The Irish Legal Terms Act 1945 provided for the purpose of law of standard equivalence in the Irish language for certain terms and to provide for the publication of legal forms and precedence in the Irish language. It established an Irish Legal Terms Advisory Committee.
The Committee consisted of Judges of each of the principal Courts, a practising barrister nominated by the Bar Council; practising solicitors; member of the Oireachtas Translation Staff and other Government nominee.
The Minister may when he thinks fit, declare that the equivalent in the Irish language of any specified term shall be such word or words as he thinks fit and specifies in the order.
Before making the order, the Minister shall cause a draft to be prepared and for this purpose the joint secretaries of the Committee shall render him such assistance as he may require. He shall request the Committee to consider and report on the draft.
On consideration of the draft, the Minister may at his discretion, make the order, either in accordance with the draft or with such modifications as he thinks proper.
Whenever the Minister makes the legal terms order declaring the equivalent in the Irish language of a specified term, shall be the word specified, the said words whenever recurring in an Act of the Oireachtas, the official translation of an Act of the Oireachtas enacted in the English/the instrument drawn up in the Irish language and made or official translation of any statutory instrument drawn up in the English language;
or instrument, having or intended to have legal effect and consequences, drawn up in the Irish language and any document, used for the purposes of legal proceedings, shall unless the contrary intention appears, be interpreted as having the same meaning as and have the same force and effect as, the specified term.
The Minister may, after consultation with the Committee, from time to time make such arrangements as he thinks proper for the preparation and publication of forms and precedents in the Irish language of legal instruments and documents.
A number of statutory instruments have been made under the legislation.
Article 8 of the Constitution declares Irish as the national language to be the first official language. The English language is recognised as the second official language. Provision may be made however, by law for the exclusive use of either of the said languages or any one or more official purposes either throughout the State or any part of it.
There have been a number of cases interpreting the provision in various contexts. Early cases indicated that it should be assumed Irish as the official language until indication is given otherwise. It has been held that a citizen is entitled to require that be used in administration and that form should be prepared in Irish and nglish.
The Supreme Court has indicated that it is improper to treat Irish less favourably than English in the transaction of business.
In 2010, it was held that there was a constitutional obligation to provide to a respondent all rules of court in an Irish language version as soon as practicable after they were published in English.
The Irish text of the Constitution takes precedence over the English text.
The Placenames Order Gaeltacht Areas Act 2004 requires Irish place names to be used in the Gaeltacht and all official documents, maps and road signs. Since the early 1970s most road signs in the Gaeltacht areas have been in Irish only. The Irish Ordinance Survey showed place names bilingually.