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An ionann ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’ agus ‘Bliain an Bhéil Ghrá’ do Fhine Gael? – Peadar Tóibín TD

20 December, 2017 - by Peadar Tóibín TD


Mhol urlabhraí Gaeilge Shinn Féin, an Teachta Peadar Tóibín an éacht atá bainte amach ag Conradh na Gaeilge agus ‘Bliain na Gaeilge, 2018’ á sheoladh inniu acu.

Cé go bhfuil an tAire Joe McHugh agus an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ag tabhairt lán tacaíochta don bheartais, deir an Teachta Tóibín gur gá dóibh díriú isteach freisin ar ghníomhachtaí praiticiúla leis an Ghaeilge a chóiméad slán, sa Ghaeltacht ach go háirithe.

Ag labhairt dó inniu, dúirt an Teachta Tóibín:

“Molaim go mór ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’ agus an méad oibre atá déanta ag Conradh na Gaeilge le líon iontach imeachtaí a eagrú don bhliain seo chugainn. Is iontach an tionscail é agus deiseanna a thabhairt do dhaoine a chuid Gaeilge a úsáid agus rannpháirtíocht ón bpobal a spreagadh.

“Is léir go bhfuil an-chuid iarrachtaí phearsanta déanta ag an Taoiseach agus Joe McHugh lena gcuid Gaeilge féin a fheabhsú, agus níl aon dabht ann ach go mbeidh siad ag iliomad preasocáidí bainteach leis an nGaeilge sa bhliain atá romhainn ag déanamh miongháire dos na ceamaraí.

"Ach má dhéantar léamh domhain ar an scéal is léir go bhfuil siad ag teipeadh gó mór ar lucht labhartha na Gaeilge, agus muintir na Gaeltachta, ach go háirithe.

“Níl ach suas le scór bliain againn leis an Ghaeltacht a shábháil.  De réir an daonáirimh tá titim 11% ar gcainteoirí laethúla sna ceantair Gaeltachta. Níl ach 502 páistí ann aois 3-4 sa Ghaeltacht a labhraínn Gaeilge go laethúil lasmuigh den chóras oideachais. Tá tromlach na réamhscoileanna sna ceantair Gaeltachta ag feidhmiú trí Bhéarla agus déanfaidh sé seo fíor dochair le Polasaí an Oideachas Gaeltachta a chur i bhfeidhm.

“Gheall Fine Gael go raibh an pleanáil teanga chun an Ghaeltacht a thabhairt slán. Ach níor thugadh ach an méad maoiniú suarach céanna do gach aon ghrúpa pleanáil teanga. Dhein an rialtas neamhaird iomlán ar phlean infheistíochta a d’eagraigh Conradh na Gaeilge i mbliana a rachaidh chun tairbhe do bhreis agus 80 eagraíochtaí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta.

“Tá an-chuid ceantair Gaeltachta faoi mí-bhuntáiste. Tá fadhbanna mhóra go forleathan ann maidir le infreastruchtúir, leathan bhanda, bóithre, eisimirce agus fostaíocht.

"In ainneoin an géarghá le infheistíocht sna ceantair seo - bhí titim 70% ar mhaoiniú caipitil do Údarás na Gaeltachta ó 2007 agus dada sa bhuiséad is déanaí.  Bhí ardú 66% ar mhaoiniú caipitil an IDA sa tréimhse chéanna.

“Dúirt an Aire Oideachais linn an tseachtain seo chaite, gan náire, nach raibh plean ar bith acu leis an Ghaeloideachas a chur chun cinn. Tá stát chóras lán-Bhéarla againn  - níl ach 29 post den 19,795 post atá sa státseirbhís aitheanta mar phoist a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge ag gabháil leo. Theip go hiomlan ar an Stráitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Cheap an Taoiseach Aire na Gaeltachta gan suim aici an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim coicís ó shin.

“Cé go bhfuil sé go deas go bhfuil an Taoiseach agus Joe McHugh ag tacú le ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’, tá obair tréan le déanamh agus an Ghaeilge a choinneal slán.

"Impím ortha díriú isteach ar na mór-fhadhbanna anuas ar thacú le tionscnaimh feiceálacha ar nós ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’.”

Does ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’ equate to mere lip service for Fine Gael? – Peadar Tóibín TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Irish language, Peadar Tóibín TD, has said that the launch of ‘Bliain na Gaeilge, 2018’ was a real achievement for Conradh na Gaeilge.

While both Minister Joe McHugh and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are supporting the initiative, Deputy Tóibín has said that they also need to focus on practical actions to ensure Irish is preserved, in the Gaeltacht regions in particular.

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said:

“I would like to give praise to ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’ and the amount of work that Conradh na Gaeilge have done to organise a great line-up of events this coming year. It’s a great initiative and gives people opportunities to use their Irish and to inspire community participation.

“It’s clear that the Taoiseach and Joe McHugh have done great personal efforts to improve their Irish and there is no doubt that they’ll be smiling for the cameras at many press events relating to Irish in the coming year. But upon deeper reading it’s clear that they are failing the Irish speaking community in a big way, the Gaeltacht population in particular.

“There is only up to twenty years left to save the Gealtacht regions. According to the census there was a fall of 11% of daily Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht regions. There are only 502 children aged between 3-4 who speak Irish daily in the Gaeltacht outside of the education system.

"The majority of preschools in Gaeltacht regions are operating through the medium of English  and this will have a very negative effect on the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education.

“Fine Gael promised that language planning would save the Gaeltacht regions. But they only gave the same dismal amount to each language planning group. The government totally ignored the investment plan that Conradh na Gaeilge put together this year that would have benefitted over 80 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups.

“Many Gaeltacht regions are disadvantaged. There are widespread and significant problems relating to infrastructure, broadband, roads, emigration and unemployment.

"Despite the pressing need for investment in these areas – there has been a 70% decrease in funding for the capital budget of Údarás na Gaeltachta since 2007, and no increased provision in this year’s budget. In the same period there was a 66% increase in capital funding for the IDA.

“The Minister for Education unabashedly told us last week that there was no plan at all for the progression of Irish-medium education. We have an all-English state system – there are only 29 jobs out of 19,795 in the civil service which have an Irish-language requirement. The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language has been a total failure.

"Two weeks ago the Taoiseach appointed a Minister for the Gaeltacht who has no interest in learning Irish.

“While it is nice that the Taoiseach and Joe McHugh are supporting ‘Bliain na Gaeilge’ there is hard work to do to ensure that Irish is saved. I am entreating them to focus in on the larger problems as well as supporting highly visible initiatives such as ‘Bliain na Gaeilge.’

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