Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, to provide an update on the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language. Deputy McGrath was speaking as events to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge continue to take place in locations throughout the country:
“In 2018 we had Bliain na Gaeilge which did an excellent job of celebrating the Irish language by increasing the participation of communities and making the value of our Gaeltacht’s more widely known.
However, we need a similar concerted effort to this every year so that the momentum is not lost, and to ensure that gains do not slip away through lack of focus.
I see no reason why we could not have a Seachtain na Gaeilge say once every four months instead of just once a year.
This would be a concrete action that would deliver on the commitments contained in the Irish Language Strategy and would place an onus on government to provide more funding to initiatives aimed at increasing the daily use of our first language.
We know that Seachtain na Gaeilge’s operational budget was reduced by 40% in 2016. That cannot be allowed to reoccur.
Seachtain na Gaeilge is a great way to give young people with just the “cúpla focal” a special opportunity to use what Irish they have, to increase their ability and to enhance their sense of ownership of the language.
It also provides fluent speakers with the chance to speak Irish with friends who usually don’t use their Irish and to encourage them in this regard.
We should be imaginative in our approach to the use of Irish instead of limiting its celebration to once a year events like Seachtain na Gaeilge.
“Tá súil agam go mbainfidh sibh sult as na himeachtaí a nglacann sibh páirt iontu, idir spraoi, spórt agus cultúr,” concluded Deputy McGrath.