Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Gardaí must provide services through Irish in Gaeltacht areas

Pringle: Gardaí must provide services through Irish in Gaeltacht areas

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said An Garda Síochána must provide services through Irish in Gaeltacht areas, and criticised Garda management for its ongoing failure to implement recommendations detailed in a 10-year-old report.

Deputy Pringle said: “The gardaí are failing in their responsibility to ensure that under the Language Act.”

Deputy Pringle joined his colleague, independent TD Catherine Connolly, in bringing forward an amendment to An Garda Síochána (Functions and Operational Areas) Bill 2021 to ensure gardaí stationed in Gaeltacht areas have competency in the language that allows them to communicate with the public in Irish.

Deputy Connolly spoke to the amendment in the Dáil on Wednesday, saying the amendment stemmed from a 2011 report carried out after a member of the public in Donegal registered a complaint that gardaí were not in a position to offer services in Irish. The report contained four recommendations, three specific to Donegal and one with national implications, she said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The problem is, the gardaí have done nothing on it. This is another indication of how the Government is failing our Gaeltacht areas.”

It is also another indication of Government failure to take on its responsibilities to the Irish language and Irish speakers, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The Government isn’t taking it seriously.” In another example, he said that while there is a requirement for legislation to be published in Irish and English, the Irish-language version of legislation may not appear until many months after the English version has been published.

Deputy Pringle said: “Government has to deal with this. Providing services through Irish should become so normalised that there isn’t a question about it, especially in Gaeltacht areas. Yet here we are, 10 years after this report was carried out, still looking for its recommendations to be implemented.”