Official Languages Act 2003


Number 32 of 2003


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT 2003

REVISED

Updated to 28 February 2022


This Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of the Official Languages Act 2003. It is prepared by the Law Reform Commission in accordance with its function under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 (3/1975) to keep the law under review and to undertake revision and consolidation of statute law.

All Acts up to and including the Electricity Costs (Domestic Electricity Accounts) Emergency Measures Act 2022 (1/2022), enacted 4 March 2022, and all statutory instruments up to and including the European Union (Restrictive Measures Against Serious Human Rights Violations and Abuses) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 132 of 2022), made 28 February 2022, were considered in the preparation of this Revised Act.

Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this Revised Act, the Law Reform Commission can assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided and does not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions. Please notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to

revisedacts@lawreform.ie.


Number 32 of 2003


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT 2003

REVISED

Updated to 28 February 2022


Introduction

This Revised Act presents the text of the Act as it has been amended since enactment, and preserves the format in which it was passed.

Related legislation

Official Languages Acts 2003 and 2021: this Act is one of a group of Acts included in this collective citation (Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021, s. 20(2)). The Acts in this group are:

Official Languages Act 2003 (32/2003)

Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 (49/2021)

Annotations

This Revised Act is annotated and includes textual and non-textual amendments, statutory instruments made pursuant to the Act and previous affecting provisions.

An explanation of how to read annotations is available at

www.lawreform.ie/annotations.

Material not updated in this revision

Where other legislation is amended by this Act, those amendments may have been superseded by other amendments in other legislation, or the amended legislation may have been repealed or revoked. This information is not represented in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the amended legislation if one is available.

Where legislation or a fragment of legislation is referred to in annotations, changes to this legislation or fragment may not be reflected in this revision but will be reflected in a revision of the legislation referred to if one is available.

A list of legislative changes to any Act, and to statutory instruments from 1972, may be found linked from the page of the Act or statutory instrument at

www.irishstatutebook.ie.

Acts which affect or previously affected this revision

Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 (49/2021)

Local Government Act 2019 (1/2019)

Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 (39/2018)

Data Protection Act 2018 (7/2018)

Companies Act 2014 (38/2014)

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Act 2013 (33/2013)

Education and Training Boards Act 2013 (11/2013)

Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012 (38/2012)

Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 (23/2011)

Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 (20/2011)

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 (10/2011)

Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 (9/2011)

Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 (36/2010)

Central Bank Reform Act 2010 (23/2010)

Adoption Act 2010 (21/2010)

Inland Fisheries Act 2010 (10/2010)

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Act 2009 (44/2009)

National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 (34/2009)

Consumer Protection Act 2007 (19/2007)

Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 (33/2004)

Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 (7/2004)

All Acts up to and including Electricity Costs (Domestic Electricity Accounts) Emergency Measures Act 2022 (1/2022), enacted 4 March 2022, were considered in the preparation of this revision.

Statutory instruments which affect or previously affected this revision

Official Languages Act 2003 (Public Bodies) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 230 of 2020)

Placenames (County Cork) Order 2012 (S.I. No. 395 of 2012)

Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 599 of 2011)

Placenames (Co. Dublin) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 598 of 2011)

Finance (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 418 of 2011)

Irish Language, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 164 of 2011)

An Choimisinéara Teanga Superannuation Scheme 2009 (S.I. No. 580 of 2009)

An Choimisinéara Teanga Contributory Pension Scheme for Spouses and Children 2009 (S.I. No. 579 of 2009)

Official Languages Act 2003 (Section 9) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 391 of 2008)

Placenames (Co. Limerick) (Amendment) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 115 of 2008)

Official Languages Act 2003 (Public Bodies) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 150 of 2006)

Placenames (Co. Tipperary) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 847 of 2005)

Placenames (Centres of Population and Districts) Order 2005 (S.I. No. 59 of 2005)

Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 872 of 2004)

Official Languages Act 2003 (Prescribed Maps) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 212 of 2004)

An tOrdú Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Tosach Feidhme) 2004 (S.I. No. 32 of 2004)

Placenames (Co. Offaly) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 525 of 2003)

Placenames (Co. Waterford) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 524 of 2003)

Placenames (Co. Monaghan) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 523 of 2003)

Placenames (Co. Limerick) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 522 of 2003)

Placenames (Co. Louth) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 521 of 2003)

Placenames (Co. Kilkenny) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 520 of 2003)

Placenames (Provinces and Counties) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 519 of 2003)

An tOrdú Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Tosach Feidhme) 2003 (S.I. No. 518 of 2003)

Occupational Pension Schemes (Preservation of Benefits) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 279 of 2002)

Occupational Pension Schemes (Funding Standard) Regulations 1993 (S.I. No. 419 of 1993)

All statutory instruments up to and including European Union (Restrictive Measures Against Serious Human Rights Violations and Abuses) Regulations 2022 (S.I. No. 132 of 2022), made 28 February 2022, were considered in the preparation of this revision.


Number 32 of 2003


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT 2003

REVISED

Updated to 28 February 2022


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART 1

Preliminary and General

Section

1.

Short title and commencement.

2.

Interpretation.

3.

Expenses.

4.

Regulations.

4A.

Appointment of head of public body.

4B.

Report on performance of obligations under Act.

PART 2

Organs of State

5.

Annual report to Houses of Oireachtas.

6.

