Sinn Féin

04/06/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/06/2017 11:04

70 years of Irish Language growth ends with six years of Fine Gael Government – Tóibín

6 April, 2017 - by Peadar Tóibín TD

Cathaoirleach of the Oireachtas Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Committee, Peadar Tóibín, has stated that the Government's language policy is in disarray. The number of daily Irish speakers, which is the key measure of the strength of the language, has fallen both inside and outside the Gaeltacht. The number of people stating knowledge of Irish has fallen for the first time since 1946.

An Teachta Tóibín said:

'This has not happened by accident, it has happened due to platitudes and disinterest. Some of the census statistics are particularly shocking. Of the total number of persons aged 17 and 18 nearly 1 in 3 (40,626) are not able to speak in Irish. The standard of Irish in our schools is falling.

'25% of parents seek Gaelscoil Education for their children, yet only 5% receive Gaelscoil Education. The government through their schools patronage selection process have significantly arrested the development of Gaelscoileanna in recent years against the will of parents and pupils.

'There is literally compulsory English for anyone who seeks to engage with the service of the state. Despite the law, if you are an Irish speaking citizen engaging with the state, you will be forced to speak English. The only Ombudsman in the history of the state to resign was the Irish Language Commissioner. He did so due to the Government failure to implement the law.

'Money was gutted from the Irish language sector like no other. That is an 89% cut to the capital budget of Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht from 2008 to 2014, and further cuts again this year.

'We have a minister for the Irish language who will not take questions here in Irish. The Junior Minister with responsibility for the Irish language, three months ago knew neither the number of Irish speakers in the state nor whether the targets for the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language were being met.

'It's now clear that numbers speaking the language are actually going the wrong way; we have a drop of 4.4% of speakers who use Irish daily outside of the education system, and a further hugely worrying 11% fall of daily speakers in our Gaeltacht regions.

'When will the Government realise that this may be the last generation of people to speak Irish as a community language in the Gaeltacht? It is clear that their current government inaction is failing Irish speakers, Gaeltacht communities, our shared heritage and our future as a bilingual nation.'

Teip tubaisteach ar pholasaí Gaeilge an rialtais - Tóibín

Tá ráite ag an Teachta Peadar Tóibín atá mar Chathaoirleach ar an gCoiste Oireachtas Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, go bhfuil polasaí an rialtais i dtaobh na Gaeilge i bpraiseach. Tá titim ar líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge laethúla laistigh agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht de réir fhigiúirí an daonáirimh a foilsíodh inniu. Is é seo an chéad titim ar líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge ó 1946.

Dúirt an Teachta Tóibín:

'Níor tharla sé seo trí thimpiste. Tharla sé de bharr an neamhaird iomlán a dhéanann an rialtas den Ghaeilge. Tá cuid de na staitisticí duairc ar fad. Níl nach mór trian de dhaoine aois 17 agus a 18 (40,626) in ann Gaeilge a labhairt.

'Tá 25% de thuismitheoirí ag éileamh oideachas dá bpáistí trí mheán na Gaeilge, ach níl ach 5% dár scoileanna ina Gaelscoileanna. Níl an dara rogha ag daoine ach Béarla a úsáid agus iad ag plé leis an státchóras.

'Baineadh an t-uafás airgid den earnáil Gaeilge. Baineadh 89% de chiste caipitil na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na nOileán ón bhliain 2008 - 2014 agus bhí breis ciorruithe ann i mbliana.

'Tá Aire don Ghaeilge againn nach bhfuil sásta glacadh le ceisteanna anseo trí Ghaeilge. Trí mhí ó shin ní raibh a fhios ag an Aire Stáit le cúram na Gaeilge cé mhéad cainteoirí Gaeilge a bhí ann sa stát, nó an raibh ag éirí le spriocanna an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge.

'Is léir dúinn anois go bhfuil líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge ag laghdú in ionad a mhalairt - tá titim 4.4% ar chainteoirí na Gaeilge a úsáideann go laethúil taobh amuigh den chóras oideachas. Cúis imní eile ná an titim 11% ar chainteoirí laethúla na Gaeilge sna Gaeltachtaí.

'Caithin a rachaidh an rialtas i ngleic leis an ngéarchéim seo? Is léir go bhfuil an rialtas ag teipeadh ar lucht labhartha na Gaeilge, pobal na Gaeltachta, ár n-oidhreacht, agus ár dtodhchaí mar thír dhá theangach a chosaint faoi mar a bhí beartaithe sa straitéis.'