Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dissatisfaction of UnaG Board!

The Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta express dissatisfaction and concern regarding budget allocated for 2011

At an Údarás na Gaeltachta Board meeting in Na Forbacha, Co. Galway today (10th December), members of the Board expressed great dissatisfaction and concern about the organisation's finances for the year 2011 and for the future. In comparison to the €15m capital budget made available by the Exchequer in 2010, only €6m will be provided in 2011. A further €6.2m is to be funded from the organisation's own resources, which includes a target income of €2m from the sale of assets at a time when the property market has effectively collapsed. An tÚdarás believes that its enterprise role is gradually being eroded at a time when its staff is continuing to prove the organisation's ability to deliver satisfactory job-creation results for the Exchequer and the Gaeltacht despite the present difficult economic climate.

At the Údarás Board meeting today, 55 projects involving a total of €2.9m in state funding were approved, which will lead to the creation of 193 new jobs when fully implemented. Despite the central role that Údarás na Gaeltachta is expected to have in the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language both in the Gaeltacht and nationally, an tÚdarás believes that the organisation's enterprise functions are being undermined when its reduced funding leaves it with no option but to decrease its employment creation target from 600 jobs in 2010 to 300 jobs in 2011 at a time when employment creation is critical. The Board of an tÚdarás has appealed to all Gaeltacht and Irish language organisations to support its board members in highlighting the issue of the future of the organisation with public representatives, including during the upcoming general election campaign due early 2011.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Constitutional question?

A young Gaeltacht man brought a constitutional case against the Government recently and won.
Why English?
There is a duty on the courts and on all state services to provide a service in Irish to citizens. Why then did this man not choose to fight his case in Irish?

This right is stated on the website of the Language Commissioner:

"The Constitution permits the public to conduct its business – and every part of its business – with the state solely through Irish. As a result of this constitutional right, public bodies have a duty to comply with this right."

The judgement is available on the Court Service website in English only.

This site is quite good as quite a large proportion of the site is available in Irish however funnily enough this particular judgement is only available on the English version.

The Government has Irish. They say they are “absolutely serious” about the languge question. Many of the Judges and advocates have Irish, indeed they must pass an examination in Irish in order to practice. And of course the basic language of the Constitution is Irish not English.

So why then did this young man of the Gaeltcht, a man who is a member of a party that prides itself on its Irishness above all the other partys, why did he choose to take this case in English?

We are told in the press release issued by his party that this was a victory for democracy. It is clear however that there is no place for his own language nor that of a vast percentage of the constituents of Donegal South West.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A ministerial visit!

Minister Carey, TD visits a meeting of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge.

Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey TD, visited a meeting last night of the member organisations of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge.

Aire Pat CareyComhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge is the central steering council for the Irish language community, and currently comprising 24 member organisations, representing all fields of the Irish language voluntary sector around the country.

Representatives of the member organisations of An Chomhdháil gave an account of the work they undertake, along with the opportunities and the challenges they face. Further discussion on the work of the voluntary sector ensued, along with discussion of the current uncertainty in relation to funding.

President of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, Dr. Helen Ó Murchú, said the organisations were open to change, and were ready to play their role in the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy on the Irish Language 2010-2030. She noted, however, that the context within which the organisations are operating is constantly changing, and the sector requires some assurance of their future funding.

Minister Carey spoke of the importance of the voluntary sector in general, and gave high praise to the Irish language voluntary sector for their great achievements in the promotion of the Irish language, and the continual development of Irish language services.

Speaking on the future of the Irish language, Minister Carey said: “The Government has a long-term strategy pertaining to the Irish language. Ambitious goals are laid out in the strategy, and the Government will be relying on partnerships with the Irish language sector in order to achieve these goals, and to fully implement the Strategy”.

Dr. Ó Murchú presented the Minister with a report on the work of the member organisations of An Chomhdháil, and Pádraig Mac Criostail, Director of An Chomhdháil presented Minister Carey with a gold Fáinne, in recognition of the Minister’s support for the promotion of the Irish language.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

200% rise in new Naíonraí

Over 200% Rise in Naíonraí Year on Year With 18 New Naíonraí opening.
This story in Irish "Glúin nua!"

18 new Naíonraí in September 2010 that will be opening their doors for the first time this year. This figure is up on last year’s figure of 5 new Naíonraí.

The Naíonraí in question are as follows:-
  • Naíonra Links, Portmarnock, Dublin
  • buachaill óg
  • Naíonra Céimeanna Beaga, Artane, Dublin
  • Naíonra Tír na nÓg, Stoneybatter, Dublin
  • Naíonra Páistí na Beatha, Swords, Dublin
  • Naíonra Links, Drumcondra, Dublin
  • Naíonra Bogha Báistí, Inchicore, Dublin
  • Naíonra na Seanscoile, Lucan, Dublin.
  • Naíonra Montessori Matters, Lucan, Dublin.
  • Spraoi Chill Mhantáin, Rathnew, Co. Wicklow.
  • Naíonra Bhóín Dé, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
  • Naíonra Boisíní, Leixlip, Co. Kildare.
  • Naíonra Spraoi le Chéile, Leitrim, Co. Leitrim.
  • Naíonra Jigsaw, Waterford.
  • Naíonra Bóthar na Modhfheirme, Cork.
  • Naíonra Pobail an Sciobairín, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.
  • Naíonra Bellview Woods, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
  • Naíonra Ghuaire, Gorey, Co. Wexford.
  • Naíonra an Choillín, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.
Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta’s (FNT) Chairperson, Máire Uí Bhriain said: ‘This is a huge step forward. There has been an enormous increase in the number of Naíonraí and the number of children attending Naíonraí services. These childcare services provide support for parents who would like to use the Irish language with their children as well receiving high quality childcare for their children.’

Clíona Frost, CEO of Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta said: ‘We wish the new Naíonraí, and their Stiúrthóirí the best of luck. We also wish the children and their parents’ all the best on this proud day as they set off on this important journey. We also wish each and every Naíonra that is reopening well for the new school year as they continue to provide excellent childcare through Irish.’

Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta is an all-Ireland voluntary organisation which supports the promotion of education and care services in Irish for children from birth. Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta provides support to help start up, establish and maintain the follows services through Irish immersion: crèches, Naíonraí, school-age services, summer camps agus parent/guardian and toddler groups.

FNT is grant aided by Foras na Gaeilge and the Office for the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Urgent letter..

A letter signed by 29 community groups, organisations and Summer Colleges in the Donegal Gaeltacht, which is the second biggest Gaeltacht District in the country with about 30,ooo inhabitants, has been published in the Donegal Democrat,(see also Donegal News Editorial at bottom of page!) Irish Times and Gaelscéal (Irish).

