Written Answers - Irish Language.

Tuesday, 29 June 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 588 No. 2

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  151.  Mr. O’Dowd  Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen   the progress that was made during [503]Ireland’s EU Presidency in regard to having Irish recognised as an official EU language; if he expects that Irish will be recognised as an official EU language within the lifetime of the Government, in view of the fact that it is a commitment in the Programme for Government. [19142/04]

  152.  Mr. Kenny  Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen   the progress that was made during Ireland’s EU Presidency in regard to having Irish recognised as an official EU language; if he expects that Irish will be recognised as an official EU language within the lifetime of the Government, in view of the fact that it is a commitment in the programme for Government. [19143/04]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I propose to take Questions Nos. 151 and 152 together.

The question of the status of Irish in the EU is not specifically connected with Ireland’s EU Presidency or with the recently agreed constitutional treaty. The Irish language already has full treaty status in the EU. Earlier this year we established an interdepartmental working group to analyse all the issues involved in this complex area with a view to identifying opportunities to further enhance the status of the Irish language in the EU. Ministers are studying the working group’s report to identify how we might best proceed in the matter with the EU institutions and other member states. The recognition of Irish as an official and working language of the EU would require an amendment of Regulation 1/1958 that governs the EU’s translation system. Its amendment by the Council of Ministers would require the unanimous support of member states.


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