The University sought an amendment of the Act, as it felt that the restrictions which the Act placed on the recruitment of staff were not helpful in the modern competitive environment in which the University operates. It was also felt that a more positive legislative expression of support and re-enforcement for the University's commitment to Irish, focussing on actions rather than merely recruitment, was desirable.
The Bill, approved by the Dáil on Thursday 9th February 2006, addresses both of these concerns. The Bill places a statutory obligation on the University to ensure that one of the principal aims contained in all future strategic plans of the University shall be the provision of education through the medium of the Irish language and further requires that the Governing Authority and the President of the University ensure that that aim is implemented.
Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "The University welcomes the fact that the Government has recognised, in legislation, the special role and responsibility of NUI Galway in relation to the provision of third level education through Irish. It also embraces the statutory responsibility placed by the Bill on the University to ensure that it fulfils this role.
"Yesterday's decision marked a truly historic day for the University, as it looks forward to expanding and developing its long tradition of provision of education through Irish both on the campus, and, latterly, in its Gaeltacht centres in An Ceathrú Rua, Carna, Gaoth Dobhair and (in the course of development) Baile an Fhirtéirigh."