Education; language planning policies; the Irish Language Act in the north; and support for the Gaeltacht areas were main points of discussion at Ard Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge in Tralee this weekend.
Thirty six motions in total were proposed by branches and individual members of the organisation, and all were passed, with only a few amendments. There was extensive discussion around the topics of education; development and enabling of Irish language communities around the country, and support for the motion to support the Irish Language Act in Stormont.
With regards community groups, there was an emphasis on supporting language planning in the Gaeltacht and Irish Language Networks across the country. Seán Ó hAdmhaill, Human Resource manager, stated the “need to offer appropriate salaries in the Irish language sector, so as not to lose talented workers” and capable workers. Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, of Craobh na Gaillimhe brought up the fact that funding for just four days employment per week would not be tolerated in any other sector, and that it was “an insult to our communities and to the people putting heart and soul into this work,” referencing the recent cuts made to Irish Language Community Schemes. It was also said that well informed and experienced people will be needed to put language plans into action in Gaeltacht areas, and that certainty and long term work contracts will be essential in attracting suitable candidates for those roles.
There was much discussion about the Irish language in our education systems. Amongst the motions proposed regarding education, it was requested that Irish medium schooling would be provided to anyone who sought to receive education through irish; that research would be done in schools in order to provide appropriate information and language resources to GCSE and A2 students; and that special attention would be given improving to the Junior and Leaving Certificate syllabi.
There was also discussion regarding the length of time which can be spent in the role of President of Conradh na Gaeilge. Ursula Ní Shabhaois, an independent member of the organisation, raised the point that it is difficult to implement long term changes or campaigns within a three year period. It was agreed that the maximum term would be extended to five years, with a renewal election each year.
There was unanimous support amidst all in attendance for the Irish Language Act in the north, and that all political parties across the country would be requested to show public support for the campaign.
Deir Dr Niall Comer, Uachtarán, Conradh na Gaeilge:
“Tá an daonlathas ag croílár an Chonartha agus mar sin tá Ard Fheis Chonradh na Gaeilge iontach tábhachtach dúinn agus dár mbaill, go gcloisfear a n-éilimh agus go mbíonn deis chainte acu mar gheall ar threoir agus spriocanna an Chonartha. Rinneadh neart cainte ar maidin i measc na mball agus beidh tuilleadh plé ar na rúin ar glacadh leo i measc an Choiste Gnó.”
Deir Julian de Spáinn, Ard-Rúnaí Chonradh na Gaeilge:
“Tá an-áthas orainn go bhfuil an Ard Fheis tar éis tacú leis na moltaí ónár gcraobhacha, ach go háirithe ó maidir le leasaithe don chóras oideachais; an t-Acht Teanga ó thuaidh; na Scéimeanna Pobal Gaeilge a neartú; tuilleadh tacaíochta a chur ar fáil do na Gaeltachtaí agus dár n-oileáin; agus go mbeadh tacaíocht ón Roinn Chumarsáide le Raidió RíRá a chraoladh go náisiúnta ar FM, atá deich mbliana ar an bhfód anois.”A motion was passed that the Ard Fheis in 2020 would be held in Galway, as the city is nominated as a European Capital of Culture the same year.