The four Fine Gael MEPs have welcomed a European Parliament budget vote in favour of earmarking €3.7 million for the Irish language, in Strasbourg today (Thursday).
In backing the budgetary allocation to provide more Irish language services in the EU institutions, MEPs Seán Kelly (South), Mairead McGuinness (Midlands North West), Brian Hayes (Dublin) and Deirdre Clune (South) said:
“The vote follows the decision of the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Joe McHugh, to phase out the existing EU derogation on the Irish language by the end of 2021.
“It is very important that Irish has full working status in the EU and an improved level of services for those who use our native language. The funding will enable the Parliament employ more Irish language speakers and provide extra Irish-language services.
“A number of measures have already been taken by the Government to increase the number of university graduates from Ireland with the required Irish language skills to work in the EU institutions.
“There will be a significant increase in the number of Parliament’s Irish language staff from next year – namely translators and lawyer-linguists to deal with the increasing workload of documents that will be translated into Irish,” they added.
From 1st January 2017, EU directives will have to be translated into Irish. Up until now, only regulations from the Council of Ministers have been translated.