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New Gaeltacht minister: No, I haven't started Irish lessons yet

Heather Humphreys, the senior minister at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has admitted her command of the language isn’t the best.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

HEATHER HUMPHREYS, THE new Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Minister, has said she hopes to ‘squeeze in’ some Irish lessons shortly after previously admitting she had lost the the ability to speak the language fluently.

Humphreys and her junior minister Joe McHugh, who has specific responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs, have been criticised in recent weeks after it emerged that neither of them were fluent in the language.

Both were surprise promotions in the reshuffle of ministers and ministers of state in July and have faced criticism for their lack of Irish, particularly McHugh.

But while McHugh has made much of his efforts to re-learn the language in recent weeks, Humphreys, a Fine Gael TD for Cavan-Monaghan, admitted today she has been too busy to begin lessons.

She said in July that she was prepared to “brush up” on her Irish.

But speaking at the launch of Culture Night 2014 in Dublin today she said she has been “very busy” in recent weeks having just returned from a culture summit in Edinburgh.

Humphreys said: “No I haven’t started Irish lessons yet, but I do hope to get some squeezed in at some stage shortly. I can’t give you a timescale because the schedule is very busy.”

- reporting from Aoife Barry 

Read: New Gaeltacht minister now “thinking in Irish” after summer cramming classes

Listen: Here’s new Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh giving BBC listeners an Irish lesson…

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Hugh O'Connell

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