New scheme aims to boost use of Irish in business

Awards programme to highlight value of bilingualism

Companies across the country are invited to take part in a new awards programme designed to increase the visibility of Irish and encourage its use in business.

Gradaim Gnó na hÉireann was launched in Dublin on Thursday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin. An annual awards ceremony will be held, with plaques presented to companies for their use of Irish in the areas of signage, branding and marketing as well as Irish-language customer and client service.

The plaques are designed to be displayed either outside or inside the business premises .

"We understand the influence that businesses have on the promotion of the Irish language," said Mr Martin. "When you are doing your shopping, or walking on the streets it is wonderful to see the signage in Irish and to have the opportunity to speak as Gaeilge."

The all-Ireland programme is being managed by Glór na nGael, which provides support for language planning and promotion in business, community and family settings.

The scheme is open to all types of businesses, and more than 200 are expected to participate in the first year, with the initial awards ceremony expected to take place in the last quarter of 2022.

It is hoped that the scheme will act both as a stimulus and a roadmap for companies interested in including Irish as part of their approach with clients and customers, whether on a regular or occasional basis.

"We would hope that the gradam itself will become a recognised symbol of excellence in the use of the Irish language in business and that it will be something that the customer will seek out," said Frainc Mac Cionnaith, enterprise and business development manager with Glór na nGael.

Sixty-two Irish-language community groups registered with Glór na nGael across the country will help implement the scheme. They will register businesses and will also provide them with help and advice.

“We think that businesses will seek it out,” Mr Mac Cionnaith said. “They will recognise that being part of it and having the ‘G’ for Gradam hung outside the front door will attract extra business. There is a community there and wherever there is a community, there’s a business opportunity.”

Interested businesses are invited to register online at gradaim.ie.