Thursday 14 November 2019

Language-planning Officer sought for Múscraí

A recruitment process is underway in the Múscraí Gaeltacht to employ a Language Planning officer to coordinate ongoing efforts to revitalise the language in the area.

The local Gaeltacht co-operative, Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí, is the designated lead organisation on language planning in the area, and it's working with a language-planning steering committee to oversee the process in the Gaeltacht area, which comprises Béal Átha'n Ghaorthaidh, Cill na Martra, Réidh na nDoirí, Baile Mhic Íre, Baile Mhúirne, Cúil Aodha and a section of Cluain Droichead parish.

The recruitment of a new Oifigeach Pleanála Teanga follows the ending in May of the contract of the person first appointed to the role.

Múscraí's language plan was drawn up through a public consultation process in 2017 and early 2018 as a result of the 2012 Gaeltacht Act, which placed a duty on Gaeltacht communities throughout the country to come up with a language plan aimed at reversing the decline of Irish speaking as a community language in these areas.

According to the 2016 census approximately 78 per cent of the up to 3,900-strong population of Múscraí can speak Irish, though in some parts of the Gaeltacht as few as 20 per cent speak the language on a daily basis. The main aim of the language plan is to increase that to at least 25 per cent in the initial period.

There are 26 language-planning areas in the country, and each has to produce a language plan with objectives agreed to by the Minister for the Gaeltacht.

The process begins, however, with the appointment of a lead organisation or ceann eagraíocht in each language-planning area.

Once the plan is approved, each language-planning lead organisation is allocated a yearly budget of at least €100,000 for seven years to implement the plan.

Some lead organisations have been allocated more than the €100,000 funding due to the size of their area and its strategic or symbolic importance.

The overall aim of the language plan initiative is to feed into the Government's 20 Year Strategy on Irish, which aims to have 250,000 daily speakers of Irish by 2030.

At present there are approximately 80,000 to 100,000 daily speakers of Irish outside the education system.

At the end of the seven-year period, the progress of the implementation in each language planning area is assessed by Údarás na Gaeltachta, which is distributing the funding on behalf of the Government.

What happens after the seven-year period is uncertain as it had been envisaged that Gaeltacht communities whose plans have not been sufficiently well implemented could have the status of Gaeltacht withdrawn, a decision which could have far-reaching implications for these communities in terms of Údarás na Gaeltachta support for industrial and business development.

If the plan is successful, the option is there for a further seven-year plan to be developed and agreed.

The post of language planning officer has been advertised with a salary of between €35,000 and €50,000 by the Comharchumann.

The person appointed will be expected to implement the language plan which contains over 70 measures across all areas of life in Múscraí including education, community life, business, culture and tourism.

As well as having a high standard of written and spoken Irish, candidates should have a recognised qualification in language planning or a similar recognised qualification. The closing date for applications is November 20, and further information is available from the Comharchumann on its website,