Conradh na Gaeilge is giving the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community a chance to air their anger and disillusionment with the current state of affairs at a public meeting in Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Dublin tomorrow, Saturday, 11 January 2014, at 12.00. The meeting is being organised in response to the crisis created by The Language Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s announcement that he would be stepping down on 24 February 2014 as a result of the lack of engagement he has received from the Government. Decisions will be made at the meeting to coordinate a campaign of action to further the recommendations of Ó Cuirreáin, recommendations ignored by the Government to date.
Included among the guest speakers on the day are Seán Mag Leannáin, former Principle Officer in the Civil Service, who will speak at Saturday’s meeting and Caoimhín Ó hEaghra, Director of An Foras Pátrúnachta, who will chair this public forum.
As part of his speech on the day, Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge will say:
"The resignation of An Coimisinéir Teanga Seán Ó Cuirreáin is indicative of what has been happening to the Irish language and to the Gaeltacht in recent years. An Coimisinéir Teanga did not decide to step down because he lacked the will or the competence to do the job – indeed the Irish-speaking community has full confidence and faith in the Language Commissioner’s ability and he has achieved great things during his time as Commissioner – but the reason he is resigning, and felt he didn’t have a any choice in the matter, is because neither the Government nor senior management in the civil service were willing to listen to him or to take the recommendations he made on board."
The Conradh na Gaeilge meeting this Saturday will discuss the following demands, based on the recommendations of An Coimisinéir Teanga and others to ensure language rights and equality for Irish:
- That the Official Languages Act 2003 be strengthened, not weakened in 2014; this includes the retention and strengthening of an independent Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga;
- That a deadline be set by which employees of the State dealing with the Gaeltacht community must have fluent Irish, without condition or question;
- That the recruitment quota for people with competency in Irish in the public service in the south must be increased from 6% to 30% for the next 10 years;
- That the derogation of the status of Irish as an official language of the European Union not be renewed after 1 January 2017; and
- That the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community be recognised as stakeholders in the implementation of The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030 in the south and in the Irish-Language Strategy in the north.
Donnchadh Ó hAodha, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:
"It is a shame that the Government in the south is consistently turning a blind eye to the recommendations of An Coimisinéir Teanga and Irish speakers. An adequate official structure needs to be put in place where the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community can get a satisfactory hearing in the future. Furthermore, we believe that the Governments are missing out on the value and on the advantages that the Irish language brings to this country, be those economic or educational advantages, benefits of self-identity or uniqueness, or other ways. The Irish language has an important role to play in overcoming the problems this country faces, all she needs is the appropriate support."
Donnchadh Ó hAodha,
President, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)87 2421267 / +353 (0)1 4757401
Julian de Spáinn,
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge
+353 (0)86 8142757 / +353 (0)1 4757401
Date: 10 January 2014
For immediate release
NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:
Conradh na Gaeilge Demands:
- The Official Languages Act 2003 must be strengthened, not weakened in 2014; this includes the retention and strengthening of an independent Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga.
- A deadline must be set by which employees of the State dealing with the Gaeltacht community must have fluent Irish, without condition or question – native Irish speakers should not be forced to conduct their business in English with state agencies.
- The recruitment quota for people with competency in both Irish in the public service must be increased from 6% to 30% within the next 10 years – under the new system envisaged by the Government, it would take over 28 years to increase the percentage of staff with competence in Irish in the Department of Education and Skills from the current 1.5% to 3%.
- The derogation of the status of Irish as an official language of the European Union should be done away with after 1 January 2017.
- The Irish-language and Gaeltacht community must be recognised as stakeholders in the implementation of The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010 – 2030 in the south and in the Irish-Language Strategy in the north. It is imperative that the crucial high-level structures between authorities and Irish-language community organisations is established immediately.
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community working to promote the language. There are over 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. Conradh na Gaeilge runs Irish courses in Dublin, Galway and other locations across the country. www.cnag.ie/courses