Irish became an official and working language of the European Union on 1 January 2007.
Irish has been a treaty language since Ireland joined the EEC in 1973. Since the Amsterdam Treaty, citizens have been entitled to write to the EU institutions in Irish and any reply received must also be in Irish.
Moreover, following an intensive campaign by the Government and supporters of the Irish language, in 2007 our partners in the EU agreed to afford Irish official status.
The new arrangements for Irish means that:
- Knowledge of the Irish languages is taken into account for the purposes of recruitment to the EU institutions;
- EU regulations adopted jointly by the Council and the European Parliament will all be translated into Irish;
- Interpretation from Irish is also provided to meet needs at Ministerial meetings and at the European Parliament.
- The nameplates in front of Irish Ministers and delegations now says “Éire Ireland” to reflect the new status of Irish in the EU also.
Securing this status is a major advance for the language but it also presents challenges, including in the area of legal translation. Work is underway in NUIG and DCU to provide a range of courses to meet these needs with Government support.
At EU level, there’s never been such a wide range of material available in Irish about the work of the Union.