Dáil group on Irish language yet to meet

Irish Times
Marie O'Halloran
15ú Feabhra 2008

A Cabinet sub-committee on the Irish language established three months ago, has yet to meet, it emerged in the Dáil.

Fine Gael's Gaeltacht affairs spokesman Michael Ring said the committee should have been meeting every week and the fact it had not yet met, showed a lack of commitment by the Government to the language.

The committee was set up to consider the recommendations made in the Linguistic Study of the Usage of the Irish Language in the Gaeltacht, and to agree an integrated action plan to secure the future of Irish as the community language in the Gaeltacht.

Mr Ring said the report was published before Christmas 'and the House was told that, in light of its recommendations, a Cabinet sub-committee had been set up. I expected the committee to have met, not once, but every week since then, given that the day it was debated in the Dáil, there was such concern regarding the report.'

Minister for Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív said the first meeting was scheduled for later this month, but pointed out that 'no matter how slow the start is the finish line is fixed. This matter will be concluded not later than December 31st, 2008.' He added that 'a series of public meetings has been under way in recent weeks regarding the findings of the report and it is expected that the feedback from those meetings will be made available to assist the committee in its deliberations'.

The Government would make decisions on the preparation of a national, 20-year strategy for the language, and on the linguistic study by the end of the year.

The Minister also promised that the sub-committee would deal with the issue of how English would be taught in Gaeltacht areas. 'The linguistic study of the Gaeltacht makes some radical proposals regarding education,' Mr Ó Cuív pledged, and these would be considered by the committee.