Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 29 May, 2003

Written Answers. - Irish Language.

  246. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the amount of money his Department has spent on the Irish language in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15078/03]

  247. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his Department's objective in relation to its expenditure on the Irish language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15092/03]

  248. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the monitoring system his Department has in place in regard to his Department's objective in relation to the Irish language; the expenditure in achieving that objective; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15106/03]

  Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 to 248, inclusive, together.

  My Department is committed to providing quality services in Irish and English as outlined in the Department's customer service action plan, 2001-04. Guidance has recently been provided to assist staff in arranging for the translation of documents into Irish and mechanisms are in place to measure and report on the service being provided in Irish. Progress in implementing all aspects of the customer service action plan, including the Irish language, is outlined in the Department's annual report. Copies of the annual report, 2001, and the customer service action plan, 2001-04, are available in the Oireachtas Library. The annual report 2002 will be published shortly.

  Substantial costs are incurred by my Department in the translation, advertising, and publishing of documents bilingually, in advertising in the Irish language media and in providing Irish language training for staff. However, the total amount of money spent on this per year is not readily available and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work.

  Consistent with section 68 of the Local [1780]Government Act 2001, arrangements for the establishment of an advisory group to provide guidance to local authorities on the use of Irish are being considered.