The Irish Language

Eagarfhocal: Donegal News 27/8/2010

The Irish Language

The Irish are not good at presenting a united front. Differences of opinion, personality clashes and pure bloody-mindedness have sunk many a good cause. As the old saying goes, the first item on the agenda is a split. Therefore an open letter signed by individuals from some thirty businesses and organisations should be treated seriously. This week we publish such a letter which was sent to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste from interests in the Donegal Gaeltacht. Providing detailed figures they claim that if cuts are imposed then the Department of the Gaeltacht and Údarás na Gaeltachta will be extinct by 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The letter writers argue that while all departments are facing cuts, the Department of Community Equality and Gaeltacht affairs' budget will be slashed by over 70% at a time when the Irish language is facing it's most serious challenge yet.

The writers quote from what is known as the The Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht which concluded that Irish could be the minority language in the strongest gaeltacht areas within fifteen years.

Even for non-Irish speakers this should be unacceptable. Is the present ruling generation to be the one that allowed Irish to die in the gaeltacht because of an economic crisis? That is the stark question facing not only the government but our society. The answer must be a resounding no.