The Chairperson of Donegal County Council’s Irish Language Committee has criticised the Government's recent move to remove fluency in Irish as a requirement for those seeking to become a member of An Garda Síochána.
Minister Helen McEntee today urged people, particularly those from new Irish and minority communities, to consider over the Christmas break about applying to become a member of An Garda Síochána.
She said: “The greatest strength of An Garda Síochána is its bond with the communities it serves. Our own national life has been greatly enriched by so many new communities of different origin in recent decades. But significant work is still required across the public sector - not least the justice sector – to make sure our new and minority communities are better represented, as well as to improve gender equality.”
“I want everyone in our society, such as our African-Irish and Traveller communities, to see members of their own communities serving in An Garda Síochána. I know Commissioner Harris and all members of An Garda Síochána are dedicated to increasing diversity within the organisation. I have discussed this with the Commissioner and I am very pleased that a vigorous campaign will be launched by An Garda Síochána to encourage as many people as possible to apply.”
Technical amendments required to reflect changes in legislation from the Refugee Act 1996 to the International Protections Act 2015, have been introduced and the requirement for applicants to be proficient in two languages, one of which must be English or Irish, is also being changed.
Under the amended regulations, proficiency will only be required in one language – which can be English or Irish.
Glenties Councillor Michael Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig said the decision has not come as a shock to the Irish language speaking community.
He said the reason amendment reflected the Government’s view of the Irish language.
“A clear indication that the Dublin Government beleives that a language that we as a people and as a community hold very dear is no longer for them,” Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said.
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