Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader Éamon Ó Cuív was in Gaoth Dobhair this weekend to launch the party’s commitment to the protection and promotion of the Irish language. The launch coincided with the Republican Commemoration at the Phádraig Mhícheáil Áirt (Pat O Donnell) commemoration event.
Speaking at the event, local Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill said: “Our commitment to protect and promote the Irish language is central to the founding principles and current policy of Fianna Fáil. It is fitting that our renewed Irish Language Policy is launched at a republican event to commemorate those who lost their lives in the struggle for Irish independence. Pat O Donnell was one of those brave men.
“Fianna Fáil has supported Irish as a community language and we have a proud record on delivering for the Gaeltacht transforming the infrastructure of Gaeltacht regions and the Islands.
“Our record shows that we;
- Enacted the Official Language Act;
- Set up the office of the Language Commissioner;
- Established the North-South body Fóras na Gaeilge; and
- Expanded the provision of Third Level Education through Irish.
- “With the support of the Irish language community Fianna Fáil succeeded in making Irish a working language of the EU. In Government the party produced an ambitious 20 Year Strategy on the Irish Language last year which sets out nine areas for action including education, the gaeltacht, the family, public services, the economy, the media and legislation. The overall aim is to increase the number of daily speakers of Irish from 83,000 to 250,000.
“However we are deeply concerned about this Government’s commitment to the Irish language. There is a real worry that Fine Gael and Labour jeopardise recent achievements in promoting our national language, through their proposals to remove Irish as a core subject for the Leaving Certificate along with their worrying lack of urgency in replacing Meitheal Forbartha na Gaeltachta Teo with a new LEADER Funding provider.
“This Government are also jeopardising the future of Údarás na Gaeltachta, with Fine Gael and Labour proposing to remove power from Gaeltacht people to directly elect the Board of Udarás. Instead they want to give complete complete control over board appointments to politicians. In addition to this, the Government has pulled funding from several important pieces of infrastructure in Gaeltacht regions, including sports and community facilities, Coláiste Gaeilge, roads, housing, water and piers and so on.
“This total lack of commitment to the Gaeltacht and our national language of which we are so proud, is a cause of great concern. Fianna Fáil has launched a campaign to highlight these concerns with Gaeltacht communities over the coming months,” concluded Senator Ó Domhnaill.