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New changes to Civil Service Entrance exam a blow for Irish speakers

The Government has announced that it will abolish the system where those who complete their Civil Service entrance exam in Irish are awarded an extra 6%.  The recommendation was presented to Ministers in the Cabinet by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and has been accepted. The reason for this proposal is that Mr. Howlin believes that the initiative, which was used as an incentive to promote more Irish speaking within the Civil Service has failed.

It had been used so that more public servants would be fluent in the Irish language and therefore able to serve the Gaeltacht areas of the country where a good command of the language is needed. The Cabinet have decided that there are better ways to promote the use of the Irish language within the Civil Service and have decided to get rid of the bonus marks in the entrance exam.

There is no plan from the department of Public Expenditure and reform for alternative ways to promote the usage of the Irish language within the Civil Service and this has been criticised by Conradh na Gaeilge.  Their president Donnchadh O hAodha believes that it is a mistake for the Government to discard the old system without first having an adequate alternative already in place “Instead of being ambitious, brave and doing the right thing, the Government is going to further weaken the service provided by the State in Irish for the Gaeltacht and Irish language speaking community.”

The Governments decision is certainly another blow to the already diminishing Irish speaking community in Ireland. There have been no alternatives put in place as in stands to promote the use of the Irish language so the decision to scrap the bonus points for the Civil Servants entrance exam is certainly a strange one.


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