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Critical Times for the Irish Language – Ó Cuív.

Critical Times for the Irish Language – Ó Cuív.

The Irish language is facing critical times and unique challenges, said Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív, TD as he officially opened Tóstal na Gaeilge 2010 in Galway last Friday.  The Tóstal na Gaeilge conference focused on how the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language would be implemented. 



According to Ó Cuív, the Strategy will provide a ‘road map’ for the Irish language in the coming 20 years, and the Government will focus on the long term strategic planning which is required at a national level to ensure the main objective is achieved:  250,000 daily speakers of the Irish language within 20 years time. 

One of the main speakers at the Tóstal na Gaeilge conference was Professor Colin Williams, from Cardiff University in Wales.  Professor Williams spoke about promoting minority languages from a Welsh perspective, and provided an insight into Iaith Pawb, the strategy to promote Welsh. Williams contends the goal of a 5% rise in Welsh speakers can be obtained in 2011 through legislation, educational initiatives, and community language development. 

In a different session, a comparative study on the implementation of language legislation was discussed, along with the various methods available for assessment of such legislation, including assessment of language schemes under the Official Languages Act.  Dr. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin, and Dr. Brian Ó Curnáin, discussed ‘Minority and Majority Languages under the 20 year strategy’.  Other speakers focused on the viability of the strategy, as well as discussing the realistic and ideological aspects of the Strategy.  Some very interesting examples of incomplete acquisition, or simplified versions of the language being spoken within Gaeltacht areas were presented.  The difficulties inherent in the implementation of the strategy were debated, and recommendations on how to improve the Strategy from a Gaeltacht perspective were proposed.

Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg, of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, chaired a questions and answers session, as a panel of five guest speakers answered questions from the floor, relating to the goals in promoting the Irish language under the 20 Year Strategic Plan.  Members of the panel included:  Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú; Fine Gael spokesperson on Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley, TD; Labour Party spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Michael D. Higgins, TD lecturer in Language Planning, Dr. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin; as well as the researcher and public activist, Donncha Ó hÉallaithe.

Speaking at Tóstal na Gaeilge 2010, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív, TD, said he hopes “the next 20 years of the Strategy will be a period of growth and development, which will bring us on the journey from goal to implementation”. 

In her closing summary at the Tóstal na Gaeilge conference, Dr. Helen Ó Murchú, Chairperson of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge reminded the delegates of the importance of Minister Ó Cuív’s words –  that the responsibility rests with us to restructure and redefine the type of community we require to the benefit of the general public.  Ó Murchú contends, state representatives, semi state organisations, the voluntary Irish language sector, and the Irish speaking community must work together in order to fully implement the 20 year Strategy and to achieve  the goals set out in the Strategy.

Video footage of Tóstal na Gaeilge will be available on www.tostal.ie very soon.

 

An tAire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, Éamon Ó Cuív, TD, leis an Dr Helen Ó Murchú, Cathaoirleach Chomhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge agus Pádraig Mac Criostail, Stiúrthóir na Comhdhála ag oscailt oifigiúil Thóstal na Gaeilge 2010

 



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