Good news and bad news
Pól Ó Muirí
Not too often that you get some good news on the Irish-language front. The plans Coláiste na bhFiann have to establish a dedicated youth centre for Irish-speaking youngsters is certainly a good news moment. It is a big project in which Coláiste na bhFiann are to invest €3 million of their own money in developing a former agricultural college (complete with 20 acres) in Meath into a state-of-the-art facility where pupils from gaelscoileanna and those learning Irish can use Irish in a welcoming and fun environment outside of school. The group aim to touch all the needs of modern youth with the best tech and out-door pursuits on the programme. Speaking with the group’s CEO, Caitríona Ní Cheallaigh, I was struck by her drive and the energy that she and her organisation are putting into this project. It has the potential to be a first-class enterprise and one which would greatly benefit young Irish speakers.
So that’s the good news. And the bad news? Well, the staff of the 19 voluntary Irish-language groups funded by Foras na Gaeilge face an anxious time as the review of their work and remit gathers pace. The groups had a meeting last Friday and finalised proposals for any future re-structuring. Foras’s board will meet this Friday to discuss them and the North/South Ministerial Council will then chew the linguistic fat this day week. What does the future hold? Cue the theme tune from Jaws…
(It is a pity that TG4 cannot broadcast the whole thing as a reality show: Save Your Eagras – part X-Factor, part The Weakest Link, part Big Bráthair. I am sure the public would like to have a vote on their favourite Irish-language group and I know who I would happily vote out!)