The Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, has launched Research Report on New Irish Speakers, prepared by Dr. John Walsh, University of Ireland, Galway, Professor Bernadette O’Rourke, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and Dr. Hugh Rowland, University of Ireland, Galway, for Foras na Gaeilge, on Friday, 30 October at Oireachtas na Samhna in Citywest, Dublin.
In his launching address, Rónán Ó Domhnaill remarked on the present state of affairs for Irish Speakers both inside and outside the Gaeltacht areas. (Our translation from the original Speaker Notes).
The State is not neutral
|Rónán Ó Dómhnaill|
In addressing the lack of services to Gaeltacht areas he averred: "We will have no success as a language community without giving, without question, the respect, the goodwill and the legitimacy to every speaker of Irish regardless of his background, his dialect or his competancy."
"It is extraordinary that after almost one hundred years of political independence that Irish is not the automatic means of communication between the State and the Gaeltacht Community and that the opposite is the norm: that one must revert to English to do business with the State....It makes little sense that the State lays the obligation on the Gaeltacht community for preparing language planning in set language planning areas, while at the same time refusing to fulfill their own responsibilitys."
He welcomed the publication of this report and hoped that proper recognition would be given to it as a support for language planning in the widest sense of that term and that it would be a foundation for further research in that area.
|An Dr John Walsh|
"The new speakers believe that the Gaeltacht is important but some of them have social anxiety trying to speak Irish with Gaeltacht natives. People need more support to become new speakers and we have made some policy recommendations which will help people make that transition if implemented. These include proper investment in a wide range of physical spaces in which Irish could be spoken socially and Irish language awareness campaigns in social media."
|Prof. Bernadette O'Rourke|
"The recommendations we have made in relation to new speakers of Irish will feed into a broader set of recommendations at EU level and help identify a common framework of understanding and policy implications at European level", said Prof. Bernadette O’Rourke of Heriot-Watt in Scotland, one of the report’s authors.
|Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh|
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