Tóstal na Gaeilge 2013

“Beart de réir Briathair” which loosely translates as ‘practice as you preach’ was the theme of Tóstal na Gaeilge 2013, an Irish language conference held in Dublin city centre on February 16th.

In the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place, Dublin 2, the Irish language community and friends of the language came together to discuss the most pertinent issues facing the language. 

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge put together a comprehensive programme of events for the day, In the morning, Government policy relating to the Irish language was discussed, with two separate panels of guest speakers focussing primarily on the latest policies introduced by the Government under the Gaeltacht Act 2012.
 
The first discussion session centred on the topic of raising a family with Irish, and the challenges faced in passing the language from one generation to the next within the family. 

Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg of RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta chaired the discussion between guest speakers: Feargal Ó Cuilinn, Head of Comhluadar; Dr Briain Ó Curnáin, an expert in dialectology and the Irish language sociology at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies; Aoife Ní Shéagha, Lecturer in Language Planning at NUI Galway; and Sorcha Ní Chéilleachair, Chairperson of Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta – Conamara.

 

 

“An Ghaeltacht in 2013” was the topic for discussion under the chairmanship of Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, with speakers including: Seosamh Mac Donncha, NUI Galway, Stiofán Ó Cualáin, Údarás na Gaeltachta; Treasa Ní Mhainín, Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta; as well as a representative from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Two more sessions followed which discussed the effect of Government policy on the Irish language and state responsibility for the future of the language.  These hot topics were debated, under the watchful eye of Eimear Ní Chonaola, Nuacht TG4, by panels including elected public representatives and spokespersons for Government agencies. 

Following the event, Director of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge Kevin De Barra state that “ Community leaders and representatives at this year’s Tóstal have asked Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge to enter into discussions with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD, with Minster of State Dinny McGinley TD and with senior civil servants”.

An urgent meeting to discuss educational policy in Gaeltacht areas will also be sought with Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn TD.

 

 

“The Government now has the chance to provide a solution to queries raised by Gaeltacht communities and Irish speakers. It’s time for real leadership and for the new language planning process to be operated in an open, comprehensive and democratic manner”.

 

Recommendations made at Tóstal na Gaeilge 2013

Gaeltacht Education

  • It is recommended that the Irish language education council An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) operate as a satailte of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to provide advice but in an independent capacity, and that its work continues through the medium of the Irish language.
  • It is recommended that the budgets of COGG be ring fenced and distributed at the discretion of COGG.
  • The Department of Education and Skills should formulate a complete educational policy for Gaeltacht schools.
  • Supports should be provided to Gaeltacht schools to enable them to implement a policy of language immersion education.

Supports for Parents

  • Further supports for social events for parents who are trying to raise their families through the medium of the Irish language should be provided.
  • Schemes such as Tús Maith language scheme in West Kerry Gaeltacht should be developed and supported
  • Further information about the government’s Family Support Programme (Clár Tacaíochta Teaghlaigh) should be made available to the public and it is recommended that the public have a greater role in developing this programme.
  • A full review of the information leaflet and information package for new parents should take place to ensure that the most relevant information is provided and the Department should ensure that this information is easily accessible by new/prospective parents.
  • The goals of the government’s Family Support Programme should be clarified for the public.
  • Further supports for social events for parents who are trying to raise their families through the medium of the Irish language should be provided.

20 Year Strategy for the Irish language

  • It is recommended that government addresses the concerns of the Irish speaking community over the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language.
  • It is recommended that the stages of the implementation be clarified and that the government provides a thorough outline of the goals and implementation of the strategy as well as short term and long term results.
  • It is recommended that the public have access to and are fully informed of decisions made by higher level inter-departmental groups concerning the strategy.
  • The community and voluntary sector seeks to have a greater role in the implementatation of the strategy.
  • It is recommended that government addresses the concerns of the Irish speaking community over the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language.

Language Planning Process

  • It is recommended that Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and the wider voluntary sector work with Údarás na Gaeltachta and with community organisations to implement the 20 Year Strategy.
  • Further clarification is needed about the role of the language planning department of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in the language planning process.
  • Further resources and funding should be supplied to community groups to ensure that they would be enabled to implement language planning policies at a local level.
  • It is recommended that Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and the wider voluntary sector work with Údarás na Gaeltachta and with community organisations to implement the 20 Year Strategy.

Language Rights

  • The full results of the review of the Official Languages Act should be published and made available to the public.
  • The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga should be fully supported.
  • Language rights under the Official Languages Act and Bunreacht na hÉireann as outlined by the Supreme Court in the Ó Beoláin case should be protected and supported.
  • The full results of the review of the Official Languages Act should be published and made available to the public.

Irish language Voluntary Sector

  • Issues pertaining to the funding of the Irish language voluntary sector should be addressed and every support should be provided for existing aspects of language support structures.
  • Full and open discussions between all stakeholders, governments, public service, Irish language organisations and Irish language community should take place in the context of supporting the sector as opposed to destroying the Irish language voluntary sector.
  • Issues pertaining to the funding of the Irish language voluntary sector should be addressed and every support should be provided for existing aspects of language support structures.

The full programme of events for Tóstal na Gaeilge 2013 is available at the following link.  Tóstal na Gaeilge - Conference Programme
Follow the discussion on social networks under the hash tag #Tnag13.

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