Gaeltacht Minsiter Dinny McGinley has denied having any involvement in the issuing of a letter to a Glenveagh National Park gardener which threatened him with dismissal.
The threat to Mr Donal O Cnaimhsi came in a letter from his employers, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Mr O'Cnaimshi is a long standing member of Guth Na Gaeltachta which is strongly opposed to the new Gaeltacht Bill.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht issued a letter to the effect that his public comments might have breached the terms of his employment contract.
In the Dail, Miinister McGinley was questioned by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, who asked if he stood over the letter being sent to Mr Ó Cnaimshí.
Mr McGinley said the Minister has no input and it was a matter for the Civil Service.
He said anyone who joined the service signed up to rules and codes and if they broke them it was a matter for the department, not the Minister and this had been the way since the foundation of the State.
He stated “There is a line there and we don’t cross the line.”
Mr Doherty said no Irish language organisation supported the legislation, which he said was undemocratic with the abolition of elections. But the Minister told him that in the Bill the people are being given a role in the future of the language for the first time ever.
During sharp and heated exchanges the Minister repeatedly accused the Sinn Féin TD of being a hypocrite and out for his party rather than the language, when Mr Doherty said: “Let the HR department do what it does but you should be happy to stand up and praise people like Donal Ó Cnaimshí, who are standing up for the Gaeltacht.”
The Minister said he had “a lot of respect for everyone’s work in the Gaeltacht and he accused Mr Doherty, his constituency colleague, of “making a political football about the role of the department”.