Impact of Gaeltacht Cuts - Irish Times 26 August 2010
The recent report from the Department of Finance, Infrastructure Investment Priorities 2010-2016 is a source of great concern to us in the Gaeltacht.
If its proposed State capital expenditure cuts are implemented, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Gaeltacht Development Body, Údarás na Gaeltachta will effectively cease to exist by 2016 when we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Is this a fitting tribute?
According to The Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht (2007) commissioned by this Government, there is a linguistic crisis in the Gaeltacht at present, even in the strongest Gaeltacht areas: “The unambiguous conclusion of the survey on young people is that, without a major change to language-use patterns, Irish is unlikely to remain the predominant community and family language in those areas with the most widespread and inclusive Irish-speaking networks (ie Category A Gaeltacht districts) for more than another 15 to 20 years.”
This problem must be addressed immediately before it is too late and, consequently, we are asking that all of the proposals made by the Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee Report recently regarding the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language be swiftly accepted and implemented. These proposals have all-party agreement and we believe that their adoption would be a more appropriate expression of our self-belief in our identity as a nation in the lead-up to 2016 rather than the Department of Finance proposals.
We, Donegal Gaeltacht community groups, accept that we are currently in a very poor economic climate and that cuts are needed in State expenditure, but the preservation of Irish as a living community language in the Gaeltacht cannot be made conditional upon global economic conditions. – Is muidne,