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Status of Irish in the EU temporarily lost in translation

OFFICIALS in Brussels are having difficulties recruiting translators to rewrite key EU legislation into Irish, according to representatives from Irish language groups who travelled to Belgium earlier this week.

Irish became the 21st official language of the EU last January. As part of implementing this status change, between 20 and 30 translators, interpreters and jurist-linguists were to be hired throughout several EU institutions at an annual cost of €3.5m.

However, only five Irish language experts have been employed so far, with a further 14 on a panel at varying stages of the recruitment process.

Julian de Spainn, Ard-runai of Conradh na Gaeilge was among those who met with the EU Commissioner for Languages Leonard Orban, in Brussels.

De Spainn said, "One of the problems is the shortage of colleges throughout Europe to train people in simultaneous translation and legal translation. There are currently only two such centres, in London and prague."

But Fianna Fail MEP Sean O Neachtain played down the delay in recruiting translators "There were similar teething problems with finding Spanish interpreters, but so far the development of the Irish language within the EU is positive, and we will iron out any initial difficulties."