Please note that the versions provided in these frames are for the purposes of convenient comparison and are copies of the original versions.
The official versions of the Official Languages Bill and documents pertaining to the Dáil discussion can be downloaded here.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES BILL

2002

changed from

Official Languages (Equality) Bill 2002


 

As passed by Dáil Éireann


 

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART 1

Preliminary and General

Section

1. Short title and commencement.

2. Interpretation.

3. Expenses.

4. Regulations.

PART 2

Organs of State

5. Annual report to Houses of Oireachtas.

6. Use of official languages in Houses of Oireachtas.

7. Acts of the Oireachtas.

8. Administration of justice.

PART 3

Public Bodies

9. Duty of public bodies to use official languages on official

stationery, etc.

10. Duty of public bodies to publish certain documents in both

official languages simultaneously.

11. Use of official languages by public bodies.

12. Publication of guidelines by Minister.

13. Preparation of draft scheme by public body.

14. Confirmation by Minister of draft schemes.

15. Periodic review of schemes.

16. Amendment of schemes.

17. Failure to prepare a draft scheme.

18. Duty to carry out schemes.

19. Prohibition on imposition of charges by public bodies.

PART 4

An Coimisneir Teanga

20. Establishment of Oifig Choimisinéir na Teangacha Oifigiúla.

21. Functions of Commissioner.

22. Powers of Commissioner.

23. Conduct of investigations.

24. Exclusions.

25. Disclosure of information.

26. Report of findings.

27. Schemes of compensation.

28. Appeals to the High Court.

29. Publication of commentaries by Commissioner on practical

application, etc. of Act.

30. Reports of Commissioner.

PART 5

Placenames

31. Definitions.

32. Placenames orders.

33. Construction of words in legal documents.

34. Amendment of Ordance Survey Ireland Act 2001.

35. Repeal.

PART 6

Miscellaneous

36. Role of Ombudsman.

FIRST SCHEDULE

Public Bodies

SECOND SCHEDULE

An Coimisinéir Teanga

------------------------

Acts Referred to

British-Irish Agreement Act 1999 1999, No. 1

Civil Service Commissioners Act 1956 1956, No. 45

Civil Service Regulation Act 1956 1956, No. 46

Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 to 1996

Data Protection Act 1988 1988, No. 25

European Assembly Elections Act 1977 1977, No. 30

European Parliament Elections Act 1993 1993, No. 30

Harbours Act 1946 1946, No. 9

Harbours Act 1996 1996, No. 11

Local Government Act 2001 2001, No. 37

Marriages (Ireland) Act 1844 6 & 7 Vict., c. 81

Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 1924, No. 16

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1956 1956, No. 21

Ombudsman Act 1980 1980, No. 26

Ordnance Survey Ireland Act 2001 2001, No. 43

Place-Names (Irish Forms) Act 1973 1973, No. 24

Public Service Management Act 1997 1997, No. 27

Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002

------------------------

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES BILL 2002

changed from

Official Languages (Equality) Bill 2002

------------------------

BILL

entitled

AN ACT TO PROMOTE THE USE OF THE IRISH

LANGUAGE FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE STATE;

TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF BOTH OFFICIAL

LANGUAGES OF THE STATE IN PARLIAMENTARY

PROCEEDINGS, IN ACTS OF THE OIREACHTAS, IN

THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, IN COMMUNICATING

WITH OR PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE

PUBLIC AND IN CARRYING OUT THE WORK OF

PUBLIC BODIES; TO SET OUT THE DUTIES OF SUCH

BODIES WITH RESPECT TO THE OFFICIAL

LANGUAGES OF THE STATE; AND FOR THOSE

PURPOSES, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT

OF OIFIG CHOIMISINÉIR NA dTEANGACHA

OIFIGIÚLA AND TO DEFINE ITS FUNCTIONS; TO

PROVIDE FOR THE PUBLICATION BY THE

COMMISSIONER OF CERTAIN INFORMATION

RELEVANT TO THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; AND TO

PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

PART 1

Preliminary and General

Short title and commencement.

1.---(1) This Act may be cited as the Official Languages Act 2003.

(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days not

later than 3 years after the passing of this Act as, by order or orders

made by the Minister under this section, may be fixed therefore either

generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision,

and different days may be so fixed for different purposes and different

provisions.

Interpretation.

2.---(1) In this Act, save where the context otherwise requires---

‘‘Commissioner’’ means, as the context may require, Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla established by section 20 or the holder,

for the time being, of that office;

‘‘court’’ includes a tribunal established under the Tribunals of

Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002;

‘‘draft scheme’’ means a draft scheme to be prepared by a public

body under this Act;

‘‘enactment’’ means a statute or an instrument made under a power

conferred by a statute;

‘‘functions’’ includes powers and duties and references to the performance

of functions include, with respect to powers and duties,

references to the exercise of the powers and the carrying out of the

duties;

‘‘Gaeltacht area’’ means an area for the time being determined to be

a Gaeltacht area by order made under section 2 of the Ministers and

Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1956;

‘‘head’’ means the head of a public body;

‘‘head of a public body’’ means---

(a) in relation to a Department of State, the Minister of the

Government having charge of it,

(b) in relation to the Office of the Attorney General, the

Attorney General,

(c) in relation to the Office of the Civil Service Commissioners,

the Civil Service Commissioners,

(d) in relation to the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor

General, the Comptroller and Auditor General,

(e) in relation to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,

the Director of Public Prosecutions,

(f) in relation to the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas, the

Chairman of dáil Éireann,

(g) in relation to the Office of the Information Commissioner,

the Information Commissioner,

(h) in relation to the Office of the Local Appointments Commissioners,

the Local Appointments Commissioners,

(i) in relation to the Office of the Ombudsman, the

Ombudsman,

(j) in relation to any other public body, the person who holds,

or performs the functions of, the office of chief executive

officer (by whatever name called) of the body;

