Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 10 February, 1999

Written Answers. - Irish Language Promotion.

123. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the amount of money her Department has directly or indirectly spent on the use and promotion of the Irish language in each of the past five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3852/99]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): Staff in my Department are released to attend Irish language courses in Gaeleagras and when they secure Gaeltacht scholarships with Gaeleagras they are given the appropriate grants and special leave. We do not quantify the costs involved on an annual basis.

Furthermore, our external signage, stationery and advertisements are, as far as possible, bilingual. This policy also includes departmental publications such as our statement of strategy and annual report.

124. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Defence the amount of money his Department has directly or indirectly spent on the use and [480] promotion of the Irish language in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3853/99]

Minister for Defence (Mr. M. Smith): The Department of Defence follows Government policy on the use of the Irish language, the kernel of which is that any citizen who wishes to conduct his/her business with the Department through the use of the Irish language may do so.

The Department facilitates staff members' participation in Irish language training courses and scholarships as part of an ongoing Civil Service-wide scheme. The training courses are provided at no cost to defence by Gaeleagras, the public service language training body. The amounts spent on scholarships to study Irish in the Gaeltacht were £490 in 1998, £210 in 1997, £180 in 1996, £580 in 1995 and £2,489 in 1994. In addition, the Department has placed a number of Irish language newspaper advertisements in the past five years on various defence related matters. Details and amounts of money involved could not be extracted without an inordinate amount of research time and effort, involving undue expense.