Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government Irish Language Policy "nowhere near enough to mitigate the decline of the Irish language." – Peadar Tóibín TD

29 June, 2018 - by Peadar Tóibín TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Irish language, Peadar Tóibín, has said that Minister Joe McHugh’s Action Plan for the 20 Year Strategy is nowhere near enough to mitigate the decline of the Irish language.

Deputy Tóibín said: 

“The Irish language is a wonderful treasure and there is great energy and growth to be seen in community groups, sports teams and in some of our Gaeltacht areas. It is however important that we are honest about the true health of our national language.

"The most important yard stick with regard the Irish Language is the number of people that speak it as a community language in the Gaeltacht. The 2016 census has shown that government’s policy in the last number of years has been a disaster. 

“In 2010 when the plan first came out one of its primary aims was to increase the number of daily speakers of Irish from the current level of approximately 83,000 to 250,000 by 2030. But it is going in the wrong direction. However the number of daily Irish speakers is just 73,803. Native daily speakers have dropped by 11% since the last census.

“It’s heart breaking to see the goodwill of the Irish people towards the language and the many real opportunities that exist squandered by a government that devoid of the necessary interest, will or knowledge to rebuild  and rejuvenate our national language.

“Take for example the huge demand for Gaelscoileanna (almost 25%) which is not being met – only 5% of schools outside the Gaeltacht are Gaelscoileanna.

“We have been anticipating the development of this plan since 2015 when a public consultation process began regarding the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language which is widely viewed as a failure. Minister McHugh promised that it would be published a year ago. Having read the plan, I cannot say that the long wait was worth it.

“As is characteristic of these Fine Gael action plans, most of the measures ‘announced’ are already in train. Take for example ‘Action 8.11’ 'Foras na Gaeilge will continue to provide funding support in the field of community and economic development', or ’Action 5.5’ - 'TG4 will continue to provide subtitles'. This is hardly ground breaking stuff. 

“Many of the ‘actions’ are actually repeated in the document itself. Some of the ‘actions’ are state wide supports which are not exclusive to the Gaeltacht such as ‘Action 4.9’ 'The provision of schemes such as the Back to Education Allowance will be maintained in the Gaeltacht.' This is simply padding and distracts from more relevant issues that need to be addressed.

“The language planning process has been very underhandedly underfunded by the government. It is less likely to succeed unless organisations tasked with language planning are allowed budget in accordance to their needs.  ‘Action 2.4’ is very telling in its wording - 'Subject to the availability of resources, support will be given to specific initiatives to further support the (language planning) process.'

"The government are simply not making the funding of this crucially important process a priority. 

“This is largely an aspirational document. There are no concrete financial commitments. While there is a timescale, a first in an Irish language policy document, it is very vague and mostly comprising of 2018 or 2019 “onwards”. 

“There is no movement on the Official language Bill which is of vital importance in increasing the number of Irish speakers recruited to the public service to 20% as well as ensuring that all public offices located in the Gaeltacht will operate through the medium of Irish. While the Language Commissioner and Conradh na Gaeilge believe that this needs to be enacted with immediate effect, the timescale of “2019 onwards” is simply not good enough.  

“There are measures that we welcome such as additional funding to Tuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta, the two additional Irish language early years posts, additional funding to Comhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta as we recognise the crucial importance of strengthening Irish in the early years sector. 

“We also welcome the publication of a Digital Plan for the Irish language and an Irish language app for children as well as gTeic – network of digital hubs in the Gaeltacht and we were glad to see that The Teaching Council will review its registration requirements for the Irish language.

"However, there is still no plan for increasing the provision of Irish language education outside of the Gaeltacht and this is totally inadequate.

“Considering the huge cuts in funding to the Irish language in the past decade which will no way be near restored by the National Development Plan (indeed €46 million less will be spent on capital funding in the next ten years in comparison to the previous ten) this absolutely not enough to counter the huge drop in Irish speakers. 