‘‘local authority’’ has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (1) of

section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001;

‘‘the Minister’’ means the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht

Affairs;

‘‘the official languages’’ means the Irish language (being the national

language and the first official language) and the English language

(being a second official language) as specified in Article 8 of the

Constitution;

‘‘prescribed’’ means prescribed by the Minister by regulations under

section 4;

‘‘proceedings’’ means civil or criminal proceedings before any court;

‘‘public body’’ shall be construed in accordance with the First

Schedule;

‘‘record’’ includes any memorandum, book, plan, map, drawing,

diagram, pictorial or graphic work or other document, any photograph,

film or recording (whether of sound or images or both), any

form in which data (within the meaning of the Data Protection Act

1988) are held, any other form (including machine-readable form) or

thing in which information is held or stored manually, mechanically

or electronically and anything that is a part or a copy, in any form,

of any of the foregoing or is a combination of two or more of the

foregoing;

‘‘a scheme’’ means a scheme confirmed by the Minister under section

14;

‘‘service’’ means a service offered or provided (whether directly or

indirectly) to the general public or a class of the general public by a

public body.

(2) (a) In this Act a reference to a section or schedule is a reference

to a section of or Schedule to this Act unless it is

indicated that reference to some other enactment is

intended.

(b) In this Act a reference to a subsection or paragraph or

subparagraph is a reference to the subsection or paragraph

or subparagraph of the provision in which the ref-

erence occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some

other provision is intended.

Expenses.

3.---The expenses incurred by the Minister and any other Minister

of the Government in the administration of this Act shall, to such

extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out

of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Regulations.

4.---(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for

Finance---

(a) by regulations provide, subject to the provisions of this Act,

for any matter referred to in this Act as prescribed or to

be prescribed,

(b) in addition to any other power conferred on him or her to

make regulations, make regulations generally for the purposes

of, and for the purpose of giving full effect to, this

Act,

(c) if, during the first 3 years of application of this Act to a

public body specified in subparagraph (3), (4) or (5) of

paragraph 1 of the First Schedule, any difficulty arises in

bringing this Act into operation in so far as it applies to

that body, by regulations do anything which appears to

be necessary or expedient for bringing this Act into operation

in so far as it applies to that body and regulations

under this paragraph may, in so far only as may appear

necessary for carrying the regulations into effect, modify

a provision of this Act if the modification is in conformity

with the purposes, principles and spirit of this Act, and

(d) if in any other respect any difficulty arises during the period

of 3 years from the commencement of this Act in bringing

this Act into operation, by regulations do anything

which appears to be necessary or expedient for bringing

this Act into operation and regulations under this paragraph

may, in so far only as may appear necessary for

carrying the regulations into effect, modify a provision

of this Act if the modification is in conformity with the

purposes, principles and spirit of this Act.

(2) Regulations under this Act may contain such incidental, supplementary

and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister

to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the regulations.

(3) Where the Minister proposes to make regulations under paragraph

(c) or (d) of subsection (1) or for the purposes of paragraph 1

(5), or under paragraph 3, of the First Schedule, he or she shall cause

a draft of the regulations to be laid before each House of the

Oireachtas and the regulations shall not be made until a resolution

approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

(4) Where the Minister proposes to make regulations under sub-

section (1)(c), he or she shall, before doing so, consult with such

other (if any) Minister of the Government as the Minister considers

appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of

the Government in relation to the proposed regulations.

(5) Regulations prescribing a body, organisation or group (‘‘the

body’’) for the purposes of paragraph 1(5) of the First Schedule may

provide that this Act shall apply to the body only as respects specified

functions of the body, and this Act shall apply and have effect

in accordance with any such provision.

(6) Every regulation under this Act (other than a regulation

referred to in subsection (3)) shall be laid before each House of the

Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution

annulling the regulation is passed by either such House within the

next 21 days on which that House has sat after the regulation is laid

before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly but without

prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

PART 2

Organs of State

Annual report to
Houses of
Oireachtas.

5.---In each year, beginning with the year following the year in

which this Act is commenced, the Minister shall make a report to

each House of the Oireachtas on the operation in the preceding year

of this Act.

Use of official
languages in Houses
of Oireachtas.

6.---(1) A member of either House of the Oireachtas has the right

to use either of the official languages in any debates or other proceedings

in that House or of a committee of either House, a joint

committee of both Houses or sub-committee of such a committee or

joint committee.

(2) A person appearing before either House of the Oireachtas or

before such a committee, joint committee or sub-committee as aforesaid

has the right to use either of the official languages.

(3) Every official report of the debates and other proceedings of

the Houses of the Oireachtas shall be published in each of the official

languages, except that contributions (whether oral or in writing) in

either of the official languages by persons may be published therein

solely in that language.

Acts of the
Oireachtas.

7.---As soon as may be after the enactment of any Act of the

Oireachtas, the text thereof shall be printed and published in each

of the official languages simultaneously.

Administration of
justice.

8.---(1) A person may use either of the official languages in, or in

any pleading in or document issuing from, any court.

(2) Every court has, in any proceedings before it, the duty to

ensure that any person appearing in or giving evidence before it may

be heard in the official language of his or her choice, and that in

being so heard the person will not be placed at a disadvantage by

not being heard in the other official language.

(3) For the purposes of ensuring that no person is placed at a

disadvantage as aforesaid, the court may cause such facilities to be

made available, as it considers appropriate, for the simultaneous or

consecutive interpretation of proceedings from one official language

into the other.

