University College Galway (Amendment) Bill 2005 [Seanad]: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I am pleased to bring this Bill to the House, Bille tábhachtach don choláiste agus don Ghaeilge. Athraíonn an Bille seo Acht atá ann ó 1929. Ins an Acht sin, there was a requirement to appoint candidates competent in the Irish language to offices or positions in the university. The Bill replaces this requirement with an obligation to ensure that the strategic development plan of the university contains a provision for the delivery of education through the Irish language. The president and the governing authority of the university are obliged under this provision to ensure that this aim is implemented.

The existing legislative obligation on the university to give preference to candidates who have demonstrated competency in the Irish language has no modern relevance in either promoting the Irish language or in supporting a modern university to build excellence in teaching and research across the full range of academic disciplines.

As Deputies appreciate, the role of universities in the modern knowledge age has transformed quite dramatically from the period in which the existing legislation was prepared back in the late 1920s. Our universities are now central to our future social and economic progress. We require each of our higher education institutions to develop the capacity to meet our national innovation and skills needs in a dynamic global environment. In doing this, our universities are required to compete nationally and internationally for access to research funding and strive for constant quality improvement as they look to build internationally recognised strength in key areas of research and teaching.

The Government is supporting them in this. At the end of 2005, we announced a €1.2 billion investment in higher education over the next five years. The aim is to support our institutions in producing high quality skilled graduates at third level and cutting edge research and development at fourth level. These will be the essential foundations for Ireland's continuing social and economic progress in the 21st century. The money to which I refer is in addition to the core funding also given each year which exceeds €1 billion.

Knowledge is international and intellectual capital is highly mobile in nature. The quality of higher education in Ireland is now measured against the highest standards across the world. In competing internationally, it is counter-productive in the extreme to place limitations on the ability of one of our key institutions to attract the best available international research or teaching talent.

It is in that context the requirements set down by the 1929 Act are no longer relevant. They represent an outdated and unfair impediment on NUl Galway in seeking to develop international standard excellence in research and teaching. If NUl Galway is to develop to its full potential in the 21st century knowledge era, it needs to be free to attract and appoint the best academics and researchers.

The Bill presented today has been prepared in close consultation with my colleague, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The proposed amendment will replace the original provision with a commitment that the university, in its strategic development plan, will include in its statement of objectives and priorities a commitment to the provision of university education through the Irish language. This ensures the language will retain its core role at the centre of NUIG's educational mission while ensuring that NUIG is also free to realise its full potential in contributing to national economic and social development.

The commitment of the academic community, president and governing authority of NUIG to the Irish language remains as strong as ever. The university is rightly proud of its historic organisational commitment to the promotion of the language. That continuing commitment is reflected in its current five year strategic plan up to 2008 and is growing stronger as the university seeks to develop new structures and approaches to support the sustainable development of Irish medium teaching and research activities. The development of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, a centre where Irish will be the medium of instruction, and the activities of the university education centres in the Gaeltacht Árus Uí Chadhain in An Ceathrú Rua, Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim in Carna and lonad na hOllscoile in Gaoth Dobhair are evidence of this.

The university is also strategically committed to supporting teaching in Irish, to introducing incentives for staff to produce quality academic material in the Irish language and to supporting a bilingual communication culture on campus. The legislation before the House will underpin these strategic commitments.

This Bill is also brought forward against a wider background of legislative commitment to the Irish language. The Official Languages Act provides a strong statutory framework for the delivery of services through the Irish language across the public sector. The provisions of the Act cover all third level institutions. This requires correspondence to be responded to in the language in which it was written, information to be provided to the public in the Irish language as well as the bilingual publication of certain key documents. NUI Galway has a draft scheme in place indicating its plans for the implementation of the Act, complementing the programme of commitments set out in its strategic plan.

The Government will continue to support NUI Galway and all of our other higher education institutions in fulfilling their responsibilities and commitments to the Irish language. In that context, my Department and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs are committed to working together to progress the development of national policy on the development of third level education through lrish, building on the recommendations of a recent inter-agency working group on this subject.

NUI Galway will strongly welcome this legislation. It reflects the unique historical commitment of the college to the promotion of the language while providing it with the necessary freedom to compete successfully in the national and international recruitment markets. It is an important modernising Bill for NUI Galway. It underlines the strong commitment of the college to the promotion of our native language and reflects the progressive position of the language in the wider legislative and public policy context.

Ní thogfainn an Bille seo os comhair an Tí dá mba rud é gur cheap mé nach mbeadh NUIG chomh láidir is a bhí ariamh ar son na Gaeilge agus ar son an teanga a chur chun cinn san ollscoil agus sa tsochaí mórthimpeall. Ó 1929 ar aghaidh, níos luaithe, agus ó shin, tá an-chuid oibre déanta ag an gcoláiste. Creideann siad go láidir sa Ghaeilge, agus tá mé féin, mar Aire, mo Roinn agus an HEA lán-sásta cabhair a thabhairt dóibh agus do na hinstitiúidí eile leanúint ar aghaidh le tacaíocht a thabhairt don Ghaeilge agus féachaint chuige go gcomhlíonann siad a ndualgais dár dteanga dhúchais agus náisiúnta.

Aithním ag an am céanna go bhfuil athruithe tar éis teacht sna hinstitiúidí tríú leibhéil agus sa chóras oideachais sa tír seo, ós rud é go bhfuilimid níos idirnáisiúnta ná mar a bhí ariamh. Má táimid chun bheith i measc na gcoláistí den scoth ar domhan — sa chéad trian de na coláistí— caithfimid daoine den scoth a mhealladh go dtí an tír seo chun múineadh agus taighde a dhéanamh. Téimid amach go dtí an tSín agus an Ind agus beimid á rá leo go bhfuil an t-oideachas in Éirinn níos fearr nó chomh maith le hoideachas atá ar fáil in aon áit eile.

Tá bac ar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe faoi láthair sa tslí nach féidir léi daoine den scoth — b'fhéidir, an duine is fearr — a mhealladh go dtí an coláiste ós rud é go bhfuil uirthi an duine is fearr a bhfuil Gaeilge aige a fhostú. Níor mhaith liom go mbeadh an bac sin ar choláiste ar bith, ach go háirithe ar NUIG, atá ag iarraidh níos mó a dhéanamh ó thaobh taighde agus múinte de. Ag an am céanna, áfach, aithním go bhfuil daoine buartha faoin nGaeilge sa choláiste agus go laghdófar an méid a dhéantar ar son na Gaeilge.

Ní tharlóidh sé sin, mar tá mé lán-sásta ón méid atá ráite ag an uachtarán agus an gcoláiste. Tá sé scríofa acu sa phlean straitéise atá leagtha amach ag an gcoláiste gur ceann de na príomhaidhmeanna atá acu ná an Ghaeilge a fhorbairt agus a chur chun cinn sa choláiste agus lasmuigh. Mar sin, tá mé sásta an leasú seo a thógaint ós comhair an Tí. Ní thógfainn é muna mbeinn sásta go mbeidh siad in ann leanúint ar aghaidh le taighde agus múinteoireacht den scoth, mar a dhéanadh an coláiste i gcónaí. Beidh siad in ann daoine a mhealladh ón taobh amuigh agus ón iarthar agus, ag an am céanna, a ndualgais a chomhlíonadh ar son na Gaeilge. Molaim an Bille don Teach.

I wish to share time with Deputy McCormack. In her speech to the Seanad on 14 December 2005, the Minister for Education and Science, Deputy Hanafin, stated that it was her belief that the provision of the University College Galway Act 1929, which gives preference in staff appointments to persons with a competency in the Irish language, was no longer the best instrument for the promotion and preservation of the Irish language.

It was clear from her address that, although the provision of the 1929 Act was considered appropriate at that time, a reform of the legislation is necessary today. The Minister appreciates that, when regulations devised in a different time are seen no longer to work, we should change them.

It is correct that outdated policies should be reformed. The amending legislation we are debating this afternoon removes from the National University of Ireland Galway, NUI Galway, the requirement to appoint persons competent to discharge their duties through the medium of Irish. Instead, it will put a new onus on NUI Galway to ensure that the provision of education through the medium of Irish will be part and parcel of every strategic plan devised for the college after the passing of this Act.

It also ensures that the governing body and the president of the college shall use their positions to ensure that this plan is implemented. This is very welcome. In terms of support for Irish, it will be of more practical use to the language to form part of each strategic plan for NUI Galway. This is not achieved under section 3 of the Act of 1929, under which the responsibilities of the college with respect to the Irish language begin and end with staff appointment.

I am somewhat perplexed by the Minister's wholehearted approval for this legislative change, which reforms an out-of-date regulation that no longer works, and introduces an element of choice in hiring policy which the college has lacked since 1929. The Minister, in endorsing this amending legislation, backs the right of the college and its governing body to use their strategic plans to support the Irish language in the most effective way possible, and to change their approach when change is needed. In short, she is endorsing the principle of choice and I welcome her conversion to that principle.

When the leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Kenny, recently advocated that the principle of choice should be introduced in respect of Irish at second level for all students after the junior certificate, the Minister described the proposal as an opportunistic attack which smacked of auction politics. It is not good enough that the Minister for Education and Science should show such disregard for the educational welfare of our second level school children. This Minister has ignored the trends that all available educational data repeatedly show of school performance in Irish. Instead of acknowledging that there is a problem that can no longer be ignored when this matter was raised in November the Minister responded by attempting to shoot the messenger.

The Minister for Education and Science, the person responsible for the educational welfare of all children and young people in this State, should deal with all of the facts. No alternative proposals have been brought forward for the Irish language at this level. We must acknowledge the facts. Students leave school without a reasonable command of Irish even though they have received up to 1,500 hours of tuition in the language. The Irish language commissioner highlighted this in his recent inaugural report. Only three out of ten leaving certificate students attempt the honours Irish paper. This is far below the figures for other languages taught to this level. Almost five out of ten students taking French attempt the honours paper and six out of ten students of German and English take the higher level paper. Young people perform better at a language such as French that they have studied for only five or six years than in Irish which they have studied for 13 or 14 years.

