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


S.I. No. 391 of 2008

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT 2003 (SECTION 9) REGULATIONS 2008

Notice of the making of this Statutory Instrument was published in

“Iris Oifigiúil” of 3rd October, 2008.

I, ÉAMON Ó CUÍV, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by sections 4(2) and 9(1) of the Official Languages Act 2003 (No. 32 of 2003), hereby make the following regulations:

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Official Languages Act 2003 (Section 9) Regulations 2008.

Interpretation

2. (1) In these Regulations—

“Act” means Official Languages Act 2003 (No. 32 of 2003);

“implementation body” has the same meaning as it has in the British-Irish Agreement Act 1999 (No. 1 of 1999);

“non-official language” means a language other than one of the official languages;

(2) In these Regulations—

(a) a reference to a Regulation is a reference to a Regulation of these Regulations unless it is indicated that reference to some other regulation is intended, and

(b) a reference to a paragraph or a subparagraph is a reference to the paragraph or subparagraph of the provision in which the reference occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some other provision is intended.

Application

3. (1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3)(a), these Regulations apply to all public bodies.

(2) These Regulations apply to the implementation body known as the North/South Language Body insofar only as it performs functions in relation to the Irish language.

(3) These Regulations do not apply to

(a) public bodies in so far as they carry on commercial activities outside the State,

(b) traffic signs—

(i) to which Regulations under section 95(2) of the Act of 1961 apply, or

(ii) to which a direction under section 95(16) of that Act applies, and

(c) signs to which the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 ( S.I. No. 299 of 2007 ) apply.

(4) In this Regulation—

“Act of 1961” means the Road Traffic Act 1961 (No. 24 of 1961);

“traffic sign” has the same meaning as it has in section 95 (amended by section 37(a)(ii) of the Road Traffic Act 1994 (No. 7 of 1994)) of the Act of 1961.

Recorded Oral Announcements

4. (1) Recorded oral announcements belonging to one or more of the following classes made by or on behalf of a public body shall be in the Irish language or the Irish and English languages:

(a) announcements transmitted by telephone that are intended to be heard when the offices of the body are closed;

(b) announcements transmitted by means of a public address system;

(c) announcements created and transmitted by means of a computerised messaging service or computerised telephone answering service.

(2) This Regulation does not—

(a) apply to

(i) recorded oral announcements intended to be heard by persons outside the State only, or

(ii) personal oral announcements recorded by members of staff of the public body concerned, or

(b) prohibit the use of a non-official language in recorded oral announcements intended to be heard by persons all or some of whom are reasonably considered by the public body concerned not to understand Irish or English.

(3) This Regulation comes into operation on 1 July 2013.

Stationery

5. (1) Headings of stationery belonging to one or more of the following classes of stationery used by a public body shall be in the Irish language or in the Irish and English languages:

(a) notepaper;

(b) compliment slips;

(c) facsimile cover sheets;

(d) file covers and other folders;

(e) labels;

(f) envelopes.

(2) This Regulation shall not—

(a) during the period beginning on the date specified in paragraph (3)(b) and ending on 1 March 2011, apply to stationery that, immediately before the first-mentioned date, was in the possession of the public body concerned, or

(b) apply to stationery used by an implementation body for corresponding with persons outside the State.

(3) This Regulation comes into operation—

(a) on 1 March 2013, in relation to stationery that requires the modification of a computer programme in order to secure compliance with this Regulation, and

(b) on 1 March 2009, in relation to stationery of all other classes.

Signage

6. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Regulation, any sign placed by or on behalf of a public body at any location—

(a) in the State, or

(b) except in the case of an implementation body, outside the State

shall be in the Irish language or in the Irish and English languages.

(2) Where a public body proposes to place a sign in the Irish and English languages at any location and it is of the opinion that, by reason of its containing text in both such languages—

(a) it would be unduly big,

(b) it would be difficult to read,

(c) it would be likely to cause an obstruction, or

(d) persons would, while reading it, be likely to constitute a danger to themselves or others (in the case of a proposal to place a sign at the side of or near a road),

the body may, instead, place 2 signs at that location, one bearing the information concerned in the Irish language and the other bearing the information concerned in the English language.

