Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (155)

Finian McGrath

Question:

235 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will urgently reconsider the decision not to have the Irish language recognised as an official language of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6548/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

At present, the Irish language has the status of a treaty language in the EU. This derives from the fact that the treaties are in Irish and that Irish is listed as one of the languages in which the text is authentic. Each successive treaty is published in Irish as well as in the 11 other languages, with the texts in Irish being equally authentic and having equal status with those in all other languages.

As I stated in the House on 25 February,the Government has established an interdepartmental working group which is analysing the options available to further strengthen and enhance the status of the Irish language in the EU. The working group is urgently examining a range of issues with a view to identifying additional opportunities in this regard. It is my firm hope that the interdepartmental working group's discussions will lead at an early date to the identification of additional opportunities to enhance the status of Irish in the EU.