Saturday 20 January 2018

Cúpla focal is in danger of falling totally silent

Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh: ‘Serious challenges’
Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh: ‘Serious challenges’

Daniel McDonald

The Irish language is in serious trouble and will not be used as the primary dialect anywhere in the country by 2025, according to a new study.

The report commissioned by State agency Údarás na Gaeltachta suggests that in Gaeltacht areas Irish is dying out.

Based on census figures for 2006 and 2011, it says that use of the Irish language in Gaeltacht regions is increasingly confined to the classroom, and is in steep decline in community settings.

The research concludes that of the 155 electoral divisions in the Gaeltacht, only 21 are communities where Irish is spoken on a daily basis by 67pc or more of the population. This is regarded as the breaking point for language survival.

There have been calls for the Government to do more to prevent this decline.

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "The State must not only demonstrate to the Gaeltacht community that it fully supports the continuing existence of a strong sustainable Gaeltacht, but that it will make it a priority to secure this.

"For this reason, the Government needs to provide enough resources to implement a strong, courageous, and comprehensive policy."

Conradh na Gaeilge works to promote the Irish language nationally and around the world.

Read more: If we really value Irish then we have to work harder to protect it

The Government has defended its handling of the Irish language and the Gaeltacht regions.

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Joe McHugh acknowledged that the report pointed out "serious challenges" facing the Irish language in the Gaeltacht. "I am very aware of the dynamics of language change and the pressure minority languages face as a result of the ever-increasing dominance of English.

"In this context, it is important to note that the Irish language has been afforded significant constitutional and legislative protection by the State since its foundation," he said.

The minister said the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 was the cornerstone of the Government's policy with regard to the language and the strategy was being systematically implemented by a range of stakeholders,

"The development of a comprehensive language planning system at community level in the Gaeltacht is central to ensuring that Irish survives as the community language in the Gaeltacht," he said.

Mr McHugh noted that Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan had set out "a range of potential interventions and these are the basis of a consultation process currently being undertaken by the Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht".

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News