YFG proposal on Irish criticised


A resolution passed at last weekend’s Young Fine Gael national conference in Tullamore calling for the removal of Irish as a compulsory subject in the Leaving Certificate has been criticised by Fianna Fáil.

The motion, proposed by Young Fine Gael’s Wexford branch, called on Fine Gael “to live up to its election promise and remove Irish as a compulsory subject in the Leaving Certificate.”

Fianna Fáil spokesman on Justice, Equality and Defence Dara Calleary said Fine Gael’s policy “to downgrade Irish” within the education system was “not helpful” and would threaten the work carried out by the Irish language movement.

He said: “The continuation of this policy by Fine Gael to downgrade Irish within the education system has no merit and threatens to undo the significant work that has been carried out, particularly through the Gaelscoil movement, to increase Irish usage in our communities.”

Mr Calleary said Fine Gael was intent on damaging progress made in advancing the language in recent years and criticised the party’s “lack of enthusiasm” for the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2012-2030 which aims to increase the number of people speaking Irish on a daily basis from 83,000 to 250,000.

“This is unfortunate and the message coming from within Fine Gael is a very bleak one for the Irish language”, Mr Calleary said.

The Fianna Fáil TD called on Fine Gael TDs to publically state whether they are in favour of the Young Fine Gael motion.

The proposal was criticised by language and Gaeltacht community groups last year prompting a number of Fine Gael election candidates to express their disquiet at the plan.

In February students marched on Fine Gael headquarters and handed in a petition signed by more than 15,000 students opposed to the measure.