(3) Subject to these Regulations, where a public body proposes to erect not less than 20 identical signs—

(a) the text on each sign shall be in the Irish language,

(b) each sign shall provide the same information in both the Irish language and the English language, or

(c) 2 signs providing the same information shall be erected, of which the one first appearing shall bear text in the Irish language only and the other shall bear text in the English language only.

(4) Notwithstanding the generality of this Regulation, a public body may erect signs that are in compliance with the International System of Units as adopted by the Bureau Internationale des poids et mesures, established by the Metre Convention signed at Paris in 1875.

(5) This Regulation comes into operation—

(a) on 1 March 2009 in relation to signs placed (whether in place of older signs or not) at any location on or after 1 March 2009,

(b) on 1 March 2012, in relation to signs placed at any location before 1 March 2009 in respect of which there would be compliance with this Regulation but for an error in the text of the Irish language,

(c) on 1 March 2013, in relation to signs, in the English Language only, placed at any location before 1 March 2009,

(d) on 1 January 2026, in relation to signs placed at any location in respect of which before that date there is no compliance with paragraph (b) or (c) of Regulation 7(2),

(e) on 1 March 2013, in relation to signs of all other classes.

Stationery and Signage

7. (1) The following provisions shall apply to stationery used by a public body bearing a stationery heading in both the Irish and the English languages:

(a) the text in the Irish language shall appear first,

(b) the text in the Irish language shall not be less prominent, visible, or legible than the text in the English language and shall appear on the same side of the page concerned,

(c) the lettering of the text in the Irish language shall not be smaller in size than the lettering of the text in the English language,

(d) the text in the Irish language shall communicate the same information as is communicated by the text in the English language, and

(e) a word in the text in the Irish language shall not be abbreviated unless the word in the text in the English language, of which it is the translation, is also abbreviated.

(2) The following provisions shall apply to a sign in the Irish and English languages placed at any location by a public body:

(a) the text in the Irish language shall appear first,

(b) the text in the Irish language shall not be less prominent, visible, or legible than the text in the English language,

(c) the lettering of the text in the Irish language shall not be smaller in size than the lettering of the text in the English language,

(d) the text in the Irish language shall communicate the same information as is communicated by the text in the English language, and

(e) a word in the text in the Irish language shall not be abbreviated unless the word in the text in the English language, of which it is the translation, is also abbreviated.

Placenames orders

8. Where a placenames order under section 32 of the Act is, for the time being, in force, a public body shall use the Irish language version of the word or words specified in the order in—

(a) any recorded oral announcement made by it or on its behalf,

(b) stationery headings on stationery used by the public body concerned, and

(c) signs placed by it at any location.

Exemptions

9. (1) Nothing in these Regulations shall be construed as requiring a public body to—

(a) use the English language version of an Irish language name of a public body, or official title in the Irish language, that is in common use, or

(b) translate from one official language to the other official language—

(i) a person’s name,

(ii) a logo,

(iii) a brand name, or

(iv) the name of a body (other than a public body).

(2) Nothing in these Regulations shall be construed as requiring a public body to alter—

(a) a sign that is—

(i) of artistic, architectural or historical interest, or

(ii) subject to a preservation order under section 8 (amended by section 3 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1954 (No. 37 of 1954)) of the National Monuments Act 1930 (No. 2 of 1930),

(b) a commemorative plaque placed or erected at any location on or before 1 March 2009, or

(c) a sign in respect of which there is compliance with these Regulations except that the text in the English language appears before the text in the Irish language.

(3) Nothing in these Regulations shall be construed as requiring a public body to translate from a non-official language to an official language, a person’s name or a placename of a place situated outside the State, or any document or publication.

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GIVEN under my Official Seal,

1 October 2008

ÉAMON Ó CUÍV

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Instrument and does not purport to be a legal interpretation.)

These regulations, which are being made under sections 4(2) and 9(1) of the Official Languages Act 2003 , provide for the use of the Irish language only, or the Irish and English languages together on recorded oral announcements, stationery, and signage of public bodies. A number of exemptions are detailed in the regulations. The Regulations also provide for a number of different dates from 1 March 2009 to 1 January 2026 on which the various provisions provided for in the Regulations come into effect.