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Work on 20 year strategy for the Irish language must begin immediately – Tóibín

26 May, 2011

Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Gaeltacht and the Irish language Peadar Tóibín urged the Government to begin work on the 20 year strategy for the Irish language immediately.

Directing his comments towards the Government Deputy Tóibín said:

“The Irish language is a part of who we are as a nation. It has been spoken for almost 2,000 years and thanks to the trojan work of campaigners and enthusiasts it is growing in some areas. In spite of all this, support from Government for the language is declining fast.

“Certain aspects of Fine Gael policy are totally contrary to the proposals contained in the 20 year strategy. For example they want to make Irish an optional subject for the leaving certificate, they want to end the 'Irish Speaker’s Scheme' and change the rules in relation to the establishment of new Gaelscoileanna will make it much more difficult for Gaelscoileanna to become established in the future. These proposals fly in the face of everything contained in the 20 Year Strategy.

“There was much made of the amount of Irish that the Queen of England and the President of America used on their recent trips but its incredible to think that there is more Gaelic on the Queen of England's website than there is on the websites of Fine Gael and Labour. Unless the Government do a radical overhaul of their attitude and the attitude of the Department towards the Irish language it is in danger of being lost forever.

“I implore the Government to take action, stand up for the Irish language and start work on the 20 year strategy immediately.”

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