Wednesday 25 April 2018

Meanscoil students pay a visit to EU Parliament

Esther Hayden

Students from Meanscoil Gharman visited the European Parliament in Brussels last Wednesday.

The delegation which included students from several Gaelscoileanna timed the visit to coincide with Seachtain na Gaeilge.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada who welcomed the students said she was ' delighted to be able to invite some of our young people to the European Parliament during Seachtain na Gaeilge 2017.

'It is an international celebration of the Irish language, and I am delighted to welcome this delegation of students from a number of Gaelscoileanna, including Meánscoil Gharman, to the European Parliament in Brussels.'

While there the students participated in the Irish-medium interactive parliamentary games.

Ms Ni Riada said: 'It's a great source of great pride for me to use and hear Irish as I go about my work here in Brussels. It was great to welcome these young Irish-speaking students and to hear them debate the issues of the day in their native language.

'The Irish language and the Irish language community is at a crossroads in many respects. On one hand it is growing and strengthening. Recent surveys show public attitudes to the language remain overwhelmingly positive, and more and more parents are seeking to educate their children through Irish.

'On the other hand there is hostility to the language and its speakers from some quarters, both north and south. The Budget of Foras na Gaeilge and the capital investment fund of Údarás na Gaeltachta have been reduced by over 50% since 2008. Funding to implement the language plans in the Gaeltacht and in the Gaeltacht service towns.

'But there is a new generation of Irish speakers coming of age, that have respect and pride for their heritage and their language. This gives me great hope.'

Enniscorthy Guardian