(4) Where the State or a public body is a party to civil proceedings

before a court---

(a) the State or the public body shall use in the proceedings,

the official language chosen by the other party, and

(b) if two or more persons (other than the State or a public

body) are party to the proceedings and they fail to choose

or agree on the official language to be used in the pro-

ceedings, the State or, as appropriate, the public body

shall use in the proceedings such official language as

appears to it to be reasonable, having regard to the circumstances.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a person

shall not be compelled to give evidence in a particular official language

in any proceedings.

(6) In choosing to use a particular official language in any proceedings

before a court, a person shall not be put by the court or a

public body to any inconvenience or expense over and above that

which would have been incurred had he or she chosen to use the

other official language.

PART 3

Public Bodies

Duty of public
bodies to use
official languages
on official
stationery, etc.

9.---(1) The Minister may by regulations provide that oral announcements

(whether live or recorded) made by a public body, the headings

of stationery used by a public body and the contents and the lay out

of any signage or advertisements placed by it shall, to such extent as

may be specified, be in the Irish language or in the English and Irish

languages and different provisions may be made in relation to different

classes of body, oral announcements, stationery, signage or advertisements.

(2) Where a person communicates in writing or by electronic mail

in an official language with a public body, the public body shall reply

in the same language.

(3) Where a public body communicates in writing or by electronic

mail with the general public or a class of the general public for the

purpose of furnishing information to the public or the class, the body

shall ensure that the communication is in the Irish language or in the

English and Irish languages.

Duty of public
bodies to publish
certain documents
in both official
languages
simultaneously.

10.---Notwithstanding any other enactment, the following documents

made by or under the authority of a public body (other than

a body, organisation or group standing prescribed pursuant to regulations

for the purposes of clause (b) of paragraph 1(5) of the First

Schedule) shall be published by that body in each of the official languages

simultaneously:

(a) any document setting out public policy proposals;

(b) any annual report;

(c) any audited account or financial statement;

(d) any statement of strategy required to be prepared under

section 5 of the Public Service Management Act 1997;

and

(e) any document of a description or class standing prescribed for

the time being, with the consent of the Minister for Finance

and such other (if any) Minister of the Government as the

Minister considers appropriate having regard to the functions

of that other Minister of the Government, and being

a document of a description or class that is, in the opinion

of the Minister, of major public importance.

Use of official
languages by public
bodies.

11.---(1) For the purpose of promoting the use of the Irish language

for official purposes in the State, the Minister may, by notice in

writing to the head of a public body, require the public body to pre-

pare and present to him or her for confirmation within such time

(not being more than 6 months from the date of issue of the notice)

as is specified in the notice a draft scheme specifying---

(a) the services which the public body proposes to provide---

(i) exclusively through the medium of the Irish language,

(ii) exclusively through the medium of the English language,

and

(iii) through the medium of both the Irish and English

languages,

and

(b) the measures the body proposes to adopt to ensure that any

services that are not provided by the body through the

medium of the Irish language will be so provided.

(2) (a) A draft scheme referred to in subsection (1) shall specify

the means of communication that are to be provided

exclusively in the Irish language, exclusively in the

English language and in both the Irish and English

languages.

(b) In this section ‘‘means of communication’’ means the

means of communication between the body concerned

and the public generally or groups or individual members

of the public in relation to the services concerned, the

provision of the services and information relating to the

services or such provision.

(3) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance,

in relation to those of its services delivered exclusively through

the medium of the English language, direct a public body to draw up

a plan for the delivery of those services in addition through the

medium of the Irish language together with an estimate of the period

of time required to implement the plan.

(4) A notice under subsection (1) shall be accompanied by a copy

of the current guidelines issued by the Minister under section 12.

(5) Different notices may be given to a head of a public body

under this section in respect of different services.

Publication of
guidelines by
Minister.

12.---(1) The Minister shall issue to public bodies guidelines in

relation to the preparation by public bodies of draft schemes.

(2) As soon as practicable after the commencement of this section

the Minister shall prepare a draft of any guidelines that he or she

proposes to issue under subsection (1) and shall send copies of the

draft to---

(a) every other Minister of the Government, and

(b) such other persons (including any other head) as he or she

considers appropriate.

(3) The Minister shall, after considering any representations made

to him or her about the draft guidelines, confirm the draft guidelines

either without amendment or with such amendments as he or she

considers appropriate.

(4) The Minister shall, as soon as practicable, lay before each

House of the Oireachtas a copy of any guidelines issued under subsection

(1).

(5) The Minister shall, at such intervals as he or she considers

appropriate, revise any guidelines issued under subsection (1) and

the provisions of this section shall apply to the issuing of such revised

guidelines as they apply to the guidelines first issued.

Preparation of draft
scheme by public
body.

13.---(1) On receipt of a notice under section 11, a public body

shall---

(a) publish notice of its intention to prepare a draft scheme and

invite representations from any interested parties, and

(b) within the time specified in the notice, prepare and present

for confirmation to the Minister a draft scheme.

(2) In preparing a draft scheme the public body shall---

(a) have regard to any guidelines issued under section 12 and in

force,

(b) have regard to any representations made by any interested

party under subsection (1),

(c) ensure that an adequate number of its staff are competent

in the Irish language so as to be able to provide its service

through Irish as well as English,

(d) ensure that the particular Irish language requirements

associated with the provision of services in Gaeltacht

areas are met,

(e) ensure that the Irish language becomes the working language

in its offices in the Gaeltacht not later than such date

as may be determined by it with the consent of the

Minister.

(3) A draft scheme shall contain only such matters as are required

to be specified under subsections (1) and (2) of section 11.

Confirmation by
Minister of draft
schemes.

