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  • Pobal proposals

    February 28, 2012 @ 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.)

  • This is not a compulsory post

    February 23, 2011 @ 12:50 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Irish-language groups are still offering Enda Kenny some advice on his Irish-language policy as the campaign draws to a close. Gael Linn boss, Antoine Ó Coileáin, reckons Fine Gael are making a mistake by putting too much emphasis on Irish at Leaving Cert and that the party would be better advised looking for new ways to teach the language.

    Cross-Border body, Foras na Gaeilge, are also in favour of looking at the teaching of Irish but are worried that downgrading Irish could cause “great harm”; they want extra help for teachers.

    Conradh na Gaeilge head honchos are happy to remind Fine Gael in a letter that their (Fine Gael) decision to downgrade the language in the state system in the early 1970s has resulted in the language’s decline in the Department of Education who, ironically, are supposed to support the language.

    The authors note: “The Department of Education once operated almost entirely through Irish. Recent research has shown that of the adult population, born in Ireland and of all levels of education, over 9 percent are Fluent or Very Fluent in Irish. Yet, as a result of Fine Gael’s removal of the status of Irish in 1973 and its replacement by some voluntary incentives, in the Department of Education, which is the state’s primary and most influential cultural agency, and which one must assume has a highly educated workforce, the proportion of staff who can provide a service through Irish is down now to 1.5 percent! That is hardly an advertisement for lowering the status of Irish in the education system.”

    (To which one can only say “Ouch!”)

    Meanwhile up in Donegal, the pressure group Guth na Gaeltachta warns that the Fine Gael policy will cause problems for mná tí whose livelihood depends on students in the summer colleges and will also cause problems for Gaeltacht economic well-being in general. (No summer colleges? Where will the youth of Ireland learn how to snog?)

    One thing not mentioned by the various groups is how Mr Kenny’s decision will play out in the North. I don’t fancy the chances of any Irish-language worker in the fourth green field going up to Nelson McCausland to fund a new project. You can just imagine the response: “Irish? Aren’t the Irish trying to do away with that themselves?”

    Anyway, feel free to offer an opinion – but it is not compulsory.

  • Hearing Heaney

    January 18, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | by Pól Ó Muirí

    This year’s Seamus Heaney Lecture Series at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, is entitled “Hearing Heaney”. Journalist Olivia O’Leary will give the first talk: “Seamus Heaney: part of what we are” on Monday 31st January at 8pm. Lectures will continue each Monday until (and including) 7th March and speakers are writers and academics Vona Groarke, Michael Cronin, Pauric Travers; J.J. Lee and Harry Clifton. Full programme here.

  • Irish language development

    January 11, 2011 @ 11:00 am | by Pól Ó Muirí

    Doctor John Walsh’s new book, Contests and Contexts: the Irish Language and Socio-Economic Development (Peter Lang) will be launched by Professor Peadar Kirby, Friday 28th January, at 6pm in Galway City Museum.

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