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.

EirGrid wins Plain English Awards

The winners of the Plain English Awards for Ireland, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran were announced by the National Adult Literacy Agency in Dublin in February 2017.

The winners were:
Organisation: EirGrid
Document: Have your say – how we develop the electricity grid, and how you can influence our plans
Category: Energy category and Overall winner

Organisation: Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Document: Going to court as a witness
Category: Information for the public

Organisation: Down Syndrome Ireland
Document: Employment letter and survey
Category: Health-Patient tools and resources

Organisation: Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and the Marie Keating Foundation
Document: Be Breast Cancer Aware
Category: Health Information for the public

Organisation: Irish Lung Fibrosis Association
Document: National Patient Charter
Category: Patient information leaflets

Document: Guide to the PAYE tax system
Category: Finance

Organisation: Bord Gáis
Document: Tone of Voice Resource
Category: Internal Resources

Organisation: The Heartbeat Trust
Document: Poster about the main symptoms of heart failure
Category: Health Posters and Bookmarks

The aim of the Plain English Awards is to reward organisations that communicate clearly in plain English. Organisations entered the competition by submitting documents that they thought were outstanding examples of plain English and an independent panel of plain English experts judged the entries.

The independent judges were very impressed with how all the winners communicated directly to the intended reader through language that was easy to read and understand.

The Plain English Awards are organised by the National Adult Literacy Agency and sponsored by leading law firm Mason Hayes & Curran. The Awards were presented at a gala dinner in the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin.


New booklet shows how unclear communication can lead to costly court cases


A new booklet called ‘Plain English and the law: the legal consequences of clear and unclear communication’ was launched on Thursday 9 February 2017. The booklet shows how plain English can save companies time and money by avoiding unnecessary legal costs. It is a joint initiative by the National Adult Literacy Agency and Mason Hayes & Curran.
The booklet presents ‘lessons’ from three Irish legal cases where the interpretation of language was central to the outcome of the court case. Two of the legal case studies show how unclear language was argued in court. A third legal case study shows how a case was won because it was proven that a company had provided clear information to a consumer.

The court cases and lessons are:
1. Ickendel Ltd V Bewley Café Grafton Street: a lesson for landlords and tenants
2. Corbally V Medical Council: a lesson for regulators
3. ACC Bank V Kelly: a lesson for consumers and banks
Justice Peter Kelly, President of the High Court has written the foreword.

The booklet is in three parts.
1. Part one provides the evidence of the legal consequences of unclear communication in three court cases in Ireland.
2. Part two describes what plain English is and how it is gaining traction – from public demands for clear consumer contracts to the emphasis on plain language in the Central Bank of Ireland’s Consumer Protection Code.
3. Part three provides guidance on how to write in plain English, words and phrases to avoid, document design tips and other useful resources.

The booklet was launched by the National Adult Literacy Agency and Mason Hayes & Curran at their Plain English Awards in the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin in 2017. The awards were sponsored by MHC and are the second Plain English Awards ceremony to be held in Ireland.