The Gaels gather
Pól Ó Muirí
The Gaels gather in Galway. February’s Tóstal na Gaeilge grows ever closer with the organisers, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, announcing that Professor Colin Williams, Cardiff University, and Doctors Conchúr Ó Giollagáin and Brian Ó Curnáin will give the major talks during the weekend which will take the theme “Ó Aidhm go Feidhm” (From Aim to Action). Williams, a Welsh speaker, will give the keynote address on language planning, a subject on which he is an expert, having worked on the Welsh national language plan. Ó Giollagáin and Ó Curnáin have already written in this newspaper about their concern that the Government’s 20 year strategy, with its emphasis on bilingualism, will have a detrimental effect on the native Irish-speaking communities in the Gaeltacht.
It will be interesting to see what mention is made of the cross-Border body, Foras na Gaeilge, in the talks, both formal and informal. It would have been too much to expect that Comhdháil (who are funded by Foras na Gaeilge) could have organised a session on Foras. However, given that FnaG reached its 10th birthday in December 2009, thus marking a decade of inertia and incoherence, it is pity that their remit will not scrutinised in a dedicated talk. FnaG is the linguistic elephant in the room. They fund virtually every aspect of the voluntary language sector outside of the Gaeltacht and their cheque book and decisions will have an impact on much of what happens in the foreseeable future in terms of both aim and action.