Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021

The Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2019 was enacted on 22 December 2021. A copy of the new Act is available here.

The provisions in the new legislation include:

The new provisions will be implemented over a period of time.

We are currently reviewing our website to take into account the amendments to the legislation arising from the new Act. We hope to conclude this review early in the New Year. In the interim, if you have any question in respect of any specific provision of the new Act, we can be contacted at eolas@coimisineir.ie or by phone at 091-504006.

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Constitutional Rights

The status of the Irish language is set out in the Irish Constitution.

Article 8 of the Constitution states:

The basic principles regarding language rights are set out in the Constitution.

The Constitution permits the public to conduct its business – and every part of its business – with the state solely through Irish. As a result of this constitutional right, public bodies have a duty to comply with this right.

In practice, however, it often happened that no effective provision was made to provide services in Irish as well as providing services in English.

Furthermore, people who wished to conduct their business in Irish with the state often felt that they had no option except to set aside their constitutional rights and their choice of language and resort to using the second official language in order to conduct their business properly.

Until the Official Languages Act came into effect, people had no choice except to resort to the courts in order to obtain their constitutional language rights.

As a result of these cases, various courts have considered the status of the Irish language under the Constitution over a number of years. Further information on specific cases can be downloaded here.

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