The Department of the Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht is working on legislation which will ensure that in future 20% of those recruited into the Public Service will have to be competent in both Irish and English.

This was confirmed by the department in a statement to Nuacht RTÉ this afternoon.

Until now it was understood that the amendments to the Official Languages Act would require 20% of civil servants to be competent in both languages.

There are around 320,000 people working in the public service at the moment including Gardaí, teachers, the health service and local authorities.

The bill will also ensure that all public service offices in the Gaeltacht will operate as Gaeilge.