“Funding for Údarás – the economic engine of the Gaeltacht has been absolutely torn to shreds. Considering the 70% drop in Údarás capital funding from 2007 and the 66% rise in capital funding for the IDA and 42% for Enterprise Ireland in the same time period. 

“The government need to make real financial commitments if they want the Gaeltacht to survive another generation.

"While ‘Action Plans’ are nice, the real test of commitment is in financial outlay and I do not believe that McHugh or Madigan have the chops or the willingness to deliver what the Gaeltacht actually needs.”

--

Joe McHugh ar nós Comical Ali ag cosaint polasaí an rialtais - Peadar Tóibín

Dúirt urlabhraí Gaeilge Shinn Féin, an Teachta Peadar Tóibín, nach dtiocfadh an Plean Gníomhaíochta an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge scread asail de dhul i ngleic le creimeadh na Gaeilge. 

Dúirt an Teachta Tóibín: 

“Is seod iontach í an Ghaeilge agus tá borradh agus fuinneamh ina taobh le feiceáil i measc grúpaí pobail, foireann spóirt agus i roinnt de na ceantair Gaeltachta s’againne. Is gá dúinn a bheith ionraic áfach maidir le fíor-staid ár dteanga náisiúnta. An slat tomhais is tábhachtaí ná líon na gcainteóirí a labhrann go laethúil í mar theanga phobail sa Ghaeltacht. Is léir go bhfuil ag teip go tubaisteach ar pholasaithe an rialtais de réir an daonáireamh deiridh. 

“Ceann dos na príomhaidhmeanna a bhí leagtha amach ag an bplean nuair a foilsiodh é i 2010 ná cur le líon na gcainteóirí laethúla ó 83,000 go 250,000 faoi 2030. Ach tá sé ag dul sa treo mícheart. Níl ach 73,803 daoine ag labhairt Gaeilge ar bhonn laethúil. Bhí titim 11% ar líon na gcainteóirí laethúla sa Ghaeltacht ón Daonáireamh deiridh. 

“Is crá croí é nuair a feictear an rialtas ag déanamh beag de dea-thoil muintir na hÉireann i dtaobh na teanga de agus na iliomad deiseanna atá bainteach lei de bharr a gcuid neamh-shuime, easpa tola agus saineolas ar athnuachan agus athógáil na Gaeilge.  

“Cur i gcás an móréileamh atá ar Ghaelscoileanna (beagnach 25%) nach bhfuil á sholáthar ag an rialtas - níl ach 5% de scoileanna taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht ina nGaelscoileanna. 

“Bhíomar ag fanacht ar an bplean seo ó dheireadh 2015 nuair a d’eagraigh Roinn na Gaeltachta comhairliúcháin poiblí maidir leis an Stráítéis 20 Bliain - stráitéis a cheaptar go forleathan gur theip air. Gheall an tAire McHugh go mbeadh sé foilsithe breis is bliain ó shin. Tar éis dom é a léamh, nílim in ann a rá arb fhiú an feitheamh foighdeach. 

“Tá an-chuid des na beartais atá luaite sa phlean ag feidhmiú cheana féin - seo sean-nós de chuid Fhine Gael lena bpleananna gníomháiochta éagsúla acu a ramhrú. Cur i gcás Gníomh 8.11 - “Leanfaidh Foras na Gaeilge leis an tacaíocht mhaoiniúcháin a chuireann sé ar fáil sa réimse forbartha pobail agus eacnamaíochta” nó Gníomh 5.15 “leanfaidh TG4 ag cur fotheidil ar fáil”. Ní clár nua, radacach atá i gceist anseo. 

“Feictear roinnt dos na ‘ngníomh’ faoi dhó sa cháipéis féin. Tá cuid dos na ngníomh mar ghnáth thacaíochtaí stáit nach bhfuil bainteach leis an nGaeltacht go heisiach. Cur i gcás Gníomh 4.9 “Déanfar forálacha na scéimanna - amhail an Liúntas um Fhilleadh ar an Oideachas - a choinneáil ar bun sa Ghaeltacht”. Níl anseo ach stuáil a chuireann na ceisteanna níos treise i gceilt. 

