Saving the Gaeltacht
A chara, – Your editorial on the plight of the Gaeltacht (June 25th) appeared in the wake of a specially convened congress held in Dublin on June 23rd and organised by the INTO to ballot members on a strategy to support the plight of small schools.
Changes to the staffing schedule for schools with four teachers or fewer, introduced by this Government in its December budget, have been seen by many communities as a threat to the future well-being and viability of their local schools.
Schools that serve the Gaeltacht communities are most at risk. One of the speakers at the congress spoke of her frustration and sadness as she locked the doors of her Donegal Gaeltacht school for the final time last week. The pupils in that school will complete their primary education in a neighbouring school in which Irish is not the primary language of instruction.
This situation is replicated in many Gaeltacht communities. The long-term effect of these closures will be detrimental to both the language and culture of this island. At a time when Irish is being studied by students in university campuses throughout the world, could we as a nation live with the shame of letting it become a “dead language” here at home? Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam. – Is mise,