The Office of the Ombudsman historically had three separate Language Schemes under the Official Languages Act 2003 to cover its six separate statutory bodies. These Schemes were similar in terms of the services to be provided in Irish. The Office has been advised that the Schemes do not need to be renewed as they expire pending the introduction of new “standards” under the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021. However, the organisation has continued to provide the services in accordance with the terms of the Schemes including the availability of Irish speakers to deal with complaints; correspondence received in Irish responded to in Irish; and, website content available in Irish. 

The key points in 2023 are:

  • Irish language services continued to be provided in accordance with the agreed Schemes. In this regard, an annual report was compiled on the services provided and demand for services under the Schemes.
  • There are 10 staff across the component offices who are willing to provide a service in Irish. 
  • The organisation continues to promote the Irish language through (i) encouraging staff to undertake courses (five staff members undertook courses in Irish in 2023 (9 in 2022)) and (ii) having regular Irish tea breaks to promote the learning and use of the language.
  • The provision of the Official Language (Amendment) Act 2021 requires 20% of public bodies advertising to be in Irish, with 5% of its advertising spend being in the Irish language media. These provisions were met for 2023, resulting in expenditure of €5,900.
  • An amount of €15,000 was spent on translation costs across the six statutory bodies during 2023.