Thursday, April 24, 2014

A future for Irish? Questions for local authority candidates!

Conradh na Gaeilge have suggested some sample questions on the future of the Gaeltacht and the Irish language to put to cadidates and some points that these candidates should be aware of as the go seeking support in the local elections next month!

Do you choose a future for Irish?
Important notes below that are worth mentioning to the candidate before he/she answers the question:
  • It is a good idea to inform the candidate before they answer that action must be taken by them if they choose a future for Irish and that we will be back in touch with them about it 
  • We will publish and circulate amongst the Irish language community the names of the candidates that choose a future for Irish to acknowledge their support

Are you willing to ensure service from the local authority in Irish, to the same standard of services in English, for the Irish language and Gaeltacht community? e.g. planning applications, housing services, etc..

Other notes:
  • In the South: Will you ensure that there is a condition inserted in to all contracts awarded by the local authority to suppliers of services to the authority that they must provide a service in Irish, e.g. refuse companies, service companies (like Dublin Bikes - no condition was inserted in to the contract and there is no service available to access a bike in Irish) or other.
  • In the North: Is the candidate willing to advocate publicly for an Irish Language Act to be enacted in the Westminster Parliament to establish a proper framework to develop the Irish language in the north and ensure that the local authority is promoting the language as laid out in the European Framework, for example with regard to bilingual signage in the borough council area
Local question – e.g. about local signage, accommodation for gaelscoileanna or Irish language centres, local authority support for Irish community events, basic services and offices based in the Gaeltacht, etc..

Facts about the Irish language for candidates:

• Nearly 2 million people on the island of Ireland have some level of Irish

• According to statistics: 93% of the population in the south support the revival or preservation of the language (ESRI & NUI Maynooth for Michéal Mac Gréil, 2009); 35% support the use of Irish in the north and 53% support the provision of additional opportunities to learn Irish in the north (NI Omnibus Survey), 27% of the population in the south support Irish as the primary language of the state (Ipsos MRBI for the Irish Times)

• There are over 200 gaelscoil, between primary and secondary schools, on the island of Ireland

• The viability of Irish as a community language in the Gaeltacht is at risk (according to the Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht, 2007)

• Irish has an economic value to the economy, e.g. it’s worth €6 million to the town / city that hosts the Oireachtas (annual Irish-medium festival); it’s worth over €136 million to the economy in Galway annually; the Irish summer colleges are worth over €20 million to the economy

• Irish offers additional benefits to its speakers/learners, e.g. It makes it easier to acquire a third and fourth language; there are cognitive benefits (i.e. thinking creatively, sensitivity to communication, problem solving); a better understanding of the heritage of the island, etc.

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