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Decline of Irish language in large part a result of government inaction – Peadar Tóibín TD

27 September, 2016


Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Gaeltacht, Peadar Tóibín TD, has criticised the government’s approach to the Irish language crisis, saying that despite ambitious strategies to reverse the language’s decline, these are destined to fail because they are almost totally lacking in oversight and implementation.

Speaking today Teachta Tóíbin said:

“We have known for years that the Irish language in is danger – that it has only ten years left as a living language in Gaeltacht areas. A research paper recently published by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service underlines the immediacy of this threat.

“The decline of the language is attributable to many factors. While some of these factors are not a direct consequence of government policy, so much is directly linked to government inaction and austerity over the past number of years.

“Population decline in Gaeltacht areas such as Donegal and Mayo for example is a consequence of government neglect of rural Ireland and subsequent lack of opportunities for young people. Massive cuts to bodies such as Údarás na Gaeltachta, which encourage enterprise and investment in Gaeltacht areas, have had serious repercussions which will be felt for years to come.

“While on paper this and past governments seem somewhat committed to the preservation of the Irish language, the fact is that there has been no comprehensive review of the ambitious 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language which was published six years ago. Indeed many linguistic experts are skeptical of its ability to reach its aims and have highlighted the growing need for proper investment into the language.

“There is also no government willingness to meet the huge demand for Gaelscoileanna  in the country, as evidenced by a rigid patronage scheme which means that the school selection process is skewed against those who wish to have their children educated through the medium of Irish.  This process goes against the State’s commitments under the 20 Year Strategy.

“Sinn Féin is working hard to ensure that the Irish language will go from strength to strength and will shortly be launching our proposals for Irish under our Alternative Budget which will see significant increases to Údarás amongst other initiatives. Sadly the government have proved that they are only good at providing lip service or ‘cúpla focal’ towards the Irish language.”

Gaeilge labhartha ag meath de bharr neamart an rialtais – Peadar Tóíbín TD

Cháin urlabhraí Shinn Féin ar an Ghaeltacht, an Teachta Peadar Tóibín, cuir chuige an rialtais maidir leis an ghéarchéim teanga. Dúirt an Teachta nach raibh maitheas i straitéisí an rialtais le meath na teanga a mhalartú de bharr easpa cur i bhfeidhm.

Ag labhairt dó inniu dúirt an Teachta Tóibín:

“Tá a fhios againn leis na blianta anois go bhfuil an Ghaeilge i mbaol – nach bhfuil ach deich mbliana aici mar theanga bheo sna Gaeltachtaí. Déanann páipéar taighde a d’fhoilsigh tithe an Oireachtas le déanaí é seo a phlé.  

“Is iomaí cúis atá le meath na teanga. Cé nach féidir an locht iomlán a leagan ar an rialtas – níl aon dabht ach gur chuir a chuid neamhaird agus dúnghaoise déine go mór leis an fhadhb le blianta beaga anuas.

“Is é an faillí a dhein an rialtas ar cheantar Gaeltachta ar nós Tír Chonaill agus Maigh Eo is cúis le laghdú daonra agus easpa deiseanna do dhaoine óga ann. Tá móriarmhairtí dochracha ann de bharr ciorraithe ollmhóra ar eagraíochtaí ar nós Údarás na Gaeltachta a dhéanann iarrachtaí fiontar agus infheistíocht a mhealladh chuig ceantar Gaeltachta.

“Cé go bhfuil an cuma air go bhfuil an rialtas seo agus na rialtais a tháinig roimhe tiomanta go leor don Ghaeilge a chaomhnú – leis an bhfírinne táimid fós ag fanacht ar athbhreithniú chuimsitheach ar an Straitéis 20 Bliain a foilsíodh sé bliana ó shin.  Is iomaí saineolaí teanga a mheasann nach mbeidh an Straitéis in ann a chuid aidhmeanna a chuir i gcrích agus a chuireann in iúl an ghéarghá le hinfheistíocht shubstaintiúil sa teanga.

“Tá drogall ar an rialtas an t-árdéileamh ar Ghaelscoileanna a shásamh. Tá córas righin pátrúnachta ann nach dtugann cothrom na féinne do pháistí atá ag iarradh oideachas trí Ghaeilge a fháil. Téann an chóras seo in éadan choinníollacha an Stáit faoin Straitéis 20 Bliain.

“Tá Sinn Féin ag obair go crua chun cinntiú go rachaidh an dteanga ó neart go neart.  Beimid a seoladh ár moltaí cáinaisnéise go luath faoi bhráid ár mBuiséad Malartach. Beidh méadú mór ar mhaoiniú Údarás againn ann, in éineacht le tionscnaimh eile.  Is mór an trua é nach bhfuil maitheas sa rialtas ach béal ghrá a thabhairt don Ghaeilge.”

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