The Official Languages
The Official Languages Act was enacted on the 14 July 2004. This Act is the first piece of legislation in which a planned statutory process is set out to ensure that Government Departments and Public Bodies such as the Public Appointments Service provide services in the Irish language.
The provisions of the Official Languages Act apply to the work of the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and the following section details some of the services that PAS will provide as a result of the legislation.
If you would like to get further information about the language legislation itself you can click the following link Official Languages Act 2003. You will find comprehensive information there regarding the legislation, including a description of the Object of the Act, an Overview of the Act, a bi-lingual version of the Act and a description of the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga - a statutory body that was founded as a result of the legislation and which will monitor the implementation of the Acts provisions.
General Obligations under the Act
The following are some of the general services that the Public Appointments Service will supply under the Official Languages Act:
- We must ensure that Irish, or both Irish and English, are used in our oral announcements - whether live or recorded - on our stationery and signage and in our advertisements.
- We must ensure that correspondence (either written or electronic) received in Irish is answered in Irish.
- We must ensure that any communication made with the public to disseminate information (whether through regular or electronic post) is made in Irish only, or in Irish and in English.
- We are required to simultaneously publish certain documents that are of interest to the general public in Irish and English. The office has published versions of the Annual Reports for 2003 and 2004, and the Strategy Statement 2005-2007 among other documents in both of the Official Languages. ( Publications)
The Duty to prepare a Scheme
As well as the general obligations mentioned above, the Act requires us in the Public Appointments Service to prepare a Scheme in which we will specify the services we intend to provide: in Irish only; in English only; and in both Irish and English.
In September 2004 the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs requested that we prepare a draft scheme. Having completed this work the Minister approved our Scheme in July 2005.
The most important elements discussed in the Scheme are as follows:
- The Services that will be provided at the Main Contact Points
- The Recruitment Services that will be provided in Irish, especially those services that will be provided here on publicjobs.ie.
- How it is intended to improve the Irish language capability within the Public Appointments Service
- How the implementation of the Scheme will be monitored and reviewed internally
Note: There are a number of deadlines mentioned in various sections of the Scheme and these deadlines can be seen after each of the relevant sections.
Submissions received from the General Public
As part of our preparation before writing the Scheme we contacted the general public to elicit their opinions with respect to the contents of the scheme. Quite a few submissions were received from both the general public and from the Irish Language organisations, and some of them can be read here: