Government criticised over Irish language strategy

Thursday 19 September 2013 19.01
Éamon Ó Cuív was minister for the gaeltacht when the strategy was announced
Éamon Ó Cuív was minister for the gaeltacht when the strategy was announced

The Government has been criticised for a lack of progress on implementing the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

Conradh na Gaeilge General Secretary Julian de Spáinn told an Oireachtas Subcommittee that the Conradh's submissions show a very slow pace in the implementation.

He said that there are many faults and deficiencies in the State's structures in doing this, with one being the reduction in the budget for Irish language bodies and agencies such as Udarás na Gaeltachta.

Some of the sharpest criticisms came from former minister for the gaeltacht Éamon Ó Cuív, who was in office when the last government announced the strategy in early 2010.

He said that there was a commitment from his government to implement the strategy in full and that any parts of the strategy which could not be fully-costed and were not realistic were committed before it was published.

Mr Ó Cuív also said that the strategy proposed a full senior minister for the Gaeltacht to oversee the strategy's implementation.

Mr de Spáínn said that the Government blatantly missed an opportunity to symbolically show its commitment to the strategy by continuously referring in English only to new State agencies such as Irish Water.

It also rejected adopting a new Irish language-only taxi sign, he said.

He warned of the Government's plan for the adoption of English placenames for postal codes.

Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín criticised the 'freezing' or 'reduction' in funding for TG4 and questioned when the public would get a new Irish language newspaper since Foras na Gaeilge ended its funding for Gaelscéal.

Mr Ó Cuív raised concerns about the teaching of Irish in schools and said that the vast majority of primary teachers cannot hold a conversation in the language and that the teaching system has failed.

He asked why new naval ships are no longer being name after Irishwomen, but rather after English-language authors.

He recommended the appointment of auditors to examine the financial implementation of the strategy.

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