Another step forward has been taken in the implementation of the provisions of the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 as a competitive public procurement process was announced on 31 August by the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers, T.D., in relation to the preparation of the National Plan for Irish Language Services.
The main aim of this National Plan is to increase the overall provision of public services through the medium of Irish. The preparation of the Plan is in line with achieving the overarching objective of the Act, which is that 20% of recruits to the public service will be competent in Irish no later than 31 December 2030.
The Irish Language Services Advisory Committee will be responsible for drawing up the Plan by 19 June 2024. The Advisory Committee was established under the Act in June this year and, in line with its statutory functions, the Committee took the decision at its first meeting last month to commission research in relation to the preparation of the Plan.
Funding of €325,500 (excluding VAT) is available for the project and it will be a one-year contract to ensure that the Committee complies with the ambitious deadline set for the preparation of the overall Plan under the Act.
Research priorities will include:
- Identifying the current gaps in the provision of public services through the medium of Irish and making recommendations on how to address these;
- Identifying the public services provided in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas (LPA) and making recommendations on how to ensure that Irish is the working language of those offices located in a LPA and that these services are provided through the medium of Irish;
- Identifying the current level of competence in Irish in the public sector; and
- Making recommendations regarding the recruitment of people with Irish.
Speaking about the project today, Minister of State Chambers said:
"I am very pleased to announce this Request for Tender today in relation to the National Plan for Irish Language Services. The results of the research to be commissioned through this process will be central to the work of the Advisory Committee as it develops the National Plan. Indeed, it will also be of great help to us all as we work to identify strategic ways to improve the amount and standard of public services provided through the medium of Irish generally, but in particular in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas. I commend the Committee's determination in their work so far and wish the tendering process every success."
The Request for Tender was published on the etenders.gov.ie e-tendering platform (RFT 221396) and in the Official Journal of the European Union supplement (OJ/S) - (2022/S 170-482283).The deadline for submitting tenders is 1pm on the 30 September 2022.
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Note for the Editor:
The Official Languages Act (Amendment) 2021: https://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2021/act/49/enacted/en/html
Relevant Section of the Act here
PR regarding the Establishment of the Committee here.here
PR regarding the First Meeting of the Committee.here