Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Low use of Irish in Irish courts

According to the Irish Language Commissioner in the Irish Republic, Sean O Cuirreain, some 71 languages were used in Irish courts last year but Irish did not even make the top 10!

The official figures provided by the Courts Service showed that the total bill for translation in more than 70 languages was in the region of 2 million euro but the cost of interpreting in Irish was less than 2,000 euro in 2006 and fell again in 2007 to 1,012 euro.

'These figures speak for themselves,' said Mr O Cuirreain.  'In some cases interpretation is not required where the judge and other participants are fluent in Irish but the percentage of such cases in negligible on an annual basis and in a national context.'

Altogether more than 10,000 requests were made to the Courts Service for interpreters for the 71 different languages but only a handful of these were for Irish.  Polish topped the list, while interpreters for Romanian, Lithuanian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Latvian, Portuguese, French, Czech and Arabic were also requested.

The Irish Language Commissioner is to start a campaign to advise Irish speakers of their statutory rights and to counteract any perception of 'compulsory English' in legal affairs.  It will be interesting to see what difference this makes to the figures for the use of Irish in the courts in the Republic.
[Irish Times  28 October 2009]


  1. Considering Polish are now only officially acknowledged as been 10% of the population that is not surprising.

    To spite the fact one may be fluent in Irish does not mean one is going to be a twat enough to insist on it in legal proceedings, there is no benefit to it.

    People only ask for translation where there is a need, the movement to get it in the Northenrn courts is a political motivation, which I would sympathise with, as the UK has to make amends for driving the language out in the first place.

    However, as nationalists, we have to find a way to do this without alienating our Scots Irishmen in Ulster.

    We tend to be like bulls in a chinashop when it comes to the likes of that...

  2. In the same article we read, “Many native Irish speakers are unaware of their right to use the first language for court business, said commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin”.

    It could simply be that the Commissioner is correct.


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