This letter puts on paper the very real anxiety of this large community concerning the recent publication of the recent Department of Finance Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010-2016 and reccomending the full implementation of the proposals made by the Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee Report (ironically published in the same week!).

A copy of the letter (an English version of which is reproduced below) has also been sent to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.

    A chara,

    The recent report from the Department of Finance, Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010-2016 is a source of great concern to us in the Gaeltacht.

    If its proposed State capital expenditure cuts are implemented, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Gaeltacht Development Body, Údarás na Gaeltachta will effectively cease to exist by 2016 when we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Is this a fitting tribute?

    "According to The Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht (2007) commissioned by this Government, there is a linguistic crisis in the Gaeltacht at present, even in the strongest Gaeltacht areas: “The unambiguous conclusion of the survey on young people is that, without a major change to language-use patterns, Irish is unlikely to remain the predominant community and family language in those areas with the most widespread and inclusive Irish-speaking networks (ie Category A Gaeltacht districts) for more than another 15 to 20 years.”

    This problem must be addressed immediately before it is too late and, consequently, we are asking that all of the proposals made by the Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee Report recently regarding the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language be swiftly accepted and implemented. These proposals have all-party agreement and we believe that their adoption would be a more appropriate expression of our self-belief in our identity as a nation in the lead-up to 2016 rather than the Department of Finance proposals.

    We, Donegal Gaeltacht community groups, accept that we are currently in a very poor economic climate and that cuts are needed in State expenditure, but the preservation of Irish as a living community language in the Gaeltacht cannot be made conditional upon global economic conditions.

    Is muidne,

    ÉAMONN Mac NIALLAIS, Guth na Gaeltachta;
    SÉAMUS Mac GÉIDIGH, Coiste Paróiste Ghort a Choirce;
    BRÍDÍN B Nic CHEARÁIN, Gaeltacht Bheo Fhánada;
    GRÁINNE Mhic GÉIDIGH, Coiste Ban Tí Thír Chonaill;
    BRÍD Uí DHONAILL, Coiste Áislann Rann na Feirste;
    MÍCHEÁL Mac GIOLLA, Coiste Áislann Chill Chartha;
    NÓIRÍN Uí MHAOLDOMHNAIGH, Easbuic Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhór;
    SÉAMUS Mac RUAIRÍ, Coiste Forbartha Anagaire;
    SÉAMUS Mac BRIARTAIGH, Comhairle Pharóiste Chill Chartha;
    CAITLÍN Uí LAIFEARTAIGH, Coiste Pobail Eascarrach;
    SIOBHÁN Ní CHURRAIGHÍN, Coiste Forbartha Theileann;
    MÁIRE Ní CHOMHAILL, Coiste Forbartha Dhobhair Teo;
    MÁIRE Uí CHEALLAIGH, Coiste Sheáin Bháin, Baile na Finne,
    MÁIRE Mhic NIALLAIS Comharchumann Forbartha Ghaoth Dobhair;
    AODH Mac LAIFEARTAIGH, Coiste Céim Aniar, Na Dúnaibh;
    BRIAN Mac CUINNEAGÁN, Lár Comhairle Paróiste Gleann Cholm Cille;
    MÁIRÍN Uí FHEARRAIGH Comharchumann na nOileán Beag;
    BRIDGET Nic GAIRBHEITH, Comharchumann Oilean Thoraí;
    ÉAMON Mac GIOLLA BHRÍDE, Cumann Trádala Tionscail Ghaoth Dobhair;
    RÉAMONN Ó CIARÁIN, Coláiste Gael Linn Bhun an Inbhir;
    PÓILÍN Ní DHONNCHADH, Coláiste Gael Linn Mhachaire Rabhartaigh;
    DAITHÍ Ó MUIRÍ, Coláiste Mhuire, Loch an Iúir;
    MÁNAS Ó LUATHAIRE, Coláiste Árainn Mhór;
    SEOSAMH Ó GALLCHÓIR, Coláiste Cholmcille Gaoth Dobhair;
    Dr SEOSAMH WATSON, Oideas Gael Gleann Cholmcille;
    MÁIRÉAD Uí BHRÁDAIGH, Coláiste Chill Chartha;
    NIALL Ó SLUÁIN, Coláiste Rann na Feirste;
    SEOSAMH Ó DUIBHEANNAIGH, Coláiste na Rosann, Anagaire;
    COLLEEN Nic AODHA, Coláiste Bhun a Leaca,
    C/o Doirebeag, Leitir Ceanainn, Co Dhún na nGall.

Donegal News
27 August 2010
"The Irish Language
The Irish are not good at presenting a united front. Differences of opinion, personality clashes and pure bloody-mindedness have sunk many a good cause. As the old saying goes, the first item on the agenda is a split. Therefore an open letter signed by individuals from some thirty businesses and organisations should be treated seriously. This week we publish such a letter which was sent to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste from interests in the Donegal Gaeltacht. Providing detailed figures they claim that if cuts are imposed then the Department of the Gaeltacht and Údarás na Gaeltachta will be extinct by 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The letter writers argue that while all departments are facing cuts, the Department of Community Equality and Gaeltacht affairs' budget will be slashed by over 70% at a time when the Irish language is facing it's most serious challenge yet.

The writers quote from what is known as the The Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht which concluded that Irish could be the minority language in the strongest gaeltacht areas within fifteen years.

Even for non-Irish speakers this should be unacceptable. Is the present ruling generation to be the one that allowed Irish to die in the gaeltacht because of an economic crisis? That is the stark question facing not only the government but our society. The answer must be a resounding no.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The fado & Protestant culture

There's an interesting article in today's (17 Aug 2010) Irish Times by Torlach Mac Con Midhe, Idir an Fado agus an cultúr Protastúnach (Irish) {Trans: Between the Fado and the Protestant culture}

Fado by Jose MalhoaAn article by Alan Titley in the same paper started him thinking back to his youth when he travelled to Canada to study. Strangly enough his memory is not so much meeting and interacting with North Americans but with meeting those from South America, refugees from the fall of Allende in Chile, or from the "dirty war" in Argentina as well as Mexican, Venuzuelans, Columbians and Peruvians.

He found that these people enriched his experience far more than the dour North Americans. They were full of fun and energy. They were singing, dancing, eating, drinking, laughing (though the story at home was often tragic) and they played football. He found he could mix with them and that they respected him. He was able to sing "Ar an loing seo Phaidí Loingsigh" and recite "Tháinig long ó Valparaiso!" with out self consciousness. He could participate. He was welcomed.

One of the Argentinian girls, Rita, said to him, "You know, we have no friends among the Canadians! The only English-speaking friends we have are the Irish!" He notes that he had the same problem himself. There was no life or vigour to be found except in these exuberent Latins.