14.---(1) Upon presentation of a draft scheme to the Minister by a

public body, the Minister may, after consultation with such other persons

including such other (if any) Minister of the Government as the Minister

considers ought to be consulted, and with the consent of the head of the

public body concerned, confirm the draft scheme either without amendment

or with such amendments as he or she considers appropriate.

(2) The Minister shall, after confirmation of any draft scheme

under this section, forward a copy of the scheme to the Commissioner.

(3) A scheme shall remain in force for a period of 3 years from

the date on which it is confirmed by the Minister or until a new

scheme has been confirmed by the Minister pursuant to section 15,

whichever is the later.

Periodic review of
schemes.

15.---(1) The Minister may, at any time, and shall, no later than 6

months before the expiration of the scheme, by notice in writing to

the head of a public body require that body to review, within such

period as may be specified in the notice, any scheme in force in

relation to it.

(2) Upon receipt of a notice under subsection (1), a public body

shall conduct a review of the said scheme and shall, within the time

specified in the notice, prepare and present, for confirmation by the

Minister, a new draft scheme.

(3) Sections 11, 13 and 14 shall, with any necessary modifications,

apply where a notice is given under subsection (1) as they apply

where a notice is given under section 11.

Amendment of
schemes.

16.---(1) Where the Minister is satisfied that, owing to any change---

(a) in the functions of a public body, or

(b) in the circumstance in which such functions are performed,

it may be appropriate to amend any scheme in force in relation to

it, he or she may, on his or her own initiative or on request by the

public body concerned, by notice in writing to the public body propose

amendments to the scheme.

(2) The Minister may, after consultation with such other persons,

including such other (if any) Minister of the Government as the

Minister considers ought to be consulted, and with the consent of

the head of the public body concerned, amend a scheme in the

manner proposed in any notice under subsection (1) or in such

other manner as he or she considers appropriate in the circumstances,

and the scheme shall have effect thereafter subject to any

such amendments.

(3) The Minister shall forward to the Commissioner a copy of any

scheme amended under this section.

Failure to prepare a
draft scheme.

17.---Where---

(a) a public body fails or refuses to prepare a draft scheme in

accordance with a notice issued under section 11 or 15,

(b) after presentation by a public body of a draft scheme to

the Minister for confirmation, the public body and the

Minister are unable to agree the terms of the scheme, or

(c) after receipt by a public body of a notice of proposed

amendments to a scheme, the public body and the Minister

are unable to agree on any amendments,

the Minister shall report this failure, refusal or inability to each

House of the Oireachtas.

Duty to carry out
schemes.

18.---(1) Where the Minister confirms a scheme under this Act, the

public body shall proceed to carry out the scheme.

(2) Nothing in a scheme shall be construed as prohibiting a public

body from implementing further measures to promote the status of

an official language within its organisation.

Prohibition on
imposition of
charges by public
bodies.

19.---A public body shall not impose any charge on any person by

virtue of any requirement imposed on that body by this Act.

PART 4

An Coimisineir Teanga

Establishment of
Oifig Choimisinéir
na dTeangacha
Oifigiúla.

20.---(1) There is established an office to be known as Oifig

Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla and the holder of the office

shall be known as An Coimisinéir Teanga and is referred to in this

Act as the Commissioner.

(2) The Commissioner shall be independent in the performance of

his or her functions.

(3) The appointment of a person to be the Commissioner shall be

made by the President on the advice of the Government following a

resolution passed by dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann recom-

mending the appointment of the person.

(4) The provisions of the Second Schedule shall have effect in

relation to the Commissioner.

Functions of
Commissioner.

21.---The functions of the Commissioner shall be, in addition to

any functions conferred on him or her by any other provision of this

Act---

(a) to monitor compliance by public bodies with the provisions

of this Act,

(b) to take all necessary measures within his or her authority to

ensure compliance by public bodies with the provisions

of this Act,

(c) to carry out investigations, whether on his or her own initiative,

on request by the Minister or pursuant to a complaint

made to him or her by any person, into any failure by a

public body to comply with the provisions of this Act that

he or she or, as appropriate, the Minister, considers may

have occurred,

(d) to provide, as he or she considers appropriate, advice or

other assistance to the public regarding their rights under

this Act,

(e) to provide, as he or she considers appropriate, advice or

other assistance to public bodies regarding their obligations

under this Act, and

(f) to carry out an investigation, whether on his or her own

initiative, on request by the Minister or pursuant to a

complaint made to him or her by any person, to ascertain

whether any provision of any other enactment relating to

the status or use of an official language was not or is not

being complied with.

Powers of
Commissioner.

22.---(1) (a) For the purpose of his or her functions under this Act

the Commissioner may require any person who, in

the opinion of the Commissioner, is in possession of

information, or has a record or thing in his or her

power or control, that is relevant to the purposes

aforesaid to furnish to the Commissioner any such

information, record or thing and, where appropriate,

may require the person to attend before him or

her for that purpose, and the person shall comply

with the requirement.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply to

information or so much of a record as relates to

decisions and proceedings of the Government or of

any committee of the Government and for the purposes

of this paragraph, a certificate given by the

Secretary to the Government and certifying that

any information or record or part of a record so

relates shall be conclusive.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), no enactment or rule of law

prohibiting or restricting the disclosure or communication of

information shall preclude a person from furnishing to the Com-

missioner any such information or record, as aforesaid.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person to whom a

requirement is addressed under this section shall be entitled to the

same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness before

the High Court.

(4) A person who fails or refuses to comply with a requirement

under this section or who hinders or obstructs the Commissioner in

the performance of his or her functions under this section shall be

guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a

fine not exceeding \2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not

exceeding 6 months or both.

