Saturday, May 5, 2012

Groener v. Minister for Education case brief

Groener v. Minister for Education

-Irish constitution declares Irish official language of Ireland.
-Ministry of education issued regulation requiring all lecturers in vocational educational institutions to have certificate of proficiency in Irish language.
-P, Dutch national, employed as part time art teacher in Ireland, she applied for permanent post, college wanted to grant, but she failed Irish language exam.
ISSUE: Can a State have employment condition relating to linguistic knowledge?
HOLDING:  Yes, (see analysis).
-Treaty does not prohibit the adoption of a policy for the protection and promotion of a language of a Member State which is BOTH the first language AND the national language.
-HOWEVER, the implementation of the policy MUST NOT ENCROACH upon a fundamental freedom, such as the free movement of workers.

-Requirements deriving from measures intended to implement such a policy must not in any circumstances be disproportionate in relation to the aim pursued and the manner in which they are applied must not bring about discrimination against nationals of other Member States.

-Obligation imposed applies without distinction to Irish and other nationals.
-Court considers first the nature of the post of lecturer in art justifies the requirement of knowledge of Irish language?  Court states that art is conducted almost exclusively in English language - knowledge of the Irish language is not required for the performance of the duties of the position.
-Court looks at the special linguistic situation in Ireland.  Ireland seeks to promote the use of Irish as a means of expressing national identity and culture.  Irish courses are compulsory for children.
-Court states that education is important, it is not unreasonable to require them to have some knowledge of the first national language.  However, that knowledge requirement must not be disproportionate in relation to the objective pursued.
-Linguistic knowledge can be pursued anywhere, and nationals of other member states should be able to retake test.

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