He reflects that in the recent past Irish emigrants have departed for the most part to the English speaking dominions and former colonies. However prior to that they went to the countries of Southern Europe. Though we are an Atlantic people rather than a Mediterranean, although we share that with the Portuguese, we have a "Catholic" tradition in common.

He muses that the empires sent colonists to their territories, and they either decimated the original populace leaving the descendants of the colonists in power. However in Ireland something else happened. The empire made colonists of the native people. They were gifted with the language and culture of the British. They were colonists in their own land. But at the same time it is impossible to deny that there are still "native traits" to be found in these colonists. For this reason they are a split, divided people in themselves.

He quotes Faust “Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner Brust,” (Alas, Two souls reside in my breast!). We have the soul of the colonist and that of the Gael in our breast and they do not sit well with each other.

He concludes with a stark question. "I believe that this is sometimes realised by the Irish language community (lucht na Gaeilge) but I wonder is it appreciated by the English speakers!"
By the way the Fado, in the article title, is a type of music from Portugal, learned, understood and appreciated by the author, not a million miles away from our own Sean-Nós styles. (see pic)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Significant Revision of the Recognition Process for Post-primary Schools announced.

Gaelscoileanna Teo. has welcomed the Tánaiste’s (pic right) statement of 28th July 2010 announcing a significant revision of the recognition process for post-primary schools.

The criteria for judging applications to establish post-primary schools will be agreed under the proposed new framework. This will ensure the transparency of the decision making process for new schools at Departmental level.

Referring to the implications for Irish-medium post-primary schools, Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Chief Executive of Gaelscoileanna Teo. commented , “We warmly welcome the revision of the recognition process for post-primary schools and we believe it’s timely in light of the recent review of recognition criteria at primary level. We are confident that this proposed revision will facilitate post-primary provision and satisfy the needs and justifiable demands for Irish-medium education at post-primary level”.

The need for any proposed school to be able to cater for diversity in its pupil population is amongst the criteria already cited by the Tánaiste. Irish-medium schools cater for diversity in provision on grounds of language/religious ethos and they cater and welcome pupils from every linguistic, social and academic background.

With regard to Irish-medium Units within English-medium schools ní Ghréacháin cautions “While we welcome the proposal to provide Units to cater for the demand for Irish-medium education in cases where there is insufficient demand for an independent Irish-medium school, it is vital that consultation between ourselves and the Department continues with a view to reviewing and comprehensively developing the existing model of the Irish-medium Unit both in both concept and approach. Clearly, the Unit model can cater for demand to an extent, , however the current model has many challenges to overcome. We would greatly welcome the opportunity for consultation with the Department on the development of a new model and on the criteria for founding Irish-medium post-primary schools going forward”.

The Tánáiste intends to form a consultative group in the Autumn which will prepare a set of proposals with regard to the recognition of post-primary schools. These will focus on the need for school places to be made available for an extra 67,000 pupils by 2024.

Ní Ghréacháin congratulates the Tánaiste for undertaking this process and states “...we are committed to co-operating with the Tánaiste and the Department of Education and Skills on this all-important issue and we are greatly looking forward to playing a central role in the challenge of putting the most effective education system into operation. We would advise that the Tánaiste ensures that a representative with specialised knowledge of the needs of Irish-medium schools be present on the Consultative Group ”.

Gaelscoileanna Teo. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 169 primary schools and 38 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Joint Oireachtas Committee report

The report (see bottom of page) of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs regarding the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language was launched Wednesday, 28 July 2010, and is now asking the Government to ensure that all recommendations of the report are approved and included in full. It was warmly welcomed by Conradh na Gaeilge.

They especially welcomed the significant number of recommendations made by the Conradh - and by the Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking community in general - that were included in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee, in particular the recommendations regarding the sustainability of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht; the Údarás retaining responsibility for job-creation and enterprise in the Gaeltacht; the central role of the voluntary Irish-language organisations in the implementation of the Strategy; the provision of a proper fully integrated and graded course for the Irish language in schools; and putting the responsibility for evaluating the Strategy under the Office of the Language Commissioner with the Taoiseach reporting to the Houses of the Oireachtas on the progress of the Strategy.

Press Release from Houses of the Oireachtas
Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: “Conradh na Gaeilge commends the Joint Oireachtas Committee for recognising the crisis in the Gaeltacht as the most urgent weakness to address in order to protect the Irish language, and for stressing the importance of sustaining the Gaeltacht by proposing to set out specific goals in the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language for increasing the number of native Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht.
“Conradh na Gaeilge also welcomes the Joint Committee’s recommendation that responsibility for infrastructure and economic development in the Gaeltacht should remain the main focus of Údarás na Gaeltachta/Gaeilge as it is under the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language, to ensure that the local economy continues to sustain the Gaeltacht areas.”

Julian de Spáinn, Conradh na Gaeilge General Secretary said: “It is imperative that the Government approves all the recommendations in the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s report in their entirety, that they are included in the final draft of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language, and that cross-party agreement is fostered for the Strategy to ensure its value is appreciated and supported across the board in coming years.”

Conradh na Gaeilge believes that it is absolutely essential that Irish is taught effectively throughout our education system, and welcomes the proposal of the Joint Committee in the report on the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language that a proper fully integrated and graded course for the language be put into effect, to ensure continuity for students from pre-school to third level, in addition to trainee teachers and adult language learners. It is also very important that the Joint Committee has recognised the need to differentiate between the different linguistic development requirements of native Irish speakers and other capable students, and those whose first language is English, and Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the proposal to include a more in-depth study of heritage and literature as part of as an additional Leaving Cert subject, Saíocht & Litríocht na Gaeilge.

The public have a vital part to play in the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language and Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes the recognition in the Joint Committee’s report that the voluntary Irish-language organisations have a pivotal role in the future of the language. The Conradh looks forward to working with the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht affairs and with the restructured Údarás in implementing the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

The full report, the appendix of which contains a translation in English, is available on the Oireachtas Website here. (pdf)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fine Gael sympathetic to Irish but

The recent failed putsch against Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has highlighted several interesting changes in his front bench.

None have excited more comment in the Irish media (as destinct from the Anglo-Irish media!) than the appointemnt of his new spokesman for the conglomerative Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs Department. This position is now filled by Roscommon TD, Frank Feighan.

Fine Gael agus Gaeilge
Letter in Irish Times
29 July 2010

There has been considerable disquiet in Gaeltacht and Irish language circles that he continues in the tradition of appointing people in this Department who have not got the capability of understanding the mind of people who excercise their constitutional right of using Irish or of speaking with them. His previous spokesman, Michael Ring, also had the same problem.

He has been reported as felling that it isn’t “too important” that someone in his post speaks Irish, but despite this he may "learn a few lines" to help him out in his new role.

