“May I take the opportunity to wish all the organisers of Seachtain na Gaeilge the very best as we begin this wonderful and important annual celebration of our native language and culture.
Since it was first established in 1902, the festival has grown in strength and scope over the years, and now stands as the largest celebration of Irish language in the world.
Seachtain na Gaeilge provides us with the opportunity to gather together and celebrate the beauty and richness of our language, offering an opportunity for native speakers, learners and those with a cúpla focal to engage and interconnect with over one million people annually who partake in the many community-organised events dedicated all over Ireland and across the globe.
Our ancient language, steeped in history and tradition, is a critical part of our national identity and a testament to the resilience of our people. A language of beauty, depth and longevity, it is not just a cultural treasure, but also a valuable resource for the future. It is key to unlocking the wisdom of our ancestors, being a source of inspiration for generations of poets, writers and artists, and a vital tool for preserving our traditions and history for future generations.
The language brings us together, providing us with a profound cultural connection that enables us to relate to our heritage and history. That it has not only survived, but most important of all, that it is in daily use, continuing to flourish and increase influence today, both in Ireland and abroad, is a testament to all those who have championed and encouraged its use, whether at home, in school, at work or through the creative arts.
Not only do we possess a vibrant and growing community who speak the language in their thousands every day, but it also gives me great pleasure to recognise that over a million people around the world are actively learning Irish online, including many non-Irish nationals and new Irish citizens, embracing the opportunity to uncover the native language of the place that they now call home.
As we celebrate our great language during Seachtain na Gaeilge, let us redouble our efforts to protect and promote it, and support the endeavours of those who are working to enable it to develop and remain relevant in our modern world. It is vital that our Irish language, our literature, our culture and heritage becomes a treasure from which we draw great pride and joy.
Together, we can all play a role to ensure that the Irish language will continue to be celebrated as a vital part of our national identity for all Irish people for generations to come, a truly inclusive language of which people in all circumstances and of all ages are entitled to access, encouraging its ever more prevalent use in the everyday lives of the people across this island.
May I wish you all an enjoyable Seachtain na Gaeilge.