Recasting The Irish Language


ronan mac con Iomaire

This morning sees the launch of RTÉ’s Irish Language Plan as a pre-election licence fee/public service fig leaf.

New language czar Rónán Mac Con Iomaire (top) promises to ‘recast’ the very language itself.

Despotic plans include:

Bi-lingual bulletins on 2fm
Feasacháin nuachta dhátheangacha ar 2fm

A new youth-orientated Irish-language radio service
Seirbhís raidió nua Ghaeilge dírithe ar ógánaigh a fhiosrú

Innovative content for language learners
Ábhar den nuáil do dhaoine atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge

Centre of excellence in Irish-language media training
Ábhar den nuáil do dhaoine atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge

Increased use of Irish in television promos, continuity and weather bulletins
Bainfear úsáid níos minice as an nGaeilge ar bhlaisíní teilifíse, sa leanúnachas agus i bhfeasacháin aimsire

Next version of the RTÉ Player to include Irish-language option for the navigational user interface
Beidh rogha na Gaeilge ar fáil leis an gcóras nascleanúna don chéad leagan eile den seinnteoir RTÉ Player

Advertisers and advertising agencies will be incentivised and supported to provide advertising in Irish on television, radio and digital
Tabharfar spreagadh agus cúnamh don lucht fógraíochta agus do ghníomhaireachtaí fógraíochta fógraí a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge ar an teilifís, ar an raidió agus sa réimse digiteach


Read the full action pleann here



NO REPRO FEE RTÉ Director-General Noel Curran today launched Meáin Ghaeilge RTÉ; Action Plan 2015-2019; the broadcaster’s new strategic action plan for the Irish language. Speaking alongside An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; the Director-General said the ambitious plan would seek to re-cast the role of the language across all RTÉ services.; Pictured are: Blathnaid Treacy; broadcaster RTÉ and Eoghan McDermott; broadcaster RTÉ. Picture: Tony Kinlan/Kinlan Photography

At the language plan launch.

From top: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and gossamer geansai wearing Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh; broadcaster Blathnaid Treacy RTÉ and Eoghan ‘The Gruaig’ McDermott.

Pics: Tony Kinlan

71 thoughts on “Recasting The Irish Language

  1. human

    I’m so torn by this…. On one hand its seem’s like a total waste of time and on the other hand it doesn’t.

    1. Colin

      Spend all that money on a significant minority? No, I’m fine thanks. Money can be better spent else where, perhaps the Health Care System or the homeless. In fact, a large pile to generate electricity would be a better use of that money. As I’ve said before here, I’d consider myself 75% fluent and would use it every day, but I see absolutely no need for bilingual news bulletins or a ‘youth’ section. How many people can actually follow an Irish new cast? Maybe 5% of the country? How many youths would ‘tune in’? On that note, I can’t remember the last time I watched TV (Let alone RTE) or listened to RTE. Are they on the moon in terms of listener-ship demographics?

      I’d rather see the money given to restructuring the foreign language programs in school, ya know, perhaps educate an upcoming workforce for what is essential a completely service based industry with all the high techs in Ireland, a secondary language being a huge bonus.

      The horse has been flogged, there is nothing left. Please stop wasting money on Irish.

        1. Colin

          Translation costs are astronomical. There is a fair wage to be made if you are fluent and translate. I know first hand from some of the people that put Spongebob into Irish for TG4.

          1. Ultach

            Yeah, but SpongeBob is class in Irish. Worth every taxpayer cent, unbuilt hosteeple and crumbling school mobile classroom with de water dat does be coming in thru de roof an all.

    1. rory

      I suspect the presence of Netflix and Sky in the Irish marketplace is the reason why RTE are trying to create a country specific niche for themselves.

  2. Drogg

    We already have TG4 which is probably better then RTE, so why dilute RTE’s content with Irish language programming that no one will watch? they are already haemorrhaging viewers so now they just want to get rid of the last few people watching their pathetic service.

      1. Drogg

        I never said i don’t watch Irish language content. TG4 makes decent documentaries good drama and shows american tv programs that people actually want to watch RTE does none of that and is now going to do none of that in Irish as well as english.

        1. rory

          So you’re saying the language used isn’t the issue; it’s the quality of the programs?
          Shouldn’t you be complaining about the latter then, instead of the former?

        2. tony

          So if nobody wants to watch RTE, why does it get about 48% share of the audience and TG4 gets 1.6%?? I think its fashionable to like it, but very few people actually do watch it. If everyone who used that phrase “they do good documentaries” actually watched them, they would have more people than were in the GPO in 1916.

  3. Quint

    Hasn’t RTE already made a huge commitment to the promotion of the Irish language? It’s called TG4. What’s all this about then?

  4. Punches Pilot

    For some reason we have a nation of kids that leave school with a good grasp (usually) of French or German that they only started learning at 12 or 13 but can’t muster a sentence in Irish that they’ve been learning since 4. You’d have to wonder what the people empowered with educating the nation in the Irish language have been up to. Is there still the same dogmatic approach to it by teachers as there was back in my day, the one that says you have to learn it not because you’ll need it (Maths/Science/Geography) or because you’ll like it but because you have to. To bury the head on the reality of the matter and just have a few die hards forcing this stuff above through is just delusional.

