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NALA to attend International Plain Legal Conference

This week, NALA is going to attend Clarity’s conference in Canada. Clarity is an international organisation for lawyers and others interested in plain legal language.

This conference is important, as we get to hear the latest developments in plain legal language.

At the conference, we also get the opportunity to meet board members of PLAIN. PLAIN stands for the Plain Language Association International . NALA is on its board and is helping it plan PLAIN’s next conference in 2019 in Norway.

Exciting times for plain English and plain language!



Join us at our conference on Friday 7 September

Adult literacy in Ireland: Challenges and solutions for communicating effectively with the public

One in six (520,000) adults in Ireland find reading and understanding everyday documents difficult: for example, reading a leaflet, bus timetable or medicine instructions. Lack of awareness of the extent and effect of low literacy levels in Ireland has meant that many organisations are not reaching – and often excluding – their customers. This is a waste of time and money. This conference will show that organisations that are aware of literacy issues and use plain English are more effective in meeting both the needs of the public and business.

Where: National College of Ireland, Mayor Street, Irish Financial Services Centre, Dublin 1, DO1 Y300

When: Friday 7 September 2018 from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm.

Registration is from 9.00 to 9.30 am and the conference starts at 9.30 am

Cost: There is no fee for attending this conference

Speakers and topics: 9.30 am to 3.00 pm

  • Introduction: Conor Pope, Author and Consumer Affairs correspondent, The Irish Times
  • Literacy levels in Ireland – their impact on individuals, society and the economy: Dr Inez Bailey, Chief Executive, National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)
  • The personal consequences: Eamon Delaney, Adult Literacy Student, Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB)
  • Plain English and the law: Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe
  • Understanding and responding to cancer patients’ information needs: Sarah Lane and Tara Droog, Cancer Information Editors, Irish Cancer Society
  • GDPR and the public, making the complicated accessible: MB Donnelly, Head of GDPR Awareness and Training, Assistant Commissioner, Data Protection Commission, Ireland
  •  Integrating literacy into apprenticeship programmes, workplace training and taster programmes for the unemployed: Joann Power, Adult Literacy Organiser, Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (ETB)
  • How document design can support people who struggle with reading; Rob Waller, Simplification Centre, UK
  • Communications: A bridge or a barrier? Jennifer Hanrahan, Senior Investigator, Office of the Ombudsman

Free workshops from 1.30pm 

  1. Writing clearly for the web
  2. Plain English
  3. How to be a literacy friendly organisation

 3.00    Close

Public transport: The nearest LUAS tram stop is Mayor Square (two stops after Busarus on the red line)

Parking: The NCI car park is on Alderman Way, Dublin 1 (Please note that NALA does not pay for participants’ parking)

You can book online here.

Training in Cork

Enrol now for an introductory course in plain English on 13 June in Cork. It costs just €120  – well worth the investment. Participants come from all sectors and the trainer has trained staff from regulatory bodies, private companies and charities.

It is particularly useful to consider plain English now as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is due to come into effect later this month (25 May). The GDPR is based on the principle of transparency and mentions the need for plain language seven times.  The GDPR requires us  to be clearer about what we do or plan to do  with personal information.

To make sure you get a place on our Cork plain English training course, book online now.


International Plain English Conferences 2018 and 2019

You might be interested to note that there are two important international plain English conferences coming up. One will be this year and the other will be in 2019.

2018 – Plain Legal Conference

The theme of the 2018 conference is Plain Language in Modern Times. This conference is run by Clarity, an international association promoting plain legal language.  It will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 25 – 27 October 2018.

Clarity conferences are always worth attending as you learn about updates in legislation around plain English, contract law and other interesting developments in the legal sector.

Clarity’s new president is Irish man, Eamonn Moran.

2019 – Plain English Conference

The second important conference to note is run by the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN). NALA hosted PLAIN’s 2015 conference in Dublin – one of its most successful conferences. Claire O’Riordan, NALA, also had the pleasure of speaking at its 2017 conference in Austria and announcing to delegates  the location of PLAIN’s 2019 conference which will be in Oslo, Norway.

The local organisers for PLAIN’s 2019 conference are:

  • Difi, The Norwegian Agency of Public Management and eGovernment, and
  • Språkrådet, The Norwegian Language Council.

They asked Claire O’Riordan, NALA’s Plain English Co-ordinator, to advise on the planning, delivery and evaluation of this conference. Claire has accepted and is looking forward to this challenge. The call for tenders will be in September. We will keep you posted.


Dates for training in 2018

Dates for Open Plain English Training 2018

We are delighted to announce the dates for our plain English introductory training courses for this year.

You can enroll for your preferred course by clicking the month of your choice. Demand is high, so it is best to book early. Training costs just €120 per person or €100 if you are from the Community and Voluntary Sector.

NALA also provides customised training for companies. For more information about this option, please contact Claire O’Riordan at


Happy International Plain Language Day (Friday 13 October)

Today, Friday, is International Plain Language Day. It is hosted by the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN), an international association for plain language supporters and practitioners around the world.

Today, all around the world there are talks and webinars about plain language. In many respects Ireland is to the forefront of plain language. For example, the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, is an important and regular speaker about plain language at international events including PLAIN’s 2015 conference in Ireland. The President of Clarity, an international association promoting plain legal language, is Irishman Eamonn Moran.

For our part, well you know about us. We believe in making information as accessible as possible to all, and we thank you for your support.

Happy International Plain Language Day!


NALA invited to speak at the OECD conference

We were delighted to accept an invitation from the OECD to speak about plain language at its October conference on ‘Providing facts where opinions are formed‘. The conference will be held in Paris next week (5 and 6 October).

We see this invitation as an acknowledgement of our work with clients of our plain English service. Our clients are committed to improving the clarity of their documents for all readers.

Thank you to all those who support our work to promote clear and ethical communications.

Very informative PLAIN’s 2017 conference

NALA attended and spoke at PLAIN’s 2017 conference in September in Austria. The conference had an excellent programme and we will post a link to the presentations when they are available. The Irish Cancer Society also presented at this conference and their presentation was also excellent.

The conference showed that plain language is increasingly being used across governments and its agencies and that more and more users are tracking its effectiveness. Many presenters showed us statistics on how their efforts in plain language has reduced errors, increased profits and customer satisfaction levels.

If you are taking part in a plain English initiative, please talk to us about how best to evaluate its effectiveness. It can be easy, and it would show evidence of effectiveness in the Irish context.


Plain English Training 12 June

12 June 2017, 9:30am to 3:30pm
Carmelite Centre, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

Register online for a course that will introduce you to plain English writing and design tips.

€120 per person (€100 per person for community and voluntary organisations)

The training venue is wheelchair accessible.