Údarás na Gaeltachta has today (29 May) published a report which outlines state the of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht. The Update to the Comprehensive Linguistic Study on the Usage of Irish in the Gaeltacht: 2006-2011 details the changes to the linguistic profile of Gaeltacht communities during that period.
The objective of this research project was to provide linguistic data to Lead Organisations in the preparation of language plans in the Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas. This data has been provided using the same analytical methodologies used in the original study published in 2007. This analytical model ensures continuity and provides an up-to-date profile of the language planning areas provided for under the Gaeltacht Act, 2012.
The analysis in the report shows that the rate at which the Irish language is being eroded as a community language in the Gaeltacht has not abated since the first research report, The Comprehensive Linguistic Study on the Usage of Irish in the Gaeltacht, which was published in 2007. According to the authors, erosion is now taking place at a faster rate than was predicted in the original study and demands urgent intervention.
The Chairperson of Údarás na Gaeltachta , Anna Ní Ghallachair said “The data provided in this update is an additional resource for An tÚdarás, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and especially for the Lead Organisations as they undertake the planning process to ensure the future role of the Irish language as a community language. We recognise that the data provided in this report provides an insight into the significant challenges posed to the Gaeltacht communities and to the State alike in relation to the preservation of the Irish language. The report details how the Irish language has contracted as a community language in the Gaeltacht, especially in the strongest Gaeltacht areas.”
The Chairperson said that this data will be carefully examined at a local level and that an effort must be made to understand the factors which hold sway and influence communities’ linguistic behaviour. The Lead Organisations are ideally positioned to undertake this work and An tÚdarás will continue to provide support to them and to the Gaeltacht communities in this regard, she said.
Údarás na Gaeltachta, Chief Executive, Steve Ó Cúláin, said that the research statistics show that there has been no increase in the number of active Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht. “An tÚdarás is committed to working with the Gaeltacht communities through the Lead Organisations in an effort to bolster and revitalise the Irish language as a community language in the Gaeltacht.”
He said, “The fact is that there are still many people in the Gaeltacht whose first and everyday language is Irish. Language planning is a complex process, and will only be successful with the community, the public sector and the private sector, all working together to support the promotion and usage of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht.”
Siubhán Nic Grianna, Communications and Marketing Manager, Údarás na Gaeltachta,
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