Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (650)

Robert Troy


650. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2017 will be debated and enacted. [39557/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Following a comprehensive review of the Official Languages Act 2003 and consultation with key stakeholders, the Heads of the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill were submitted to Government on 29th May 2017 and published in June 2017.  In addition, Government approval was received on the same day to proceed with the drafting of the Bill.   

Officials from my Department appeared before the Joint Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands in November 2017 and again in April 2018 in respect of the Heads of the Bill. The Joint Committee subsequently published its report in May 2018.

A central element of this Bill is the manner in which Irish language speakers are recruited to the public service, while another element is the replacement of the existing language scheme regime by the introduction of language standards for each government sector, with higher standards to be achieved by sectors with greater interaction with the public.

Excellent progress has been made with the drafting of the Bill over the past number of months and it has been listed on the Government's Legislative Programme to be published in the current session.

Following publication, the timescale for enactment will, of course, be an issue for the Houses of the Oireachtas.