Andersonstown News 03 Nollaig Brónach Ní Thuama
Report is a ‘wake-up call’ for both governments
Leading West Belfast Irish language activist Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh has welcomed the findings of the most recent Conradh na Gaeilge survey into the availability of state-services for Irish speakers.
The newly launched research indicates that 63% of people in the south believe that every state service should be available in Irish to the Gaeltacht community. Furthermore, 62% of people in the south and 41% in the north – only 23% were in disagreement – believe that there are not enough opportunities for young people to use their Irish outside there are not enough opportunities for young people to use their Irish outside the formal education system.
Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh, from Glór na Móna, said the research adds significant weight to numerous studies in recent years that indicate extensive support for the popular public demand for Irish language services for speakers and for the provision of additional resources to create more opportunities for the wider community to learn the language.
“Our own work at Glór na Móna, where we pioneer Irish medium youth work practices for hundreds of young people on a weekly basis, also provides ample evidence as to the importance of fostering the social use of the language outside of the formal education,” he said.
“This crucial field of work is chronically underfunded and undervalued by both governments north and south. This new research report supports the work of grassroots activists and campaigners who have been lobbying on this issue for many years.”
One-third of respondents from the south and one-out-of-five in the north also stated that they would be interested in learning Irish or expanding their current knowledge of the language, according to statistics released by Conradh na Gaeilge.
Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said “This latest round of research commissioned by Conradh na Gaeilge indicates there is large support for the delivery of increased services and provision for the Irish language and Gaeltacht communities.
“The second annual report in the Céard é an Scéal? Series offers a broad insight into the positive public opinions on the Irish language throughout Ireland alongside the current challenges facing Irish language speakers, explicitly that there is a lack of opportunities for young people to use their language outside of the classroom, in addition to a gap in provision of appropriate support for families raising their children through Irish.
“This should be a wake-up call for both governments to listen to public opinion an react accordingly.”