“Níl an próiséas pleanála teanga á mhaoiniú mar is cuí ag an rialtas. Ní bheidh rath air mura bhfuil na heagraíochtaí atá cúramaí pleanáil teanga acu in ann a gcuid costais a leagan amach de réir a riachtanais. Tá foclaíocht Gníomh 2.4 fíor-shuimiúil; “Ag brath ar na hachmhainní a bheidh ar fáil, feachfar chuige go dtacófar le tionscnaimh faoi leith.. le tacú leis an bpróiséas”. Go bunúsach, níl maoiniú cuí don bpróiséas ríthábhachtach seo mar thosaíocht rialtais. 

“Is cáipéis mhianaidhmeach í dun chuid is mó. Níl gealltanais concréideacha ann maidir le maoiniú. Cé go bhfuil amscála ann don chéad uair riamh i bpolasaí Gaeilge, tá sé teibí go leor agus na téarmaí ó 2018 nó 2019 “ar aghaidh” úsáidte don chuid is mó. 

“Níl aon dul chun cinn déanta ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla atá chomh tábhachtach maidir le líon na gcainteóirí Gaeilge a earcaítear don tSeribhís Phoiblí a mhéadú go 20% agus a chinntiú gurb as Gaeilge a fheidhmeoidh gach oifig phoiblí atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht. Creideann an Comisinéir Teanga agus Conradh na Gaeilge gur gá an tAcht a achtú go láithreach. Níl an amscala de “2019 ar aghaidh” sásúil ar chor ar bith.

“Cuirimid fáilte roimh roinnt dos na bearta ar ndóigh, ar nós maoiniú sa bhreis do Thuismitheóirí na Gaeltachta, dhá phoist breise don earnáil luathbhlianta agus maoiniú sa bhreis do Chomhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta mar tuigimid an luach a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge a neartú in earnáil na luathbhlianta. 

“Cuirimid fáilte freisin roimh an nuacht go bhfoilseofaí Plean Digiteach don Ghaeilge, aip Ghaeilge do pháistí agus go bhforbrófar gTeic - greásán de mol digiteach sa Ghaeltacht agus go ndéanfaidh an Chomhairle Múinteóireachta athbhreithniú ar na riachtanais chlárúcháin don Ghaeilge. Ach níl aon phlean ann go fóil maidir le Gaeloideachas taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht a mhéadú agus níl sé seo sách maith. 

“Ní bheidh an Plean Forbairthe Náisiúnta i ndan dul i ngleic leis na ciorruithe uafásacha don Ghaeilge atá a cuireadh i bhfeidhm le deich bliana anuas. Beidh €46 milliúin níos lú á chaitheamh ag an rialtas ar chaiteachas caipitil sa déag atá romhainn ná an déag díreach caite. Níl leor é seo le deileáil leis an titim ollmhór i gcainteóirí Gaeilge. 

“Tá maoiniú d’Údarás na Gaeltachta - inneall saol eacnamaíochta na Gaeltachta ina smidiríní. Cur i gcás an titim 70% ar mhaoiniú caipitil do Fhoras na Gaeilge ó 2007. Sa tréimhse céanna tháinig méadú 66% ar mhaoiniú don IDA agus 42% do Enterprise Ireland.

“Is gá don rialtas fíor gheallúintí airgeadais a dhéanamh má tá siad ag iarradh go dtiocfaidh an Ghaeltacht slán don ghlúin atá le teacht. Cé go bhfuil cuma galánta ar phleananna gníomhaíochta, is é caiteachas airgid a dhéanann tiomantas an rialtais a thomhas agus ní chreidim go bhfuil an cumas nó an toil ag McHugh nó an tAire Madigan freastal ar riachtanais muintir na Gaeltachta.”

Connect with Sinn Féin

Photos

Mary Lou McDonald addressing the march on Shipquay Street

An Phoblacht Ad

Videos

1916 Lost Leaders March


Like us on Facebook

Sinn Féin Shop