Survey finds majority favours provision of services in Irish

Nationwide Millward Brown opinion poll measured attitudes towards Irish language

The Millward Brown poll  found that 70 per cent of those surveyed in the South and  54 per cent  in the North favour services in Irish being provided to those who wish to avail of them. Photograph: Getty Images

The Millward Brown poll found that 70 per cent of those surveyed in the South and 54 per cent in the North favour services in Irish being provided to those who wish to avail of them. Photograph: Getty Images

 

A majority of citizens surveyed across Ireland favour the provision of State services in Irish for those who wish to choose them, according to the results of an opinion poll released this week.

The poll, conducted on behalf of Conradh na Gaeilge by research company Millward Brown, asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Services provided by the State should be made available through Irish for those who wish to use them.”

It found that 70 per cent of participants in the South believe services in Irish should be provided with 13 per cent opposed.

In the North, 54 per cent of those who were asked a similar question were in favour of services in Irish being provided with 26 per cent opposed.

Pollsters surveyed the opinions of over 1,000 adults aged over 15 in the Republic and over 1,000 adults aged over 16 in Northern Ireland.

Among other topics covered in the wide-ranging poll was respondents’ understanding and ability to speak Irish.

A significant difference was identified between those who are confident in their ability to understand Irish and those who have confidence in their ability to speak it.

When asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “I am confident in my ability to understand Irish,” 35 per cent of participants in the South said they are confident in their ability to understand the language compared to just 8 per cent in the North.

In the South, 26 per cent of participants agreed with the statement “I am confident in my ability to speak Irish,” compared to 5 per cent in the North.

The poll found that 44 per cent of those surveyed in the South would like to have the opportunity to learn more Irish, while 29 per cent of those surveyed in the North are interested in doing so.

Commenting on the poll findings, Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, president of Conradh na Gaeilge said the results “are of historical significance”. He said they show the degree of cross-community support for the language both north and south of the Border.

General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge Julian De Spáinn, said the findings highlighted how essential it is to protect language rights. Calling on both Irish and British governments to provide state services “of equal quality” in Irish to those that wish to use them. He also called for an end to the derogation of Irish as an official working language at the EU.