Thousands of leaving certificate students do not even bother to sit the Irish language examination although they have been learning the language since they were young children. Despite the heavy-handed approach to compulsory Irish sustained over decades there is such a lack of fluency in the language among employees in the public sector that the Irish language commissioner has expressed concern. Although more than 1.5 million Irish people describe themselves as Irish speaking only 72,000 adults use the language daily. The use of Irish plummets when people leave school. Of the 339,541 who state they use the language daily 266,707 are between the ages of three and 19, the key schoolgoing years during which Irish is used every day in the classroom.

Among 20 to 24 year olds, who are just out of school, the figure for daily use of Irish plummets to 9,111 people. For no age group thereafter does it exceed 15,000.

The use of Irish in the Gaeltacht is also of concern. Between the census of 1996 and that of 2002, the number of Irish-speakers living in Gaeltacht areas using Irish daily dropped from 58% to 54%. The number of Irish speakers living in Gaeltacht areas using the language less often than daily, weekly or not at all increased by 2% in that time. In the Mayo Gaeltacht, of the 2,482 persons over the age of three using Irish daily, 1,275 are aged 19 or under — once again the key schoolgoing years. Comparing the 15 to 19 age bracket with the 20 to 24 one, daily use of Irish plummets by 84%, from 352 to 57. I have compiled these statistics from reports published by the Department of Education and Science itself and the Central Statistics Office.

It is time to open our eyes to the real situation in which Irish finds itself throughout the country. The trends that we see in comparing results from the census of 1996 with that of 2002, and in looking at leaving certificate results data for 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004, are deeply worrying and point to a decline in language use that will prove fatal if left unchallenged. The response from the Government hitherto has been to give itself a congratulatory pat on the back with regard to achieving official language status for Irish in the European Union without acknowledging the real actions that should be prioritised now in our education system.

I wholeheartedly welcome official status, but it is of vital importance that we now see the introduction of real reforms that will result in more people using the language. In bringing forward the University College Galway (Amendment) Bill, the Minister has acknowledged that reform is needed. However, I would like to see the Minister move to reform the language at second level too and introduce choice regarding Irish for all students after they have completed the junior certificate examination. By contrast, in the University College Galway (Amendment) Bill 2005, the Government is proposing a reasonable amendment to legislation dating from the 1920s, now clearly out of date. The new Bill allows NUI Galway to use its sense and experience to promote education through Irish in the best way possible. The new Bill allows NUI Galway to alter strategic plans over time, to respond to need and demand, and to assess where strategies are working and, importantly, where they are not.

In short, the new Bill gives NUI Galway the autonomy and choice that it needs and that Irish needs to develop organically through use and learning. From an educational perspective, that is vital. It is also of paramount importance that all universities, NUI Galway included, be able to recruit the best qualified personnel available in all spheres of education, from the arts and social sciences to science and technology. As our universities compete on an international stage, not only for research and development moneys but also for lecturing and research staff, NUI Galway must be able to recruit from overseas those people who can contribute to the successes of the college in teaching, research and academic life. Recruiting academic staff on the international stage is a fact of life, and the amending legislation allows NUI Galway to compete on a more equal footing with other academic institutions in Ireland and, as is now paramount, overseas.

NUI Galway must be enabled to recruit the best people to work at the Galway city campus and its outreach centres. Like all universities, NUI Galway has a regional, national and international dimension to its work, and must be allowed to fulfil its true potential in each respect. This amending legislation has the support of the president of NUI Galway and the governing authority of the university. Concern has been expressed in some quarters about the precise wording selected by the Minister in advancing the necessary legislative reform. I am of the opinion that, by allowing the college to include Irish as part of every successive strategic report, this amendment is beneficial to both the language and the college, but I would welcome clarification from the Minister on how the wording was devised.

In her closing contribution to the Seanad in December, the Minister for Education and Science stated that the University College Galway (Amendment) Bill "represents a significant step forward in modernising our education system while demonstrating an ongoing commitment to the development of education through Irish". I welcome her statement and the principles that underpin this Bill, but I ask that she spread them throughout the entire education sector. I congratulate everyone at NUI Galway on their enormous achievements to date in creating a fine, dynamic university with a diverse range of disciplines, even with outdated legislation such as they have had to deal with. I know that they will continue to recognise the importance of our national language and ensure through strategic plans that it is no longer just another entry requirement for staff but an integral part of life and learning at NUI Galway.

Tacaíonn Fine Gael leis an Bhille seo. Tá leasú amháin curtha síos againn chun stádas na Gaeilge a neartú san ollscoil. Tá súil agam go nglacfaidh an tAire le leasú Fhine Gael.

I welcome the Bill. I know from the Minister's contribution that it has been presented in close consultation with her colleague, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Ó Cuív, Teachta eile as Gaillimh Thiar. I understand that he was a reluctant traveller regarding the Bill, but if it is good enough for an tAire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, it is good enough for me. From that perspective, we have no difficulty in supporting the Bill.

However, we have tabled an amendment that we feel would strengthen the legislation. It would add to the Bill's aims by inserting additional text after page 3, line 18. We suggest that it would complement and strengthen the Bill's intent. From that perspective, we hope and presume that the Minister will have no difficulty in accepting it. Our amendment reads as follows.

In page 3, line 18, after "language." to insert the following:

"It shall be amongst the principal strategic aims of the National University of Ireland, Galway to provide leadership in the provision of University education through the medium of Irish, both in the provision of a wide range of academic courses through the medium of Irish and in the creation of a functional bilingual communication culture within the system and the management and administrative practices of the University. Accordingly, it shall be the duty of Údarás na hOllscoile and the President of the National University of Ireland, Galway to frame and to implement policies, regulations, rules, provisions and practices for the purpose of fulfilling the aforementioned strategic linguistic aim.".

That amendment was tabled by Deputy McGinley, our spokesman on Gaeltacht affairs, and me, a local representative. I presume the Minister will have no difficulty with it since it is only to strengthen what the Minister is trying to achieve in the Bill.

I note that the Minister has stated that she worked in close consultation with an tAire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, an Teachta Ó Cuív, in framing this Bill, which creates the principle of choice in hiring the necessary personnel. However, when ceannaire Fhine Gael, Deputy Kenny, reasonably proposed that there be a principle of choice in Irish at leaving certificate level, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs was not too happy and castigated our leader for daring even to suggest that there be a principle of choice at that level. That does not coincide with what the Minister for Education and Science, Ms Hanafin, is doing now.

One is third level and the other second. They are very different.

The Minister castigated our leader in that regard, but it does not chime with the actions of the Minister for Education and Science who now says that the Bill was prepared in close co-operation with her colleague, the same Minister, Deputy Ó Cuív.

However, having said that, NUI Galway, formerly University College Galway, has a proud history. We in Galway are very proud of our college's achievements and the great work it does in all educational fields and in promoting Irish.

If we did this, would it be acceptable to them?

That is what we do not know.

We would accept it if NUI Galway had requested it.

Sin ceist eile.

What Deputy McGinley is saying is true. If this side of the House were in Government and presented such a Bill, I could imagine how much those on the Opposition benches would be jumping up and down, so to speak.

This came from NUIG, not the Government.

The Minister watered down the first amendment.

Would the Deputy like to take Committee Stage now?

No. We will proceed the way we are going and take the amendments when we have the opportunity of taking them.

The Deputy will not get a chance with 35 amendments.

The Minister stated she is confident NUI Galway will strongly welcome this legislation as it reflects the unique historical commitment of the college to the promotion of the language by providing it with the necessary freedoms to successfully compete in national and international recruitment markets. She stated this Bill is important modernising legislation for NUI Galway which underlines the strong commitment of the college to the promotion of the language and reflects the progressive position of language in the wider legislative and public policy context. These sentiments are reflected in our amendments so I presume the Minister will have no difficulty in accepting them just as we have no difficulty in accepting the principles of this Bill.

I wish to share time with Deputy Michael D. Higgins.

Ar son Pháirtí an Lucht Oibre, tá áthas orm an Bille seo a phlé. Caithfear NUIG a mholadh, toisc go mbíonn an caighdeán acadúil thar barr i gcónaí. Chomh maith leis sin, tá an ollscoil ábalta oideachas a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge, agus tá NUIG in ann cultúr dátheangach a chur chun cinn i ngach gné den saol san ollscoil. Tá sé fíor, áfach, go gcaithfear an reachtaíocht a athrú ionas gur féidir leis an ollscoil dul ar aghaidh leis na haidhmeanna atá aici sa lá atá inniu ann. Mar sin, cuirimid fáilte roimh an Bhille, ach beimid ag lorg leasuithe áirithe ionas gur féidir linn an gealltanas don teanga a shoiléiriú sa Bhille.

The Labour Party welcomes the fact that the Bill is being taken and we do not wish to delay its passage in any way. I commend NUIG for its excellence in the promotion and practice of the Irish language. I might take issue in a small way with the Minister regarding her presentation of the argument even though I agree with what she hopes to achieve. This is a practical response to a genuine problem that has arisen for NUIG in a world that has changed radically since the establishment of the university and since the original Bill was passed. The Minister's presentation was somewhat utilitarian in terms of the work of a university, the relevance of the Irish language and the bilingual nature of NUIG. I cite my colleague, Deputy Higgins, to demonstrate that it is not difficult to have a fine academic ability and also to be fluent in the Irish language. I would not overestimate the difficulty this issue has caused. However, I acknowledge there have been legal and practical difficulties in recruiting appropriate people for the university in a changing global environment.

The Labour Party's amendments propose to strengthen the wording of the Bill because it could be open to differing interpretation. I agree with earlier speakers that the president and the governing body of the university are very committed to the role of the Irish language in the college. The proposed wording could be interpreted in a less forceful way than it is being interpreted by the current NUIG administration. I am pleased the Minister has accepted one of our amendments by putting down a similar amendment to ensure the university strategic development plan should show a strong commitment to the use of Irish throughout the university.

