Support for Irish Language Continues to Grow

But public opinion that the Governments aren’t doing enough for the language has also increased considerably

Conradh na Gaeilge welcomed the independent all-island research report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) today (Friday, 7 August 2015), which indicates that a positive general attitude to the Irish language has grown in the south from 49% in 2001 to 67% in 2013, and in the north from 29% in 2001 to 45% in 2013. The same report demonstrates that there has also been an increase in the amount of people throughout the island that believes the Governments are not doing enough for the Irish language, from 15% in 2001 to 37% in 2013 in the south and from 15% in 2001 to 29% in 2013 in the north, and Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Governments to take action to uphold the rights of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community as they should.

Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:


“The ESRI report cites the lack of opportunities to use Irish as one of the main obstacles faced by people with some knowledge of the language in using their Irish more often, and while voluntary groups and individuals that provide opportunities for people to use the language are to be highly commended, Governments and state bodies have a role to play in supporting them in delivering even more opportunities such as these to the public.


“This also illustrates the importance of developing Irish-language centres across the country, as stated in The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language in the south, as a way to offer more regular, practical opportunities for people to use whatever Irish they have. The Governments have the chance to act upon the recommendations listed in the ESRI survey and deliver what is needed to the public to enable them to use the language, by building on the positive general attitude towards the Irish language and providing additional opportunities to them to use Irish, north and south.”

Governments as far back as 2001 were not doing enough to adequately support the Irish language, according to the survey respondents referred to in the ESRI research report published today; 15% of those surveyed in 2001 were of the opinion that the Governments were not doing enough for the Irish language, a percentage that increased noticeably to 37% in the south and to 29% in the north in 2013.

Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge says:


“Conradh na Gaeilge believes that these statistics are a wake-up call for the Governments that must be acted upon immediately on behalf of the language. Amongst the recommendations alluded to in the ESRI report for example, there is a suggestion that Irish should be used more frequently as the language of instruction and as a subject itself in schools north and south. This concurs with Conradh na Gaeilge’s recommendations that one subject – such as PE, art, or drama for example, and in addition to Irish itself – should be taught through the medium of Irish in primary schools in the south, while languages should be included as STEM subjects at GCSE Level in the Six Counties so as to encourage the option of teaching Irish in the north.


“Conradh na Gaeilge also recommends the urgent implementation of the development plan as agreed by Irish-language organisations and authorities, a plan which recommends the provision of more support for parents raising families through Irish, the development of Irish-language centres in cities and towns across the country, and the provision of resources to enable the Gaeltacht communities to prepare and implement language plans.”

Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Governments north and south to build on the positive results of the Economic and Social Research Institute’s research report, and to further foster the good will of the public towards the Irish language towards enabling people to use the language more often on a day-to-day basis.

The ESRI report on the attitudes to, the use of, and the competency in the Irish language on the island of Ireland is based on the information gathered as part of two all-island surveys commissioned by Foras na Gaeilge in 2001 with Research and Evaluation Services, and in 2013 with Amárach Research.

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge