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Irish in the Oireachtas

Debates/ Committees

Members of the Dáil and Seanad have the right to use Irish or English in any debates or other proceedings in the Dáil or Seanad and/or in any committee, sub-committee or joint committee of the Oireachtas.

A person appearing before the Houses of the Oireachtas and /or before committees, sub-committees or joint committees of the Oireachtas has the right to conduct his/her business in Irish or in English.

All official reports of debates and other proceedings in the Houses of the Oireachtas must be published bilingually.  However, contributions (whether oral or in writing) in either official language may be published solely in that language.

A simultaneous interpretation system is available in the Houses of the Oireachtas to ensure that a person without Irish is not at a disadvantage when Irish is spoken.

Acts of the Oireachtas

The Acts of the Oireachtas are the primary source of law in Ireland apart from the Constitution.  Since 14 July 2006, Acts must be printed and published simultaneously in both official languages as soon as possible after their enactment, as set out in section 7 of the Official Languages Act.

An amendment of this provision by section 62 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2011 allows for the publication on the internet of an Act of the Oireachtas in one official language only prior to its printing and publication simultaneously in each official language.

In accordance with the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Act 2006, section 3(2)(a), the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission has a duty to provide translation services for Acts of the Oireachtas from one official language to the other official language.

Implementing the Official Languages Act

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is required to submit a report annually to the Houses of the Oireachtas regarding the implementation of the Official Languages Act in the previous year.

Photo by Tommy Kavanagh [CC-BY]