I agree with some of Deputy Enright's arguments that Irish needs to be a living language for the country and that we as legislators must do our utmost to strengthen the use of the Irish language. I share her concern about the decline in its use in Gaeltacht areas. There is a need for a radical alteration of the curriculum and the methods of examination used in schools to allow for more emphasis on the spoken language. This could then be rewarded with reference to leaving certificate points because that drives the way in which any subject is studied and it holds true for all languages on the curriculum. There are broader issues relating to the Irish language which need to be debated and I welcome Fine Gael's raising of that issue for debate even though the Labour Party emphasis on some aspects is somewhat different. This Bill is a small change for NUIG and I recommend we assist the Minister in bringing the Bill through the House as quickly as possible.

I would like to see our amendments adopted because they would strengthen the proposal. I have spoken with the president of the university and others in NUIG and I recommend the university be facilitated in this regard.

Is mian liom cúpla focal a rá ar an reachtaíocht seo. Níl éinne i gcoinne an athraithe bhunúsaigh atá ag tarlú sa reachtaíocht. Is é an rud atá á dhéanamh ná aon seans a sheachaint go gcuirfí i leith an choláiste — nó na hollscoile, mar atá sé faoi láthair — go raibh sé ag baint mí-úsáide as an nGaeilge i leith ceapachán do phoist éagsúla sa choláiste féin.

I wish to declare an interest. I have an honorary adjunct professorship at University College Galway that is non-remunerated and I taught on the staff of the university from the end of the 1960s. It would be acknowledged that the standard of scholarship, be it in the humanities or in the sciences, was never lessened by the fact that people were able to practice their scholarship and teach through the medium of Irish. This is true whether one is talking about history, physics, maths physics or the biological sciences. I welcome the removal of any suggestion that misuse would be made of the Irish language requirement, for example, that one would have to find candidates unsuitable in order to be able to appoint a candidate to a post — a candidate who might, for example, have been the first choice in a particular applied subject.

In listening to the Minister I agree with my colleague, Deputy O'Sullivan, when she refers to this utilitarian emphasis which is current. I value university teaching and I regret what is happening in so many of our universities, in the destruction of an ethos of scholarly reflection, the destruction of the capacity for maturation among students, the needless stress, the packaging of information and the substitution of information pushing within what is called a knowledge economy as a substitute for the requirements of the creative society. The creative society and scholarship and the university ethos make possible the myriad forms of the knowledge economy. If the universities and the creative capacity of society is reduced to the requirements of the knowledge economy at one moment in time, one is creating obsolescence and a stultifying kind of intelligence that is the substitute for either knowledge or wisdom.

Maidir leis an reachtaíocht féin agus an rud atá ag tarlú, tá daoine ar aon intinn faoin leasú bunúsach, is é sin, na coinníollacha a bhaineann le ceapacháin do phoist a athrú. Tá difríochtaí ann, agus tá siad ag tarlú toisc gur féidir dhá léamh a dhéanamh ar an Alt atáá chur in áit an chinn atáá bhaint de. Mar shampla, nuair a bhí cruinniú de choiste rialaithe na hollscoile cúpla bliain ó shin, bhí dréacht acu, agus ar an gcéad dul síos leag siad béim air go mbeadh cúrsaí leathana ar fáil agus réim chumarsáide ann ina mbeadh daoine in ann a ngnó a dhéanamh ar bhunús dátheangach ar a laghad. An rud atá tábhachtach ag an bpointe seo ná, ar an gcéad dul síos, nach mbeadh sé mar ghnáthaidhm ag an ollscoil ach mar phríomhaidhm aici go gcuirfí an Ghaeilge chun cinn. Ghlac an tAire leis sin. An darna ceann ná go mbeadh sé intuigthe go mbeadh cúrsaí ar fáil in ábhair éagsúla i réim a bheadh cuíosach leathan.

An tríú ceann ná go bhfuil difríocht eadrainn maidir le tábhacht an Achta teanga. Má táthar ag iarraidh go mbeadh an Ghaeilge ann ar bhunús dátheangach, caithfear daoine a spreagadh é sin a bhaint amach. Ní bheadh sí ann dá mbeadh síá brú ar dhaoine ar chor ar bith. Ní féidir bheith ag brath ar an Acht teanga, toisc go bhfuil an tAcht lag sa mhéid seo. Tá siadsan ag caint ar scéimeanna a chur ar aghaidh, ach tá sé scríofa síos i gcló san Acht céanna gur feidir le hinstitiúid ar bith an oibleagáid atá uirthi a athrú. It is not copper-fastened in the Official Languages Act because the institution may seek to have itself removed from the obligation to promote the Irish language.

None of us wants the Irish language to be abused in such a way as to create a fictional situation in which one would not be able to hire the best candidate. However, I see nothing wrong with those who have international scholarship using the Irish language. It is a reasonable expectation that courses would be available through Irish across a wide spectrum of subjects. It is not unreasonable to create an ethos of encouragement for a bilingual culture of communication. I cannot see why there would be a difficulty about any of these issues.

For nearly 30 years I taught, in one capacity or another, at what was UCG and is now the National University of Ireland, Galway. I have seen what is being allocated for the universities and have heard it said that universities must compete with each other. There is world class scholarship in old Irish and Hiberno-Latin, and in the history of scholarship people have combined physics and mathematics in various computations. People who organise international gatherings of scholars on such topics are asked to make them more glamorous. I know that for a fact.

In discussing world scholarship, however, we are not talking about organising celebrity events. It distressed me very much to hear that the Science Foundation Ireland did not view favourably scholarship of the kind to which I have referred. I am not imputing these views to the Minister but it is important for us, when discussing universities, to retain their ethos. We are getting to the point, however, where if one advertises internationally to offer a university education without cramming, stress, pressure or the artificial construction of subjects, one would be inundated with applications from all over the world. There are such things as university teaching, the maturation of students and the combination of colleagues. Professors who are leading research projects need to have the capacity to construct teams around them without this neo-utilitarian vulgarity and Philistinism, which is wrecking the Irish university system.

As regards the Bill, I look forward, as do my colleagues, to the removal of any suggestion that the university would be abusing the filter of the Irish language. Let us remember, however, that in the history of University College Galway, there were times when the university was nearly wound up. It kept going on the basis that it used its commitment to the Irish language to secure funding and a continued existence.

It would be ridiculous if people tried to suggest that we are divided on the issue of a commitment to the Irish language. The issue in the amendment is to make it dearfach and strong so that there is no possibility of ambiguity, and that we are making a genuine commitment. Is féidir linn glacadh le cuid de na leasuithe lena chinntiú sin. Bheimis ar aon intinn faoin reachtaíocht seo.

I wish to share time with Deputies Gogarty and Ó Snodaigh.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Fáiltím roimh an Bhille seo. The legislation amends the University College Galway Act 1929. The amending legislation will have the effect of removing the requirement to appoint candidates competent in the Irish language to positions in the university. It replaces that requirement with an obligation to ensure that the university's development plan contains a provision for the delivery of education through the Irish language.

Perhaps it was appropriate, in 1929, for a university located in the historic city of Galway which was at that time surrounded by a fluent Irish-speaking population, that a provision be incorporated into the legislation as follows:

It should be the duty of the senate of the National University of Ireland, the governing body of the college, or the president of the college, when making an appointment to any office or situation in the college, to appoint to such office or situation a person who is competent to discharge the duties thereof through the medium of the Irish language, provided a person so competent and also suitable in all other respects is to be found amongst the persons who are candidates or otherwise available for appointment.

Attempts have been made by Fine Gael to link, in some way, the amendment of that section with the new Irish language policy of that party. There is no connection whatsoever. When recruiting staff it is appropriate that no restrictions or barriers are placed in the way of recruiting the best person for the particular job. NUI Galway has been very successful in attracting research funding in the areas of science and technology. We have highly qualified researchers in Ireland but periodically it may be desirable or appropriate to attract research personnel from abroad. In this respect, it would fetter NUIG if it were to be constrained by the provisions of the 1929 Act and thereby prevented from recruiting what would be deemed to be the most suitable person at a particular time.

As I am from a household which has two NUIG graduates, I am aware of its record of commitment to the Irish language. The university's track record, programmes and plans convince me that if this amending legislation is passed it will in no way dilute NUIG's commitment to the Irish language.

NUIG has demonstrated its commitment to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language in a practical way by servicing the existing university education centres in An Cheathrú Rua, Carna and Gweedore. If at any time the commitment of NUIG to the Irish language weans, the Official Languages Act will spur it on to live up to its responsibilities. If I had any doubt about NUIG's commitment to the Irish language, I would not support the Bill. I have no doubt about it, however, because the university's record speaks for itself. On Committee Stage we will discuss various amendments that have been tabled, some of which are desirable. We will leave discussion of those to the appropriate time, however.

I wish to place on the record my admiration for the excellent work done by NUIG in all disciplines. The quality of the graduates produced by the university are second to none. The college president, Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, who visited us today, and the governing authority deserve our thanks.

Ar son an Chomhaontais Ghlais, fáiltím roimh an Bhille seo. The Green Party adheres to the principle of the Bill. I have met the college authorities and I support the Bill wholeheartedly. I have tabled an amendment which I believe will strengthen the Irish ethos of the legislation. If this proves to be unacceptable to the Minister, however, I will be happy to proceed on the basis that it is important to get the legislation through as quickly as possible.

The Minister and other speakers noted the need in a modern society to remove the barrier that existed, the built-in requirement to appoint candidates competent in the Irish language. That is welcome if one is trying to build a top-class international university in a globalised economy. I hope the measures in this Bill and the commitment shown by the management of the college will continue the Irish ethos one way or another.

Fine Gael has put forward its big idea on Irish, which is to make it less compulsory. While I was listening to Deputy Enright, I noted this is being pushed by the language reform movement, which is very critical of anything Irish and sees it as totalitarian nationalism. The movement believes that any retention of the Irish language or even Irish studies being taught in schools is not acceptable. I wonder if Fine Gael is going down that road and if it supports the aims and ambitions of the language reform movement in this regard.

That is complete rubbish.

Fair enough. Deputy Kenny may like to clarify that later.

I am clarifying it now.

I agree with the point made by Deputy Enright. If one does 11 years of compulsory Irish, one is in generally left with the cúpla focal. Some 38% of people say they can speak Irish, but figures show that only 3% speak it daily or 5% weekly. This indicates an endemic problem with the teaching of Irish in schools. The Green Party does not support any moves to take away the compulsory element of Irish and believes it is an intrinsic part of our culture and national identity. It is important, particularly as we become a more multicultural society, to know where we came from and what we are.

