Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Rural, Community, and Gaeltacht Affairs and Party Deputy Leader Dara Calleary TD has severely criticized the government for their failure to date to publish the long overdue Official Languages (Amendment) Bill.

“Irish speakers and Gaeltacht communities are being let down massively by the ineptness by the government in delivering this action. Today, we have a bizarre Cabinet meeting in the Donegal Gaeltacht without any launch of the Officials Language act. Did someone forget to bring the Bill?

“Despite the Review of Official Languages Act 2003 being carried out five years ago, the Fine Gael led government have kicked the publication of this Bill down the road deeming it not a priority area.

“The heads of a general scheme for an Official Languages (Amendment) Bill were approved on 30th May 2017 by government after the original act was reviewed in 2014.

“Extensive pre-legislative scrutiny took place in the Comhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na nOileán, which included my party colleagues Éamon Ó Cuív and Aindrias Ó Muimhneacháin.

“This culminated in a 271 page report published in May 2018 after stakeholder consultation took place in the committee with groups including: An Choimisinéara Teanga, Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta – Conradh na Gaeilge agus Chumann na nOifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge.

“The government’s commitment in the 2018 Autumn legislative programme was to publish the final bill in that session. Regrettably, this deadline was not met.

“I call on Minister Kyne and the Taoiseach to commit to publishing this vital piece of legislation as an urgent priority so the Oireachtas can swiftly pass when it returns. My Party fully supports this important legislation to strengthen the rights of Irish speakers. Government should not stand in the way of progress and publish the bill immediately”.