Ireland has been spending a considerable amount of money on translating official government documents from English to Irish – the country’s first official language. Michael Ring, an opposition politician from Fine Gael has criticized this expenditure stating that the translations are actually not required as no one uses the translated documents. According to Ring, about 1.8 million Euros were spent in translating English documents to Irish which the state could not afford. A minister from the government responded that they were only fulfilling constitutional requirements by getting the translations, referring to The Official Languages Act, signed into Irish Law in 2003, which prescribes a statutory framework to ensure the delivery of services in Irish language.
The economy of the Republic of Ireland is suffering from deep recession and the government which is poised on the brink of an important budget has said that they require about 4 billion Euros in savings. According to Mr. Ring, the state and local authorities had already spent around 6 million Euros over six years following the introduction of the Official Languages Act. The trouble was that no one was purchasing or using these documents, and keeping the current state of economy in mind the Act needed to be reviewed.
On the other side Eamon O Cuiv, the Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, has said that these documents should be delivered through the Internet or on CDs rather than as hard copies. He said that it was not that people were not buying the translated Irish documents, few people bought official documents at all and hence it made sense to preserve them as soft copies and make them downloadable from the Internet.