However, it is one thing to publish this Bill to recognise the international context and still try to preserve Irish at third and fourth level, but when the majority of people who speak Irish daily happen to be primary schoolchildren, the majority of adults who speak Irish daily are civil servants and teachers and only a third of people in Gaeltacht areas speak Irish daily, there is a problem. We need a serious root and branch review of how Irish is taught and why a love of Irish is not engendered by the time people reach second level.

At the end of the leaving certificate, my French was of exactly the same standard as my Irish. I got a B in both honours examinations but while I can understand every word the Minister says in Irish, I cannot come up with the parliamentary terms. That is after 11 years of being taught Irish in the system, and everyone else has the same difficulty. If a person's French, German or Spanish is better after half the time spent, we must look at what we are doing in our primary schools to foster a love of Irish and ensure people are in a position to build on the language.

At some stage, the combination of the written and oral is lost to students. That may happen when students leave primary school and are suddenly confronted with a different way of teaching Irish or when they get to second year and start questioning the value of the language. One way or another, whether it involves the value of Irish, the love of it or the mechanisms of teaching it, a problem exists. I ask the Minister, in consultation with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, to come up with something new in terms of how Irish is taught. It should be compulsory. It is part of what we are, and I do not mean that as a cliché. If we want people moving on to third level who are proficient in the language, that recognition would do much more to foster the language in a long-term manner than any protective, continuing amendments in this Bill. My colleagues and I support this Bill, but something needs to be done at the basic level.

Is trua go bhfuil deifir orainn leis an Bhille seo mar tá a lán ann, in ainneoin nach bhfuil ach dhá leathanach i gceist. Taobh thiar de, tá ceist mhór na Gaeilge agus an tslí a bhfuil an Stát ag caitheamh léi ó bunaíodh é. Tá an ceart ag an choláiste agus ag an Aire gur chóir leasú a dhéanamh ar an bhunAcht. Sa bhunAcht sin, tá a lán rudaí eile ar chóir dúinn díriú isteach orthu, áfach. Níl muid ach ag déanamh mionathraithe ar an Acht. Ní Acht rófhada é; níl ach dhá leathanach i gceist anseo ach oiread. Ba chóir go mbeimis ag tógáil an ama atá againn sa Teach seo le déileáil leis an cheist seo i gceart, nach ceist Ollscoil na Gaillimhe í go díreach. Ba cheart dúinn díriú isteach ar cheist na n-ollscoileanna ar fad seachas athrú amháin a dhéanamh anseo agus leanúint ar aghaidh leis an dualgas breise a bhíodh ar Choláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh i gcónaí. Ba chóir dúinn an dualgas sin a thabhairt do na hollscoileanna ar fad.

Tá ról mór agus obair iontach déanta ag Coláiste na hOllscoile thar na blianta. Bhí m'athair agus m'aintín ar an choláiste sin agus nuair a d'fhreastail siad ar an ollscoil, dhein siad a gcúrsaí uilig trí mheán na Gaeilge. Ní raibh an deis sin ag na mic léinn sna hollscoileanna anseo i mBaile Átha Cliath. D'fhreastail mé féin ar UCD agus bhí cead agam an scrúdú a dhéanamh as Gaeilge, ach ní raibh na cúrsaí ar fáil i nGaeilge.

Is botún é go bhfuilimid ag deifriú mar ní gá ach féachaint ar an phrácás a bhí ann ar maidin agus aríst um thráthnóna i leith na leasuithe ar an Bhille um Chomhairle Múinteoireachta. Má tá deifir orainn nó má dhéanaimid iarracht brostú i leith reachtaíochta, déanfaimid botúin. Measaim go mbeimid ag teacht ar ais chuige seo toisc go bhfuil easnaimh ann, agus measann a lán daoine go bhfuil an leasú atá os ár gcomhair ró-lag agus nach bhfuil na fiacla aige a theastaíonn uaidh. Ba chóir go mbeadh sé i bhfad ní ba dhearfaí, agus ba chóir cur leis an méid atá sa Bhille cheana féin seachas aisghairm iomlán ar an chuid sin den reachtaíocht.

Ba é cosaint agus cur chun cinn a bhí i gceist nuair a cuireadh an tAcht le chéile ar dtús, agus ba é Earnán de Blaghd ó Chumann na nGaedhael a dhein é. Anois, is oth liom go bhfuil an páirtí a shíolraigh uaidh ag fáil réidh leis an chosaint sin a rinneadh ag an am. Thuig sé gur gá tacaíocht a bheith ann, crann taca le déanamh cinnte go bhfuil céim in airde ag Gaeilgeoirí, múinteoirí, ollaimh agus ag gach uile leibhéal, ionas go mbeadh ollscoil éigin ar an oileán seo ag tabhairt tús áite don Ghaeilge. Níl sé sin ann. Níl ollscoil le Gaeilge ann, ach tá Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh ann. Is é an teideal ceart atá uirthi ná Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Is oth liom nach bhfuil an teideal sin ar an Bhille.

Agus muid ag déileáil le leasuithe, chuireamar trí leasú síos in iarracht díriú isteach ar na ceisteanna a bhfuil mé tar éis a ardú. Fuair mé freagra i dtaca le roinnt acu ón Cheann Comhairle: "I regret to inform you that amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 tabled by you for Committee Stage of the Bill must be ruled out of order as they are outside the scope of the Bill." Táimid ag déileáil le hollscolaíocht agus dualgais mar gheall ar an Ghaeilge ó thaobh coláiste amháin de. Bhí na trí leasú sin dírithe ar dhéileáil leis na coláistí eile atá faoi scáth Ollscoil na hÉireann agus ligint don Aire rud difriúil ina iomláine a thabhairt isteach ar an Bhille. Tá sé sin athraithe.

Is é an cheist mhór ná cá bhfuil an ollscoil Ghaeilge. Cá bhfuil an plean chun í a chur i réim? Is é an méid a bheadh i gceist ná ollscolaíocht ina iomláine trí mheán na Gaeilge. Níl sé sin ag an Rialtas. Cén fáth?

Ní gá.

Is gá, ionas go mbeadh gach uile ábhar ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge ina iomláine. Má amharcann an tAire ar an scéim atá curtha os a comhair ag an ollscoil, feicfidh sí nach bhfuil sé i gceist go mbeadh gach uile ábhar ar fáil i nGaeilge, fiú in Ollscoil na hÉireann i nGaillimh. Tá aidhm ann, agus bíonn daoine de shíor ag lorg go mbeadh ollscoil ann a bheadh Gaelach ina hiomláine, le luachanna Gaelacha agus gach uile rud a théann leis sin. Bheadh costais ann, ach bíonn costais ann i gcónaí má táthar ag iarraidh athréimiú a dhéanamh ar an teanga nóí a chur chun cinn.

I dtaobh an Bhille seo, tá daoine ag féachaint air agus tá siad buartha nach leanfaidh na cosaintí reachtúla a bhí ag an Ghaeilge ó thaobh an Gharda Síochána agus a lán eile — anois ó thaobh earcaíocht postanna in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe — agus go bhfuil an Rialtas ag fáil réidh leis na cosaintí sin, diaidh ar ndiaidh. Measaim, seachas a bheith ag fáil réidh leis na cosaintí, gur cheart dúinn a bheith ag cur leo agus ag tabhairt breis éifeachta d'Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla.

Ní mé amháin atá i gcoinne na slí a bhfuil an Rialtas ag déileáil leis an cheist seo. Tá liosta mór fada de dhaoine a bhfuil a n-ainmneacha curtha leis na leasuithe a bheidh os ár gcomhair. Tá na Teachtaí eile tar éis é sin a lua. Tá súil agam go mbeidh an tAire sásta tacú leis na leasuithe atá agam féin nó fiú leis na leasuithe atá ag Teachtaí Fhine Gael. Má táimid chun déileáil leis seo, tá sé tábhachtach go mbeadh breis foirfe agus cosaintí ar an Ghaeilge agus go mbeimid níos dearfaí maidir leis an dualgas a bheidh ar údarás an choláiste amach anseo. Táúdarás an-mhaith sa choláiste faoi láthair agus tá bainistíocht an-mhaith ann ó thaobh na Gaeilge de, ach cad a bheidh ann i gceann deich mbliana, 20 bliain nó 30 bliain? Caithfimid a bheith cinnte go bhfuilimid ag féachaint ar an todhchaí seachas díreach ar fhadhb bheag atá ann faoi láthair.

Measaim gur fadhb bheag atá ann, má chreidimid an méid a bhí iFoinse le déanaí maidir leis. Dúradh nach bhfuil éifeacht ar bith ag an reachtaíocht atá ann ó 1929 ar an chuid is mó den earcaíocht nó glacadh le hollamh nó léachtóirí ar a laghad. Measaim go ndúirt 90% acu nach gcuireann an reachtaíocht atá ann faoi láthair isteach nó amach ar an earcaíocht sin.

Tá lúcháir orm an deis a bheith agam cúpla focal a rá faoin mBille seo. B'fhéidir go mbeidh tábhacht mhór ag an mBille ar thodhchaí na Gaeilge agus ar chúrsaí ollscolaíochta Gaeilge sa tír seo sna blianta amach romhainn. Sílim, ó tharla go bhfuil an Bille ag baint le Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh, go dtabharfaimid aitheantas inniu sa Dáil don obair iontach atá déanta ag an ollscoil le ceithre scór bliain anuas, ó tugadh isteach an tAcht seo i 1929 maidir le hollscolaíocht trí Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil d'éinne sa tír seo a raibh suim aige ann nó a raibh éileamh aige ar an tseirbhís sin.

