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Resignation of the Language Commissioner is a damning indictment of the Government's Irish language policy - Ó Clochartaigh

4 December, 2013


"It is a very dark day for the Irish language that Seán Ó Cuirreáín has announced his resignation today after ten years in office." – Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has said that the decision of the Language Commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, to announce his resignation today on a point of principle, is a damning indictment of the Governments Irish language policy.

The Commissioner made his announcement today at a meeting of the Oireachtas Public Service, Oversight and Petitions committee.

Ó Clochartaigh said:

“It is a very dark day for the Irish language that Seán Ó Cuirreáín has announced his resignation today after ten years in office.

“It is clear that he has taken this decision on a point of principle and that there is no other reason for his resignation.

“In his annual report he severely criticised the lack of genuine commitment from state organisations in implementing their duties under the Official Languages Act.

“It is quite clear to me that the Commissioner simply hasn't been getting the support required from the Government, or the state organisations and that he therefore finds it impossible to fulfil his role as Language Commissioner in a satisfactory manner.

“Sinn Féin are extremely disappointed that he has taken this decision but commend his integrity for taking such a strong stand at this critical juncture.

“Sinn Féin and the Irish language community have huge respect for the work that he and his staff have been doing. It appears that this is the first time in the history of the state that an Ombudsman has felt compelled to resign in this manner and that is a huge statement in itself.

“It is quite clear that the government’s policy in relation to the Irish language is in tatters at this point and we need an urgent review to rectify the situation.

“I have called on the Committee to ask the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs to come before us to outline the government's reaction to this decision and to debate what the broader implications are.”

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