With Irish gaining full status as an official language of the European Union this week, this will give many Donegal people a perfect opportunity to gain employment throughout the many inner sanctums of Brussels in the months and years ahead.
Former Donegal MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher, who was a great promoter of the Irish language while a member of the European Parliament told the Donegal Democrat:
“I very much welcome the official EU recognition of the Irish language. My first contribution as an MEP back in 1994 was in Irish.
"I certainly hope there will be more Donegal translators, instantaneous translators to provide a service. To make it successful, I would hope that all the Irish MEPs would speak Irish in parliament at every opportunity.”
Former Donegal MEP, Pat the Cope Gallagher
Founder of Oideas Gael and former Donegal Person of the Year, Liam Ó’ Cuinneagáin said that it offered huge opportunities for young Donegal people who had Irish literacy skills to get a well paid job working as part of the new language requirements on the Continent.
Its greater relevance as a working language amongst young Donegal people, will not be lost either.
“There are a lot of people I know that are out working in Brussels, fluent Irish speakers, that have taken jobs out there and that is great and they are paid very well. And many more opportunities are coming.
“I also see this as an opportunity for people to learn the language in a meaningful way and be surrounded in positivity. It is already happening, but Irish now being recognised as a European language has huge benefits back in Ireland as well.”
Founder of Oideas Gael and former Donegal Person of the Year, Liam Ó Cuinneagáin
He also pointed out that there was also another side of the coin, as some out there already were all very talented Donegal people`that we don’t have at home.” Those he hoped would come back at some stage and use their skills sets to progress with their native Donegal and Ireland,
He added: “They will also bring a continuing impetus to the changing attitudes to the use of Irish back home. You only have to look at the Gaelscoileanna that have emerged and are growing.
“This was and continues to emerge because of the usefulness of the Irish language. The fact that these people will be working at the centre of European power with Irish on an equal standing as other languages is fantastic.”
Since Monday last, January 1, as a full official language, all documents now published by the EU must be translated into Irish.
Over the past five years the number of Irish translators in Europe has increased to about 200 and this will increase significantly with the news that Irish has become an official language of the EU.
A derogation, in place since 2007, limited the amount of material published through Irish by the EU Institutions. But since 2015, the scope of this derogation has been gradually reducing as the capacity for the translation of Irish within the EU Institutions has increased, the culmination of which happened this week.
The Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, TD, said that the volume of Irish language translations has risen almost six fold since 2016, from 8,000 to almost 46,000 by October 2021.
President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins said:
“This full status is an important recognition at international level of our specific identity as a people with a distinctive language of our own that we use alongside all the other languages we use and respect.
“We have, in this coming year not only a responsibility, but a joyful opportunity to ensure that our native language is available and valued by our future generations. The Irish language is that of us. Let us take this opportunity to make it part of all of our lives. Our young people are showing how it carries no burden of any exclusion or dismissal of others. Every generation can be part of our shared Irish, European, global multiple identities.”
Career pathways and options within the European Union can be found on the website EUJobs - Department of Foreign Affairs (dfa.ie).
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