In the absence of Deputy Pádraig Mac Ualghraig in whose name the amendment stands, I move to add to Section 6 the following sub-section:—
So far as may be, the officers and men stationed in a district which includes an area where the Irish language is in general use shall possess such knowledge of the Irish language as will enable them to use it with facility as a medium of communication in the performance of their duties.
I should like to put the substance of the amendment before the Dáil and ask for its consideration and endorsement. So far we have accepted the Irish language as the official language of the nation, and where we are putting public officials into a place where Irish is the general language it is only right that we should ask that these officials would have a knowledge of the language that would make them intelligible to the people with whom they have to deal in the district. Unfortunately, it is too true that this question of the language has not got the close attention which it should get from Government departments. Men have been put into positions in districts where Irish is the language generally used, and yet these men are not capable of making themselves intelligible to the people with whom they have to deal. The knowledge of the language that extends to "Connus tá tú" and "Dia 's Muire duit" is not a knowledge of Irish. They should have a knowledge of the language that would enable them to perform the duties that fall to them and that would bring the people in contact with them in the discharge of their duty. The Gárda Síochána come in close contact with the people in the discharge of their duties, and in districts where the people are native speakers of the language the least that might be expected of them is that they should have a useful knowledge of the language that would make them intelligible to the people.