Other Questions

Turbary Rights

Bernard J. Durkan


109Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which agreement has been reached with the respective turf-cutting interests affected by special areas of conservation measures; if in respect of any particular site, it has been possible to offer extra or alternative conservation area in lieu of actual turf-cutting sites thus enabling traditional turf-cutting to continue over longer periods while at the same time meeting EU conservation targets; if such proposals could meet the requirements both of the EU and the turf cutters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21601/12]

Denis Naughten


135Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to address the ongoing issues regarding the implementation of the ban on turf cutting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21604/12]

Peadar Tóibín


416Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will allow the turf cutters who own banks on Moneybeg and Claire Island Bogs in Ross, Mount Neugent to continue cutting turf on their bogs (details supplied) [21542/12]

Bernard J. Durkan


418Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which an amicable solution has been found with turf cutters affected by special areas of conservation or other such conservation measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21985/12]

Clare Daly


428Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will report on recent discussions with the EU regarding implementing the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association proposals. [22031/12]

Clare Daly


429Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the position regarding turf cutting following the Private Members motion agreed in March. [22032/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109, 135, 416, 418, 428 and 429 together.

Earlier this year, at the request of the Government, Mr. Conor Skehan, chairman of the Peatlands Council, convened a Peatlands Forum, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice John Quirke, and involving my Department, the IFA, the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, Bord na Móna and representatives of turf cutting and environmental groups. This forum allowed each community affected by the cessation of turf cutting to put forward their views on the issues and follow-up steps were identified for each bog.

The report on the forum from Mr. Justice Quirke also recommended that a national plan should be prepared to examine how the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation are to be protected. This recommendation was agreed to by Government. Dáil Éireann also gave unanimous support to a Private Members' motion which called for such a national plan to be put in place. On 3 April, together with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, I met European Environment Commissioner Potočnik in Brussels, where we secured the support of the European Commission for developing a national raised bog SAC management plan which will be developed over the coming 12 months. The plan will be wide-ranging, looking at the practical aspects of conserving and managing the affected bogs, and will allow solutions for turf cutters to be explored in detail. In the context of such a plan, it may be possible to bring some flexibility, within the terms of the EU habitats directive, that could allow limited cutting within a small number of sites. The plan will be progressed both at local level for each site and through the Peatlands Council.

For the plan to be a success, it is clear no unauthorised turf cutting can take place on the protected bogs this year. Any widespread breach of the law would undermine everyone's collective efforts to develop the flexibility within the law which is being sought as part of the proposed national plan. It is only within the context of a national plan that issues such as the provision of compensatory habitat can be considered.

To date, there has been one significant incidence of cutting on one protected bog, with more minor incidences on four others. My Department, with the support of the Garda Síochána, is taking appropriate enforcement action and is continuing to gather evidence for the purposes of pursuing the individuals involved. The small minority who would wish to break the law are acting against the interests of the majority who are willing to work with my Department and the Peatlands Council to resolve outstanding issues. This is demonstrated by the fact that more than 1,700 applications for compensation have been received to date under my Department's cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme.

Progress is also being made in regard to the relocation option under the scheme following the work done at the Peatlands Forum. In this regard, my Department is making arrangements for assessing the suitability of a number of potential relocation sites. Relocation arrangements have already been concluded with groups from Clara Bog in County Offaly and Mountbellew in County Galway. My Department and the Peatlands Council will continue to engage actively with turf cutting communities and representatives who wish to find acceptable solutions.

Some weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting turf cutters from the Moneybeg and Clare Island bog in Ross outside Mountnugent on the Cavan, Westmeath and Meath borders. We met to get some details on the issues facing them. They have been cutting turf for generations. In some cases three or four generations of families have cut turf to heat their homes. They use between 3 m and 6 m of bog per year. As they cut, the bog they leave behind basically returns to its natural habitat. One mile up the road there is industrial or commercial cutting of bog which is having a considerable effect on the water table, the lakes around the habitat and the top of the bog. Compared with private families cutting bog, the private contractors are making a serious difference to the habitat.

It appears to me and to many of these individuals that the Government is not fighting strongly enough for them. These individuals should be allowed to cut turf this year as they have to deal with heating issues. The Government is not putting Irish interests at the heart of their negotiations with Europe. Is it not ironic that at the end of the month, those in the Government will be asking the citizens to hand away more powers to Europe so they can come back to the Chamber afterwards and say their hands are tied by Europe and they can do no more? The turf cutters of Ireland should consider the upcoming referendum closely. It is clear those in the Government are pulling more power away from the democratically elected people of the State. They use the excuse that it is not their fault but the EU's on many other issues as well.