Ba mhaith liom a rá, mar Theachta Dála ó Dhún na nGall is Tír Conaill, go raibh dlúthcheangal i gconaí idir Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh, mar atá a fhios ag an Teachta Ó hUiginn, agus na daoine a bhfuil mise ag déanamh ionadaíochta orthu anseo sa Dáil. Sílim gur ceangal fiúntach agus muintearas agus cairdeas fiúntach a bhí ann. Mar éinne de mo ghlúinse a raibh sé d'ádh air nó de phribhléid aige freastal ar an ollscoil, nuair a bhí mé i mo mhac léinn meánscoile ba phribhléid mhór é dom a dul go dtí an ollscoil. Bhí Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh ann i gconaí le fáilte a chur rompu agus le hoideachas ceart agus maith a chur ar fáil dóibh. Tá oideachas iontach bainte amach ag na hiar-scoláirí agus na hiar-chéimithe atá ag déanamh rudaí i go leor réimsí de shaol poiblí na tíre seo. Tá na hiar-chéimithe sin le fáil ar fud na tíre i gcúrsaí dlí, oideachais, innealtóireachta agus scríbhneoireachta. Tá a maitheas ag dul don tseirbhís a chuir an coláiste sin ar fáil.

Ní shílim gur chóir dúinn dearmad a dhéanamh ar bhunaitheoirí an Stáit seo, ar a ndéantar dearmad go minic. Tá daoine sa Teach seo a cheapann go mbaineann an Ghaeilge leo féin amháin, ach ní fíor é sin. Luaigh an Teachta Ó Snodaigh laoch, i mo thuaraim, a rinne sár-obair ar son athbheochan na Gaeilge sa tír seo, Earnán de Blaghd. Tá a chuimhne á ndearmad go mór againn. Ba chóir dúinn cuimhneamh chomh maith ar a chomhghleacaí, Risteárd Ua Maolchatha. Ba iad seo na daoine a bhí ag iarraidh, le tacaíocht iomlán an chéad Rialtais, tír a thógáil agus institiúidí cosúil leis an Gharda Síochána, an Airm agus an Státseirbhís a chur ar bun. Ba é an dearcadh a bhí acu ná gur chóir go mbeadh oideachas Gaelach mar chroílár de chóras oideachais na tíre seo ar gach leibhéal — ar na leibhéil bunoideachais, meánoideachais agus ollscoile. Ar an leibhéal bunoideachais, bhí ar na múinteoirí a bhí ann ag an am nach raibh an Ghaeilge acu dul go dtí na Gaeltachtaí agus cursaí a dhéanamh, mar atáimid ag moladh inniu.

Rinne Earnán de Blaghd agus na daoine eile rud an-réabhlóideach ar fad sa dara leibhéal. Rinne siad cinnte gur chóir do daoine óga na tíre seo oideachas trí Ghaeilge a fháil. Tá mé ag déanamh tagartha go speisialta ar na sé choláiste ullmhúcháin a cuireadh ar bun. Bhí coláiste do chailíní ar an bhFál Carrach i mo dháilcheantair féin. Bhí coláiste eile i dTuar Mhic Éadaigh i ndáilcheantair mo cheannaire i Maigh Eo. Coláiste geimhridh ab ea Coláiste Íde sa Daingean, as a dtáinig uachtaráin na Gaillimhe sna blianta ata thart. Bhí péire de na coláistí sin do bhuachaillí— Coláiste Éanna i nGaillimh agus coláiste eile i gCorcaigh.

B'fhéidir nach mbeadh mé anseo inniu mar thit mé ar mo cheann nuair a bhí mé i mo bhuachaill óg ag dul ó Dhún na nGall go Corcaigh. Chaith mé ceithre bliana sa choláiste i gCorcaigh. Ba chuma más ón nGaeltacht nóón nGalltacht thú. Nuair a ghlac tú páirt i gcóras oideachais sna coláistí ullmhúcháin, bhí an Ghaeilge ar do thoil agat mar nach raibh focal Béarla le cloisint sna coláistíó bhliain go bliain. Níl a fhios agam conas a tharla sé— míorúilt a bhí ann — ach tharla sé. Níl éinne a chuaigh tríd an chóras sin a deireann nár tharla sé. Ba é an toradh a bhí ann dá bharr sin ná go raibh Gaeilge iontach líofach agus flúirseach ag bunmhúinteoirí i ngach scoil i ngach paróiste sa tír. Chuir siad trasna go dtí na daltaí a bhí sna ranganna acu go raibh meas acu ar an Ghaeilge. Is mór an t-athrú atá tagtha air sin inniu. Tá súil agam go bhfuil an tAire ag éisteacht.

Is cuimhin liom nuair a dúirt saineolaí nó fealsúnaí mór ón taobh céanna den Teach is an tAire i 1961 go raibh ré na gcoláistí ullmhúcháin caite agus nach raibh feidhm leo a thuilleadh. Ní raibh ciall ná céadfaí ag na daoine a chuir deireadh leis na coláistí sin. Sílim go bhfuil rian an chinnidh sin le feiceáil inniu i gcúrsaí bunoideachais na tíre seo. Níl an líofacht, an caighdeán nó an seasamh céanna ag an Ghaeilge agus a bhí aici nuair a bhí na coláistí ullmhúcháin ann. Chuaigh na scoláirí as na choláistí sin isteach sna coláistí oiliúna chomh maith le daltaí eile nach raibh sna coláistí ullmhúcháin. Bhí sé cosúil leis an gcíste is an arán. Thóg siad leibhéal na Gaeilge agus chuaigh siad i bhfeidhm ar na daoine eile a tháinig isteach. Is é sin an fáth go raibh sé chomh maith sin. Tá sé sin imithe. Tá deacrachtaí againn inniu. Táim cinnte — chaith mé go leor blianta sa rang — go bhfuil leibhéal agus caighdeán na Ghaeilge sna bunscoileanna imithe i laghad.

Tá sé mar an gcéanna ag an triú leibhéal. Rinne siad cinnte go raibh an t-oideachas trí Ghaeilge le fáil sna hinstitiúidí triú leibhéil, mar a bhí i nGaillimh. Cuireadh é sin ar fáil. Sílim, chomh fada is atá na gaelscoileanna againn ar fud na tíre, gur comhartha dóchais é sin a mbaineann le bunoideachas. Caithfidh mé moladh agus aitheantas a thabhairt don obair atá á déanamh ag gaelscoileanna agus gaelcholáistí. Nuair a bheidh na scoláirí sin ag dul tríd an chóras sna blianta atá romhainn, sílim go mbeidh éileamh ann i gcomhair oideachais triú leibhéil trí Ghaeilge. Muna bhfuil Coláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh agus coláistí triú leibhéil eile chun é sin a chur ar fáil, ní an rith-tríd go mbeifeá ag súil leis, ón mbun go dtí an barr, i gceist.

Nuair a chuala mé go raibh leasú á dhéanamh ar Acht 1929, is é an chéad rud a tháinig isteach i mo cheann ná gur chúlú agus islú céime eile a bhí ann. Is cuimhin liom nuair a phléigh mé an rud seo le hAire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, an Teachta Ó Cuív, sa bhialann láámháin. Dúirt sé liom go raibh sé seo ag teacht ó na húdaráis i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. Caithfidh mé a rá go ndeachaigh sé sin i gcion orm, mar tá aithne agam ar na húdaráis ansin, agus deirtear liom go bhfuil an t-uachtarán é féin ansin, agus is cinnte go bhfuil a chion déanta aige don Ghaeilge. Tá sé sin déanta ag daoine eile ar an fhoireann, ina measc an Teachta Ó hUiginn, Peadar Mac an Iomaire agus na hollaimh go léir ansin. Is é an rud a chuir imní ormsa ag an am ná nach mbeidh an t-uachtarán atá ann faoi láthair ann faoi cheann 20 bliain — ní déarfaidh mé deich mbliana. Ní bheidh mórán againn anseo faoi cheann 20 bliain. Beidh daoine eile ag imeacht freisin. Ba mhaith liomsa go mbeadh rud éigin sa Bhille seo — go mbeadh leasúéigin sa Bhille seo — le nach mbeimid ag brath ar an uachtarán reatha nó an governing board reatha chun stádas na Gaeilge a chosaint. Ba cheart go mbeadh leasúéigin sa Bhille seo a chuirfidh dualgas ar cibé uachtarán atá ann ansin. Is cuma má thagann sé ón Afraic, ón Astráil, ó Neipeál nó ó thíortha a bhfuil aithne níos fearr ag an Teachta Ó hUiginn orthu ná mar atá agam féin — má bhíonn uachtarán den chineál sin ann, ba cheart go mbeadh an dualgas céanna air i leith na Gaeilge agus atá ann i láthair na huaire. Is é sin an fáth a bhfuil muidne i ndiaidh an leasú seo a chur síos.

Ba mhaith liom moladh a thabhairt don obair — don cheannródaíocht — atá á tabhairt ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Tá acadamh na Gaeilge ar siúl ansin anois, agus tá cúrsaí speisialta á gcur ar fáil chun cáilíochtaí agus tuiscint a thabhairt do dhaoine maidir leis an Ghaeilge. Beidh gá leis sin san am atá amach romhainn. Tá Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla ann, agus tá aitheantas tugtha don Ghaeilge ar leibhéal na hEorpa. Beimid ag cuardach céimithe agus eolaithe a bhfuil eolas domhain acu ar an Ghaeilge, mar aon ar an Ghaeilge scríofa agus ar litríocht na Gaeilge. Sílim go mbeidh ról lárnach ag Coláiste na hOllscoile, Gaillimh san obair thábhachtach seo sna blianta amach romhainn. Tá tosnú déanta cheana féin ag acadamh na Gaeilge. Caithfidh mé a rá chomh maith go bhfuil mé iontach buíoch díobh go bhfuil coláiste satailíte den acadamh sin i mo cheantar i nGaoth Dobhair. Ní amháin go bhfuil sé ag tabhairt oideachais agus cáilíochtaí trí Ghaeilge do na daoine óga atá ag freastal air, ach sílim go bhfuil sé ina bhuntáiste mór don phobal ina bhfuil sé lonnaithe.

