Irish language enthusiasts will continue to campaign to keep compulsory Irish at Leaving Cert until Taoiseach-elect Enda Kenny does a U-turn on his policy at the General Election, campaigners told FOINSE today.
They have welcomed Enda Kenny’s announcement that he will conduct scientific research on the teaching of Irish before making any changes to the education system.
Eamonn Mac Niallais, a spokesperson for Guth na Gaeltachta, told the Irish language newspaper that the newly elected Taoiseach’s recent comments on Raidió na Gaeltachta were a step in the right direction and although the general election is over, the policy would not be forgotten.
He told Foinse: “Fine Gael’s Irish Language policy has up until now, been he based on Enda Kenny’s personal opinion rather than on any scientific research. There was no consultation process involved and Enda Keny had not spoken to members of party about it, Dinny Mc Ginley told me he had not been consulted.
“The big question is now will the new Taoiseach be happy to accept the recommendations of this scientific research once it is done?”
Mr. Mac Niallais said that he will be seeking meetings with the Taoiseach, the new Minister for Education as well the new Minister for Gaeltacht affairs to discuss this matter.
MacNiallais and his fellow campaigners did not succeed in meeting with Kenny during the election campaign but are hopeful that this will soon change.
They held a number of meetings – including one in Gaoth Dobhair.
“We saw that during the election campaign Enda Kenny was happy enough to discuss with issue with the media; he did not want to meet with us however. He says he is doing this for the language and so are we. I am confident that now that the election is over the Taoiseach will meet us” he said.
Mac Niallais and Julian de Spáinn of Conradh na Gaeilge will hold another public meeting at 2pm on the 11 March in the Menlo Park Hotel Galway.
Mr Kenny is expected to be confirmed as new Taoiseach in a coaltion government with Labour – a party which does support keeping Irish compulsory at Leaving Cert.
* The full story is in today’s Foinse, which is issued with the Irish Independent.
The paper is celebrating a huge success last week when it was revealed it has 195,000 readers in the Republic – proof of a massive following for the language and the newspaper.