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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 25, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    Commissioner lays down the law

    Pól Ó Muirí

    Language Commissioner, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, launched his annual report in Galway yesterday. The content of that document is the subject of Seán Tadhg Ó Gairbhí’s report in today’s Tuarascáil in The Irish Times. The commissioner highlights the failings of the State in providing Irish-language services to those who want to use them – including gardaí who cannot speak Irish though based in the Donegal Gaeltacht; the failure of Government departments to implement language schemes and the civil service’s failure to award bonus marks to candidates with competence in Irish and English in internal recruitment competitions.

    Ó Cuirreáin also says that Irish in the Gaeltacht is at its most “fragile” ever and that the State cannot expect that Irish will continue as a community language if it forces English on those same communities in its official dealings with them.

    Ó Gairbhí puts all this in the context of the Government’s 20-year strategy for Irish and asks how can Irish speakers use Irish if the people they want and, indeed, need to use Irish with, can’t speak the language?

    He also notes  tomorrow’s launch of two programmes by the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley, who will announce the new Family Support Programme for Irish-speaking families and a planning programme involving six linguistic areas as part of the 20 year strategy.

    Irish-language groups are not happy with Ó Cuirreáin’s report. President of Conradh na Gaeilge, Donnchadh Ó hAodha, says “the state sector lacks the capability to adequately meet the needs and address the rights of Irish speakers; indeed it would seem that Irish speakers are rapidly losing confidence in the state sector’s commitment to the language at all”.

    While acting director of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, Kevin de Barra, says the report shows “massive shortfalls in the implementation of the Official Languages Act” and criticises the “reluctance” of public bodies  to “fully implement schemes”. This reluctance must be addressed as “a matter of urgency”.

    • Declan Fitzsimons says:

      Let’s have a referendum on whether or not we should continue to spend €1 Billion per annum (or €20 Billion over the life of the ILS) teaching and promoting Irish. It is truly amazing that this amount of taxpayers money is spent with such demonstrably poor results after 90 years of compulsion in our Education system. Examples of this include: Census 2011 which officially puts Polish as our second language after English; the 0.7% market share of RNaG; the 3% market share of TG4 which continues to broadcast the majority of its content in English; the commercial failure of Foinse; the winding down of MFG; the difficulties being experienced by Gaelsceal; the very poor response to Brod Club; the very poor standard of Irish on Brod Club; the fact that students revert to English as soon as they leave the school gates of the Gaelscoileanna and Schools in Gaeltacht areas etc etc etc
      Now we have Eamon O’Cuiv, who many residents of the Gaeltacht believe caused untold damage to the ‘revival’, looking to have a linguistic assessment of the impact of creating jobs on the Aran Islands if a high-end fish farming and processing business is located there.
      Seriously, it is time to get real.

    • Ewan Duffy says:

      You know, we even allow non English speakers in the country too! Someone should stop it.

    • Tony says:

      Amen to that Declan. We have more than enough vested interests looking for financial hand-outs in this country. We need a lot less of that sort of thing, not more.

    • Brian Bocht says:

      This Irish language imperialim has been stuffed down our throats since the foundation of the State. Leave it to the enthusiasts and let the rest of us get on with our lives in our native language, the language our parents spoke, the language we learned naturally.Our schools were deliberately staffed with teachers whose only selection criteria was their ability in Irish, like.wise the entire Civil Service. In more recent times we have seen all roadsigns and direction signs in public offices displayed by law in bilingual signage.Who actually needs this propagation, who needs bus signs as Gaeilge in Dublin where you still might have to ask a foreign born driver “Does this bus go to Kimmage” in English on a dark wet rush hour evening.
      It is jut foolish to continue with this cultural immersion effort.Try getting a job in Australia or Canada on the strength of your Irish langauge abilities and see all the doors it opens, yes, the exit doors.
      Translation compliments of Google.
      Tá an imperialim Gaeilge curtha ar líonta síos ár scornach ó bunaíodh an Stát. É a fhágáil faoi na díograiseoirí agus lig an chuid eile againn a fháil ar a bhfuil ár saol in ár dteanga dhúchais, an teanga a labhair ár dtuismitheoirí, an teanga a fhoghlaim muid scoileanna naturally.Our bhí foireann d’aon ghnó le múinteoirí a bhfuil ach critéir roghnúcháin a bhí ar a gcumas sa Ghaeilge, like.wise na Seirbhíse Sibhialta ar fad. Tá i bhfad níos mó le déanaí atá feicthe againn go léir bóthair agus comharthaí treo in oifigí poiblí ar taispeáint de réir an dlí i signage.Who dátheangach riachtanais iarbhír an iomadú, a bheidh ag teastáil comharthaí bus as Gaeilge i mBaile Átha Cliath nuair a d’fhéadfadh a bheith agat fós a iarraidh ar thiománaí coigríche a rugadh An bhfuil “an bus téigh go dtí Chamaí “i mBéarla ar tráthnóna faoi dheifir dorcha fliuch uair an chloig.
      Tá sé amadanach chun leanúint ar aghaidh leis an effort.Try tumoideachais cultúrtha post a fháil san Astráil, Ceanada, nó ar an neart do chumais trí Ghaeilge ón réamhscolaíocht go léir agus na doirse osclaíonn sé, tá, na doirse scoir a fheiceáil.

    • Dónall Chaoimhín says:

      Whether you like it or not, The Irish Language and not the English langauge or Polish or Chinise, is the First Official Langauge of the state and the only indigenous langauge on this island. We therefore have a constitutional obligation to protect the langauge and promote it. The benefits of the language and the culture assosiated with can be clearly seen. If we look at the Arann Islands which have over one million people visiting per year while somewhere like Inis Toirc, Clare Island or even remote parts of Counties Tipparary or Sligo have barely any tourist industry. This is of course because there is a community who have something different to offer.

      Besides this, it has been shown in many postcolonial states that the native population (that is you and me of course) often become the colonisers themselves and attempt to finish off the work the original colinisers began (the English in our case). This often includes deminishing their own language and saying that the language of the colonisers is better and that we would be better off adopting it. Its quite a strange thing really and there is some of it in us all – what we should rather do is try to re-educate ourselves and find out how our colonial past has affected our view of ourselves and of our culture and how our prejudices are conected with this.

      Ireland was the first country in the world to try to revive its native langauge and despite the failings you mentioned, there have been successes too, including the very survival of the langauge into the twenty first century and the creation of a modern literature and media culture within that language.

      Ireland has been used as a model throughout the world on how to protect minority langauges and linguistic divergence. And I think we should be proud of this.

    • Dónall Chaoimhín says:

      PS. Please excuse the spelling mistakes – I mostly write in Irish

    • an goban saor says:

      As a matter of interest would Tony and Declan like to articulate their view of Irish society, and state funding for all cultural activity given their above comments?

    • Pa H. says:

      @Declan Fitzsimons: Hurrah! Mc Donalds for everyone. And, everybody, get in a straight line.

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