Cuirim fáilte le Foras na Gaeilge, atá ag dul go dtí an Ghaeltacht, mar tugann sé sin comhartha do dhaoine proifisiúnta sna ceantair Ghaeltachta, agus tugann sé aitheantas agus stádas don Ghaeilge san áit ina bhfuil sí. Tá sé ag tarlú i nGaillimh. Tá oifigí ag Roinn na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, TG4 agus Raidió na Gaeltachta i nGaillimh — níl mé ag maíomh as. Sílim go dtugann sé sin dlús, téagar agus fréamhacha don teanga san áit ina bhfuil siad lonnaithe. Sílim go ndéanfaidh an t-acadamh an rud céanna. Tá sé ar siúl i dTír Chonaill, i Maigh Eo, chomh fada agus is eol dom, agus tá ceann le cur ann i gCiarraí. Nuair a bhí mé ag amharc ar TG4 aréir, chonaic mé go bhfuil plean ailtire ar bhreacadh d'fhoirgneamh iontach d'acadamh na Gaeilge i gCiarraí.

Tá Coláiste Íosagáin i mBaile Bhúirne, an coláiste a raibh mé féin ag freastal air, druidte anois. Sílim go ndearnadh cúpla scannán ann maidir le rudaí a tharla i gcoláistí cónaithe san am atá thart. Bhí pleananna go mbeadh acadamh de chineál éigin ansin leis an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn. Bíonn ceisteanna síos agam go rialta maidir leis an áit sin. Tá foirgneamh breá ann. Tá sé i gceantar Gaeltachta. Ba chóir go mbainfíúsáid, ní amháin as an bhfoirgneamh, ach as an chultúr is an saibhreas teangan atá sa taobh sin den tír, i nGaeltacht Mhúscraí— i mBaile Bhúirne, i mBéal Átha an Ghaorthaidh, i gCúil Aodha, i mBaile Mhic Íre agus in áiteanna eile sa cheantar. Ba cheart go mbainfíúsáid as. Bhí Seán Ó Riada ann, tá filí ann, tá daonscoil ann — tá go leor ansin. Tá sé suite i gceantar stairiúil; i gceantar ina bhfuil Gaeilge, cultúr agus oidhreacht na tíre ann. Ba chóir go mbainfíúsáid as. Ceapaim go bhfuil sé ag dul ar aghaidh is ar aghaidh. Tiontaíodh an chéad fhód de roimh an toghchán deireannach i 2002. Rinne an t-iar-Aire, an Teachta Woods, é sin. Tá súil agam go mbeidh níos mó ná an chéad fhód iompaithe ar an fhorbairt sin sula dtagann an chéad toghchán eile.

Bhí imní orm nuair a chuala mé faoin Bhille seo ar dtús, ach tar éis na gcainteanna a bhí agam le mo chomhghleacaithe, le húdaráis an choláiste agus le daoine eile, tá mé sásta seans a ghlacadh. Is dócha go bhfuilfimid ag baint an éigeantais amach as. Tá sé amach as achan rud eile go dtí seo. Táimid á dhéanamh sin. Is dócha gurb é an dearcadh atá againn ar an taobh seo den Teach i gcónaí ná nach mbíonn toradh fiúntach i gcónaí ar éigeantas. Más féidir linn daoine a mhealladh, sin mar is fearr é. Táimid ag cur síos an leasaithe chun déanamh cinnte de, cibé duine an comharba ar na húdaráis i nGaillimh i láthair na huaire, go mbeidh ceangal na gcúig gcaol air nó uirthi aitheanas, seasamh agus stádas a thabhairt don Ghaeilge i gcursaí oideachais tríú leibhéil sa tír seo.

Tá an-áthas orm a bheith ag caint faoin mBille seo. Tá an-aithne agam ar Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, mar is é sin an áit ina raibh mé ar feadh na mblianta fada nuair a bhí mé ag staidéar an leighis. Bhí mé ann chomh maith chun an dlí a staidéar ina dhiaidh sin. Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh uachtarán an choláiste, Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, atá sa Gallery. Ba mhaith liom gach tacaíocht a thabhairt don ollscoil agus don Bhille seo. Tuigim go bhfuil sé ceart go mbeidh seans ag gach duine post a fháil. Ní bheidh aon chonstaic air sin, mar ní bheadh sé ceart nó cóir. Tá aithne agam ar an bhfear i gceist a bhí ag lorg poist ann. Dúirt na cúirteanna go raibh an ceart ag an bhfear sin. Ní bheadh sé sna cúirteanna dá mbeadh an post ar fáil agus tá mé buíoch as sin.

Tuigim go bhfuil sé an-tábhachtach go mbeimid ag iarraidh cúpla focal Gaeilge a rá. Bhí daoine ag caint mar gheall air sin ar maidin. Tuigim go bhfuil géar-ghá ann go mbíonn seans ag gach éinne an teanga a fhoghlaim. Bím ag caint leis an Aire go minic mar gheall ar Ghaelscoil na Cruaiche i gCathair na Mart. Tá sé an-tábhachtach ar fad go mbeadh Gaelscoil ann. Tuigim go bhfuil an tAire ag cabhrú ina thaobh sin agus gabhaim buíochas de.

Bhí sé an-chrua an Ghaeilge a labhairt sna blianta atá caite. Bhí bata scóir ag daoine sna blianta sin. Cuireadh scóir ar an bhata nuair a labhair na gasúir as Gaeilge sa scoil. Bhí ruaille buaille ann nuair a labhair siad as Gaeilge. Is é sin an chaoi ar cuireadh na penal laws i bhfeidhm. Bhí fonn ar na daoine an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus táim an-bhuíoch go bhfuil an seans agam í a labhairt. Tá sé tábhachtach go mbeimid ag tabhairt tacaíochta do gach uile duine atá in ann cúpla focal a rá. Tá daoine sa tír seo ag lorg seans an Ghaeilge a úsáid. Dúirt mé go bhfuil daoine ag foghlaim na teanga sna Gaelscoileanna. Nuair a bhí mé i mo dhochtúir teaghlaigh ar Oileán Acla agus ar an gCorrán, chas mé ar dhaoine aosta a bhí ag iarraidh cúpla focal a bhaint asam. Bhaineadar taitneamh mór as é sin a dhéanamh. Tá a lán daoine óga a bhfuil neart suime acu sa teanga. Tá na mílte scoláirí ag foghlaim na Gaeilge agus ag baint taitnimh aisti sna gaelscoileanna. Tá suim mhór acu sa Ghaeilge. Tá a lán rudaí eile ann a bhaineann leis an teanga, an cultúr agus an traidisiún atá againn sa tír seo.

Tá baint agam le seoltóireacht na yawlta ar Oileán Acla. Bíonn cruinniú againn gach bliain. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta as an tacaíocht mhór a thugann sé do na yawlta. Tá sé mar phlean againn ionad yawlta a chur ar fáil ar Oileán Acla chun go mbeidh cuairteoirí in ann foghlaim fúthu. Tá a lán oibre iontaíá déanamh ag Raidió na Gaeltachta agus TG4. Pléann siad nithe éagsúla a bhaineann leis an teanga agus an chultúr. Nuair a táimid ag cur na rásaí ar siúl agus ag tabhairt na nduaiseanna amach, déanaimid iarracht an Ghaeilge a labhairt. Tá a lán daoine ar Oileán Acla a bhfuil an-chleachtadh acu sa teanga. Ba mhaith liom go gcuirfidh Údarás na Gaeltachta agus an Stát an tacaíocht chéanna ar fáil go ceann na mblianta fada, agus tuigim go dtarlóidh sé sin. Tá 20 yawl ar na farraigí againn, agus baineann gach éinne an-taitneamh as a bheith ag plé leis na yawlta agus ag labhairt na Gaeilge.

Tuigim go bhfuil a lán Gaeilge ann. Tá a lán daoine in ann cúpla focal a rá. Ní mór don Rialtas gach tacaíocht a thabhairt do dhaoine mar sin. Bhí an Ghaeilge ag mo mháthair agus mo sheanmháthair go láidir. Tá daoine aosta ann atá an-sásta an Ghaeilge a labhairt. Is féidir leis an Rialtas rud éigin a dhéanamh dóibh chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn. Bímid i gcónaí ag iarraidh go labhróidh daoine óga an Ghaeilge, ach caithfimid smaoineamh ar na daoine eile. B'fhéidir go mbeidís as cleachtadh, ach ceapaim go labhróidís a thuilleadh Gaeilge dá mbeadh seans acu. Taitníonn an Ghaeltacht le mór-chuid daoine óga. Nuair a bhí méóg, chuaigh mé go Lochán Beag, agus chas me ar Phól Ó Foighil, fear iontach a fuair bás le déanaí. Bhain mé an-taitneamh as an chraic agus an céilí a bhí ann.

I am pleased to be able to speak on this Bill. It is important that we are seen to support Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, to which the west has a great attachment. My father, daughter and I have taken advantage of its very good facilities. This Bill is straightforward. It is logical in that it purports to take a correct action.

I am familiar with a case where a law lecturer was placed first for a permanent job. He felt very aggrieved because although he had passed the Irish language test on two previous occasions, he did not pass it on that occasion and so was not offered the job. It seemed quite inequitable to me. As it happened, the person who was first in line refused the job and it was offered to this law lecturer, which was right and equitable.

It is correct that the law be changed to deal with interference with a person's right or ability to be appointed to a particular post. This is the unanimous decision of the governors of NUI Galway. I respect that and support this Bill.

NUI Galway, or University College Galway, UCG, as it was known, has had many achievements regarding the Irish language and cannot in any way be accused of diluting it. An academy of Irish learning has been established there and NUI Galway is doing its bit for the language. I agree with Deputy Ó Snodaigh that we have not yet seen the programme for development. However, it is hoped that all will happen according to plan.

I wish to make a point on the greater ability now of University College Galway to put through medical graduates. The number of graduates allowed has increased greatly from 305 to 725 in 2007. I welcome this because there is certainly a great shortage of general practitioners and doctors in the west. Tabharfaidh sé seans níos mó dochtúirí teaghlaigh a fháil. Tá sé sin an-tábhachtach ar fad. People often accuse the medical profession of limiting the number of graduates in some way. This is an urban myth, and also a rural myth, propagated for some unknown reason.

Irish graduates.

In my dealings with doctors' unions, I note the medical profession is always keen to see an increase in the number of doctors. The difficulty was with the universities. Ní raibh an t-airgead acu chun an rud a dhéanamh. Ní raibh a dhóthain airgid acu chun níos mó dochtúirí a chur amach agus dá bharr sin, ní raibh na dochtúirí le fáil. I greatly welcome the increased role of the universities in this regard and the opportunity for more people to qualify from NUI Galway and other universities. More than doubling the number of graduates is to be especially welcomed. I know the medical degree from NUI Galway is recognised throughout the world.