In an article in last Friday's Gaelscéal, (Irish) one of the Irish weekly papers there is a report on a letter written to the party protesting at this insult to our language. This was written by one of our most prolific writers, Gabriel Rosenstock, and of course was written in Irish, his language of choice. His letter pointed out that the very title "spokesman" was a hardly appropriate when it came to describing Mr. Feighan, as he was unable to speak in the language for which he was supposed to be spokesman.

The reply, from Fine Gael's lacked the simple courtesy of being written in the language of choice of the instigator of the correspondence. (This is a not uncommon discourtesy from representatives of this party, indeed I have recently received such a response from my local Galway West TD, Pádraic McCormack, replying to a query I had made to him in Irish). One would have expected that Vincent Gribben- 'Head of Internal Communication, Fine Gael' would have had the sense and basic courtesy if he was unable to do so himself would have asked somebody else to have responded in Irish. However be that as it may perhaps he would have a reasonable explanation!

His response was in three parts:

"1. Frank Feighan TD is not the first Deputy with responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs with limited Irish. Síle De Valera served as Minister for the Gaeltacht with limited Irish." That may or may not be true but can it be put forward as a justification? Or is Fine Gael merely Fianna Fáil light? But soft, did not Fine Gael make strong objections to the appointment of Ms De Valera at the time of her appointment?

"2 Frank Feighan TD is take lessons in Irish to improve his communication skills in the language and is happy to do so." Why wouldn't he isn't he supposed to be the spokesman for the language? An Irish speaking spokesman could surely be doing work on his portfolio rather than spending time in learning how to communicate with the constituency of his department.

The third point he makes is a wonderful nonsequeter:
"3 His discussions to date Conradh na Gaeilge have been cordial and constructive." Wonderful!

The protestations of Mr Rosenstock, and indeed many other authors in Irish who also wrote a letter to Gaelscéal last week are not strictly speaking directed against Mr Feighan himself but rather against the lack of understanding of his party which stubbornly maintains it's positive regard for the language and the Gaeltacht.

I did a simple exercise this morning. I went to the Fine Gael Home Page. There is not an Irish language version (Again they are not unlike other parties in this regard, which is hardly justification!) On the left hand side is a search engine. First I put in the word "Gaeilge". It comes back "
0 results for “Gaeilge”"!

I then tried "Language" The first six results are interesting. There were in fact 14 results. They hardly fill one with positive vibes
  1. Cuts to English language supports
  2. Foreign student no's drop by 24%
  3. Leaving Cert Irish compulsory?
  4. Language places for unemployed necessary
  5. Language ed cuts pit pupil against pupil
  6. Govt Irish Strategy is only a whitewash
Fine Gael may be at the helm of the next government in Ireland but this basic lack of understanding of the mind, not to say simple courtesy, of the Gael fills many with not a little dread.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Significent progress for Rathoat Gaelscoil

The 21st of July's open evening in Gaelscoil Ráth Tó was confirmation for the local community in Ratoath that the new school has a bright future ahead of it. A great crowd came to visit the new classroom in the Ratoath Community Centre and to meet the school’s teacher, Tricia Ní Mhaolagáin. Amongst those who gathered to wish the new school the best of luck was the boxer Bernard Dunne, the footballers Patrick O’Rourke and Caoimhín King (with the Delaney Cup in tow!) and the jockey Barry Geraghty, whose daughter is due to attend the school when it opens in September 2010.

There has been huge local interest in the new Gaelscoil. The school’s founding committee and GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. - the organisation which represents 138 Irish-medium primary schools - were very disappointed with the decision made by the Department of Education and Skills in relation to recognition for new schools for 2010. Ratoath had been included as one of the 9 areas identified in the Department of Education's plan for the provision of primary education where new schools were to be opened there in September 2010, but unfortunately Gaelscoil Ráth Tó was not granted recognition, in spite of the great demand for a new gaelscoil in the area. The school’s founding committee made the decision to open without the official recognition of the Department of Education and Skills, which means that the founding committee will be under some pressure to deliver an excellent standard of education to children in the area whose parents have chosen Irish-medium education for them.

Míchéal Ó Broin, the President of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. has said that “the support that the local community and the public in general has given the founding committee shows that there is a real need for a gaelscoil in the area to facilitate the demand for Irish-medium education. The public has an increased awareness of the advantages of Irish-medium education in terms of the social, academic and communicative development of children. I’m very grateful to all of the Irish-medium schools who have been very generous with their donations; financial contributions, furniture, and more. I applaud the voluntary work that the members of this founding committee have dedicated themselves to for so long in order to make their vision a reality in Ratoath”.

The founding committee was very happy with the turn out at last night's event and its members are hopeful that it might increase enrolments for 2010, 2011 and subsequent years. They have received much support from Irish-language organisations, local politicians and businesses, the community in Ratoath and other Irish-medium schools around the country to help them to make the school a reality and the hearty celebrations in Gaelscoil Ráth Tó last night were evidence of that.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools. There are 169 primary schools and 38 secondary schools currently providing education through the medium of Irish.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Valuable and free resources

There are a number of projects been undertaken which for one reason or another are virtually unknown to many of us.

Most of us have heard of the fascinating work been carried out by An Cartlann Náisiúnta (national Archive) which now list on-line and at no charge access to the census details, including pdfs of actual returns. This trojan work was carried out almost without our knowledge until it was actually put online in the last two years. Without doubt this is a fascinating insight into our past and no doubt they will continue this important work to include the following census details for 1926. This important resource is at Census of Ireland 1901/1911, and the site is in English only.

Something which is even more undercover is the work been carried out by Fiontar, part of Dublin City University, as part of their research programme.

The first of these is called This is the National Terminology Database for Irish, developed in collaboration with Foras na Gaeilge's Coiste Téarmaíochta, (Terminology Committee). They are also associated with IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe), which broadens the compass of the project into a further twenty three languages. The interactive site allows you to put in an Irish or English term and provide you with that term in English or Irish (or if you use the IATE site into any of the other 23 languages.)

Another of the projects undertaken by Fiontar is the placenames resource, This site, in cooperatiion with the Placenames Branch of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs provides placename details in Irish or in English, location, and in many cases an image of the historical card index on the place in question.

Another project also being undertaken by the indefatigueable Forbairt, is the enourmous task of the Irish Language biography, This mammoth task is to digitise the 1,674 biographies colected by Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú and make them available on-line. This is being done in collaboration with Cló Iar-Chonnachta, and intially with financial assistance from the Government.

Fiontar have also been engaged to help in the Governments language planning strategy, the 20year Strategy, a draft of which was published in 2009.

Unless otherwise indicated all links are to English Language sites

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Gaelcholáiste for Carrigaline

After two years of campaigning the people of Carrigaline have great cause for celebration, with the announcement that provisional recognition has been granted for the new Gaelcholáiste, (Irish) due to open its doors in 2012. The opening of this school will make it the biggest Irish campus of its kind, with an all-Irish primary and secondary school along with a school for children with special needs all on one site.

GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. welcome the Department's decision to purchase a 21 acre site for the school in Ballinrea, Carrigaline. The great news was received last weekend by the Gaelcholáiste's founding committee from local TD Michael McGrath.

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, C.E.O. of the organisation stated that "this is a very positive decision that ensures that parents and children in Carrigaline and the surrounding areas will have the opportunity to avail of Irish-medium education. GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. would like to congratulate the founding committee on their achievement and the Department of Education and Skills on recognising the need and parents' demand for Irish-medium education".
The VEC has agreed to patron the Gaelcholáiste and there are plans to develop the site so that it will have the facility to cater for up to 700 students. Over 460 pupils have already been enrolled by their parents in the new school, according to the founding committee's chairman, Noel O'Regan, which confirms that Irish-medium education remains a very strong educational system of choice in the community.

Applications are welcome from parents of children attending both Irish and English speaking primary schools. Children coming from English speaking primary schools will be given extra help at the beginning of the school year if they require it. "We will do our best to ensure our Gaelcholáiste will be open to all children in the area finishing their primary education" said Mr. O'Regan.

On behalf of the founding committee Mr O'Regan thanked all those involved in the project to date including Batt O'Keeffe, TD (during his term as Minister for Education), Barry Cogan, former TD and Barra O'Briain, Chairman of Cork VEC.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Accept it! They have Irish!

Irish colleges across the country have the chance to get their Gaeilge going this summer by taking part in Glac Leis, an exciting Irish-language roadshow run by Conradh na Gaeilge (Bilingual) informing young people of their language rights in Ireland and in Europe.

Conradh na Gaeilge will visit over 30 Irish-language courses again this year for the third summer running to get college cinnirí (prefects) involved in fun motivational Glac Leis workshops, and to tell all the students about the advantages of having Irish as an official working language at a European level, the services they are entitled to receive through Irish from public bodies at home in Ireland under the Official Languages Act of 2003, and of the job opportunities for them in the future in Ireland and in Europe.

Aodhán Ó Deá, Summer Colleges’ Coordinator of Conradh na Gaeilge’s Glac Leis campaign says: “It is vital that we encourage and enable the community of Irish speakers - especially young Irish speakers - to always to ask for service through Irish from state bodies, public companies and European institutes, and Conradh na Gaeilge is now informing the Irish-speaking community of the advantages and opportunities associated with the language, in Europe and here at home, with the language-rights’ campaign Glac Leis.”

Conradh na Gaeilge is saying two things to you:
GLAC LEIS - ACCEPT that the service is available!
CUIR CEIST - REQUEST the service!
The Glac Leis campaign team are encouraging people to assume that services are always available through Irish and telling young people that
they can get their age card, driver’s licence and passport in Irish;
that it is everybody’s right to use the Irish version of their name;
that car tax and eTolls can all be paid online in Irish;
that driving tests and NCT tests can be done through Irish; and
that everybody has a right to look for an Irish-language service from the Gardaí Síochána, for example.

Brenda Ní Ghairbhí, Development and Office Executive with Conradh na Gaeilge says: “New employment opportunities in Irish are being continuously generated as not only do European institutes and public sector bodies in Ireland have Irish-language responsibilities, but international private businesses such as Microsoft, Samsung, Accenture and even Facebook are looking to the Irish language to give them a competitive advantage in Ireland; the Glac Leis awareness campaign informs young people attending summer colleges of their language rights and of the advantages of using their Irish.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

You have ways of showing contempt for all things Irish

This is a response from Julian de Spáinn, General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge (Bilingual) to an article which appeared in the Sunday Independent on 9th May 2010.

To imply that there is any comparison between Irish-language summer camps and concentration camps, where millions of Jews suffered unspeakable horrors and were systematically murdered, is shameful, irresponsible and wrong in the most extreme sense of the word.

To insinuate that parents are displaying a “subservient streak” and subjecting their children to the equivalent of clerical child abuse by letting them go to a Gaeltacht summer course is not only an affront to the integrity of the mná tí and staff of the Irish colleges, but an insult to the judgement Irish parents everywhere, and an extremely dangerous accusation.

Eilis O’Hanlon’s article entitled Ve haf ways of making you talk - as Gaeilge in the Sunday Independent (09 May 2010) incensed members of Conradh na Gaeilge, the Irish-speaking community in general, parents, and indeed countless students who may not consider themselves “Gaelgoirs”, but who have thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from spending time in Gaeltacht summer camps and courses at some time or another.

With regards to Ms O’Hanlon’s “anecdotally” informed issue with teenagers returning home having lost weight after attending Gaeltacht courses “because there was so little food on offer”, she would do well to take a little time to research the matter and consider the fact that students in most Irish colleges do a few hours sport every morning that might account for a healthy loss of weight, before falsely accusing decent, hard-working mná tí of depriving their hosts of food. “Mortification of the flesh” indeed!

Whatever about the varying rules from college to college, some of which the author calls “petty and outdated”, with thousands of young people under the care of the summer college staff, most parents would much rather be assured that there are rules and regulations in place that will not only keep their children safe, but will also ensure that they get the most benefit from their immersion in the Irish language. Ms O’Hanlon is right to say that “No enterprise ever lasted long by ignoring the demands of the paying customers”, and the paying parents that send their children to the Gaeltacht year after year are the happy customers that know a good thing when they see it.

Ms O’Hanlon may also fail to see the “linguistic purpose” in asking students to relinquish their iPods, MP3s and mobile phones to immerse themselves in Irish for the duration of their stay in the Gaeltacht, but that only goes to show that she doesn’t grasp the essence of the Irish college ethos. Immersion education is just that: immersion. Total immersion in a language like Irish – hearing, speaking, and reading it - has been proved the world over to be one the most effective methods of teaching languages, away from the usual dominance of a major language such as English. It doesn’t make students “less Irish” to listen to Lady Gaga, but it doesn’t help them to immerse themselves in the Gaeltacht experience or to improve their Irish, simple as that.

In addition to the unfounded charges the author makes based on hearsay, as well as the many other inaccuracies in Ms O’Hanlon’s article, she incorrectly confused Irish-language day camps such as those run by Conradh na Gaeilge, and Irish-language residential courses in summer colleges where students stay in the Gaeltacht to immerse themselves fully in the Irish language, usually for a duration of three weeks or so. And she is also wrong in thinking that either of these are “heartwarmingly recession-proof”. The confederation of Irish colleges, CONCOS, has reported that summer colleges across the country have taken a hit like businesses everywhere this year. But they are making do as best they can and will continue to play a vital role in their respective Gaeltacht economies; though to say incompetent and ill-judged pieces such as Ms O’Hanlon’s do not help is the understatement of the year.