(5) Where an offence under subsection (4) has been committed by

a body corporate and is proved to have been committed with the

consent or connivance of, or to have been facilitated by any neglect

on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other similar

officer of such body or of any person who was purporting to act in

any such capacity, that officer or person, as well as such body, shall

be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against

and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned

offence.

(6) Proceedings for an offence under this section may be brought

and prosecuted by the Commissioner.

(7) The Commissioner may, if he or she thinks fit, pay to any

person who, for the purposes aforesaid, attends before the Commissioner

or furnishes information or a record or other thing to him

or her---

(a) sums in respect of travelling and subsistence expenses properly

incurred by the person, and

(b) allowances by way of compensation for loss of his or her

time,

of such amount as may be determined by the Minister.

(8) A statement or admission made by a person for the purposes

aforesaid shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in

any criminal proceedings.

(9) Nothing in this section shall confer any right to production of,

or access to, any record or thing subject to legal privilege.

Conduct of
investigations.

23.---(1) An investigation by the Commissioner under this Act

shall be conducted otherwise than in public.

(2) Where the Commissioner proposes to carry out an investigation

under this Act he or she shall---

(a) notify---

(i) the public body concerned,

(ii) in a case where a complaint has been made to the

Commissioner, the person who made the complaint,

and

(iii) the Minister,

in writing of that fact, and

(b) afford---

(i) the public body concerned, and

(ii) any other person who appears or, in a case where a

complaint has been made to the Commissioner, is

alleged to have been responsible for the matter com-

plained of,

an opportunity to comment on the matter and, if a complaint

in relation to the matter has been made to the

Commissioner, on any allegations contained in the

complaint.

(3) The Commissioner may---

(a) refuse to investigate a complaint under this Act, or

(b) discontinue an investigation under this Act into such a

complaint,

if he or she becomes of opinion that---

(i) the complaint is trivial or vexatious,

(ii) the person making the complaint has not taken

reasonable steps to seek redress in respect of the

subject matter of the complaint or, if he or she has,

has not been refused redress,

(iii) the complaint relates solely to a matter within the

power of the Ombudsman to investigate pursuant to

section 4(2)(a) of the Ombudsman Act 1980, or

(iv) the matter complained of does not involve any contravention

of the provisions of this Act or of any other

enactment relating to the status or use of an official

language.

(4) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the procedure for conducting

an investigation shall be such as the Commissioner considers

appropriate in all the circumstances of the case.

(5) The Commissioner may determine whether any person may be

represented, by counsel, solicitor or otherwise, in an investigation by

him or her under this Act.

Exclusions.

24.—The Commissioner shall not investigate any complaint made

by or on behalf of a person if the complaint is one in relation to

which the person affected by the matter complained of has initiated,

in any court, civil legal proceedings and the proceedings have not

been dismissed for failure to disclose a cause of action or a complaint

justiciable by that court, whether the proceedings have been otherwise

concluded or have not been concluded:

Provided that the Commissioner may investigate the matter notwithstanding

that it is one to which this section relates if it appears to the

Commissioner that special circumstances make it proper to do so.

Disclosure of
information.

25.—Information or a record or thing obtained by the Commissioner

or his or her officers in the course of the exercise by him

or her of his or her functions under this Act shall not be disclosed

except for the purposes of such exercise and of any statement, report

or notification to be made under this Act and the Commissioner or

his or her officers shall not be called upon to give evidence in any

proceedings of matters coming to his or her or their knowledge in

the course of such exercise.

Report of findings.

26.—(1) In any case where a complaint is made to the Commissioner

and the Commissioner decides not to carry out an investi-

gation under this Act or decides to discontinue such an investigation,

he or she shall send to the person who made the complaint and to the

public body concerned a statement in writing of his or her reasons for

the decision and shall send to such other person as he or she considers

appropriate such statement in writing in relation to the matter

as he or she considers appropriate.

(2) In any case where the Commissioner conducts an investigation

under this Act, he or she shall prepare and submit to—

(a) the public body concerned,

(b) the Minister, and

(c) in a case where a complaint is made to the Commissioner,

the complainant,

a report in writing of the findings of the investigation and may

include in the report any recommendations he or she considers

appropriate having regard to the investigation.

(3) Without prejudice to subsection (2), the Commissioner may

issue an interim report if he or she considers it appropriate so to do.

(4) The Commissioner may request a public body to submit to him

or her within a specified time any comments it may have regarding

any findings or recommendations contained in a report under this

section.

(5) If, within a reasonable time after a report containing recommendations

is submitted to a public body under subsection (2), any

recommendations contained in the report have not, in the opinion of

the Commissioner, been implemented by that body, the Com-

missioner may, after considering any responses made to him or her

by the public body in respect of those recommendations, make a

report thereon to each House of the Oireachtas.

(6) The Commissioner shall attach to every report under subsection

(5) a copy of every response (if any) made by or on behalf of a

public body to the said recommendations.

Schemes of
compensation.

27.—(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for

Finance, make a scheme of compensation providing for the payment

by a public body to such persons of such sums as may be specified

in the scheme, in respect of any failure, specified in a report by the

Commissioner under section 26, by the body (other than a public

body, standing prescribed for the purposes of paragraph 1(5) of the

First Schedule) to comply with the provisions of this Act.

 (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (f) of section 21, a scheme under

subsection (1) may not provide for the payment out of moneys in

respect of any failure by a public body to comply with any other

enactment relating to the status or use of an official language.

(3) A scheme under subsection (1) may be revoked or varied by a

subsequent scheme made thereunder.

Appeals to the
High Court.

28.—(1) A party to an investigation under this Act or any other

person affected by the findings and recommendations of the Commissioner

following such an investigation may appeal to the High

Court on a point of law from the decision.

