A call has been made for the government to ensure people in the Gaeltacht can conduct their day to day business through Irish.
The call was made by west Donegal political activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig who said a number of local people from Gweedore area had approached him complaining NCT centre in Derrybeg cannot facilitate those who wish to conduct their business through Irish.
Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig moved on Friday to assure workers at the centre that he was not attacking them following the release of a statement o the issue on Thursday.
“There appears to be some confusion over my position on this issue. Let’s be clear here, I am not attacking workers in the Gweedore NCT centre, I am highlighting the issue of this Government’s mealy mouthed approach to the preservation of our language,” he said.
He said he had been told by officials within Roinn na Gaeltachta, that companies awarded government outsourcing contracts are not bound by the Official Languages Act.
“Therefore these private companies are under no obligation to provide service in our native tongue in Gaeltacht areas, or indeed to up-skill workers that would like to be able to communicate in Irish with the consumer,” he said.
“In my mind one of the most important aspects of the language’s preservation is its use in day to day interactions, the statement from the RSA misses that point, it pays the usual lip service to Gaeltacht areas but lacks reality and practicality.
“This is another example of how privatisation has an affect on the language within our community.
“When the government outsources services, our language is not a high priority as profit is the only interest of these private companies,” he said.
The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said while it is not usual to have the actual test conducted by an Irish speaker, an Irish speaking vehicle inspector is available in Co Donegal.
The departmnet said that for telephone enquiries and bookings, the call centre has a number of Irish speakers available on request who will call the customer and deal with the booking or enquiry.
Test reports are available in Irish and automatically issued to owners who have flagged this as a preference.