The referendum is a different issue. As I explained previously to Deputy Troy, this issue has been around for some time. We proposed that 53 bogs should be made special areas of conservation. This amounts to approximately 2% of the total raised bog in the country. We transposed this into Irish law and we gave a clear commitment to Europe that we would preserve these sites. When I got responsibility for this issue, there was no renegotiation or wiggle room, as Deputy Tóibín has described it. I was given the challenge of implementing the law. As I have explained, we have made a good deal of progress during the past year. I engaged with the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, TCCA, and I hope they come back and renew the engagement they had previously. They brought some good proposals I have implemented. I hope the discussions continue.

Those affected have the option this year of getting 15 tonnes of turf, a substantial amount, or €2,000. This would enable them to buy oil or fuel to ensure they will have heat for the winter. A generous compensation package is available and we are doing our best to secure relocation. The process of examining the national plan and the difficult bogs will start shortly. I hope at the end of the year we will come up with solutions, but this is a difficult issue that will require co-operation from everyone. I appeal to everyone, especially those in the House, to co-operate. Some Deputies from all sides of the House, including from Deputy Tóibín's party, have been helpful in this respect and open to solutions. I accept this has been the case on all sides of the House. This is something we must try to resolve together and as a country. While I am in this position I will try to be all-inclusive with regard to finding that solution.

I welcome the opportunity to come back in if only to say that the Minister should note I do not have a new-found interest in the bogs. This is the third or fourth time I have raised it on Question Time. I come from a rural background and I know the issues full well. I do not need to be lectured on the benefits of the bogs for rural Ireland. I acknowledge the work the Minister has done thus far in respect of this issue but I do not believe he has gone far enough. As the Minister has stated already, this issue dates back to 1997 when the Fine Gael party was last in Government and the habitats directive was signed into law.

If the EU is supportive of a national plan, I cannot understand why those responsible will not allow time for the plan to be worked out between the Peatlands Council, the Government and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and also allow time to get the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association back on board again. If those in the EU are supportive, this would not be an excessive request to make of them. I acknowledge there is a mix of people. Some are keen and content to cease cutting turf and are happy to take their compensation. How long must they wait for it? Many have been waiting a long time for their compensation. Many others are looking to relocate. What has the Government done to identify plots under its control and to relocate ordinary decent domestic turf cutters who want nothing more than to harvest their turf and provide fuel for their families?

The work of identifying plots has been successful at Mountbellew and Clara bogs. This was done by the previous Government led by Deputy Troy's party. It identified alternatives. We have been working closely with Bord na Móna and Coillte to identify alternative bogs. The process is under way and people from the National Parks and Wildlife Service are trying to find alternative bogs for people as we speak.

Deputy Troy raised the question of the level of applications and the response. To date 1,795 applications for compensation have been received under the scheme. Some 381 payments have been made and a further 48 payments are scheduled by the end of this week. Some 1,269 applications for compensation have been acknowledged by the Department. Of these a total of 400 applicants have expressed an interest in relocating to non-designated bogs. Last week, 349 letters issued offering those who have applied to sell bog plots to the Department under the voluntary bog purchase scheme the opportunity to transfer to the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme if they so wish. There is ongoing intensive communication between my Department and those affected. I have asked for this to be accelerated because I agree these people will be inconvenienced and they must be compensated properly and helped in every possible way.

As a Minister of the Government I must implement the law. That is the bottom line and that is my duty as a Minister.

On the cessation of turf cutting this year, the Commissioner was adamant when we posed the question that for this national plan to proceed there had to be a cessation of turf cutting.

With the exigencies of time I propose that we have two supplementary questions. I ask Deputy Tóibín to ask a brief supplementary question.

Will the Minister get in contact with the turf cutters in Moneybeg, Clare Island and Mountnugent because they want to cut turf but the Department has not been in contact with them? They are in limbo, so to speak, as far as knowledge and engagement is concerned.

A brief supplementary question from Deputy Flanagan.