(2) An appeal under subsection (1) shall be initiated not later than

4 weeks after notice of the relevant findings and recommendations

was given to the person bringing the appeal.

(3) (a) Where an appeal under this section by a person, other than

a head, is dismissed by the High Court, that Court may,

if it considers that the point of law concerned was of

exceptional public importance, order that some or all of

the costs of the person in relation to the appeal be paid

by the public body concerned.

(b) The High Court may order that some or all of the costs of

a person, other than a head, in relation to a reference

under this section be paid by the public body concerned.

(4) A decision of the High Court following an appeal under subsection

(1), shall, where appropriate, specify the period within which

effect shall be given to the decision.

Publication of
commentaries by
Commissioner on
practical application
etc. of Act.

29.—The Commissioner may prepare and publish commentaries

on the practical application and operation of the provisions, or any

particular provisions, of this Act, including commentaries based on

the experience of holders of the office of Commissioner in relation

to investigations and findings following investigations, of such hold-

ers under this Act.

Reports of
Commissioner.

30.—(1) The Commissioner shall, not later than 6 months after the

end of each year, prepare and furnish to the Minister a report,

in each of the official languages, on his or her activities in that

year.

(2) The Minister shall, not later than 2 months after the receipt of

the report, cause a copy thereof to be laid before each House of the

Oireachtas.

(3) The Commissioner may, if he or she considers it appropriate

to do so in the public interest or in the interests of any person, pre-

pare and publish a report in each of the official languages in relation

to any investigation carried out or other function performed by him

or her under this Act or any matter relating to or arising in the course

of such an investigation or performance.

(4) In this section ‘‘report’’ does not include a report under section 26.

PART 5

Placenames

Definitions.

31.—In this Part, save where the context otherwise requires—

‘‘the Commission’’ means the body known as An Coimisiún

Logainmneacha and established by warrant of the Minister for Finance dated the 24th day of October 1946;

‘‘placename’’ includes the name of any province, county, city, town,

village, barony, parish or townland, or of any territorial feature

(whether natural or artificial), district, region or place, as shown in

the maps of Ordnance Survey Ireland;

‘‘placenames order’’ has the meaning assigned to it by section 32.

Placenames orders.

32.—(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister, having received

and considered advice from the Commission, may by order (in this

Part referred to as ‘‘a placenames order’’)—

(a) declare the Irish language version of a placename specified

in the order to be such word or words as he or she specifies

in the order,

(b) amend or revoke a placenames order.

(2) The Minister shall not make a declaration under subsection (1)

in relation to a place in a Gaeltacht area in respect of which a declar-

ation under Part 18 of the Local Government Act 2001 is in force.

(3) Every placenames order shall be laid before each House of the

Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution

annulling the order is passed by either such House within the next

subsequent 21 days on which that House has sat after the order is

laid before it, the order shall be annulled accordingly but without

prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Construction of
words in legal
documents.

33.—(1) A word or words, declared by the Minister in a placenames

order to be the Irish language version of a placename specified

in the order, shall be construed in a legal document as referring to

the same place and as having the same force and effect as the English

language version of the placename so specified unless the contrary

intention appears.

(2) Where the Minister makes a declaration under section 32 in

respect of a placename in a Gaeltacht area, the English language

version of the placename shall no longer have any force and effect

as on and from the operative date but without prejudice to anything

done before or after that date including the use of that version other

than its use—

(a) in any Act of the Oireachtas passed after the operative date

or any statutory instrument made after that date under

any Act,

(b) in such maps prepared and published by or with the permission

of Ordnance Survey Ireland as may be prescribed,

or

(c) on a road or street sign erected by or on behalf of a local

authority.

(3) In this section—

‘‘legal document’’ means—

(a) any Act of the Oireachtas passed after the operative date,

any statutory instrument made after that date under any

Act or the official translation of any Act or instrument;

(b) any instrument having or intended to have legal effect or

consequences and executed on or after the operative

date;

(c) any document used in or for the purposes of legal proceedings,

and made, issued or served on or after the operative

date,

‘‘the operative date’’ means the date on which the relevant placenames

order comes into operation.

Amendment of
Ordnance Survey
Ireland Act 2001.

34.—The Ordnance Survey Ireland Act 2001 is amended by the

substitution of the following for paragraph (h) of section 4(2):

‘‘(h) to depict placenames and ancient features in the

national mapping and related records and databases

in the Irish language or in the English and Irish

languages.’’

Repeal.

35.—The Place-Names (Irish Forms) Act 1973 is repealed.

PART 6

Miscellaneous

Role of
Ombudsman.

36.—Nothing in this Act shall prohibit the investigation by the

Ombudsman, pursuant to subsection (2) of section 4 of the Ombudsman

Act 1980, of any action taken by or on behalf of a Department

of State or other person specified in Part 1 of the First Schedule to

that Act.

Section 2.

Section 2. FIRST SCHEDULE

Public Bodies

1. Each of the following shall be a public body for the purposes of

this Act:

(1) Department of Agriculture and Food

Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism

Department of Communications, Marine and Natural

Resources

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

Department of Defence

Department of Education and Science

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Department of Finance

Department of Foreign Affairs

Department of Health and Children

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Department of Public Enterprise

Department of Social and Family Affairs

Department of the Environment and Local Government

Department of the Taoiseach

Department of Transport

Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs

Central Statistics Office

Chief State Solicitor’s Office

Office of the Civil Service and Local Appointments Com-

missioners

Office of the Attorney General

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas

Office of the President

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

(2) Agencies, Boards, State Companies (commercial and noncommercial)

a regional assembly

the Eastern Regional Health Authority and an area health

board

a regional authority

a university or other third level institution

a vocational education committee

Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations

Aer Lingus Group plc

Aer Rianta cpt

An Bord Altranais

An Bord Bia

An Bord Glas

An Bord Pleanála

An Bord Uchtála

An Chomhairle Leabharlanna

An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gael-

scolaíochta

An Coimisiún Logainmneacha

An Foras Áiseanna Saothair (FÁS)

