IRISH WILL BE recognized as a fully-fledged official language of the European Union from tomorrow for the first time in its history as a Member State.
On New Years Day, Irish is granted official EU language status, ending a nearly 15-year waiver that limited the amount of block material translated into Irish.
As an official language in its own right, all documents published by the EU will be translated into Irish.
Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said he was “extremely proud that this derogation ends and Irish is now a fully fledged official language of the EU”.
“This reflects the tireless work that has gone into strengthening the capacity of the EU institutions to operate through Irish – and it is only fitting that this happens this year, a year in which we will also mark the 50th historic anniversary since Ireland signed the Treaty of Accession to the European Communities, ”said Byrne.
He said the end of the waiver “will make EU services more accessible for Irish speakers at home and abroad”.
“I encourage everyone to use their focal cúpla, in all aspects of their life.”
When Ireland joined the EU in 1973, EU citizens had the right to correspond with institutions in Irish, but the only documents translated into Irish were the Treaties.
In 2005 Ireland requested Irish to become an official EU language with a restricted status, and in 2007 Irish became a working language with limited status, meaning that only a small proportion of documents have been translated.
An application was submitted in 2015 for full Irish language status, which is now expected to come into effect tomorrow.
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Between 2016 and mid-2019, the number of documents available in Irish doubled, including legislation; website content; and political, communication, consultation and reporting material.
Today, more than 170 Irish-speaking staff work in EU institutions to translate documents into Irish, a number expected to reach around 200 by early 2022.
Gaeltacht Minister of State Jack Chambers said ending the waiver is a “crucial step in the development and future of the language”.
“Irish is now on an equal footing with other official and working languages of the EU, which will strengthen relations between citizens and European administrative systems. “