To set the record straight on the National Parks & Wildlife Service looking for bogs, obviously they have not read the plan put together by the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association because we have already identified the vast majority of bogs people could move to if Europe and the State were reasonable. Mountbellew was mentioned as an example of where a bog was found. The Turf Cutters and Contractors Association found that bog. The National Parks & Wildlife Service, through its different names over the years, had 14 years to find bogs and not one could they find. One would imagine that if they were serious about their job and just to shut me up they would have said that there is a bog half a mile away from where we are cutting, but they did not even know that until we pointed it out to them. Remarkably, they did not even know they owned it and therefore to go to those people to identify bogs would not be the best course of action.

Information has come out in recent days which we had already, but apparently it has come out as new information and it is important that the Minister clarifies it. It was put out by Deputy Denis Naughten in a press release and states that those who wish to invoke the right to seek permission to cut turf should send the request in writing to Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

Deputy Flanagan must ask a question.

Apparently, one can now write to the Minister, get permission to cut turf and it will be alright. If it was that simple, why did the Minister not do this in a big brush stroke and allow us all to continue cutting turf this year to enable this plan to be a success, which it would have been and still can be if common sense-----

Deputy Flanagan, you have put the question.

-----is listened to but as the Deputy on this side of the House stated, after the referendum they will say, "Sorry, you can't do this because you voted for it"? Do not vote for it and it will not happen.

I have been clear on this issue from the beginning. Deputy Tóibín knows the representatives of the bog. If he gives me their names I will get the National Parks & Wildlife Service to contact them immediately. Is it a designated special area of conservation, SAC?

Yes, I believe it is.

I am amazed they have not been in contact already. Have they been involved in the peatlands forum, for example, when it called to Athlone?

Initially they were but they have not heard anything back from that.

If the Deputy gives me contact details I will ensure that will happen.

Regarding Deputy Flanagan's question, I have always acknowledged the input of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association and the effort of people like Michael Fitzmaurice who trawled the country looking for alternatives. The alternatives the Deputy has identified now will be fully explored in this new plan. I agree with the Deputy that this issue is nearly solved. It will take another effort on all sides but in the new-----

Can the Minister use the powers we have just discovered he has?

There are no new powers.

I am glad the Minister clarified that. I can clarify that for the media.

If someone wants to get a licence to cut turf they can write to the Department. That can happen under the habitats directive with which the Deputy is very familiar.

Will they give it to us?

Minister, the time has concluded.

The Deputy asked a question. Anyone can write in and apply but it would be difficult for some people to do that. However, in the new plan we are establishing it is hoped accommodation will be made for the difficult ones. That is something Deputy Flanagan has asked for, and it is the purpose of this plan. The reason I accepted his motion at the time was because that is what he outlined. We went back to Europe asking that we would have a national plan that would include accommodation for people in difficult bogs who cannot find any alternative. That is what we are striving to do, and the national plan will start immediately. I hope Deputy Flanagan will be able to support that.

I will when my turf is saved.

Scéimeanna Teanga

Gerry Adams


110Deputy Gerry Adams den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sé sonraí faoin líon scéimeanna nua teanga atá deimhnithe i gcás Eagras Poiblí le bliain anuas agus, ar bhonn an ráta deimhniúcháin, chun a fhiafraí de, cathain a bheidh scéim teanga deimhnithe ag gach eagras poiblí. [21647/12]

John Browne


112Deputy John Browne den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén tuairimí atá aige maidir le Tuarascáil Bhliantúil 2011 ón gCoimisinéir Teanga ina bpléitear an brú atá ar phobal sa Ghaeltacht a gcuid gnóthaí oifigiúla a dhéanamh i mBéarla; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21663/12]

Sean Fleming


113Deputy Sean Fleming den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil scéim teanga daingnithe i ngach Roinn, an bhfuil a Roinn ag plé le reachtaíocht teanga; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21673/12]

Pearse Doherty


119Deputy Pearse Doherty den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sé sonraí faoin líon scéimeanna dara teanga atá deimhnithe le bliain anuas; agus cén líon a bhí imithe in éag faoi dheireadh 2011. [21648/12]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


128Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sé míniú ar an moill atá ar phróiseáil na ndréacht-scéimeanna teanga atá idir lámha faoi láthair aige. [21652/12]

Timmy Dooley


129Deputy Timmy Dooley den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén t-athbhreithniú atá á dhéanamh ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, na moltaí atá foilsithe mar gheall ar an Acht; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21670/12]

