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Dublin: 15 °C Tuesday 29 July, 2014

1,000+ for demo over Government ‘lack of support’ for Irish language

The event is part of a “strong campaign” for the Irish language taking place this year.

Image: Erin Stevenson O'Connor via Flickr/Creative Commons

MORE THAN A thousand people are expected to attend a march in Dublin over the treatment of the Irish language in Ireland.

The meeting, organised by Conradh na Gaeilge, follows on from a public meeting organised at the beginning of the month by the organisation.

The march will take place on Saturday, 15 February comes following the announcement by Seán Ó Cuirreáin, the Language Commissioner (Coimisineir Teanga), that he is to resign on the 24 February 2014.

He said that his resignation is over Government failures regarding the Irish language and its failure to implement legislation on improving services to the public through Irish.

Conradh na Gaeilge (CNAG) also is holding the event due to a report by the Council of Europe on the Northern Ireland Assembly, which criticised the assembly for its “hostile climate” towards the Irish language.

It found that there is a lack of support for Irish in the assembly.

Inaction

As well as the recent public meeting in Liberty Hall in Dublin, meetings have been taking place around the country on the issue, general secretary of CNAG, Julian De Spáinn told TheJournal.ie.

He said that there has been a number of years of inaction from both the Irish and Northern Irish governments on the issue.

He said that they are “coming out strongly to say that the politicians have to start acting on what it is we’re looking for when it comes to Irish language promotion and support”.

One of the main issues for CNAG is the support for the language within the Civil Service, and State services for people.

He said that people living in the Gaeltacht have shared stories of being told that they cannot communicate in their native language. One woman in Liberty Hall was told by a nurse, when she went to hospital with her daughter, that “if your daughter can’t speak English to me I can’t treat her”, said De Spáinn.

They are also calling on the government to focus on the Irish language when recruiting new members to the civil service. “We are not saying every civil servant has to have Irish,” said De Spáinn.

However, they would like the government to increase the number of new recruits with the Irish language.

In addition, CNAG is asking the government not to renew the derogation on the Irish language that it was given when the European Union recognised it as an official EU language.

“If they go to the EU in the morning and ask for the derogation to be removed, one of the upsides is that the EU could recruit EU could recruit 300 [Irish-speaking people],” said De Spáinn.

“We want the governments to understand the value of the language,” he said. “It helps us identify differently to the rest of the world. We are a big believer in mother tongue plus two – if you are learning Irish and have English, it makes learning a third language is easier.”

They are planning lobbying days at the Dáil and the Northern Ireland Assembly in the coming months, and will also be focusing on the local elections during the campaign.

The march will begin at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square at 2pm and will see performances by Kila, Seo Linn and Na Fíréin. All members of the public are welcome to take part, said CNAG.

Read: NI Assembly criticised for ‘hostile climate’ towards the Irish language>

Column: What’s the future for the Irish language and do politicians want to preserve it?>

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