The dwindling Gaeltacht
Sir, – After 93 years of self-government, it would appear that we can’t save the Irish language by formal education or appeals to patriotism or cultural pride.
So instead let’s appeal to baser instincts and pay people to give up English and use Irish instead.
To compensate for the loss of English, every man, woman and child, who is a permanent resident in a Gaeltacht, would receive €10,000 per year, tax-free, from the government. This amounts to 0.5 per cent of GDP – a small price to pay to save our language.
That’s the carrot, here’s the stick. We make it illegal for residents to use English inside a Gaeltacht. No English-language books or newspapers to be sold inside the Gaeltacht areas. All English-language broadcasts on TV or radio to be blocked. No phone or internet services using English. Any resident recorded using English inside a Gaeltacht would lose their €10,000 payment for the following year.
Those residents who are unhappy with this arrangement and who wish to leave a Gaeltacht would be given generous compensation. Anyone wishing to move to a Gaeltacht could apply for substantial re-settlement grants. Problem sorted. – Yours, etc,