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  • Foras meets and greets

    February 29, 2012 @ 11:45 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    A group of international language experts have written an open letter to the newspapers in which they have attacked Foras na Gaeilge  for its plans to introduce a New Funding Model to promote Irish.

    The experts believe the model is “deeply flawed and will prove detrimental to the development of Irish”. They argue that foras “have not carried out any review of the effectiveness, or the efficiency of the Irish language organisations, and their proposal is completely at odds with international language planning principles”. They want “a permanent funding structure, based on strategic planning and long-term goals, for the Irish language voluntary sector”.

    Foras issued a statement to The Irish Times yesterday, saying they had read the letter and had invited the experts to meet with them. They would not comment on the proposed funding model in case they influenced the ongoing public consultation on the subject.

    Under the model, schemes rather than individual organisations will be funded. Foras say it will result in more Irish for your euro; 19 groups affected say it will destroy the voluntary sector and its work.

    And talking of consultations. That process was to start at the beginning of January and end at the beginning of April. As part of the consultation process, FnaG will hold public meetings in:
    Meadowlands Hotel, Trá Lí, Co Kerry, Monday 5th March, 7pm
    Cultúrlann MacAdam-Ó Fiaich, Belfast, Thursday, 8th March, 7pm.
    Páirc Mionlach Hotel, Galway, Monday, 12th March, 7pm
    Foras na Gaeilge HQ, Merrion Square, Dublin, Wednesday 14th March, 7pm.

    It all seems very late and I have not seen any great publicity campaign to alert people to these meetings. Certainly, I did not receive any press release and found these, by chance, on FnaG’s website. One wonders how well attended they will be and how exactly these meetings will inform the final decision on the new funding arrangement.

  • Tribes and tongues

    February 28, 2012 @ 4:38 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    A book which offers “an analysis of Irish speakers’ contemporary experience of social bilingualism” will be launched in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway, this Monday (March 6th) at 6pm. An Chonair Chaoch: an Mionteangachas sa Dátheangachas (Leabhar Breac) is edited by Ciarán Lenoach, Conchúr Ó Giollagáin and Brian Ó Curnáin.

    They argue that “the current experience of bilingualism in minority communities is socially and linguistically beneficial to the majority language while simultaneously undermining the social basis of the minority language and its ethnolinguistic resilience”.

  • Pobal proposals

    @ 4:27 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    The Belfast-based group, Pobal, held an advice session today on the development of a plan to promote the Irish language in Northern Ireland.

    Their draft report contains proposals on education, communication, legislation and the arts.

    The group believe that the Department of Education in the North should have a dedicated unit to deal with Gaelscolaíocht and Irish in English-language schools. They also argue that there is “an urgent and crucial need for a policy to ensure continuity in the teaching of Irish between primary and post-primary levels”.

    They want the Irish-language Broadcasting Fund strengthened and made permanent, more television and radio programmes on the BBC and an online mag for youth.

    The group argue that “bilingual road signs must be introduced on main routes in the north within an agreed timescale, as well as bilingual signage at entry and exit points into cities, towns and villages”.

    They intend to present their updated proposals to the North’s culture minister, Carál Ní Chuilín.

  • A drama in any language

    @ 1:48 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Belfast-based theatre company, Aisling Ghéar, will premiere Gary Mitchell’s play, Love Matters, tomorrow (Wednesday 29th Feb) at 8pm in Cultúrlann MacAdam-Ó Fiaich, Belfast. Play will be there Thursday night too before transferring to the Lyric Theatre in south Belfast. It will run in the Lyric between Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, March, and will be in the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, between Tuesday 6th March until Saturday 10th March.

    Mitchell is well known for his work which explores loyalist working-class life. Love Matters “is a romantic, tragic-comedy set in Rathcoole” with a feud between the police and paramilitaries as a backdrop. The play is in Irish but simultaneous translation to English is available.

  • Irish online

    February 21, 2012 @ 4:48 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Comedian and, indeed, fear grinn, Des Bishop, will launch AbairLeat! an online Irish-language service which aims to take the language out of the classroom and to let participants use it in day-to-day situations. The site’s founder, Míchéal Ó Foighil, hopes that it will be of use to adult learners, 2nd and 3rd level students and professionals in the sector. AbairLeat! will be launched with a live demonstration Monday, 27th February, at 10am in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

  • Pobal proposals

    @ 11:11 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    The language group, Pobal, will be finalising their Strategic Framework for the Irish Language in Northern Ireland, Tuesday, 28th February, at 9.45am in Saint Mary’s University, College, Belfast. The group have prepared a number of proposals for promoting Irish in the North and this meeting will give interested parties the chance to comment before the completed document is forwarded to the relevant politicians. Info from eolasATpobal.org

  • Welsh worries

    February 14, 2012 @ 1:50 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Short piece on the BBC on a report by the Welsh Language Board who say that the language is losing 3,000 fluent speakers a year due to death and people leaving Wales. 6,500 Welsh speakers die annually and another 5,200 leave Wales. Those losses are not made up by adult learners or children learning the language or being raised with Welsh. Report says that approximately 300,000 people say they speak the language fluently.

    300,000 fluent speakers! That’s not bad – and they are better at rugby than us too!

  • Government not serious about 20 year strategy?

    @ 11:03 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Government does for the independence of Language Commissioner – and there has still been no satisfactory explanation for that – then cuts grants to help student teachers spend a bit of time in the Gaeltacht to learn the language they are supposed to teach, lets Foras na Gaeilge and Irish-language voluntary groups drift without leadership, is in no great rush to save the Gaeltacht and has a Minister of State in charge of the language. Does anyone think this Government is serious about the 20-year strategy?

  • Irish books in English

    @ 10:56 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Two books that might interest those of you who don’t speak Irish but have an interest in literature – Twisted Truths: stories from the Irish (Cló Iar-Chonnacht), stories selected by Brian Ó Conchubhair with a foreword by Colm Tóibín and May You Die in Ireland/Bás in Éirinn (ULTACH Trust), edited by Aodán Mac Póilin and Róise Ní Bhaoill.

    Ó Conchubhair’s book has 22 stories by contemporary writers and is an English-language only book, ie, no facing Irish-language text. Mac Póilin/Ní Bhaoill book has seven stories with the usual Irish and English cheek to cheek approach and has the likes of Pádraic Ó Conaire and Seosamh Mac Grianna in the mix.

    Both books have very fine introductions in English and are well worth reading.

    (ps. Yes, I have not gone away, you know.)


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