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We risk losing Irish as a living language – Adams

1 June, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said that the Gaeltacht and our native language need greater supports, now more than ever, in the wake of a report that shows a serious decline in the use of our first language in the Gaeltacht areas. 

Teachta Adams said:

“A report which was commissioned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the body charged with overseeing the development of the Gaeltacht, shows a very serious decline in the use of our first language. This is deeply troubling as without the Gaeltacht regions, Irish struggles as a living language. We must do more to support the use of Irish as supports from the government have failed to materialise.

“The list of failures to the Irish language is extensive. The former language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin resigned, citing lack of Government support as his reason. There has been a damning reluctance to implement the 20-year language strategy. Similarly, there has been a failure to lift the language derogation in the EU, as was demonstrated by Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada and her Stailc Teanga. Investment in the language is minimal.

“The report showed that use of social Irish in some of the Gaeltacht regions has passed the tipping point of two-thirds of people using the language every day. Once this line in the sand is crossed, a language faces serious and rapid decline. 

“The government must re-evaluate its approach to developing the Irish language and do so now. In our pre-budget submission last year, Sinn Féin proposed to increase funding to the 20-year strategy and to Údarás by 50%, along with other language support initiatives. The Gaeltacht regions are the beating heart of Irish as a living language and we cannot afford to lose them.” 

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