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A lot of people think Enda was wrong to make this guy Gaeltacht Minister

But he doesn’t “take it personally.”

Joe McHugh
Joe McHugh
Image: Photocall Ireland/Maxwells

Update: 6.07 pm

MOST OF US believe Taoiseach Enda Kenny made a mistake in appointing Joe McHugh as the Minister of State with responsibility for the Gaeltacht.

That’s the finding of a poll published today by Tuairisc.ie, a new Irish-language news service.

Some 61% of those polled said Kenny was “wrong” to make the Donegal TD Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs back in July.

That feeling was strongest among those in Munster, according to the survey, which was conducted by Millward Brown.

The poll also found that 62% believe the State doesn’t do enough to promote the Irish language, with dissatisfaction highest among those aged over 55, and living in Munster, Connacht and Ulster.

A spokesperson for McHugh told TheJournal.ie he “does not take the poll findings personally.”

Since his appointment, the Minister of State has taken a number of decisions to support various initiatives that promote the Irish language.

The Fine Gael TD was pleased that his department, and 11 others, had made “significant progress” in implementing the government’s 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, 2010-2030.

In response to the survey, Conradh na Gaeilge has demanded immediate action by the government, including the provision of €12 million in funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta, in tomorrow’s Budget.

“The [survey results] show every clearly that the Government is not doing enough to promote the Irish language,” Conradh president Cóilín Ó’Cearbhaill said in a statement this afternoon.

The group repeated its recent call for the Official Languages Bill to be shelved for another six months and amended, and the government to end the derogation of the Irish language in the EU, which would mean all official EU announcements would have to be translated into Irish.

Today’s survey comes after comments made just last Friday, when former RTÉ and TG4 chief Cathal Goan criticised the Taoiseach for appointing the “less than fluent” McHugh.

At the time, McHugh’s appointment caused widespread outrage, when it emerged that he couldn’t speak the Irish language fluently.

Since the summer, however, he has been taking intensive lessons, and was able to hold his own in an interview ‘as Gaeilge’ on Raidio na Gaeltachta in August.

Poll: Does it matter that the Gaeltacht Minister isn’t fluent in Irish?>

The new Gaeltacht minister isn’t fluent in Irish>

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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