Michael Colreavy


141Deputy Michael Colreavy den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad atá i gceist aige a dhéanamh faoin méid scéimeanna teanga faoi Acht na Teangacha Oifigiúla atá fós le daingniú; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21655/12]

Peadar Tóibín


148Deputy Peadar Tóibín den an Aire Ealaíon; Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an dtabharfaidh sé sonraí faoi na Ranna Rialtais a bhfuil scéimeanna teanga acu, nach bhfuil nuashonrúchán deánta acu le ceithre, le cúig nó le sé bliana anuas. [21646/12]

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 110, 112, 113, 119, 128, 129, 141 agus 148 le chéile.

Tá 105 scéim teanga san iomlán daingnithe ón uair gur tháinig Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla i bhfeidhm. Clúdaíonn an 105 scéim teanga sin 191 comhlacht poiblí. Cé go bhfuil tuairim is 600comhlacht poiblí san áireamh faoin Acht, tá mé sásta go gclúdaíonn an105 scéim teanga atá i bhfeidhm mórchuid na gcomhlachtaí poiblí a mbíonn teagmháil rialta ag an bpobal i gcoitinne leo. Ar ndóigh, de réir fhorálacha an Achta, tá feidhm ag scéim teanga ar feadh tréimhse trí bliana ón uair a dhaingnítear í, nó go dtí go ndaingnítear scéim nua, cibé acu is déanaí. Mar sin, bíonn feidhm i gcónaí le scéim teanga go dtí go ndaingnítear scéim nua ina háit. Anuas air sin, tá obair idir lámha ag mo Roinnse le comhlachtaí poiblí éagsúla chun tuairim is 100 scéim teanga nua a aontú agus a dhaingniú.

Tá sonraí maidir leis na scéimeanna uilig atá daingnithe go dáta, mar aon leis na scéimeanna atá a n-ullmhú faoi latháir, ar fáil ar shuíomh idirlín Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga,www.coimisineir.ie.

Ó thaobh Ranna Rialtais de, bhí an chéad nó an dara scéim teanga daingnithe le gach Roinn sula ndearnadh athstruchtúrú ar Ranna áirithe i mí an Mhárta 2011, sin tar éis an toghcháin. Mar thoradh ar an athstruchtúrú sin, scríobh mo Roinnse anuraidh chuig na Ranna ábhartha maidir lena gcuid scéimeanna teanga. Mar Ranna nuabhunaithe, iarradh ar an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe agus ar an Roinn Leanaí agus Gnóthaí Óige scéimeanna teanga céaduaire a ullmhú. Maidir leis na Ranna eile, tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag plé leo faoi láthair le súil go mbeifear ábalta scéimeanna a réitíonn dá gcuid feidhmeanna nua a aontú leo agus a dhaingniú a luaithe agus is féidir. Tá céad scéim teanga mo Roinne féin, a deimhníodh le gairid, foilsithe anois, is é sin an Roinn úr, an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta.

Maidir leis an mhoill a bhain le scéimeanna teanga a aontú le tamall anuas, ní miste dom a mheabhrú don Teach gur chuir mo Roinnse tús le hathbhreithniú cuimsitheach ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla anuraidh, is é sin ag Oireachtas na Gaeilge i mí na Samhna. Socraíodh go dtabharfaí tús áite don athbhreithniú sin i bhfianaise an ghealltanais a tugadh ina leith i gClár an Rialtais 2011-2016. Tá céimeanna suntasacha tógtha ag mo Roinnse faoin athbhreithniú, lena n-áirítear suirbhé agus próiseas comhairliúcháin poiblí a chur i bhfeidhm. Fuarthas timpeall 1,400 freagra ar an suirbhé agus 240 aighneacht ó pháirtithe leasmhara, a bhfuil anailís ar siúl ina leith faoi láthair.

Ar ndóigh, tá sé aitheanta nach bhfuil córas na scéimeanna teanga gan laigí agus gur próiseas casta é scéimeanna a aontú agus a dhaingniú. Tuigeann mo Roinnse chomh maith gur féidir leis an bpróiseas sin a bheith dúshlánach do chomhlachtaí poiblí, go háirithe leis an mbrú ar achmhainní mar atá i láthair na huaire.

