley asked the Minister for the Public Service the steps he proposes to take to ensure that any person who so wishes may conduct his or her business in Irish with any Government Department.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Faoin gcóras nua beidh marcanna breise le fáil ag iarrthóirí ar phoist sa Státseirbhís le Gaeilge agus le Béarla. Tá súil agam go mbeidh cumas sa Ghaeilge ag formhór na ndaoine a cheapfar amach anseo. Cabhróidh Gaeleagras na Státseirbhíse le hoifigigh chun feabhas a chur ar a gcuid Gaeilge. Cuirfear eolas ar an nGaeilge san áireamh, freisin, le haghaidh ardú céime. Ní bheidh aon easba Gaeilge, mar sin, sa Státseirbhís agus beidh fonn níos láidre chun feidhm a bhaint aisti toisc deireadh an éigeantais.

Fuair mé a lán gearán nach mbíodh sé éasca gnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge le Ranna Rialtas faoin sean-chóras. Iarradh, mar sin, ar gach Aire féachaint chuige ina Roinn féin nach mbeadh an chuis ghearáin seo ann feasta. Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh feabhas mór ar an scéal de bharr a bhfuil déanta ag an Rialtas.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Arising out of the Minister's reply, may I ask him to reply to the question put to him? What proposals has he to ensure—not to be hopeful about or anything else but to ensure—that people who wish to do their business in Irish with any Government Department will be able to do so, having regard to the fact that the regulations he has announced will certainly produce a situation in which Government Departments may be staffed entirely by people unable to do business through Irish?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan The principal complaint I received from a multitude of individuals and organisations was that the old system, which we abolished, [1124] had failed to produce a situation in which Irish speakers could do their business in Irish with people in the Public Service. I had quite a long session with representatives of different organisations who vehemently condemned the Public Service for their failure under the old system to carry on business with them in Irish. We are now satisfied that by replacing the compulsion which did so much damage to the Irish language over the past half century with enthusiasm for the language, we will have people more readily disposed to use Irish. It is of interest that in this House itself more Irish has been used since March, 1973, than was used in the previous decade.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Because we are putting down the questions instead of you.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Because the element of compulsion is gone out of Irish now——

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Come off it.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan ——people are better disposed to use it. There are more people going to the Gaeltacht now to master Irish and to refresh their Irish.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney For cheap holidays.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan There are people going to the Gaeltacht who do not get any grants.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney From London for cheap holidays.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Does the Minister accept the obligation to ensure that people can do their business in Irish with any Government Department?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I accept that every citizen who wants to conduct his business with a public Department in either of the official languages has that right and I will see to it that that right is respected. It will certainly be better respected in the future than it was in the past under a policy which failed totally to please anybody.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley May I suggest that, since the Minister does accept that right, it follows that he has an obligation to ensure that that right can [1125] be exercised. The point of the question which the Minister has purported to answer but has not yet answered is this. How does the Minister propose to ensure that all our citizens can exercise the right which he acknowledges they have if he does not ensure that there are available in every Government Department officials who can do business in Irish? How can he ensure that, if he enforces the regulations he has announced?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I will ensure it.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley How? That is the question.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I will ensure——

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Tell us how. Do not mind the propaganda.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Deputy Colley said earlier that you could not have a civil servant in the Department of Finance who knew no English, that he would not be able to discuss his work. I do not accept that that is so. If it is so, more shame on you for maintaining a policy which brought about that situation.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Is the Minister seriously suggesting to this House and to the country that you could staff the Department of Finance with people who did not know English and that they could effectively carry out their work in the circumstances obtaining in this country? Is that what the Minister is suggesting?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan The Minister did not say that.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley What is he saying?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones We are entering into argument now. Question No. 67.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan The question Deputy Colley put to me was, would it be possible for a person without English to work in the Department of Finance and I said: “Yes, it would”, and that he could go on to the highest position. If the Deputy contradicts that——

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Without a knowledge of English?

[1126]Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Yes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones Will the Minister answer Question No. 67?

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley May I submit that the Minister is showing his contempt and that of his colleagues for the intelligence of the people, and a total lack of regard for reality? The reality of the situation is that the vast majority of our people speak English. Quite a number of people use Irish in their own homes. The Minister has admitted the right of citizens to carry out their business in Irish. I have asked him to tell us how he proposes to ensure that that right can be exercised. The Minister has now demonstrated clearly that he does not propose to ensure it.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan The Deputy is asserting that a person who is an Irish speaker and does not know English has not got the same intellectual capacity——

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley Zoom on George Colley Nonsense.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I do not accept that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones Question No. 67.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney May I ask the Minister to dispel the fears I might have by saying to me that it is his intention and the intention of the Government to restore the Irish language as a vernacular?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones Sin ceist eile.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney Ní ceist eile ar fad í. Baineann sí leis na ceisteanna.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones B'fhéidir go mbaineann sí leis na ceisteanna ach is ceist eile í.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney Baineann sí go díreach leis' na ceisteanna. Will they encourage the restoration of the language?

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Perhaps the Deputy did not understand my reply.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones Zoom on Denis Francis Jones Táimid ag dul i bhfad taobh amuigh de na ceisteanna atá ar an gclár anseo.

[1127]Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney The Deputy understands the Minister too well. That is why I am asking the question.

Mr. R. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan I pointed out that a person who has Irish as well as English may get marks for displaying skills in two languages. A person with only one language will receive fewer marks.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney Zoom on James C. Tunney Is it intended to restore the language? No.


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