Níl mórán Gaeilge agam. Is féidir linn labhairt as Gaeilge. I wish I could converse sufficiently effectively to be able to put forward my points of view, but that is my weakness. I have always admired Senators on all sides of the House who have been able to speak in our first language. They might ask why I do not go out and learn it, but that is another matter.
Like Senator Keane, I would like to establish what the thinking behind this aspect of the legislation is. The Minister may have thought he would have a rough ride in his first few months in office. I assure him that all Ministers feel the ire of people in the Irish language movement when any attempt of this kind is made. Someone in the Department of Justice and Equality has landed him with a hot potato. When the Minister got up this morning, I am sure the last thing on his mind was that he would have an argument about whether texts should be published as Gaeilge or as Béarla.
It is interesting that there has been a focus on the publication of Acts on the Internet. There is a facility whereby Google, which is one of the most popular search engines, can be accessed as Gaeilge. As Senator Mac Conghail indicated, Gaeilge is the first language of many people. If such people want to acquaint themselves with this legislation, they will be unable to do so if they are using the Irish language version of Google.
I take the point made by Senator Keane about the likelihood of people rushing to the Government stationery office to pay a few euro to look at legislation. It is worth noting that nine separate Acts, some of them going back to the 1950s, are being changed by the legislation before the House. The use in the Bill of the phrase "other enactments" indicates that other Acts might be amended as well.
For reasons of curiosity, if nothing else, people who examine this Bill may inquire into what it is all about. It is rather unique in the sense that we do not often have consolidating Bills that cover such a wide sweep of matters. The Minister mentioned on Second Stage that one of the Acts being amended relates to mining, which is far removed from some of the other issues we have discussed.
Like Senator Keane, I am curious to know what the thinking in the Department was when it was decided to include this provision in the Bill. It does not strike me as something that would save any money because it is about the click of a switch. We need to bear in mind that a strong campaign, supported by all sides in this House and the other House, was fought before Irish attained its status as an official language of the European Union. Having supported that actively, it is somewhat disappointing to learn that this important legislation will not be given the due right it should be given by being printed in the Irish language.
I remind the Minister that I do not get up to scream about the Irish language every day of the week. I take Senator Mac Conghail's sensible point about the Official Languages Act 2003. It was wise of the head of the language organisation to acknowledge that there are flaws in the 2003 Act. I have often wondered whether it is absolutely essential for every piece of legislation to be printed in both languages. That is a matter for another day. We are talking about the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011. I await with great interest the Minister's thinking on this amendment.