The majority of full-time positions advertised for Irish-language interpreters in the European Parliament have not been filled, Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune has disclosed.

Ms Clune has pointed to a report in the online news website, Politico.eu, which disclosed that 23 vacancies exist in the Irish translation unit at the parliament. She said it was a “shame” the posts were not being filled.

However, the leading Irish academic institution for training translators, NUI Galway, has said that a number of factors were responsible for positions not being filled, including the relative unfamiliarity of Irish applications with the EU’s stringent “Concours” test and with psychometric tests.

Chief executive of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta at NUI Dónall Ó Braonáin said 2020 was the deadline for most vacancies to be filled to meet the need of more EU parliament business being conducted in Irish, and more documents being translated. He said he was confident that NUIG and other Irish third-level institutions would be able to supply suitable graduates.

A competition for Irish-language interpreters was conducted by the European Parliament Selection Office between April and July last year. In all, 26 positions were available but many were not filled.

At present, there are some 14 freelance interpreters working on Irish translation in the parliament, with smaller numbers available to the commission and council.

Ireland won recognition as an official EU language in 2007 but there is a derogation in place at present, that does not make it a requirement that all documents are translated. That derogation will end in 2022 at which time Irish will become a full working language.

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