I wish the college every success in the future. Ní mór dom a rá go mbeidh gach tacaíocht le fáil ó gach uile Teachta d'Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Tá an-áthas orm a bheith ag caint ar an Bhilleseo.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar an mBille seo. Sílim gur chóir dúinn go léir a bheith macánta faoin teanga. Léigh mé an tuarascáil a chuir an Coimisinéir Teanga amach anuraidh. Dúirt sé go han-soiléir go bhfuilimid ag caitheamh 1,500 uair múinteoireachta agus €500 milliún gach bliain ag múineadh na Gaeilge do leanaí na tíre seo. Dúirt sé go raibh díomá air — tá díomá orainn go léir — faoin chaighdeán agus faoin chumas sa Ghaeilge labhartha atá ag formhór mhuintir na tíre.

Sílim gur chóir go mbeimis macánta faoin ábhar seo. Bheadh sé i bhfad ní b'éasca do pholaiteoirí gan rud ar bith a rá faoin teanga. Dúirt mé gur chóir dúinn breathnú ar na struchtúir agus an chaoi múinteoireachta chomh maith leis na háiseanna atáá dtabhairt againn do mhúinteoirí na tíre chun níos mó béime a chur ar an teanga agus deireadh a chur leis an éigeantacht. Dúirt mé chomh maith gur cheart go mbeadh scrúdú béil ann don teastas sóisearach agus go ndéanfaí athstruchtúrú ar an gclár don ardteist.

Ba cheart dúinn i bhfad ní ba mhó béime a chur ar chúrsaí drámaíochta, spraoi agus teanga labhartha chun go mbeimid i bhfad níos láidre ó thaobh na teanga de taobh istigh de chúpla bliain. Dhírigh beagnach chuile dhuine isteach ar an éigeantacht amháin. Dúirt siad go mbeimid ag laghdú na Gaeilge agus chumas na teanga, agus mar sin de. Cuirfidh mé fáilte roimh an am a mbeimid in ann díospóireacht iomlán a bheith againn i nDáil Éireann faoi na deacrachtaí seo agus faoi chomh báúil agus atáimid go léir don teanga. Séard atá i gceist agamsa agus ag Fine Gael ná an Ghaeilge a neartú agus a láidriúó cheann na tíre. Ó thaobh an Bhille seo de, bhí mé ag caint le húdaráis Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Aontaím leo gur chóir go mbeadh leasú ann ar an Acht a tháinig isteach i 1929.

Mar a dúirt an Teachta McGinley faoi Earnán de Blaghd agus Risteárd Ua Maolchatha agus iad siúd a bhí an-láidir i leith an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, bímis macánta faoi go raibh deacrachtaí ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ollamh faoi leith a mhealladh don ollscoil. Séard atá i gceist anseo ná leasú a thabhairt isteach chun deireadh a chur le héigeantacht maidir le Gaeilge a bheith ag ollamh atá ag dul isteach in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh.

Ina áit sin, bheadh plean straitéiseach leagtha amach agus ceann de na haidhmeanna sa phlean sin go mbeadh an Ghaeilge, múinteoireacht na teanga agus ábhair as Gaeilge ar fáil taobh istigh den choláiste agus, mar atáá dhéanamh acu faoi láthair in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, cúrsaí as Gaeilge taobh amuigh den choláiste freisin. Is maith an rud é sin agus aontaím leis an leasú.

Bhí mé ag caint ar údaráis na hollscoile. Bhí raic ar siúl. Bhí mé thíos oíche amháin, agus bhí 300 duine ag an léacht agus díospóireacht a bhí ann. Dúirt duine éigin go raibh an tAire, an Teachta Ó Cuív, ag insint bréaga faoi seo, rud a shéan sé, go nádúrtha. Bhí díospóireacht an-láidir ann faoin leasú agus an sórt creata a bheadh ar an Ghaeilge as seo amach. Mar sin, aontaím leis an leasú seo.

Mar a dúirt an Teachta McGinley, sílim ón Acht — agus is féidir leis an Aire é seo a rá— cibé uachtarán a bheidh ann deich nó 20 bliain amach romhainn, beidh air nó uirthi an plean straitéise a chuirfidh an ollscoil i gcrích a chur i bhfeidhm aríst. Más é sin atá i gceist, go mbeidh an Ghaeilge á cur chun cinn mar dhualgas agus aidhm den straitéis, cibé uachtarán a thiocfaidh isteach agus cibéúdarás a bheidh ann 30 bliain amach romhainn, beidh orthu an straitéis sin a chur i gcrích. Táimid ag baint éigeantachta amháin ón ollscoil ó thaobh cumas sa Ghaeilge a bheith ag na hollaimh de. Ina áit sin, táimid ag cur riachtanais agus éigeantachta eile isteach go mbeidh dualgas ar údaráis agus uachtarán an choláiste an plean sin a chur i gcrích as seo amach.

Bímid ag argóint leis an Aire anois agus aríst. Dá mbeadh an Teachta Enright nó McCormack thall ansin mar Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta agus an Teachta Hanafin anseo, an aontódh sí linne dá mbeimis ag tabhairt leasaithe den chineál seo isteach maidir le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh?

Dá mba rud é gur tháinig sé anseo, b'fhéidir.

Ó thaobh polaitíochta de, an dtabharfadh sí a tacaíocht don leasú? Táimid an-bháúil don teanga agus an rud atá á dhéanamh ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Tá an éigeantacht bainte den Gharda Síochána Gaeilge a bheith ag duine ar mhaith leis dul isteach sna gardaí i gcuid de na cásanna. Tá liúntais speisialta ar fáil ag na gardaí a oibríonn i nGaillimh agus i gCiarraí. Níl a leithéid ar fáil dóibh siúd a oibríonn sna Gaeltachtaí i gContae Chorcaí, Mhaigh Eo, nó Dhún na nGall. Tuige sin? Mar chinneadh polaitiúil a rinneadh na blianta fada ó shin. D'ainneoin go bhfuil sé ar a gcumas acu Gaeilge a labhairt agus a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh as Gaeilge an t-am ar fad agus iad ag obair sna Gaeltachtaí, ag éirí as an gcinneadh polaitiúil sin, ní raibh an liúntas sin ar fáil i nDún na nGall, i Maigh Eo, i mBaile Bhúirne nó san áit ar a raibh an Teachta McGinley ag caint.

An féidir leis an Aire, agus í ag tabhairt freagra ar an díospóireacht seo, cur isteach sa chlár anseo go mbeidh dualgas ar cibé uachtarán agus údaráis ar Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh a bheidh ann an Ghaeilge a chur isteach sna pleananna straitéise a bheidh acu? Rachadh sé sin chun leas na teanga agus Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh. Taobh amuigh de sin, fáiltím roimh an am a mbeimis in ann díospóireacht iomlán mhacánta a bheith againn sa Teach seo i leith na Gaeilge, mhúinteoireacht na teanga, agus TG4, a thug an tAire cáiliúil, an Teachta Michael D. Higgins, isteach agus atá ag seasamh an fhóid go láidir sa lá atá inniu ann. Tá súil agam go mbeidh sé níos láidre as seo amach as ucht na hoibre atá á déanamh acu siúd i leith na teanga labhartha agus mar sin de.

Ós rud é gur tháinig uachtarán Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh anseo inniu, fáiltím roimhe agus deirim leis go n-aontaím leis an aidhm atá aige agus ag na húdaráis i leith an leasaithe seo. Éistfidh mé leis an Aire á rá go cinnte dearfach go mbeidh an dualgas sin ann as seo amach go meidh an Ghaeilge sáite isteach sa phlean straitéise sa treo is nach mbeidh díomá nó míthuiscint ar dhuine ar bith ó thaobh na háite a bhfuil an Ghaeilge mar theanga de, atá chomh fíorthábhachtach dúinn go léir.

Tááthas orm deis a fháil labhairt ar Bhille an Choláiste Ollscoile, Gaillimh (Leasú) 2005. Tríd is tríd, mar a dúirt urlabhraí an Chomhaontais Ghlais ar chúrsaí oideachais agus eolaíochta, an Teachta Gogarty, táimid ar son mholadh údaráis Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh mar gheall ar feabhas a chur ar sholáthar chúrsaí Gaeilge agus chultúr Gaeilge do mhic léinn na hollscoile agus na tíre go ginearálta.

Gan amhras, má táimid ag aontú leis an reachtaíocht i bprionsabal, tá a fhios againn go léir sa Teach seo nach leor reachtaíocht go minic chun cúrsaí a athrú go bunúsach. Táim go láidir den tuairim gur maith agus tábhachtach an rud é an díospóireacht seo chun, b'fhéidir, iniúchadh beag a dhéanamh ar cad eile a bheidh ag teastáil seachas an reachtaíocht le go mbeidh tionchar suntasach againn ar chúrsaí. Mar a dúirtFoinse ar 29 Eanáir, le déanaí ní raibh tionchar ar bith ag riail na Gaeilge ag 95% de cheapacháin sa choláiste. Dúirt an nuachtán freisin go bhfuil riail na Gaeilge i gceist i gcás ollaimh amháin as 15 a ceapadh le trí bliana anuas. Ní mór, mar sin, féachaint go géar ar an scéal sin agus na leasuithe atá á dtabhairt isteach. Cuirim fáilte roimh leasú na hollscoile agus táimid ag súil go mbeidh ár leasú féin chomh héifeachtach agus is féidir.

