The Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs has defended the obligation to translate official documents into Irish.

Speaking through English in the Dáil, Éamon Ó Cuív stressed that he advocates that such documents be made available on CD or on the internet rather than hard copy.

He added that there are constitutional obligations to Irish as the first official language.

Fine Gael’s Michael Ring said €1.8 million was spent on translation by State and local authorities last year, and €6 million was spent over the last six years.

He said no one is buying or using them and he asked is it time to review the act as we can not afford €1.8 million next year to translate documents no one wants.

Mr Ó Cuív said it not a question of affording as there is a constitutional obligation.

In reference to recent controversy over no one buying Irish language copies of the Clare County Plan, he said very few were sold in English either.

He said no one is buying them in either language because the can be downloaded.