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Open process in appointment of new Irish Language Commissioner needed – Ó Clochartaigh

19 December, 2013

The Minister of State for the Gaeltacht has indicated that he intends to appoint the successive Irish Language Commissioner without delay. Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said that if this is the case, an open and transparent process is essential.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said;

“Former Irish Language Commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, resigned on the grounds of the lack of due support he received in his role from the government. This represented a clear vote of no-confidence in the government and the first time in the history of the state that someone at the level of Ombudsman has resigned.

“The Minister must address the serious issues raised by Seán Ó Cuirreáin before appointing a successive Commissioner.

“Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley, however, indicated to me recently in the Seanad that he is pressing ahead with the appointment of Ó Cuirreáin’s successor. There is much concern that this will be a political appointment of someone not as strong on the full implementation of the Official Irish Language Act as Seán Ó Cuirreáin was. The Minister also said that the detail of the post had been clarified and that he intended to seek offers without delay.

“I am calling on the Minister to publish these details as soon as possible so that we can evaluate them. I am calling for an open process of candidate evaluation, so that the most appropriate person for this most important role is appointed. An example of this approach was the appointment of Emily Logan to the Ombudsman for Children post. This role was openly advertised, and she went through a series of interviews before her appointment, even with children on the interview panel, and it is clear that this was a very beneficial process.

“Wouldn’t it be great to see a similar process implemented in the appointment of the new Commissioner, where interested candidates could be openly interviewed by public figures from the Irish language community, or from the Oireachtas Irish joint-committee?

“This would be a great way to garner the trust of the Irish community in the process of the appointment of the Commissioner and to ensure that this will not be a political appointment.”

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