asked the Minister for Finance whether he is aware that the pensions officer for the Dunfanaghy, Termon, Creeslough and Falcarragh districts, County Donegal, has not a knowledge of the Irish language; that many applicants for the old age pension from these districts who are Irish speakers are unable to understand properly the queries put to them by this officer in the English language when he is investigating their claims, with the result that they very often make statements against themselves; and whether it is intended to appoint and officer with a knowledge of Irish for this area.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Donegal Pensions Officer.
I am informed that the pension officer at present stationed in Dunfanaghy is competent to transact official business in the Irish language, and I have, so far, received no complaints of the nature referred to in the question. If the Deputy will be good enough to give me particulars of cases which he has in mind I will have them looked into.
Yes, I will, but I am informed that the pension officer in the district mentioned has no knowledge of the Irish language. I have been told that by people in that district who themselves are Irish speakers.
It is not true that this officer has no knowledge of Irish because he was admitted by competitive examination and he has some knowledge of Irish. My information is that he has a sufficient knowledge of Irish to converse with applicants. If the Deputy doubts that I will look into the matter further.
I take it that this officer is not a native Irish speaker. Some of our native speakers do not understand the Irish spoken by such officers.
That is a different matter.