20-Year Irish Strategy Published

Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the publication of the final draft of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030 today, Tuesday, 21 December 2010, and highly commends the Government for agreeing on such a comprehensive, farsighted plan for the language with cross-party support.

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says: "Conradh na Gaeilge looks forward to playing a central part in the implementation of the Strategy, to working with the Government, with the Gaeltacht and Irish-language community, and indeed with the Irish public in general, to take immediate action and to achieve the worthy, attainable objectives of the Strategy, especially those which will not incur any extra cost for the state, but will greatly benefit the Irish language.
"The former Minister for Community, Rural [now Equality] and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, deserves particular praise for initiating the consultation process, as does the current Minister, Pat Carey TD, for working out such an all-inclusive plan for the Irish language that has been approved, not only by the current Government, but with the support of every political party."

Conradh na Gaeilge are very happy that additional responsibilities have been conferred on An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG), the body responsible for the development of education in Gaeltacht schools, in Irish-medium schools, and of the teaching of Irish in all schools. COGG will have a primary role in the implementation of the Strategy in the education sector, and this highlights the importance of the teaching and learning of Irish throughout Ireland, in English-medium, Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools alike.

In addition to the stated specific objective of increasing the number of speakers who speak Irish on a daily basis outside the educational system from 83,000 to 250,000 by 2030, Conradh na Gaeilge believe it is of great importance that a specific target has been set in the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language to increase the number of speakers who speak Irish on a daily basis in the Gaeltacht by 25%, and that the Gaeltacht has been recognised as a critical element in the re-invigoration of language and in the overall success of the Strategy [4, 9].

Conradh na Gaeilge is pleased that a considerable number of policies recommended by the organisation in recent years have also been included in the 20-Year Strategy, including that:

  • one subject, as well as Irish, should be through the medium of Irish in English-medium primary schools by teaching "some mainstream subject matter in Irish in the infant classes" [6.1, 12];
  • a beneficial linkage can be made with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) "for defining the linguistic and communicative standards" [6.1, 12];
  • trainee teachers should be taught through Irish in an all-Irish environment, learning through and about immersion education in Irish, whereby "A new Post-Graduate Diploma in Education delivered in full through the medium of Irish will be introduced" [6.1, 14];
  • language plans are developed for Irish county by county [6.4, 24 - 25];
  • a fulltime all-Irish radio "to target young people will be developed using both the internet and conventional radio broadcasting" [6.5, 27];
  • and the Government will consider "introducing a voluntary code for bilingual labelling and packaging of all goods sold in Ireland" [6.7, 29].

While welcoming the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says: "The reference in the Strategy to founding new schools does not satisfy the recommendation made by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Sport, Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs that the Department of Education and Skills should ensure "the adequate availability of Irish language schools to all communities in Ireland when it is deciding on the establishment and location of new schools", and Conradh na Gaeilge will continue to push for the inclusion of all the Joint Committee's recommendations for the betterment of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities across the country."

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa
President, Conradh na Gaeilge
066 7124169 / 087 2901154

Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 086 8142757

EDITOR'S NOTE:

0-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030

The Government's 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 - 2030 was published on 26 November 2009 as an initial draft. The public had the opportunity to take part in a consultation process and to propose recommendations for the Strategy. Various organisations presented submissions to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (now the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Sport, Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs).

As part of the consultation process, a delegation from Conradh na Gaeilge gave a presentation to a meeting of the Joint Committee in Leinster House on Wednesday, 20 January 2010. A meeting in the Gaeltacht was also held in Ionad Tacaíochta Teaghlaigh Chois Fharraige, Indreabhán, Co. Galway on 26 February 2010. The Joint Committee published a report with recommendations regarding the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language in July 2010.

The Strategy came before the Houses of the Oireachtas last month; it was discussed in the Seanad on 02 November 2010 and in the Dáil on 18 November 2010. The Government Cabinet agreed on the final version of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language on 17 November 2010 and the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen TD, officially launched the Strategy in the Government Press Centre, The Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2 at 12.30pm Tuesday, 21 December 2010. www.pobail.ie/en/IrishLanguage/

Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community working to promote the language. There are 200 branches of Conradh na Gaeilge and since its foundation in 1893, members of the Conradh have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland and especially its use in their own areas. Conraitheoirí are at the forefront of campaigns to secure and strengthen the rights of the Irish language community. It is also possible to register as an individual member of the Conradh. www.cnag.ie

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge