Wanted! Irish speakers to work for EU

This article first appeared in the Donegal Democrat

Gaeilgeoirs could be in for a lucrative new job – as proofreaders from the EU.

Today is the closing date for applications for Irish speakers interested in earning up to €35,000 in the post.

Last June, the Irish government successfully lobbied to have the Irish language added to the list of official and working languages of the Union.

From 1 January 2007, all key EU legislation will be translated into Irish. Plans to extend this to other legislation will be reviewed four years later. A spokesman for the Dept of Foreign Affairs said the initiative could create between 20 and 30 jobs for translators employed in various EU institutions.

The latest census figures show a total Gaeltacht population of 62157 people over the age of three, of whom 33789 (54%) speak Irish daily. Within the country as a whole, 42% of those who completed the census said they spoke some Irish.

“We are well aware that there will be great opportunities in this,” said Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, chairman of Údarás na Gaeltachta. “These are highly skilled jobs.”

“There are lots of fluent Irish speakers both within and outside the Gaeltacht with the required skills. This is a practical example of a reason to pursue the study of the language at the highest level.”

“It adds to the critical mass of jobs in the language, along with things like TG4 and Raidió na Gaeltachta and other Irish language media. Its very exciting, especially when its at an EU level. That gives the language added status.”

The EU competition, announced on an official Union website, is intended to draw up a reserve list of ten candidates for the purpose of filling vacant posts within the Office for Official Publications and/or institutions of the European Union.

Applicants must hold a post-secondary educational qualification, or have completed secondary education and possess at least three years relevant experience. The successful applicants must have “a perfect knowledge of Irish” and a “satisfactory knowledge” of English, French or German. Successful candidates will also have to pass a multiple-choice test.

The basic monthly salary for the first step at AST3 level for translators is €2,997.60 – that is, €35,971 per annum.

The salary increases every 3 years and according to a EU recruitment site, the basic salary may be “considerably enhanced by a package of allowances depending on personal circumstances.”