Ní miste dom a rá go bhfuil córas na scéimeanna teanga san áireamh mar chuid den athbhreithniú atá ar siúl faoi láthair ag mo Roinnse ar an Acht. Tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh moltaí fiúntacha as an athbhreithniú atá idir lámha, a chabhróidh linn aidhmeanna an Achta a bhaint amach ar bhealach níos éifeachtaí. Déanfar an cás do leasú na reachtaíochta a bhreithniú mar chuid den phróiseas sin.

Maidir le tuarascáil bhliantúil Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga do 2011, ní miste dom a rá gur oifig neamhspleách reachtúil í Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga agus, i gcomhréir le forálacha an Achta, go bhfuil an Coimisinéir Teanga neamhspleách i bhfeidhmiú a chuid dualgas. An méid sin ráite, is féidir liom a rá gurb í príomhaidhm an Achta a chinntiú go gcuirtear feabhas ar sholáthar seirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge. Faoi alt 13 den Acht, caithfidh comhlachtaí poiblí a chinntiú go bhfuil aird tugtha acu ar sheirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge i gceantair Ghaeltachta agus iad ag ullmhú dréacht-scéimeanna teanga. Ar ndóigh, faoi réir fhorálacha an Achta, is ar Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga atá an cúram féachaint chuige go bhfuil gealltanais atá tugtha ag comhlachtaí poiblí ina gcuid scéimeanna teanga á gcomhlíonadh acu.

Is léir ón tuarascáil bhliantúil a d'fhoilsigh Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga go bhfuil fadhbanna uafásacha ag titim amach mar gheall ar cur i bhfeidhm Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla. Tá an Acht sin in áit ionas go mbeidh daoine sa Ghaeltacht agus ar fud na tíre in ann seirbhísí Stáit a fháil ina dteanga féin. Faoi láthair, níl siad in ann é sin a dhéanamh i gcónaí. Táimid ag caint faoi cearta teangacha anseo. De réir taighde, tá nasc idir laghdú na Gaeilge agus an brú atá ar Gaeilgeoirí iompú go Béarla chun seirbhísí a fháil ón Stát. Ní gá go mbainfeadh mórán costais leis seo. Tá Gaeilgeoirí sa Státseirbhís. Ba cheart córas earcaíochta ciallmhar a chur i bhfeidhm sa Státseirbhís. Níl an chóras sin ag feidhmiú ar chor ar bith faoi láthair.

De réir tuarascáil bhliantúil Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, a fhoilsíodh i rith na seachtaine, theip ar an Stát a ndualgaisí a chomhlíonadh anuraidh. Níor dhaingnigh an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta aon chéadscéim teanga nua sa bhliain 2011. Dhaingnigh an tAire an dara scéim teanga le comhlacht phoiblí amháin le linn na bliana sin. D'fhág sin go raibh 105 scéim teanga, as 191 comhlacht poiblí, daingnithe tar éis na bliana 2011. Bhí 66 de na 105 scéim teanga imithe in éag faoi dheireadh na bliana. An bhfuil náire ar bith ar an Rialtas nó ar an Aire faoin gcúntas uafásach sin? An aontaíonn an Rialtas go bhfuil sé uafásach nach bhfuil sé de cheart ag muintir na Gaeltachta, a íocann cáin freisin, a gcuid Gaeilge a úsáid?

Sheol Oifig an Choimisinéira Teanga 15 imscrúdú nua le linn an bhliain atá thart a bhain le comhlachtaí poiblí. Léirigh dhá imscrúdú éagsúla nár chomhlíon an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí go cuí na dualgais reachtúla teanga i dtaca le marcanna bónais a thabhairt do chumas sa Ghaeilge agus sa Bhéarla i gcomórtais inmheánacha i gcásanna beirt oifigigh aimnithe. Léirigh imscrúdú nár chomhlíon an Garda Síochána a ndualgais mar gheall ar an teanga a chur chun cinn i gceantair Gaeltachta.

Léirigh imscrúdú eile nach raibh Ard-Mhúsaem na hÉireann in ann seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge chomh maith lena soláthar trí Bhéarla. Rinneadh moltaí dírithe ar an mhéid sin a chur ina cheart. Léirigh an scrúdú seo nach raibh aon dul chun cinn déanta san Ard-Mhúsaem agus go raibh an rannóg Stáit seo ag tabhairt neamhaird son dlí. An bhfuil an Aire nó an Rialtas ina gcodladh sa chomhthéacs seo? Tá siad ag teip go huafásach ar a gcuid dualgaisí. Cad é plean an Rialtas chun an rud seo a chur i bhfeidhm i gceart?