An Implementation Body established under the British-Irish

Agreement Act 1999 55

An Post

An tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas

APSO (Agency for Personal Service Overseas)

Area Development Management Limited

Area Partnership Boards

Arramara Teoranta

Bioresearch Ireland

Bord Fáilte Éireann

Bord gáis Éireann

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

Bord na gCon

Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge

Bord na Móna

Bord na Radharcmhastóirí

Bord Scannán na hÉireann

Broadcasting Commission of Ireland

Broadcasting Complaints Commission

Bus Átha Cliath

Bus Éireann

C.E.R.T. Limited

Central and Regional Fisheries Boards

Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland

Chester Beatty Library

Coillte Teoranta

Coiste an Asgard

Comhairle

Comhairle na Nimheanna

Comhairle na nOspidéal

Comhar — The National Sustainable Development

Partnership

Commission for Aviation Regulation

Commission for Communications Regulation

Commission for Energy Regulation

Córas Iompair Éireann

County Enterprise Boards

Crafts Council of Ireland

Crisis Pregnancy Agency

Data Protection Commissioner

Defence Forces Canteen Board

Dental Council

District Registrars of Marriages appointed under the terms of

section 57 of the Marriages (Ireland) Act 1844

Drug Treatment Centre Board

Dublin Dental Hospital Board

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Dublin Transportation Office

Economic and Social Research Institute

Electricity Supply Board

Energy Advisory Board

Enterprise Ireland

Fire Services Council

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Forfás

Further Education and Training Awards Council

General Medical Services Payment Board

General Register Office

Government Information Services

Harbour Authorities within the meaning of the Harbours Act

1946

Harbour Companies referred to in section 7 of the Harbours

Act 1996

Health and Safety Authority

Health Research Board

Health Service Employers Agency

Higher Education and Training Awards Council

Horse Racing Ireland

Hospital Bodies Administrative Bureau

Hospitals Trust Board

Housing Finance Agency plc

I.D.A. Ireland

Iarnród Éireann

Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann

Institute of Public Administration

International Development Ireland Limited

Irish Aid Advisory Committee

Irish Aviation Authority

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation

Irish Fertiliser Industries Limited

Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal

Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Irish National Petroleum Corporation Limited

Irish National Stud Company Limited

Irish Productivity Centre

Irish Red Cross Society

Irish Telecommunications Investments plc

LEADER Groups

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

Levy Appeals Tribunal

Local Employment Service Boards

Local Government Computer Services Board

Local Government Management Services Board

Marine Institute

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

Mental Health Commission

National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health

National Building Agency Limited

National Cancer Registry Board

National Centre for Partnership and Performance

National Committee for Development Education

National Concert Hall

National Council on Ageing and Older People

National Council for Professional Development of Nursing

and Midwifery

National Council for Special Education

National Disability Authority

National Economic and Social Council

National Economic and Social Forum

National Gallery of Ireland

National Library of Ireland

National Microelectronics Applications Centre Ltd.

National Milk Agency

National Museum of Ireland

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

National Rehabilitation Board

National Roads Authority

National Safety Council

National Social Work Qualification Board

National Standards Authority of Ireland

National Statistics Board

National Technology Park Plassey Ltd.

National Theatre Society Limited (Abbey Theatre)

National Treasury Management Agency

Nítrigin Éireann Teoranta

Office for Health Management

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement

Office of the Director of Equality Investigations

Office of the Paymaster General

Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner

Office of Tobacco Control

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Patents Office

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Postgraduate Medical and Dental Board

Public Voluntary Hospitals

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

Radio Telefís Éireann

Raidióna Gaeltachta

Refugee Agency

Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Registrars of Births, Deaths and Roman Catholic Marriages

Registration Council for Secondary Teachers

Registry of Deeds

Rights Commissioners

Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited

(SFADCo)

Standards in Public Office Commission

State Laboratory

Sustainable Energy Ireland

Teagasc

TEASTAS

Teilifís na Gaeilge

Temple Bar Properties Limited

Temple Bar Renewal Limited

the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board

the Army Pensions Board

the Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon)

the Censorship of Films Appeals Board

the Censorship of Publications Appeals Board

the Censorship of Publications Board

the Combat Poverty Agency

the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for

Ireland

the Commissioners of Public Works

the Companies Registration Office

the Competition Authority

the Courts Service

the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal

the Defence Forces

the Employment Appeals Tribunal

the Environmental Protection Agency

the Equality Authority

the Garda Síochána

the Garda Síochána Complaints Appeals Board

the Garda Síochána Complaints Board

the Health Insurance Authority

the Heritage Council

the Human Rights Commission

the Information Society Commission

the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational

Exchange

the Irish Manuscripts Commission

the Irish Medicines Board

the Irish Prison Service

the Irish Sports Council

the Irish Water Safety Association

the Labour Court

the Labour Relations Commission

the Land Registry

the Law Reform Commission

the Legal Aid Board

the Medical Council

the Mining Board

the National Archives

the National Archives Advisory Council

the National Centre for Guidance in Education

the National Competitiveness Council

the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

the National Council for Forest Research and Development

(COFORD)

