Carey hits all the right notes
Pól Ó Muirí
New Minister for the Gaeltacht, Pat Carey, made his first official visit to Conamara on Monday. His comments in Tuarascáil today seem to hit all the right notes to me. He emphasises the importance of the Government’s 20-year language strategy and the need for cross-party support and the support of Irish-language groups. Good too to see him stressing the role of the Gaeltacht while giving recognition to those outside its limits who speak the language. It’s a delicate balancing act but I am old fashioned enough to believe that if there is no Gaeltacht then there is no point carrying on.
Noted too in today’s Irish Times that 1,326 students who were granted an exemption from Leaving Cert Irish still intend to sit an exam in another European language. That brought to mind my own ill-fated year studying German at university. My sorry lack of progress earned me a meeting with the head of the department. Says Herr Professor: “I have been in contact with the Department of Celtic Studies and they tell me that you are doing excellent work in Irish.” Herr Professor pauses for dramatic effect. “I just don’t understand that – Irish is much harder than German.”