And finally, for Ms O’Hanlon’s information, no, Gaeltacht colleges do not have trained canine armies of sniffer dogs to sniff out contraband material, only enthusiastic and dedicated staff that do the best they can to teach thousands of children every year to speak Irish, and to have fun while doing it. That is why the language is becoming ever more popular, particularly among a new generation of young Irish speakers that listen to the Irish-language chartstation Raidió Rí-Rá (Bilingual), read Irish entertainment magazines like *nós (Irish), and watch some of the finest comedies and soaps on television as Gaeilge on TG4 (Bilingual) - Rásaí na Gaillimhe, Seacht and The Crisis to name but a few.

With the increasing appreciation of the benefits of bilingualism in both private and public sectors, an upcoming increase in marks for the Leaving Cert Irish oral, and the imminent publication of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language which aims to increase the number of daily Irish speakers outside of the education system to a quarter of a million by 2030, there has never been a better time to send children to the Gaeltacht to make the most of their Irish. As most past students will tell you, there is no better way to learn Irish than as a vibrant, living and fun language in the most favourable of summer-college settings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Trojan work has been undertaken by Fiontar (DCU) on three aspects of the language, a terminology database (, the placenames database (, (and The Placenames Branch Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs) and they are also working on the Irish Biography Project (

The following is a summary of new implementations on the mapping interface on the placenames website due to the feedback the have received:

- The first page was rearranged to make it more like the current version.

- A clickable map was put on the first page so that one can go straight to a specific county.

- More coordinates were added to geographical objects that didn't previously have coordinates, especially baronies and civil parishes, and they are displayed on the map at the appropriate zoom levels.

- Links were created at the top of the map to "Quick-zoom" to the level of the baronies, the parishes etc.

- The button "Show placenames" was changed so that it only appears when it is necessary to click on it.

The site with the mapping interface is to be launched in the next few days. We hope that you will benefit from it and enjoy it. The team welcome feedback anytime at this email address:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reevaluation of Irish language entities

Review of the Irish Language organisations funded by Foras na Gaeilge

This is a release from the Forum for Joint Planning
At a meeting of the Irish language organisations core-funded by Foras na Gaeilge, announcements made by Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey TD, in the media last week were welcomed, which related to the continuation of funding for said organisations until a review, which is currently being carried out by Foras na Gaeilge under the direction of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), is completed.

Two meetings of the core-funded organisations were held last week, on Monday 10 May 2010, and on Friday 14 May 2010. An expert in the field of transition management was appointed as a facilitator at Friday’s meeting. A Forum for Joint Planning was established during the meetings, and recommendations relating to the restructuring of the sector have been forwarded to Foras na Gaeilge.

Both recommendations submitted to date to Foras na Gaeilge by the core-funded organisations respond specifically to the directive issued by the NSMC on 2 December 2009.

The progress outlined above demonstrates the core-funded organisations’ dedication to the ongoing process. The recently established Forum for Joint Planning will provide a strong basis for further co-operation between organisations in the future. The core-funded organisations are hopeful that they can continue the process in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge, and with the relevant Government Departments both North and South, to the benefit of the Irish language and the Irish language voluntary sector.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Killed by bureaucracy?

I suppose one of the most effective organisations in fostering love and use of the Language over the years has been Glór na nGael (Irish). It is a comparatively young organisation from it's foundation by the Catholoc Priests organisation Cumann na Sagart. It's first patrons were Úachtarán na hÉireann Éamon de Valeara and Cardinal D'Alton and the first competition was organised in 1961. It is now a company half owned by the Cumann and the other half by the umbrella group of all Irish language organisations, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge (Bilingual).

It sends a team throughout the length and breath of the country looking for the town, parish or district looking at how they are progressing in the promotion of Irish in the life of the community and award not insubstantial prizes for those communities who, in their opinion, have advanced most in the preceeding year. The awards are graded to the size and type of community. This year the awards were presented recently in the hallowed and iconic chambers of Belfast City Hall, a city which recently, through the establishment of the only truly urban Gaeltacht, and historically has had such a positive influence on maintaining and growing the opportunities for developing a healthy Gaelic environment.

This story in Gaelscéal 7th May 2010Like most communities they are funded, especially for their running costs, but the state. Recently however they have been forced to issue protective notice to seven of their staff because there is no guarantee that funding will continue after July of this year. They are not alone in fearing that this funding will not be forthcoming. The other language organisations whether community based or even State bodies like Údarás na Gaeltachta expect to be faced with cuts or outright cessation of the grants which enable them to perform in a professional way. For instance the Language Commissioner (An Coimisinéar Teanga)was unable to use his entire budget last year because of delays and restrictions placed on him by the bureaucracy. The money was there but he was not allowed to spend it and so the statutary service he provides must suffer.

It is not denied that these are stringent times and good houskeeping is essential no matter how laudable an organisations vision and aims are. However the fact the the bureaucracy does not see fit to advise its decision in good time means that effective realistic planning, so important in our modern world, cannot take place.

Voluntary language organisations, such as the non-state funded Guth na Gaeltachta (Irish), and private individuals, have raised their voices in support of these bodies. They state that there is great danger letting these initiatives fade if we are to achieve the objectives of the Government's 20 year plan.

Eventually the new minister, Pat Carey, made a statement saying that there was no need for worry as long as the process of reassessment was in progress. He is referring to the examination of the many language organisations and their relevency. Most people do agree that some "rationalisation" is required in the nineteen language bodies but the delays caused in the meantime create a sort of limbo situation.

Delays like this caused the death of Foinse, leaving a gap in the Irish language newspaper scene which lasted for several months while the body charged with funding these assessed possible alternatives. And as Concubhar Ó Liatháin, (a paper he edited in the past, Lá Nua, also was allowed to perish due to Departmental ineffectiveness) in Fóram Iriseoireachta na Gaeilge (Irish)blog stated, this means that the expertese and knowledge fostered over a period of years is lost and valuable time is wasted by a new team getting up-to-speed. Not good planning!

So in effect the Minister is saying that the jobs are safe until they are not!

Hardly the most reasuring of news to people trying to make a living in this day and age.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pop station named in top 50 businesses in Irish

Ireland’s first Irish-medium chartstation for young people, Raidió Rí-Rá, has been named among 50 top individuals and companies who have pioneered business in Irish and will receive a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge award at a special ceremony in Mansion House, Dublin, Friday, 14 May 2010.

Traic Ó Braonáin, Chairperson of Raidió Rí-Rá says: “Raidió Rí-Rá consistently shows innovation and fresh business-thinking by using the Irish language in a way that hasn’t been utilised by Irish businesses to date - employing the latest technologies, finding new marketing mediums, pioneering exciting new programmes, and developing different ways for listeners to tune into the station.”
50 top individuals and companies who have pioneered business as Gaeilge – Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge - are to be honoured at a unique celebration in the Mansion House, Dublin on Friday, 14 May 2010.

