Irish becomes an EU official language

Posted By: January 01, 2022

Marie Louise McConville. Irish News. Belfast. Saturday, January 1, 2022

IRISH today becomes an official language of the EU.

The move marks the end of the derogation process, which had been in place since 2007 and which limited the amount of material published in Irish by the EU institutions.

Now, all documents published by the EU will be translated into Irish.

Thomas Byrne, the Republic’s minister for European Affairs, said he was “immensely proud that this derogation is ending and Irish is now a full, official EU language”.

“This reflects the tireless work that has gone into building up the capability of the EU institutions to operate through Irish –and it is fitting that it is happening this year, a year when we will also mark the historic 50-year anniversary since Ireland signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Communities,” he said.

“In more recent years, the volume of Irish language translations has risen almost six-fold since 2016, from 8,000 to almost 46,000 by October 2021. This remarkable increase would not have been possible but for recruitment of impressive numbers of Irish-speaking staff to the EU Institutions.

“The total number of Irish language staff is now around 200, close to a four-fold increase over the last five years alone.”

Mr. Byrne added: “The ending of derogation will make the services of the EU more accessible for Irish speakers at home and abroad.

“As a proud gaeilgeoir myself, I regularly contribute to council meetings as gaeilge and I would encourage everyone to make use of their cúpla focal, in every aspect of their life.

“I would also invite those with Irish language proficiency to consider a career within the EU institutions.”