Over 200 Galway Gardaí receive Gaeltacht Allowance
Almost 40 per cent of gardaí stationed in Galway are in receipt of a Gaeltacht Allowance, new figures released by the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence have shown.
The figures, which were released in response to a question by Galway Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, show that of the 585 gardaí in the Galway Division, 221 are in receipt of the allowance, which amounts to 7.5 per cent of basic salary. This is down slightly from 2007, when 235 Galway Gardaí received the allowance.
Unveiling the figures in the Seanad last week, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said there are a “substantial number” of garda personnel who continue to be paid the allowance to cater for areas where members of the force are required to be proficient in Irish.
He also indicated that the arrangements for the payment of Gaeltacht Allowances are being examined by the Garda Commissioner, but said that he was “not aware of any major event about to happen in the context of the allowance”.
Under current legislation, the Garda Commissioner must ensure that members of the organisation stationed in a district that includes a Gaeltacht area have “sufficient Irish competency” to perform their duties.
Speaking in the Seanad, Minister Shatter emphasised that conducting business through Irish is part of the language curriculum delivered to all Garda Trainees in the Garda College at Templemore.
“In addition, arrangements have been made to ensure that if a member of the Garda Síochána cannot provide an immediate service through Irish when a member of the public requests it, an Irish-proficient member of An Garda Síochána will be contacted and made available,” he said, adding that both the Government and An Garda Síochána “are, and will continue to be, strongly committed to the Irish language”.
Meanwhile, An Coimisinéir Teanga has singled out the stations in the Connemara Gaeltacht for their 100 per cent compliance with statutory obligations that require members of the force stationed in Gaeltacht areas to have the necessary competence in the language.
In his annual report, An Coimisinéir Teanga found that the garda station at An Bun Beag-Doirí Beaga in Co. Donegal had breached the legislation which imposes an obligation on the Garda Commissioner to ensure, to the extent practicable, that members stationed in a district which includes a Gaeltacht area are fluent in the Irish language.
Seán Ó Cuirreáin also found that there was a breach of a statutory commitment that requires members of the force stationed in Gaeltacht areas to have the necessary qualifications in Irish, following a complaint from a native Irish speaker who had been unable to conduct business in Irish at the Gaoth Dobhair station.
Irish use in Gaeltacht areas:
- 68.5 per cent of the 96,628 people living in Gaeltacht areas nationally indicated that they could speak Irish in the 2011 Census.
- 24 per cent stated they spoke Irish daily outside the education system.
- Daily use of Irish is most common in the Galway Gaeltacht, with a total of 10,721 people - 10,085 in County Galway and 636 in Galway City - speaking Irish on a daily basis outside the education system.