The Top 50 nominees will be:
• Businesses based in the Gaeltacht or which operate in Irish
• Business leaders who are recognised as advocates for Irish language
• Businesses which use Irish as a marketing tool or provide services in Irish
• Six of our Top 50 will be awarded with Special Achievement Awards at the gala luncheon.

Among those receiving this special accolade will be:
• Entrepreneur of the year
• A company or individual in the public sector which makes the most effective use of Irish as a marketing tool
• Company or individual in the private sector which makes the most effective use of Irish in service provision
• A company or individual which shows innovation and fresh thinking in their business by using the Irish language
• A company or individual located in the Gaeltacht which makes outstanding use of the Irish language in business

The Top 50 Business as Gaeilge awards will be marked by the publication of a special magazine profiling the Top 50 and celebrating their achievements.
It means a lot to Raidió Rí-Rá to be recognised for the pioneering work we do and to be nominated for a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge award alongside the other top 50 best businesses in Irish this year.

As well being chosen for a Barr 50 Gnó le Gaeilge 2010 award recognising its excellence in business through Irish after only two years broadcasting, Raidió Rí-Rá was also nominated for two prestigious Oireachtas na Gaeilge communications’ awards last year - Miriam Maher for the Radio Personality of the Year award and the weekly celebrity news programme PopNuacht for the Radio Programme of the Year award - alongside some of the country’s most prominent and well-established stations, such as RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Síne Nic an Ailí, presenter and Public Relations’ Officer with Raidió Rí-Rá says: “As Raidió Rí-Rá is the only Irish-medium chartstation for young people in Ireland, we are dedicated to providing the Irish-speaking community with a service equal to, if not better than, our English-medium contemporaries.
“The station seizes every opportunity to make the most of the Irish language in its business, and Raidió Rí-Rá is leading the way in the provision of music and Irish-language services for young people in Ireland by providing a free-to-download iPhone application, by utilising social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and by making the station available on Nokia phones.”

Raidió Rí-Rá plays all the latest music from the charts, completely through the medium of Irish, non-stop online at since the station began broadcasting online in March 2008. Raidió Rí-Rá spent three weeks broadcasting live on FM in March 2009 and in March 2010 as the Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge’s official station, during which time over a million and a half people in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick could tune into the Irish chartstation.

Raidió Rí-Rá’s working group have plans to broadcast on the digital television system and on DAB in the future, and is also working to realise a full-time Irish-language radio station for young people on the national FM system.

Details of this story in Irish on Do Chonradh Blog!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No Gaeilge!

No need to understand much Irish to get the message here!

This is a short YouTube video from some students of OCBhÁC (Olscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath=DCU). They have mounted a campaign to have the language respected in their establishment and indeed within the Students' Union. See their spirited campaign facebook page is attracting attention too. Though mostly in Irish you still can get the student enthusiasm exuding through the comments...

The Students Union in DCU says in its constitution - available only in English states that it exists
"To represent all of its members on matters affecting their distinctive student experience. This is with regards to both their academic and extra-curricular education, as members of the University."

The fact that the University doesn't even have an Irish Language officer speaks volumes in a college that hosts one of the most progressive and modern Irish Language 3rd level range of courses and research under the banner of Fiontar. Among these is the important work on the the National Terminology Database for Irish in and on the Placenames Database of Ireland in, and a national biography database in

Is this commentator alone in thinking that the institute that hosts this important national research and yet does not think it important to provide a background that indicates at least some understanding of the importance of that language in the daily happenings of that institute, is somehow remiss in its responsibilities? The singular lack of enthusiasm in preparing it's statuatary plan for Irish (under the Language Act) the college authorities and indeed the student union highlights this at best mediocre approach.

Hope you enjoy the video!

More about this (in Irish) at An bhfuil an Ghaeilge feiceálach ar do champas?

Naíonra directors in demand

Intensive training courses for Naíonraí Directors at the end of May in Dublin.

As a result of a substantial increase in demand received for the Dianchúrsa (Intensive course) for Stiúrthóirí Naíonraí (Directors) this year, Forbairt Naíonraí Teo.(Bi-lingual site) is organising a further Dianchúrsa from the 24-28th May, which will run Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm. The course will take place in Dublin city centre. The Dianchúrsa provides the basic qualification required by FNT to work as a Naíonra Leader.

Those who wish to attend the Dianchúrsa will be required to sit an Irish language interview in order to assess their standard of Irish. The Irish language interviews will take place in Dublin on the 11th and 12th of May in the Marino Institute of Education (English), Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9.

This is a fundamental course, through the medium of Irish, which covers the management and running of a Naíonra. It is aimed at Naíonraí Assistants and anyone with fluent Irish who is interested in using the language with young children.

This course is mandatory for anyone who wishes to start a Naíonra under Forbairt Naíonraí Teo. Presently there are 156 naíonraí registered with Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, with over 3,500 children attending childcare services through Irish.

Clíona Frost, Chief Executive of FNT said, “I’m extremely pleased by this visible increase in demand for Naíonraí services. The effect that our established naíonraí have on the community, and the link that is being established with the gaelscoileanna throughout the country, highlights the growing strength of the Naíonra brand.”

“It’s clear that parents are now recognising the full advantages of the Total Early Immersion model by choosing pre-schooling entirely through Irish for their children.”

Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta is working continuously with the other main Irish language voluntary organisations to promote the language, along with childcare and education through the medium of Irish, especially with regard to Total Early Immersion Education.

É seo as Gaeilge

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Culture centres open to community

Conradh na Gaeilge is making the organisation's two main buildings in Dublin and Galway available to the Irish-speaking community to use as centres for meetings, conferences, classes and more in an effort to develop the buildings belonging to the Conradh as cultural centres of Irish in the heart of the two cities.

There are already Irish-language courses, conversation circles, conferences, meetings, and social nights with music and dancing organised regularly in both Conradh na Gaeilge buildings in Dublin and Galway, and any other Irish-language organisation or individual persons can rent rooms from the Conradh on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis to operate from either of the two buildings during the year.

Pádraig Mac Fhearghusa, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says "Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community and the organisation is committed to working with other Irish-language organisations to promote the language throughout the island. Community support and cooperation is key to our work, and Conradh na Gaeilge is delighted to have this opportunity to invite other organisations and individuals who are working to promote the Irish language also, to utilise the facilities we have in Dublin and Galway to strength the Irish-speaking community in both those cities, and indeed throughout the country."

