asked the Minister for Justice if he will make a statement as to the position of Irish in the Garda Síochána in so far as Gaeltacht areas are concerned.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Siochána.
The division of West Galway, the districts of Waterville and Dingle in Kerry and the districts of Milford, Killybegs and Clogher in Donegal are manned by officers and men with a competent knowledge of Irish and as far as possible the duties of the Garda Síochána in those areas are conducted in Irish.
asked the Minister for Justice if he will state (a) the date of appointment of the present Garda Síochána Chief Superintendent of the area which includes the West Donegal Gaeltacht; (b) whether this officer has a competent knowledge of Irish; (c) whether his inspections in Gaeltacht areas are carried out in English, and whether the inspection minutes are written in English, and (d) whether the superintendent in question was aware of any disability of his in this connection and drew the attention of his superiors to it before his appointment.
(a) The present Chief Superintendent of the Donegal Division of the Garda Síochána was appointed to this division on the 10th March, 1949; (b) he has not a competent knowledge of Irish; (c) his inspections in the Gaeltacht area are carried out in English and his inspection minutes are written in English; (d) the Commissioner, before allocating this officer to Donegal, was aware that he had not a competent knowledge of Irish, but he did not find it practicable to appoint an officer with a competent knowledge of the language owing to the limited number of chief superintendents who possess such knowledge.
Would this not be an occasion for the promotion of some officer with a competent knowledge of Irish to the rank of chief superintendent?
I regret to say that I am still bound by the establishment to the present number of chief superintendents.
Is the Minister aware that the use of Irish in the Garda force in this area has deteriorated, not due to any desire on their part, but in consequence of the fact that they have to deal with a chief superintendent who has not a competent knowledge of Irish?
I cannot accept that. As I said in reply to the previous question, the areas in Donegal which are purely Gaeltacht are Milford, Killybegs and Clogher. There is a superintendent in charge of these areas and the Gardaí in these area are fully competent to and do carry out all their duties in Irish. The fact that the chief superintendent does not carry out his duties in Irish in these districts does not lessen their effectiveness.
Will the Minister say what is the effect on the Garda force, who are supposed, as part of State policy for some years past, to carry out their duties through Irish, of having an officer placed in charge of them in the most important Irishspeaking area who is incapable of doing his work through Irish?
The Minister has not the nomination of any officer. The Commissioner of the Garda Síochána is the person who allocates officers to each district. The only way that could be changed is by making the Minister the Commissioner.
The sooner the Minister takes the requisite powers to himself the better.