The use of the Irish language is on the increase among non-native speakers who live outside of Gaeltacht areas.

A growing number of urban families, miles from any Gaeltacht, are making Irish the first language used at home.

Máire ní Choileáin and Ciarán Ó Feinneadha and their children are one family living in an urban environment who have embraced the Irish language.

Even the family dog understands the cúpla focail.

This has been a good week for the Irish language as Ministers for State Éamon Ó Cuív and Mary Coughlan lent their support to these families with the launch of 'Learning Irish At Home, A Guide For Parents'. The Gaelscoil is undoubtedly very important for these families.

It’s the jewel in the crown of the Irish language movement.

There are currently 139 all Irish primary schools with 23,000 students, with numbers growing every year.

Irish language schools were originally established for families who spoke Irish at home. However, now this has changed and many of those attending Gaelscoileanna are children who speak English as their first language.

According to census figures, less than three per cent of the population consider themselves to be native Irish speakers. The number who speak Irish daily is just over 363,600, including all children at school. With the Gaeltacht now in decline, the future of the language may now lie with those outside Gaeltacht areas.

Fionnuala Ní Chaisil, Public Relations Officer for Gaelscoileanna says that the time has come to broaden the scope for the Irish language.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 June 2001. The reporter is Sharon Ní Bheoláin.