Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin with Niamh Ní Chróinín of Conradh na Gaeilge in Kildare
Conradh na Gaeilge members from Kildare recently met with local TD Fiona O’Loughlin in Dublin to ask for support for an Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan which could create 2,000 new jobs.
The ten-hour clinic at Buswells Hotel saw Niamh Ní Chróinín sit down with Deputy O’Loughlin to voice concerns around Irish language and Gaeltacht funding as Clinic Na Gaeilge came to Kildare Street.
Local Conradh representatives from constituencies across Ireland travelled to the capital to meet TDs and Senators in a bid to secure funding of €5 million for the plan in Budget 2020.
“Clinic na Gaeilge brings the voice of the Irish-speaking community to the seat of power where they can air the local issues that matter to them most,” said Niamh.
“It was good to sit down with Fiona and encourage her to secure investment in the Irish language and in the Gaeltacht as a priority for the Government in Budget 2020.”
Dr Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said the Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan had been agreed by 88 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups, and would create 2,000 new jobs.
“It will also provide essential resources towards the language planning process, and afford the public many opportunities across the country to use Irish,” said Dr Comer.
“Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht employment authority, has seen its capital budget slashed by up to 65% since 2008 and Foras na Gaeilge, the cross-border body promoting Irish, has had a €5 million reduction in funding since 2008. It is time for the Government to reinvest in our Gaeltachts and in our language.”
The event was held as part of Conradh na Gaeilge’s #SEAS19 (seisiúin eolais agus spreagtha) pre-budget campaign, which involves information and progress sessions on Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs.
“Other Irish speakers have been phoning their local politicians, calling into their local clinics, and sending personal emails or tweets,” said Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge.
“Like Clinic na Gaeilge, this is all tremendously enormously important work before the Budget is decided. We are stronger as a community when we work together on these core issues - ní neart go cur le chéile.”
Other issues discussed with Oireachtas members included the urgency in publishing the Official Languages Bill 2019, the abolition of the Gaeltacht fees charged to students in teacher training colleges, additional investment in TG4, and a call for a comprehensive policy which links the teaching of Irish throughout the duration of the educational cycle, from pre-school to university.
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community.
The Conradh has over 200 branches and numerous individual members registered around the world, who work to promote the use of Irish in their respective areas.
Conradh na Gaeilge’s main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland.
Further information on the Irish Language and Gaeltacht Investment Plan is available at www.cnag.ie/pleang.