DIT Language Schemes
What is a language scheme?
The purpose of the language schemes is to increase over a period of time the volume and standard of services available in Irish from public bodies. These language schemes remain in force for a three-year period or until a new scheme has been confirmed with the public body by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The schemes provide statutory commitments regarding the arrangements whereby public bodies develop their services through Irish on a phased basis. The Minister is responsible for agreeing schemes with public bodies under section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003. When the Minister has agreed a scheme, the public body has a duty to implement it. The Minister sends a copy of every agreed scheme to the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga which monitors the implementation of schemes.
How are language schemes agreed?
The public body and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht jointly agree a language scheme and the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga is not involved in this process. Statutory guidelines have been developed by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to assist public bodies in preparing language schemes and they are available at www.coimisineir.ie/publicbodies. In accordance with the legislation, a public body has a period of 6 months to prepare a draft scheme from the time the Minister directs it to do so. After that, there is usually a negotiation period between the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the public body before the scheme is agreed. The scheme does not come into force until it is confirmed by the Minister. The scheme describes the services which the public body proposes to provide:
- in Irish only
- in English only or
It is necessary also to specify the steps which the public body intends to take to provide the stated services in Irish or bilingually. The Minister has the right at any time, and not later than 6 months before the scheme expires, to direct the public body to review its current scheme and to prepare a new draft scheme.
Does DIT have language schemes?
Yes. The DIT are currently implementing commitments made in the DIT Second Official Language Act Scheme 2018-2021 which builds on the previous scheme. The DIT Language Schemes can be read here:
Where can I find further information about language schemes?
Copies of the language schemes agreed to date can be found at www.coimisineir.ie/schemes. Statutory guidelines have been developed by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to assist public bodies in preparing language schemes and they are available at www.coimisineir.ie/schemes. A list of the public bodies which have been asked to prepare draft schemes is also available at www.coimisineir.ie/publicbodies.