In addition to the national head-office of Conradh na Gaeilge, many important organisations in the Irish-language sector are already operating from the building on Harcourt Street, including Oireachtas na Gaeilge; Ógras; Seachtain na Gaeilge; Glór na nGael, Leinster; Rith 2010; the Irish-language chart-station, Raidió Rí-Rá; the Irish-language FLAC Centre of the Four Courts' Branch, An tIonad Saor-Chomhairle Dlí; the Irish-language bookshop, An Siopa Leabhar; and the Irish-language club, Club Chonradh na Gaeilge.

Conradh na Gaeilge's Galway development project, Togra Ghael-Fhorbairt na Gaillimhe, operates from Aras na nGael at 45 Dominic Street (Pictured on right in Galway as well as Club Áras na nGael and Ógras, Connaught.

Conradh na Gaeilge's historical headquarters at Number 6 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 were recently renovated and repaired thanks to the generous donations of the branches of the Conradh and the aid of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs through the Irish-Language Fund, Ciste na Gaeilge, which is part-funded by the National Lottery, and the building is now being further developed as a place of work, a meeting facility and a cultural centre for the Irish-speaking community in the capital.

Áras na nGael is functioning as an Irish-language centre in Galway at present and Conradh na Gaeilge is also looking to find a new location on which to develop a bigger centre, so as to provide more facilities to the language community in the city in the future.

The original Irish version of this release with links!

New documentary on Pearse launched

Ó PHEANN AN PHIARSAIGH launched in Dublin
Alan Gilsenan's visual film-poem on Pearse's writings.

A visually compelling major new film for TG4 on one of the most enigmatic and controversial leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising was launched this evening at the newly restored Pearse family home in Dublin by the Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Bob Collins.

Ó Pheann an Phiarsaigh is an hour-long dramatic montage from award-winning director Alan Gilsenan that draws solely on Pearse's own writings as it attempts to weave an artistic vision of the national icon's life and death and reflect on this divisive, controversial figure. The film will be broadcast on the Irish language channel on Wednesday 5 May at 9.30pm. Extensive use is made of archive film from the Irish Film Archive, IFI Irish Film Archive, Iarsmalann an Phiarsaigh, Fáilte Ireland, Gael Linn, Bailiúchán Clarke, NASA and the U.S. Library of Congress.

Pearse has become a somewhat divisive figure. For some, he is a towering hero of Irish independence, a major literary figure and educational theorist but for many others he's an out-moded totem, his character tainted by a dangerous love of blood sacrifice, a naive narcissism and unanswered questions about his sexuality and suitability as a role model.

This release in Irish (with live links)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A fully human language?

We talked about the Conradh na Gaeilge Árd Fheis in our piece, "A very modern contest," concentrating on the contest for the venerable position of President (Uachtarán), a position held first by by one of the founders, Dúbhglás de hÍde, who later became President of Ireland.

There was very little coverage of this in the English language media, and indeed the Irish language media had what could be regarded as a fairly light coverage. However the new kid on the block, Gaelscéal, has a report in this weeks issue which tries to give the flavour of the event.

Like all journalism it is perhaps concentrating on the contest and possible signs of division, young versus old, even Munster versus the rest. Certainly the election prospect seems to have galvanised attendance at this years event. The re-elected President (and indeed his opponent) were anxious that no bitterness should follow a keenly fought campaign. When asked about possible divisions he said firmly that he didn't want to continue in that vein at all . "I am not in the Conradh for controversy," he said. "I am in Conradh na Gaeilge for the work, for the unity, to put pressure on the civil servants that are against us. I wish to make it clear that I am not in the Conradh to foment disputes." The defeated candidate concurred and he vowed to continue his work with Pádraigh for the Conradh in the enthusiastic spirit of his campaign.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help you!The re-elected President, Pádraigh Mac Fhearghusa, made a very spirited and indeed feisty address to the delegates. Possible, according to some sources, a much more envigourated speech that that he made as an election. He emphasised how welcome the young generation was to this, one of the oldest national movements, only Cumann Luathcleas Gael is older. He emphasised particularly the civil service. He obviously feels the antipathy emanating from some of these servants of the state. "Do you regard Irish as a fully human language?" he asked.

Clearly he understands the incredible damage that the intransigence of the state beaurocracy has done to the language, the most important still living part of our heritage.

Clearly as the Conradh advances into it's second century it is far from moribund and intends to take its rightful place again as the inspiration of the ancient Gaelic nation. An old fashioned notion?

Let's watch and see.

Friday, April 23, 2010




N.B.Blog owners comment:
We've put this English translation of the Governments 20 Year Strategy on the language from the pdf copy (both versions Ireish and English on single document) which is available from the site of the Department of the Gaeltacht but only in pdf form.

Some people prefer to download and look at documents in this format while others prefer the HTML format as here. The Irish version has been available in HTML format since November 2009 on the Gaeltacht21 blog site. We now present this English Language version for study by people who feel intimidated by 91 pages of Irish - though they may find it easy enough to read the shorter pages - like the contents. We have divided the document up into the various chapters and divisions for the same reason.

This draft, and it is a draft, is being considered by a joint Oireachtas committee which has held many meetings, including public televised ones, both in Dublin and, historically, in the Gaeltacht itself, when representations were made by interested bodies.


Despite centuries of language shift from Irish to English, the Irish language continues to survive as a living community language in some traditional Gaeltacht heartlands and it is also in use on a daily basis by many people outside the Gaeltacht.

The last hundred years has also seen a flowering of literature and other art forms through the medium of Irish, such that Irish is now a fully-fledged modern European language.

The objective of Government policy in relation to Irish is to increase on an incremental basis the use and knowledge of Irish as a community language. Specifically, the Government aim is to ensure that as many citizens as possible are bilingual in both Irish and English.

The aim of Government policy is also to
  • increase the number of families throughout the country who use Irish as the daily language of communication;

  • provide linguistic support for the Gaeltacht as an Irish-speaking community;

  • ensure that in public discourse and in public services the use of Irish or English will be, as far as practical, a choice for the citizen to make and that over time more and more people throughout the State will choose to do their business in Irish; and

  • ensure that Irish becomes more visible in our society, both as a spoken language by our citizens and also in areas such as signage and literature.
Irish is part of the culture and heritage of Northern Ireland and the promotion and protection of the language there is also a priority for the Government.

The Government recognises the tremendous advantage to its citizens of fluency in English, the most widely used language in international affairs. The Government commits to ensuring that this advantage is retained through the development of a bilingual society, where as many people as possible can use Irish and English with equal ease and facility.

While strengthening the position of the language within our educational system is a key focus of this strategy, transmission of Irish as a living language within the family and between the generations is critically important. Our overall approach is to create a supportive framework and the opportunities in which Irish can be passed on in a natural way within households and communities.

The future of the language depends on people who make a positive choice to embrace the opportunities this Strategy will create. This is the challenge for all of us.