the National Council for Vocational Awards

the National Lottery

the Office of the Appeal Commissioners for the purposes of

the Tax Acts

the Office of the Chief Medical Officer for the Civil Service

the Office of the Information Commissioner

the Office of the Official Censor of Films

the Office of the Ombudsman

the Office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies

the Pensions Board

the Probation and Welfare Service

the Referendum Commission

the Rent Tribunal

the Social Welfare Tribunal

the State Examinations Commission

the Valuation Office

the Valuation Tribunal

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Veterinary Council

Voluntary Health Insurance Board

Western Development Commission

Women’s Health Council

(3) a local authority,

(4) a health board,

(5) any body, organisation or group standing prescribed for the

time being, with the consent of such other (if any) Minister of the

Government as the Minister considers appropriate having regard to

the functions of that other Minister of the Government, and being—

(a) a body, organisation or group that receives moneys directly

from a Minister of the Government, a Department of

State, the Central Fund or a public body specified in subparagraph

(2), (3) or (4) of this paragraph in circumstances

where the amount or aggregate of the amounts

so received constitutes 50 per cent or more of the current

expenditure of that body, organisation or group in a financial

year,

(b) a body, organisation or group that at the date of the coming

into operation of this Schedule is a public body but subsequently

comes under private ownership and control,

(c) a body, organisation or group performing functions which

previously stood vested in a body, organisation or group

under public ownership or control, or

(d) any other body, organisation or group on which functions

in relation to the general public or a class of the general

public stand conferred or permitted by any enactment or

by any licence or authority given under any enactment.

2. A body, organisation or group standing prescribed pursuant to

regulations for the purposes of clause (b) of paragraph 1(5) shall be

a public body only as respects functions referred to in that clause.

3. The Minister may, with the consent of such other (if any) Minister

of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate having

regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government, by

regulations amend subparagraph (2) of paragraph 1 by the insertion

or deletion of a reference to any public body.

4. A reference in paragraph 1 to any particular Department of

State shall be construed as

(a) including a reference to a body, organisation or group specified

in relation to that Department of State in the Schedule

to the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924 (not being

another public body specified in that paragraph), and

(b) not including any other body, organisation or group.

Section 20.

SECOND SCHEDULE

An Coimisinéir Teanga

1. Subject to the provisions of this Schedule, a person appointed

to be the Commissioner shall hold the office for a term of 6 years

and may be re-appointed to the office for a second or subsequent

term.

2. A person appointed to be the Commissioner—

(a) may at his or her request be relieved of office by the

President,

(b) may be removed from office by the President but shall not

be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour,

incapacity or bankruptcy and then only upon resolutions

passed by dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann calling

for his or her removal, and

(c) shall in any case vacate the office on attaining the age of 67

years.

3. (1) Where a person who holds the office of Commissioner is—

(a) nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann,

(b) elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or a

local authority or to the European Parliament, or

(c) regarded, pursuant to section 15 (inserted by the European

Parliament Elections Act 1993) of the European

Assembly Elections Act 1977 as having been elected to

the European Parliament to fill a vacancy,

he or she shall thereupon cease to be the Commissioner.

(2) A person who is for the time being entitled under the Standing

Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein or who is a

member of the European Parliament or a local authority shall, while

he or she is so entitled or is such a member, be disqualified for being

appointed to be the Commissioner.

4. A person who holds the office of Commissioner shall not hold

any other office or employment in respect of which emoluments are

payable or be a member of the Reserve Defence Force.

5. The Commissioner shall be paid, out of moneys provided by the

Oireachtas, such remuneration and allowances for expenses as the

Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may from

time to time determine.

6. (1) The Minister may make and carry out, in accordance with

its terms, a scheme or schemes for the granting of pensions, gratuities

or allowances on retirement or death to, or in respect of, persons

who have held the office of Commissioner.

(2) The Minister may at any time make and carry out, in accordance

with its terms, a scheme or schemes amending or revoking a

scheme under this paragraph.

(3) A scheme under this paragraph shall be laid before each House

of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution

annulling the scheme is passed by either such House within the

next 21 days on which that House has sat after the scheme is laid

before it, the scheme shall be annulled accordingly but without preju-

dice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

7. (1) The Minister may appoint to be members of the staff of the

Commissioner such number of persons as the Minister may, with the

consent of the Minister for Finance, determine from time to time.

(2) Members of the staff of the Commissioner shall be civil ser-

vants in the Civil Service of the State (within the meaning of the

Civil Service Regulation Act 1956).

(3) The Minister may delegate to the Commissioner the powers

exercisable by him or her under the Civil Service Commissioners

Act 1956 and the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 to 1996 as the

appropriate authority in relation to members of the staff of the Commissioner

and, if the Minister does so, then so long as the delegation

remains in force—

(a) those powers shall, in lieu of being exercisable by the Minister,

be exercisable by the Commissioner, and

(b) the Commissioner shall, in lieu of the Minister, be for the

purposes of this Act the appropriate authority in relation

to members of the staff of the Commissioner.

8. (1) The Commissioner shall keep, in such form as may be

approved of by the Minister, all proper and usual accounts of all

moneys received or expended by him or her and all such special

accounts (if any) as the Minister may direct.

(2) Accounts kept in pursuance of this paragraph in respect of

each year shall be submitted by the Commissioner in the following

year on a date not later than a date specified by the Minister to the

Comptroller and Auditor General for audit and, as soon as may be

after the audit, a copy of those accounts, or of such extracts from

those accounts as the Minister may specify, together with the report

of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the accounts, shall be

presented by the Commissioner to the Minister who shall cause cop-

ies of the documents presented to him or her to be laid before each

House of the Oireachtas.

9. The Commissioner may delegate to a member of the staff of the

Commissioner any of the functions of the Commissioner (other than

those under this paragraph or section 26) and references in this Act

to the Commissioner shall be construed, where appropriate having

regard to any delegation under this paragraph, as including references

to any person to whom functions stand delegated by the

delegation.