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.

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