Scheme under Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003

Introduction and Background

This Scheme was prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs under Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003.  Under this Section, public bodies are required to prepare a statutory Scheme, detailing the services they will provide 

-           through the medium of Irish
-           through the medium of English, and
-           through the medium of Irish and English.

and the measures to be adopted to ensure that any service not provided through the medium of the Irish language will be so provided within an agreed timeframe.

Preparation of the language scheme

This Scheme has been prepared in accordance with Guidelines issued by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs under Section 12 of the Official Languages Act 2003.

The Department of Foreign Affairs published a notice under Section 13 of the Act on 27th March 2006, inviting representations in relation to the preparation of the draft scheme from any interested parties.  Five submissions were received, from a range of Irish language organisations and educational institutions.  These submissions are available on the Department’s website (www.dfa.ie) and were taken into account in drawing up the scheme.

The Department’s staff also contributed to the development of the Scheme.  It was prepared in consultation with the Department’s Partnership Committee and with the active participation of the members of the Irish language partnership sub-committee, An Fochoiste Gaeilge

Content of the Scheme

This Scheme builds on the principles of Quality Customer Service (QCS) and on the commitments in the Department’s Customer Charter to “….make every effort to accommodate customers who wish to conduct their business with the Department through Irish”.  It sets out the extent to which services are currently available through Irish and identifies areas for future enhancement.  It also includes a commitment to assess, on an ongoing basis, the level of demand for services through Irish and to ensure that the Department continues to strive to meet this demand in a coherent and effective manner. 

Commencement date of the Scheme

The Scheme has been confirmed by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. It commences with effect from 1 December 2006 and shall remain in force for a period of three years from this date or until a new scheme has been confirmed by the Minister pursuant to Section 15 of the Act, whichever is earlier.

Text of the Department of Foreign Affairs scheme under Section 11 of the Official Languages Act 2003.

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