    1. Dubloony

      Agreed. I got a D in Pass Irish many years ago. Went to the gaeltacht last year as an adult learner. Was struck dumb for first few days but by the end of the week I was able to at least have a conversation.

      It was all deeply buried somewhere but the biggest problems are confidence in actually speaking out loud.

    2. Fardays

      Exactly this.
      The manner in which Irish is taught is frighteningly bad; there seems to be no attempt to relate it to learning languages more widely which may ensure that Irish school leavers have a significant advantage worldwide. It’s a broken system, and throwing money to broadcast to an audience that doesn’t understand the language is utterly pointless; in fact, I think its harmful. Language learning depends on good pedagogy which has been established for a number of languages, I do not see why teaching practice for Irish should be any different. Owning up to failure is difficult, and it seems the nothing will change until that happens.

      1. rory

        In terms of admitting failure, surely all you’d need is a new minister of education who wants to look good.
        Would it be that hard to establish better pedagogy for Irish?
        What is the hold up I wonder?

        1. Fardays

          A New Minister with a commitment to change would certainly be an advantage.

          As for the pedagogy – I simply don’t see how it could be difficult. Establish a solid grammatical foundation (which is extremely useful when learning other languages), work through goal-orientated sentences (working through English-Irish, Irish-English). Move into larger, more complicated sentence structure (subjunctive, conditional etc.), and build on that. The rest is vocabulary building. I just think it’s important not to see Irish as exceptional, it’s a language like many others, so teach it the same. As the previous comment pointed out, we learn Irish from a very young age but many leave school with little ability in the subject. This is not a student problem, it’s a structural problem that has gone on for far too long.

    1. bubbleandsqueak

      People just love Irish in the media – look at all the thriving private sector businesses just falling over themselves to cater for the tiny minority of people in Ireland who use Irish on a daily basis.

    2. Rob_G

      Lots of people, while having no desire to speak Irish themselves, do want ‘something to be done’ to promote the language – so I suppose the above is probably more-or-less what is required.

      1. Medium Sized C

        That’s me, apart from the no desire bit. I don’t have Irish but I wish I did and would live to see more of our culture on telly.

  5. galwaytt

    ….the fact their announcement had to also be given in English proves what an epic fail the ‘National Language’ curriculum is.

  6. tony

    I hope those of you who actively campaign for the death of Irish realise that you are on par with ISIS as they thrash cultural relics around the Middle East. Your argument is basically the same, its old and useless. A modern lab would be better than a bunch of ancient columns.
    I know you have your psychological reasons for wishing Gaeilge’s demise (school, waste of money, west brit etc), but think of the vulgarity of what you are suggesting and the kind of visceral self loathing it exhibits.

    Sin é :-)

    1. Parochial Central

      1) ISIS? Hhmmm, chopping the head off the odd journalist and taxi-driver (ponders)….
      2) Surely ISIS is in FAVOUR of the ancient… face it, Jihadi Seanie is hardly gonna get the Guardian Reader of the Year Award (not least because of 1, above).

    2. Zaccone

      People who wish the money spent forcing Irish down the throats of uninterested teenagers could be better spent on helping homeless people, healthcare etc are indeed exactly on par with civilian murdering terrorists, you are correct.

      This sort of fantastic logic is exactly why people have such negative opinions of Gaeilgeoirs.

      1. Parochial Central

        Ah here, the homeless are entitled to speak Irish too. As one chap sitting outside Spar with an Insomnia cup raised towards me said:

        “Níl aon hostel mar do hostel féin.”

      1. tony

        Never wore one in my life a Bhob. Deal with what I said. Or attack an fear. Its all they seem to do on here. And build endless hospitals and homeless shelters with everybody else money. Sanctimonious gits.

      1. tony

        Both groups have the same goal, to destroy culture. Sorry if you don’t like the comparison. Sometimes one must use a hammer to crack a nut. Half of the haters on here would probably agree with Tintin O Fool today about allowing Disney to use the Skelligs. But they dont see Irish in the same vein.

    3. Bernard Maegraith

      Well said. The Irish cultural cringe is alive and well. Why are so many Irish ashamed of their heritage? The Irish must be the only people who reject their own language in favour of a foreign tongue. Shame on the lot of you.

  7. Parochial Central

    Eoghan ‘The Gruaig’ McDermott.


    Eoghan ‘An Gruaig’ McDermott.

    Perhaps higher Gaeilge was not your thang.

    1. ReproBertie

      You know they do Latin for the leaving? And they pay people to supervise the exams and correct the papers as well as teach it? That’s an actual dead language that costs you money.

      Unlike Irish which is alive alive o.

  8. Stiofan o Labhrai

    I believe that if every school was a Gaelscoil .. Every school !… Within 3 years all the English only kids would b fluent in Irish… Who would b against this?… Haha !.. Yes the English only teachers would fight it !!… True.. The teaching of Irish for last. 50 years is a disgrace .. Years learning… Can’t speak… The English have really fucked up the Irish … Along with the church and west Brit power brokers

    1. Rob_G

      While I agree with you, the cost would be prohibitive – it would cost loads to retrain teachers, who would then inevitably want a lot more money (with some justification, it has to be said).

      Think of the furore surrounding teachers marking junior cert papers – the unions would have a field day.

Comments are closed.