Dublin's new Lord Mayor, Sinn Féin's Críona Ní Dhálaigh, has said that she wants to see the establishment of an Irish-language "hub'" in the city that would attract Irish speakers and tourists alike.
She also said she intended to go by the title “Ardmhéara” during her time as Lord Mayor.
Speaking to The Irish Times today, Ms Ní Dhálaigh said that one of her aims in the coming year is to normalise and integrate the use of Irish in daily life in Dublin and to make it more visible and prominent.
She said that she was supporting Conradh na Gaeilge’s proposal “to create a dynamic and innovative Irish-language centre” that would provide services for Irish speakers, for those with an interest in the language and for visitors to the city in their headquarters on Harcourt Street in Dublin.
She said that she believed such a venture would be of great encouragement to those who spoke the language and that it would also offer a “unique selling point” for tourists.
She said that it was always “difficult” to find money for projects, but a centre would provide a place for learners, fluent Irish speakers and for those whose Irish had fallen into disuse.
Ms Ní Dhálaigh said that, growing up in one of the few Irish-speaking families in a working-class area, she felt the city had been “cold” to Irish speakers.
However, she said that that was not the case anymore.
Ms Ní Dhálaigh urged businesses to put up signs in Irish and wanted children at Gaelscoileanna to know that the language was spoken outside of the school gates.
Ms Ní Dhálaigh also said that she intended to introduce herself as “Ardmhéara” in place of Lord Mayor, as the term was gender free and she was uncomfortable with being described as a “lord”.
Speaking on the proposal for a “hub”, the general secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge, Mr Julian de Spáinn, told The Irish Times today that their aim was to develop their headquarters into a “focal” point for locals and visitors alike.
He said that they were in a position to provide services to all those who wanted to speak Irish or to find out about the language in the city and to “influence” the use of Irish amongst businesses in the area.