FINE Gael leader Enda Kenny is basing his new policy on scrapping compulsory Irish in schools on feedback he has received from students, the Irish language newspaper Foinse is claiming today.
The shock claim – that the man who could be the country’s next Taoiseach – does not base the policy on any widespread research – was made to the newspaper by Ciarán Mac Murchú of Coláiste Uisce, an activity based Irish College Adventure Centre in the heart of Mayo Gaeltacht.
It will shock language enthusiasts who gathered in Gaoth Dobhair last night to oppose the Fine Gael language policy.
Mac Murchú was speaking at a public meeting last Wednesday in Furbo, Co. Galway which was arranged by CONCO’s (Comhchoiste na gColáistí Samhraidh).
“Our Irish college is located in Enda Kenny’s constituency and we had the opportunity to meet with him a few weeks ago in Castlebar. To be honest I was far more worried after our meeting with Deputy Kenny than I had been before” he said.
“ When we asked him what research he was basing this policy on, he said that it had become clear to him from visiting schools around the country that students were not enjoying the subject.”
Mr. Mac Murchú said that this was a very simplistic outlook to have on something which was quite complex.
Coláiste Uisce was founded in 1992 and over 2,000 students attend their Irish activity courses each year. According to Mac Murchú, removing Irish as a compulsory subject would have a devastating effect on the Irish college as well as the local community.
He told Foinse: “ Coláiste Uisce employs 13 people full time and this increases to 60 during the summer months. The recession has been a very challenging time for the coláistí samhraidh and the implantation of this policy would destroy something which is already fragile.”
At the same meeting, Fine Gael councillor Seán Kyne said he was very disappointed with Enda Kenny’s comments on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta last week but insisted that the Fine Gael party were not anti-Irish or anti-Gaeltacht.
Councillor Kyne told Foinse that Fine Gael’s Irish language policy was a mistake and that he is worried about the effect the policy might have on the results of the vote in his constituency.
“I believe that there is a chance that we will lose votes as a result of this and it is a great pity” he said.
Meanwhile Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh has been announced as a new columnist for Foinse today.
You can read more about that here:
Tá ríméad ar Foinse a fhógairt go bhfuil Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh ina cholúnaí spóirt le Foinse anois. Beidh an chéad alt ón tráchtaire mórchlúiteach seo le léamh in Foinse ar 16 Feabhra agus san alt sin, díreoidh sé ar fhoireann peile Bhaile Átha Cliath; an mbeidh siad in ann an tsraith a bhuachan in 2011?
Bhí Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh ina thráchtaire spóirt ar feadh níos mó ná seasca bliain agus ó amárach ar aghaidh beidh sé ag roinnt a shaineolas spóirt le léitheoirí Foinse. Clúdóidh sé réimse leathan de chúrsaí spóirt sna hailt a scríobhann sé, cluichí CLG ina measc.
Agus é ag labhairt faoin ról nua atá aige le Foinse, dúirt sé: “ Bhí áthas orm i bhfad siar nuair a chuala mé go mbeadh nuachtán Gaeilge a fhoilsiú gach seachtain agus ba bhreá liom ag an am deis a bheith agam ailt a sholáthar don tseoid nua, ‘Foinse’ . Tá deis agam anois mo mhian a shásamh le cúpla focal ar Foinse na Céadaoin agus tá áthas fós orm.”
Cuireann an colún seo go mór leis an gclúdach cuimsitheach spóirt a fhoilsítear in Foinse gach seachtain agus a bhfuil gradam buaite aige ar a shon cheana féin. Tá Evanne Ní Chuilinn, tráchtaire spóirt de chuid RTÉ, ar dhuine de na colúnaithe spóirt eile atá ag an bpáipéar.
Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Emer Ní Chéidigh, eagarthóir Foinse: “D’fhás muid aníos ag éisteacht le Micheál i mbun tráchtaireachta ar chluichí CLG ar an raidió agus is mór an onóir dúinn ailt ón laoch tráchtaireachta spóirt seo a chur i gcló.”