Use of official languages in Houses of Oireachtas.

7.

Acts of the Oireachtas.

8.

Administration of justice.

PART 3

Public Bodies

9.

Duty of public bodies to use official languages on official stationery, etc.

9A.

Duty of public bodies regarding names, addresses and titles in Irish language.

9B.

Duty of public bodies regarding official forms.

9C.

Duty of public bodies regarding logos.

9D.

Names and logos of newly established statutory bodies.

9E.

Public facing services.

10.

Duty of public bodies to publish certain documents in both official languages simultaneously.

10A.

Advertising by public bodies.

11.

Use of official languages by public bodies.

12.

Publication of guidelines by Minister.

13.

Preparation of draft scheme by public body.

14.

Confirmation by Minister of draft schemes.

15.

Periodic review of schemes.

16.

Amendment of schemes.

17.

Failure to prepare a draft scheme.

18.

Duty to carry out schemes.

18A.

Establishment of Advisory Committee.

18B.

Membership of Advisory Committee.

18C.

Functions of Advisory Committee.

18D.

Duty of Minister in respect of National Plan prepared under section 18C.

18E.

Public bodies in Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas.

18F.

Report of Advisory Committee.

19.

Prohibition on imposition of charges by public bodies.

19A.

Language standards.

19B.

Duty to comply with language standards.

19C.

Derogation from language standards.

19D.

Guidelines in respect of language standards.

PART 4

An Coimisinéir Teanga

20.

Establishment of Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla.

21.

Functions of Commissioner.

22.

Powers of Commissioner.

23.

Conduct of investigations.

24.

Exclusions.

25.

Disclosure of information.

26.

Report of findings.

27.

Schemes of compensation.

28.

Appeals to the High Court.

29.

Publication of commentaries by Commissioner on practical application, etc. of Act.

30.

Reports of Commissioner.

PART 5

Placenames

31.

Definitions.

31A.

Establishment of Placenames Committee.

31B.

Membership of Placenames Committee.

31C.

Functions of Placenames Committee.

32.

Placenames orders.

33.

Construction of words in legal documents.

34.

Amendment of Ordance Survey Ireland Act 2001.

35.

Repeal.

PART 6

Miscellaneous

36.

Role of Ombudsman.

FIRST SCHEDULE

Public Bodies

SECOND SCHEDULE

An Coimisinéir Teanga


Acts Referred to

British-Irish Agreement Act 1999

1999, No. 1

Civil Service Commissioners Act 1956

1956, No. 45

Civil Service Regulation Act 1956

1956, No. 46

Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 to 1996

Data Protection Act 1988

1988, No. 25

European Assembly Elections Act 1977

1977, No. 30

European Parliament Elections Act 1993

1993, No. 30

Harbours Act 1946

1946, No. 9

Harbours Act 1996

1996, No. 11

Local Government Act 2001

2001, No. 37

Marriages (Ireland) Act 1844

6 & 7 Vict., c. 81

Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924

1924, No. 16

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1956

1956, No. 21

Ombudsman Act 1980

1980, No. 26

Ordnance Survey Ireland Act 2001

2001, No. 43

Place-Names (Irish Forms) Act 1973

1973, No. 24

Public Service Management Act 1997

1997, No. 27

Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002


Number 32 of 2003


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT 2003

REVISED

Updated to 28 February 2022


AN ACT TO PROMOTE THE USE OF THE IRISH LANGUAGE FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE STATE; TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF BOTH OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF THE STATE IN PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS, IN ACTS OF THE OIREACHTAS, IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, IN COMMUNICATING WITH OR PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC AND IN CARRYING OUT THE WORK OF PUBLIC BODIES; TO SET OUT THE DUTIES OF SUCH BODIES WITH RESPECT TO THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF THE STATE; AND FOR THOSE PURPOSES, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF OIFIG CHOIMISINÉIR NA dTEANGACHA OIFIGIÚLA AND TO DEFINE ITS FUNCTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE PUBLICATION BY THE COMMISSIONER OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. [14th July, 2003]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Annotations:

Modifications (not altering text):

C1

Functions transferred and references construed (1.05.2011) by Irish Language, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 164 of 2011), arts. 2, 3 and sch., in effect as per art. 1(2), subject to transitional provisions in arts. 4-8.

2. (1) The administration and business in connection with the exercise, performance or execution of any functions transferred by Article 3 are transferred to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

(2) References to the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs contained in any Act or any instrument made thereunder and relating to any administration and business transferred by paragraph (1) shall, from the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

3. (1) The functions vested in the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs by or under the Acts specified in Part 1 of the Schedule and the provisions of the Acts specified in Part 2 of the Schedule in so far as they relate to—

(a) supporting and promoting the Irish language, including the co-ordination of policy in that regard, and the development of the Gaeltacht and the Islands,

(b) promoting the cultural, social and economic welfare of the Gaeltacht,

(c) supporting and promoting North/South co-operation in relation to the Irish language and Ulster-Scots heritage, culture and language, and

(d) An Foras Teanga, An Coimisinéir Teanga and Údarás na Gaeltachta, are transferred to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport.

(2) References to the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs contained in any Act or instrument made thereunder and relating to any functions transferred by this Article shall, from the commencement of this Order, be construed as references to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport.

SCHEDULE

Part 1

Official Languages Act 2003 (No. 32 of 2003)

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