The Irish language gained full official and working status in the European Union on Saturday, culminating a derogation arrangement that has been in place since 2007, the government of Ireland announced.
In 2004, Dublin requested the inclusion of Irish as an official EU language. The Irish language was given official and working status on January 1, 2007. However, a derogation arrangement had been in place since that date due to a shortage of translation staff, which would have limited the amount of materials that could be translated into Irish. The derogation arrangement ended on December 31, 2021, and the status of the Irish language is now on par with the 23 other official languages of the European Union.
As of Saturday, all legislation enacted moving forward will be translated into Irish. It is expected that there will be more career opportunities for individuals interested in working with the Irish language. An increase in the number of Irish language staff employed by European institutions is also anticipated, according to local media coverage. Over 170 Irish language staff currently work in European institutions, and that number is expected to increase to 200 in early 2022.
“The end of the derogation of the status of the Irish language in the European Union is a crucial step in the development and future of the language. Irish is now on a par with other official and working EU languages and this will strengthen the relationship between citizens and European administrative systems,” Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers TD, said. “Together with the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 signed by the President of Ireland last week, the role of the Irish language in national and European systems of administration has now been significantly strengthened.”