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1. Schemes: Introduction | 2. Scheme Guidelines | 3. Scheme of the Department
4. Schemes in Total | 5. Agreed Schemes

A General Outline

The publication of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs scheme ( under section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003 was an initial model for the 3 year schemes which it is now obligatory on all of the public bodies to draw up.

The scheme is now underway with effect from 22 September 2004 and remains in force for a period of 3 years from that date or until a new scheme has been confirmed by the Minister pursuant to Section 15 of the Act, whichever is the earlier. Ministerial Directives for the preparation of New Schemes are not covered on this site and for these you may consult the website of the Commissioner at

It is through the schemes that practical effect is given to the Official Languages Act.

Under Section 11 of the Act the Minister gives notice in writing to the public bodies requiring them to draw up a 'draft scheme' within six months from that date.

After the publication of the Scheme for his own department the Minister presented guidelines to 25 public bodies for the preparation of their own schemes.

These 25 public bodies were each required to prepare a "draft scheme" under Section 11 of the Act before the end of March 2005 for a comprehensive Irish Language service to be made available to their customers (See update at bottom of this page).

That done the public bodies had a further 6 months to develop and agree these schemes with the Minister. The scheme shall set out the services which the public body intends to provide through Irish only, through English only, or bilingually, and the steps which the body proposes to take in order to ensure that those services which are not available through Irish will be so provided.

As soon as they had been given notice of the "draft scheme" by the Minister, the public bodies were then obliged to undertake a publicity campaign giving notice of their intention to prepare the 'draft-scheme,' welcoming public opinion, euphemistically referred to as "inviting representation from any interested parties" in the Act itself, and indicating specific deadlines by which opinions of the public must be submitted.

Recommendations from Interested Parties

Have you seen them? Would you know what they were if you did? That's a negative note but let it be said that much of the 'publicity' is less than specific and may strike no chord with the uninitiated. Reference is sometimes made to 'Submissions' or 'the Submissions (na hAighneachtaí)' or some similar phrase with little clarification of the context. To anyone not clued in to what it was all about this 'publicity' would have wafted by totally unnoticed. The surprise is that in some cases, at least, submissions and recommendations were received. So keep an eye open if you want to have influence on decisions that may concern you.!

The Gaeltacht and Irish Language Communities and indeed anyone who chooses can make recommendations. Conradh na Gaeilge ( have published some recommendations and announce that their staff will be available to help or advise the public or indeed any public bodies.

When drawing up the 'draft scheme' due regard must be taken of the guidelines in Section 112 of the Act and of the representations received from 'interested parties.'

When an agreed scheme by a public body has been confirmed by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, a copy is forwarded to the Office of the Language Commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin to facilitate the monitoring of the implementation of the scheme and to ensure compliance.

[Updates: FocalFactory will endeavour to keep these pages and the list of agreed Schemes updated. Consult the website of the Commissioner at for the authoritative list as well as for ministerial directives for the updating of Schemes which are more than 3 years old. The English names of the Public bodies are not however listed anywhere else as they are here at FocalFactory]

2. Scheme Guidelines >>>