[lg policy] Irish language declining faster than thought

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat May 30 14:14:46 UTC 2015

Irish language declining faster than thought
Saturday, May 30, 2015
by Niall Murray

The Government is being urged to provide resources for language development
as research reveals that the use of Irish is declining faster than
previously thought in Gaeltacht areas.

The study for Údarás na Gaeltachta compared the social use of the language
based on data from the 2006 and 2011 censuses. It found that two thirds of
the population speak Irish daily in just 21 of 155 Gaeltacht areas
examined, down from 24, and mostly in the Cois Farraige and south Connemara
districts of Galway, in Corca Dhuibhne in Kerry and in north-west Donegal.

But the 26 communities in the medium category of daily use include many
that have improved, particularly in the Dingle peninsula and Cork’s
Muskerry Gaeltacht.

Authors Conchúr Ó Giollagáin and Martin Charlton said the erosion of Irish
in the Gaeltacht is happening far faster than a 2007 study had warned, and
it would be hard to argue it will be the main language anywhere in the
Gaeltacht in 10 years’ time.

Conradh na Gaeilge said the Government needs to provide enough resources to
implement a strong, courageous and comprehensive policy with a proper
Gaeltacht education policy; adequate funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta and
the new community language planning system, and support for Gaeltacht

An Údarás spokesperson said the findings provide a reference for continuing
work to implement the 20-year language strategy, but recent Department of
Education Gaeltacht policy and statements in support of the language by
Taoiseach Enda Kenny were welcome. She said mothers and fathers who decide
to raise their children through Irish are the real language planners.


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