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Jargon-busting bill to outlaw official gobbledegook

08 Apr 2019 / legislation Print

Jargon-busting bill to outlaw gobbledegook

Plain English will become compulsory in the public sector when new legislation is passed later this year.

The Plain Language Bill 2019, sponsored by Noel Rock TD, aims to ensure all written communications from the public sector use plain language.

It will cover all new documents – from forms and emails to websites and reports – and also require that any updated materials are re-written in plain language.

Noel Rock (pictured) worked with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) to develop the Plain Language Bill.

He said that while some Government forms were already in accessible language "it’s clear we need a universal standard across all departments".

“I meet people every day in my office who need assistance reading, understanding and filling in forms; a commitment to plainer language will help them,” he said.

Clear information

Inez Bailey of NALA said: “We know that both citizens and governments benefit from clear information, written in plain language.

“Citizens are more likely to understand their rights, and governments are more likely to make better use of their resources.

“We are delighted to have cross-party support for the Plain Language Bill, which, if enacted, will greatly benefit people in Ireland.”

According to a 2012 OECD international survey, one in six adults in Ireland has problems reading and writing.

Almost half of Irish adults find official documents, including information from the Government, difficult to understand, according to NALA research.

Gazette Desk
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