Conradh na Gaeilge welcomed the first breakdown as to the size and the make up of the Irish language community according to the 2006 census that was recently published by the Central Statistics Office. There is a very healthy demographic amongst the 85,000 daily Irish speakers. Young people are the biggest group speaking Irish outside of the education system.
In addition 1,656,790 people declared that they have the ability to speak Irish. The biggest challenge is to motivate these people who have the ability and goodwill in order that they speak Irish on a daily basis.
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "Conradh na Gaeilge is at the forefront in communities throughout the country which are providing opportunities to use Irish, from a conversation group in the law library to the variety of events organised during Seachtain na Gaeilge. To this end the Government must normalise the use of Irish in public and private life at a visual level, with signage and with advertising, by providing more services in Irish and by leading by example and using Irish themselves.
The number of people who declared that they can't speak Irish highlights the urgency to overhaul the teaching of Irish in the education system by an increased emphasis on the spoken language and teaching through Irish as proposed by Conradh na Gaeilge."
The breakdown by the Central Statistics Office between those that use Irish everyday in the educational system only and those who use it outside of the system will help to set ambitious but realisable targets in the Government's 20 year Irish language strategy, i.e. targets that can be continually assessed by reference to the census results every four years.
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 087 2368364
Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 086 8142757