Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the steps she is taking to ensure that persons can apply for work and residency permits and citizenship in Irish; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21287/21]
824. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice the way in which her Department and agencies under her remit facilitate persons wishing to engage with their services through the Irish language; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21907/21]
825. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice if all forms issued by her Department and agencies under her remit are available in both the Irish and English languages; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21925/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 797, 824 and 825 together.
I can inform the Deputy that, as of last week, the Irish version of the Form 8 application for Irish citizenship has been updated and is available on our website at:
This new translation of the 36-page form is a highly legal document, containing three declarations, provisions in relation to GDPR, and detailed instructions on completing the form. It sets a valuable precedent for the translation of all application forms for Irish citizenship, which my Department, in written communications with the Office of the Language Commissioner, has committed to providing by the end of September.
The Form 8 application for citizenship (adult application) is by far the most frequently used form and was therefore prioritised for translation. However, work on the translation of the other citizenship application forms has already commenced.
My Department has the necessary resources in place to ensure that people wishing to make citizenship applications through Irish can do so. There are currently two officials in the Citizenship Division who are competent to carry out their business through Irish.
More broadly, my Department facilitates anyone wishing to engage with its services through the Irish language. There are 30 members of staff across the Department who are available to provide services and answer queries in Irish. 23 courses were run in the offices of my Department in Dublin and Killarney from 2006, the commencement year of the Department’s Irish Scheme. Those courses were tailored specifically for the officials of my Department, and related to both written and oral Irish.
In addition, my Department has supported – and continues to support – members of staff who wish to attend Irish courses outside of the Department and to do online Irish courses. Last year, 15 officials participated, at various levels, in the Certificate in Professional Irish course provided by Gaelchultúr. Through their attendance at those courses, the ability and confidence of those officials to serve the public through Irish, as regards spoken and written Irish, has increased.
As stated in our Irish Language Scheme, despite its broad range of functional areas, my Department generally does not provide services directly to the public except in a number of specific areas.
Since early 2003, my Department has employed an Irish translator principally to oversee and carry out translations of the Rules of Court. Since then, my Department has published the official Irish version of the 1986, 1997 and 2001 consolidations of the Rules of the Superior Courts, the District Court Rules and the Circuit Court Rules, and many of the Amendments subsequently made to them, including the Rules of the Superior Courts (Court of Appeal Act 2014) 2014. All are available on our website at: www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Irish_Rules_of_Court).
Irish versions of the relevant forms for Criminal Injuries Compensation; Firearms and Ammunition; Explosives/Pyrotechnics; Bookmaker Licences; and Subject Access Requests are also available at www.justice.ie/ga/JELR/Pages/WP15000296).
It continues to be my Department’s policy, in so far as possible, to provide an Irish version of any form or document specifically requested and we have a legal obligation under our Irish Language Scheme to reply in Irish to correspondence received in Irish.
All of the application forms produced by the following bodies under the remit of my Department are also available bilingually:
- The Property Registration Authority;
- The Private Security Authority; and
- The Irish Film Classification Office.