It is stated in the Proclamation of Ireland that every citizen has the right to communicate with the State through Irish. In reality, services in Irish are rarely provided to the same standard as their English counterparts. Conradh na Gaeilge is constantly campaigning on behalf of the Irish language community to improve the standard of these services.
What services are available to me in Irish?
The Official Languages Act 2003 outlines some of the services you can avail of through the Irish language:
- You can apply for your driving license through Irish, get the rules of the road in Irish from the Road Safety Authority and take the driving exam itself through Irish.
- If you need to deal with the Gardaí, you can request to do so in Irish.
- Every recorded announcement for the CIÉ, Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann should be in Irish and English.
- You can apply for a new passport through Irish. Forms are available for collection from your local Garda station, post office and the passport offices in Dublin and Cork.
- Airport authorities should provide a service through Irish for you.
- Lots of post offices employ staff who speak Irish. Find a full list here.
- Every public hospital and even the Irish Red Cross fall under the Act. You have a right to service through Irish when communicating with them or the HSE.
- RTÉ is a public company and you can request to communicate with them in Irish at any time.
- You can avail of an Irish language service from the Abbey Theatre and the National Gallery of Ireland.
- It's never enjoyable to pay your taxes, but at least you can communicate with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners through Irish.
- If you request information from universities, technology institutes, FÁS or Teagaisc in Irish, you have the right to be answered in Irish.
- In fact, if you write to any public company or State organisation in Irish, you should expect a response through Irish.
Take the opportunity to use Irish when you are dealing with the State and if you have any difficulty, contact Conradh na Gaeilge at email@example.com or contact an Coimisinéir Teanga at firstname.lastname@example.org
Services through Irish in the north
It is laid down in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages that citizens can use the Irish language when writing to government departments and agencies or when ringing them. However, they are not obliged to respond in Irish.
You can also fill in application forms and tax reports in Irish. Keep in mind when writing letters to the State in Irish that a response may take a little while longer, as the letter will need to be translated.
If you would like to call the Government in Irish, there is a voicemail set up that allows you to do this: 028 90515252. Make sure to make it clear who the message is for and give your e-mail address also so that they can contact you after your message has been translated.
If you have any difficulty with the above, contact Conradh na Gaeilge at email@example.com.