Commerating the First Dáil As Gaeilge

Conradh na Gaeilge is looking to all the political parties to give prominence to the Irish language while commemorating the first Dáil Éireann this Wednesday 21 January 2009, considering the amount of business conducted through Irish in Dáil Éireann 90 years ago.

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "The majority of Dáil business was done through Irish the day the Chéad Dáil Éireann was held in Mansion House, Dublin, on the 21st of January 1919 and the Conradh, on behalf of  the Irish-language community, are encouraging and will greatly welcome our TDs and ministers speaking Irish at all events commemorating this occasion.

"Considering the leaders of all our major political parties, and a number of other TDs besides, can speak the language fluently, there is no reason why they shouldn't follow in the footsteps of the first Dáil Éireann politicians and host any commemorative events through the medium of Irish. Indeed, the language should be used more often on the modern political scene in Ireland now more than ever before, at a time when the community needs strong leadership and a strong sense of cultural values to help overcome the difficulties of the current economic climate."

Conradh na Gaeilge is urging each political party to seize this historic opportunity to follow the good example set by the members of the first Dáil Éireann in 1919 and to give the Irish language its proper prominence in commemorative events organised this week, and that the good practice will continue in the Dáil and in future political events.

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary for the Conradh said: "On that momentous day in 1919, the first Dáil's Ceann Comhairle Cathal Brugha referred to "certain people present that do not understand Irish [...] because of the sort of education in place in Ireland for many long years"* and the Conradh is sorry to say that the teaching and learning of the Irish language has since suffered from  the neglect shown to it at the hands of the State.

"Conradh na Gaeilge wants our current TDs to rectify the situation, not only by using use Irish in the Dáil and in the media more often, but also by  developing the teaching of Irish to give students a love of the language. This should be done in a fun and in an interactive way, by teaching another subject such as PE or art through Irish at primary level, for example."

The Conradh has sent a written request to each political party urging them to encourage their members to use Irish to the best of their abilities at events organised commemorating the Chéad Dáil Éireann this week, and in future political life in general. All information on Conradh na Gaeilge's education policy is available here.

More information:
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
066 7124169  / 087 2901154

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

* "B'éidir go bhfuil roinnt daoine i láthair ná tuigeann an Ghaeidhilg [...] de dheascaibh an tsóirt sin oideachais atá in Éirinn le fada", Tithe an Oireachtas, Parliamentary Debates- Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 21 January, 1919, "2. CLEIRIGH I gCOIR AN LAE. AN CEANN COMHAIRLE" (Online). Available: http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/DT/D.F.O.191901210003.html (16 January 2009)

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge