Translating documents into Irish costs €3,000 a week

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By John Walshe Education Editor
Irish Independent Friday December 18 2009
THE government department charged with reviving Irish in schools is spending €3,000 a week getting documents translated into the language.

The Department of Education and Science spent more than €426,000 over a two-and-a-half year period on translation services, the Irish Independent has learned.

The lack of language and administrative capacity was blamed last night for the outsourcing of so much work.

School inspectors are expected to have a competent level of fluency but administrative staff in the department are not obliged to have Irish.

Up to a few decades ago, Irish was heard more often than English in the department's Marlborough Street headquarters.

Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe disclosed that:
  • In 2007, the department made 101 payments worth €124,723.59 between June 14 and the end of December.
  • In 2008, 139 payments were made at a combined cost of €156,060.40.
  • In 2009, 84 payments are being made at a combined cost of €146,138.
In a Dail reply to Fine Gael deputy Brian Hayes, the minister said that four of these payments were for more than €10,000 each, 11 were for €5,000-€10,000 each, a total of 77 were for €1,000-€5,000 each and the remainder were for amounts of less than €1,000.

Mr Hayes said it was bizarre that the department did not have an internal section to translate all of the documents.

Mr Hayes said that this highlighted the "extraordinary culture of waste which dominates within the department. Money can be found for things like this while schools run lotto draws to make ends meet".
- John Walshe Education Editor

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