According to the Census 2016 results published today…
There was a fall of under 1% in the numbers of speakers of Irish (from 1,774,347 to 1,761,420).
A fall of 4% in the number of daily speakers of Irish outside of the education system (from 77,185 to 73,803).
And and a fall of 11% in the number of daily speakers of Irish in the Gaeltacht (from 23,175 to 20,586).
So. What gives?
Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge writes:
It is clear that the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language is not succeeding and that the main reason for this failure is the Irish Government’s lack of investment in the Strategy since 2010. The result of this lack of investment is a crisis in the Gaeltacht.
Conradh na Gaeilge is asking the Government to face up to the challenge reflected in the census figures by funding the investment plan agreed by 80 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups.
A majority of Teachtaí Dála are in favour of this investment already. This plan would increase the number of Irish speakers and would give the Strategy a chance of success.
There are many myths surrounding the Irish language, some of which are centuries old, others which have only come to the fore in recent years, including the idea that Irish is somehow a “dead language” or that Gaelscoileanna are elitist.
Today, Conradh na Gaeilge is launching Mythbusting, an awareness campaign to challenge misinformation about the Irish language with a series of videos and nationwide talks with Colm Ó Broin. All details can be found here www.cnag.ie/mythbusting
Translation: Tá go leor miotas a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge, roinnt acu atá ar an bhfód leis na céadta bliain agus cinn eile ar cumadh iad as an nua le déanaí, an tuairim gur ‘teanga mharbh” í an Ghaeilge ina measc. Tá Conradh na Gaeilge ag obair le Colm Ó Broin chun na ‘fíricí ailtéirneacha’ is coitianta faoin teanga a bhréagnú le sraith d’fhíseáin i mBéarla agus de chainteanna ar fud na tíre. Tá gach eolas ar anseo.
Tá Emma Ní Cheallacháin ó Shligeach le feiceáil ag seoladh an fheachtais Mythbusting i Margadh na Feirme, Baile Átha Cliath inniu (Déardaoin, 16 Márta 2017) chun Seachtain na Gaeilge le Energia a thabhairt chun críche.
Following feedback from the Irish-language and the Gaeltacht community since the announcement of Budget 2017 yesterday it is clear that the Government has let the Irish-language and the Gaeltacht community down badly in the budget for next year.
The Government is refusing to fund even the first stage of an investment plan agreed by 80 Irish-language and Gaeltacht groups that would create 1,175+ jobs and many opportunities for the public to use Irish. The proposal had been made that the funding of this plan could be done by reversing some of the cuts made since 2008 to Irish-language and Gaeltacht authorities.
The Foras na Gaeilge budget and the capital investment fund of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the body charged with creating employment in Gaeltacht areas, have in total been reduced by over 50% since 2008. There was €0 of new extra funding announced by the Government for these vitally important budgets in 2017.
This will mean that Foras na Gaeilge will have to continue with its cut backs of community projects, and the Údarás will not be able to create any new additional jobs in the Gaeltacht in 2017; the 2017 budget document states that an employment base of 7,000 jobs in the Gaeltacht will be maintained.
A group of Irish-language speakers have come together in Belfast to organise the inaugural Gaeltacht Quarter 10KM race in the West of the City. The race will kick-off at 9am, Sunday 9th October with all proceeds from the registration fee going directly to the chosen charity TACA, which provides support for the development of Irish Medium Education. Every runner will then have the choice to raise money for their chosen cause, relating to the growth and development of the Irish language and Irish medium education.
I write to congratulate Rosita Boland on her excellent article on the necessity or other wise of the Irish language. She decries the waste involved in the State funding and supporting something so unnecessary, and I agree with her.
Surely though, we should not stop at our national language in an effort to eradicate this shameful waste.
I propose the following, not exhaustive, list of unnecessary institutions supported by the State that should be scrapped: the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Concert Hall and Culture Ireland. I look forward to living in Rosita Boland’s particular vision of utopia.
Fiona O’Malley, of the Union Students of Ireland, writes:
The USI is calling for a change in the way the Irish language is taught at primary, secondary and third level. The union’s annual congress, held from the 21st – 24th March in Ennis, passed the motion that the VP for the Irish Language will direct a study, in collaboration with the relevant Irish language organisations and teachers’ unions, teacher-training colleges, between students, teachers, and others, to publish a collaborative report that would set out a progressive, comprehensive, and multilateral strategy regarding the teaching of Irish at primary and post primary level.
“The way Irish is taught in schools isn’t working,” Kevin Donoghue, USI President, said, “There needs to be more of an emphasis on the spoken language. Fluency is best reached through submersion, which is why we’re recommending all students go to the gaeltacht.”
“USI is concerned about the teaching of the Irish language at secondary level in Ireland and noted that many students believe that the Irish language is not “taught as a language” and that too much focus is put on literature instead of the oral practice.”