Mar atá ráite agam, tá 105 scéim faofa, a chlúdaíonn 191 comhlacht stáit agus Ranna Stáit, againn. Chomh maith leis sin, tá comhráití ag dul ar aghaidh i láthair na huaire idir an Roinn agus thart ar 100 comhlacht Stáit eile fá choinne teacht aníos le scéimeanna teanga. Tá sé de dhualgas ar mo Roinn scéimeanna teanga a aontú agus a dhaingniú le comhlachtaí poiblí agus Ranna Stáit, taobh istigh de chúinsí Achta na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Is dualgas reachtúil é de réir an Achta sin. Ina dhiadh sin, tá sé de dhualgas ar na comhlachtaí Stáit na pleananna a chuireann siad ar aghaidh a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá sé seo an-thomhaiste ar fad. Tá sé dubh agus bán in Acht 2003.

Tá sé de dhualgas ar Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, mar oifig neamhspleách, monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar na gcomhlachtaí Stáit chun féachaint chuige go bhfuil na pleananna á chur i bhfeidhm acu. Muna bhfuil sé sin á dhéanamh acu, déanann Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga é sin a lua ina dtuarascáil bhliantúil a chuireann sé inár láthair. Má theipeann orthu arís na pleananna a chur i bhfeidhm, cuireann an oifig tuairisc speisialta chuig Tithe an Oireachtais. Is é sin go díreach an méid a tharla an tseachtain seo caite. Tá tuairisc curtha ag an gcoimisinéir roimh Tithe an Oireachtais ag rá nach bhfuil eagraíochtaí éagsúla ag cur na bpleananna i bhfeidhm mar ba mhaith leis go ndéanfaidís. Tá an tuairisc sin roimh Tithe an Oireachtais anois.

Tuigim go bhfuil an coimisinéir ag teacht isteach roimh coiste na Tithe seo - sílim go bhfuil an Teachta O'Reilly ina gCathaoirleach ar an gcoiste - i rith na seachtaine chun an gearán seo a dhéanamh. Is ar Tithe an Oireachtais atá an dualgas é seo a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá mo dhualgas - na pleananna a aontú agus a dhaingniú - déanta agam. Tá sé de dhualgas ar na gcomhlachtaí iad a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá sé de dhualgas ar an gcoimisinéir monatóireacht a dhéanamh orthu. Tá sé sin an-shoiléir in Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Mar ionadaí, mar Aire Stáit na Gaeltachta agus mar Theachta sa Ghaeltacht, ba mhaith liom go mbeadh deis ag gach éinne sa Ghaeltacht nó taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht a gcuid gnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge. Is é sin an polasaí atá ag an Rialtas chomh maith.

Tá athbhreithniú á dhéanamh ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 agus ar ról an choimisinéara. Tá sé sin ag dul ar aghaidh. Tháinig 1,400 aighneachtaí agus 250 moltaí isteach. Tá anailís á dhéanamh orthu i láthair na huaire. Cuirfidh muid an anailís sin os comhair an Tí chomh luath agus a bheidh sí críochnaithe.

Ina dtuarascáil bhliantúil don bhliain 2011, rinne Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga tagairt do chainteoir dúchais óg as Gaoth Dobhair nach raibh in ann a gcuid gnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge. Rinneadh gearán freisin i nGaillimh mar gheall ar chomhlacht uisce a úsáid seoltaí Béarla do cheantair Ghaeltachta nuair a bhí billí á eisiúnt acu. An ndéanfaidh an Aire Stáit ráiteas mar gheall ar an dá rud sin?

Aontaím leis an méid a bhí le rá ag an gcoimisinéir faoi na heagraíochtaí sin, chomha fada agus a bhain sé le cumas na ngardaí seirbhís a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge sna ceantracha Gaeltachta. Tá sé ráite in Acht an Gharda Síochána 2005 gur ar Choimisinéir an Gharda Síochána atá an fhreagracht agus an dualgas an polasaí sin a chur i bhfeidhm, chomh fada agus is féidir. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil gach dícheall á dhéanamh ag údaráis an Gharda Síochána é sin a chur chun críche.