‘Listen To The Public, Taoiseach’ – Conradh na Gaeilge
Compulsory English ‘wrong’
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, president of Conradh na Gaeilge
President of Conradh na Gaeilge, Mr Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, has said today that they were not questioning the ability of the new Minister of State, Mr Joe McHugh, and that “we wish him every success in the future as a Minister of State. We are, however, questioning the Taoiseach’s decision to assign Gaeltacht Affairs to him when he is not proficient in the language. This is neither fair on the new Minister of State nor on the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community”.
Conradh na Gaeilge organised a protest in Dublin today to highlight their concerns over Mr McHugh’s ability to conduct Government business in Irish. General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Mr Julian de Spáinn, said that they understood that the Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny, had a “huge interest” in Irish but that “the Government must serve the Irish language and Gaeltacht community better in Irish. The Taoiseach should therefore, even at this late stage, assign responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs to another Minister of State who has previously demonstrated their proficiency in the Irish language...”
Mr de Spáinn said that having someone who was not proficient in Irish lowered the status of the language amongst Irish speakers and the Gaeltacht community. The decision displayed “a total lack of prioritising the needs of the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht community in the agenda of the current Government. It is wrong that the Irish-language and Gaeltacht community will be forced to use English when dealing with the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs in the future.”