Report is ‘damning’ – Sinn Féin
Liadh Ní Riada ‘heartbroken’ by Gaeltacht study
Liadh Ní Riada, MEP. photograph: dara mac dónaill/the irish times
Sinn Féin MEP, Liadh Ní Riada, has described the Údarás na Gaeltachta report into the use of Irish in the Gaeltacht as “a damning indictment” of successive governments’ failures and believes that the current Government has “no interest in the survival of the Irish language”.
She said: “As a woman from a Gaeltacht community, I find all of this to be utterly heartbreaking. As an Irish citizen, I regard it as shameful. As we embark on a programme to commemorate the vision and courage of those who declared the Irish Republic in 1916, this is a damning indictment of successive governments who have abjectly failed to deliver on a core objective of those revolutionaries: the survival and development of the Irish language as a spoken vernacular.
“Far from enhancing and developing the status of spoken Irish in Gaeltacht communities, the strategies implemented by those in power failed abysmally to achieve any appreciable improvement … in fact we have seen the reverse. Where we needed sustained commitment to the language from political leaders, we got tokenism and stroke politics instead. Given this lack of commitment to our Irish language community by those in power and given the lack of thought-out and measurable strategies over many years, is it any wonder that things are so bad? It is extremely worrying and God only knows how bad things will get if this Government is re-elected.”
She said that the former language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin had resigned due to a lack of Government support; that there had been “a shocking reluctance” to implement the 20-year language strategy and that the Government had failed to lift the language derogation in the EU. She said that investment in the language was “minimal”.
She was heartened that the majority of people were supportive of the language, that people were setting up Gaelscoileanna and that many activists were promoting the language throughout Ireland.
Nonetheless, she was “heartbroken that we have reached a stage where the very survival of Irish as the spoken vernacular in Gaeltacht communities is doubtful. This is a cultural crisis and decisive action needs to be taken immediately to address it … The alternative – the inevitable death of the Gaeltacht – is a scenario that we are duty-bound to resist”.