Tá sé tábhachtach go bhfuilimid ag díriú ar na rudaí seo. Tá réimse cúrsaí do mhic léinn le Gaeilge i gceist ar leibhéal amháin, agus caithfimid bheith cinnte de go bhfuil sé sin ann leis an bhorradh atá tar éis teacht ar an ghaelscolaíocht sa tír agus an tsuim atá ag go leor daoine freastal ar choláiste tríú leibhéil chun cúrsa a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge. Ní mór na cúrsaí sin a chur ar fáil. Chomh maith leis sin, áfach, tá suim mhór agam go pearsanta sa chuid sin den leasú a bhfuil tagairt ann do chultúr dátheangach cumarsáide. Tá suim mhór agam sa chuid sin den leasú mar dhuine atá ag múineadh na Gaeilge do dhaoine fásta go deonach gach Aoine. Tá aithne agam ar go leor daoine nach raibh Gaeilge acu nó nach raibh suim acu sa Ghaeilge nuair a bhí siad óg. Anois tá siad ag freastal ar an teanga agus ag iarraidh go mbeadh an cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach sin ar fáil, ní amháin i gColáiste na hOllscoile ach níos leithne ná sin ar fud na tíre. Tá deis anseo ag an ollscoil an tosaíocht a thabhairt don tír ar fad ar conas is féidir cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach a chur ar fáil a bheadh éifeachtach agus a rachadh i bhfeidhm ar an bpobal. Níl a leithéid ann go dtí seo. Tá sé ar fáil i gCeanada agus i dtíortha eile a bhfuil cothrom na féinne iontu do na teangacha oifigiúla sa stát i gceist.

In Éirinn, áfach, tugtar faoi deara go bhfuil an Ghaeilge le feiceáil anseo agus ansiúd ach ní ar bhonn dátheangach. Agus mé ag dul go Trá Lí, thug mé faoi deara sa stáisiúin iarnróid go bhfuil an Ghaeilge agus an Béarla ann ó thaobh logainmneacha de ach bhí an Ghaeilge scríofa i ndúch oráiste agus an Béarla i ndúch dubh. Nuair a bhíonn sé dorcha tá an dath oráiste dofheicthe agus níl aon chuma go bhfuil muid i ndáiríre faoin Ghaeilge nuair a dhéantar sin. Sin sampla amháin den easpa dáiríreachta a bhíonn ann, cé go bhfuil cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach in ainm is a bheith ann.

Sa Teach seo agus i gcúrsaí Rialtais, cé go bhfuil Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla ann, arís, ó thaobh cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach, mar atá luaite sa leasú, níl sé ann go praiticiúil. Tá an clár Rialtais idir Fianna Fáil agus an Páirtí Daonlathach agam agus ní luaitear go bhfuil leagan Gaeilge ar fáil. Tá an Ghaeilge ann mar an t-ábhar deireanach sa chlár. Bheinn ag súil má tá dátheangachas i gceist go mbeadh ar a laghad tagairt ann do leagan Gaeilge. Tá an clár caipitil don Roinn Airgeadais mar an gcéanna.

Tá feabhas tagtha le hAcht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla. Tá tionchar an Achta le feiceáil sa tuarascáil bhliantúil ón Gharda Síochána. Ní d'fhoghlaimeoir teanga é seo, áfach, tá sé ann ar mhaithe leis an Acht agus le riachtanais oifigiúla ach lena léamh as Gaeilge, caithfidh duine an leagan Béarla a chur bun os cionn agus tosú arís ag an chéad leathanach. Ó thaobh téarmaíochta, suim sa teanga agus an fhoghlaimeora, níl seans dá laghad go mbeadh an foghlaimeoir teanga ag caitheamh ama leis an Ghaeilge atá ann mar bheadh an téarmaíocht an-chasta. Ní bhíonn sé i rithim na cainte ag an chuid is mó daoine "robberies and aggravated burglaries where firearms were used in financial institutions". B'fhéidir go dtuigeann go leor daoine an Ghaeilge air sin ach leis an téarmaíocht Gaeilge a fháil, caithfear an tuarascáil a thiontú bun os cionn agus dul ar lorg an leathanaigh chéanna as Gaeilge. Tá ról tábhachtach ag Coláiste na hOllscoile Gaillimh féachaint nach dtarlaíonn an sórt sin raiméise, an cur amú airgid a tharraingíonn droch-chlú ar na hiarrachtaí díograiseacha atá ar siúl ag neart daoine úsáid na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn. Tá a leithéid de chultúr forbartha i gCeanada agus bíonn Fraincís agus Béarla taobh le taobh ar leathanach amháin.

Tá sin níos leithne ná an leasú seo ach tá sé mar chuid den díospóireacht mar tá muid ag rá go bhfuil dualgas ar an choláiste cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach a chruthú agus a chur chun cinn ach má tá sé ag déanamh aithrise ar thosaíocht atá ag teacht ón Rialtas, teipfidh orthu. Tá eagla orm go dtarlóidh sin muna ndéanfar dianmhachnamh ar cad is cultúr cumarsáide dátheangach. Beimid ag súil leis an díospóireacht sin ach le cúnamh Dé beidh an reachtaíocht ann ar dtús báire.

Gabhaim buíochas leis na Teachtaí a labhair. I gcónaí nuair a bhíonn ábhair a bhaineann leis an Ghaeilge, is iontach an líon dhuine a thagann isteach chun a gcuid Gaeilge a úsáid, a thaispeánann nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge chomh dona i measc pholaiteoirí na tíre is a cheapann daoine eile.

This Bill has a particularly narrow focus. I wish to reiterate that the introduction of this amendment is not a reflection on NUI Galway's past scholarly achievements and learning, or on any research carried out there. NUI Galway has requested that it be allowed to adapt for future employment requirements, not requirements for learning, teaching or any scholarly work that continues in that wonderful university.

However, given the demands, particularly in the fields of science and technology, we must be more international in our outlook. This is why I adopted a rather narrow approach in my opening remarks. A couple of legal cases have led to a fear among the authorities in NUI Galway that they may have a potential barrier which might affect any future appointments they might make. Sin an fáth go bhfuil an Bille seo ag teacht.

Debates on the value of education and the value of universities should take place regularly. Undoubtedly, it would be beneficial to have such a debate in this House on another day. I agree entirely that the world would be a far duller place without historians, linguists, poets, writers, Deputy Michael D. Higgins and similar people who add such colour and excitement to our lives from the humanities disciplines. The economy is not the sole focus, as I have made quite clear in all speeches which I have given this year regarding third level education. This is particularly the case in the manner in which I have resisted suggestions by the OECD that the humanities council should be merged with the science council. There are no circumstances in which I would accept such a recommendation, because education and the relationship between the universities and society is far broader than that. We all benefit from the interaction and learning of others.

Maidir leis an Gaeilge, aithníonn gach duine sa Teach go bhfuil fadhb ann. Tá fadhb ann maidir le múineadh na Gaeilge agus múineadh na Gaeilge go háirithe ins na scoileanna ag an dara léibhéal. Ach aithnímid go bhfuil meath ins an Ghaeltacht.

However, for the second time this week, Members have witnessed serious differences between the educational policies adopted by the major Opposition parties. Unfortunately, when it comes to our native Irish language, the attitude of Fine Gael appears to be that if there is a problem, it should be killed; if it is unpopular, it should be removed; and if international languages are more successful, our own native one should be replaced.

Fine Gael practises what it preaches.

My attitude is to be more supportive of reform and revitalisation and to introduce reforms in the teaching of Irish, not to reintroduce "the murder machine".

The Minister has not introduced any reforms.

As far as the school curriculum is concerned, my aim is to ensure we have a proper follow-on from primary school to second level. Members all recognise that the new primary school curriculum works successfully, is being well taught and is enjoyable for students. However, I have asked the curriculum council to prioritise the curriculum at second level and to establish how much more oral work can be given. Would it be possible, for example, to award 50% of the marks in the leaving certificate for oral Irish, which I strongly believe in mar iar-mhúinteoir Gaeilge? That would lead to a significant change in the methodologies because teachers could concentrate more on debate, drámaíocht, siamsaíocht, pleidhcíocht agus gach rud. Ní bheadh siad go léir sa rang ag iarraidh gramadach agus an iomarca litríochta a mhúineadh. We offer a broad education and our students are asked to do seven subjects, including English, mathematics, a foreign language, science, and, hopefully, history or geography. There is room for every student to take our native language during their education. We can give tacaíocht, cúnamh, athrú béime agus níos mó a dhéanamh ar son an teanga labhartha agus gach rud a dúirt mé, agus ba mhaith liom níos mó a dhéanamh air sin. However, to abolish compulsory Irish for the leaving certificate would destroy the language at all levels in the education system.

I accept Deputy Enright's comment that the Gaeltacht in Mayo is dying but she has failed to consider that Gaeilge is thriving in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. It may be in decline in some areas but there is a shift in the focus and we now have a new urban Gaeilge, which must be recognised. More Irish is being spoken and taught in my constituency, Dún Laoghaire, than in the Mayo Gaeltacht. If one stands outside Scoil Lorcáin, Coláiste Eoin or Coláiste Íosagáin, one will hear not only the children but also the parents conversing in Irish.

Níl na tuismitheoirí ag labhairt as Gaeilge.

That does not mean we should say it is dead in the traditional areas, therefore, we should kill it in all the schools as well. Various recommendations have been made regarding the support of schools in Gaeltacht areas but these schools must be measured against those in urban areas. One of the recommendations is that the Gaeltacht schools, particularly in isolated areas, should be amalgamated. Is that in the best interest of these areas educationally? These are issues. However, I do not want a scenario in which Irish is abolished for students under the age of 18 because the knock on effect throughout the system will be negative.

The Bill deals with an employment barrier faced by NUIG, not learning or scholarly achievement. I have no doubt go bhfuil dualgas fágtha ag NUIG chun a cuid a dhéanamh ar son na Gaeilge. That commitment is enshrined in the legislation and the university and it will have to be a principal aim of the college to continue to promote the Irish language. This will apply to all future presidents, authorities and strategic plans because that is their responsibility. If the strength of the Irish language is shifting from the Gaeltacht areas to Dublin, Cork and Galway, there is also a responsibility on every other third level institution to do its bit to promote the Irish language in all its courses. It should not only be the responsibility of NUIG, although it has a particular responsibility. Caithfidh sí cloígh leis sin in ainneoin an Bhille seo. The college must maintain its commitment.

We all say we support the Irish language. I want Fine Gael to seriously examine its proposal because its consequences are ill-thought out. I sincerely hope Fine Gael never gets the opportunity to implement it.

The Minister has no proposals.

Question put and agreed to.