We will translate everything until 2008..

The Irish Times has a short report[subs req] on the questions in the Dáil yesterday on Irish Language, picking out specific responses by the Taoiseach and other party leaders, but this response, from the Taoiseach, is worth noting in particular, and may be recalled should the Assembly ever manage to debate this issue – “In response to a question here recently I said the cost of preparing a particular document in English was €685 but the cost of the Irish translation was just short of €17,000. In terms of some documents we should not change things, but for others I must consider if that expenditure can be justified in the longer term. Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.”The full quote is here –

The Taoiseach: I accept that cost is not always the priority especially with important documents. Deputy Rabbitte made the point that some documents were widely read but others are not. In response to a question here recently I said the cost of preparing a particular document in English was €685 but the cost of the Irish translation was just short of €17,000. In terms of some documents we should not change things, but for others I must consider if that expenditure can be justified in the longer term. Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.

He went on to say, in response to a follow-up question from Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin –

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Is the Taoiseach reviewing how to have documents translated or whether there is a need for them to be translated?

The Taoiseach: The sheer volume of work involved in translating everything must be kept under review. If a document is important, for example those connected with education, then it must be translated into Irish regardless of cost but the costs over a period of time are substantial and must be taken into account. We will translate everything until 2008 but we have to keep it under review.

From the Irish Times report

Irish translation costs have to be kept under review, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil as he pointed out that the preparation of a particular document in English was €683 but the Irish version was just under € 17,000.

“I accept that cost is not always the priority, especially with important documents.” However “some documents were widely read but others are not”, he said during questions on the Irish language.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte asked if the requirement that every official document be published in both languages was the best use of public money to stimulate greater use of Irish.

“Apart from the cost for every organisation producing a bilingual report, the amount of hours that go into doing so is considerable. Is that the best use of money or would a similar bequest to TG4 produce a better response from the public?”

Mr Ahern said: “Another factor we must watch closely is the overall cost because if it comes to the point where everything must be translated, the cost could be enormous.”