mainoff.gif
lastdyoff.gif
lastwkoff.gif
treeoff.gif
searchoff.gif
helpoff.gif
contactoff.gif
creditsoff.gif
homeoff.gif


The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2004 (October-December) » Archive through November 11, 2004 » Sunday Independent Article 10.17.2004 « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Náid (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 62.231.55.170
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 01:46 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Sunday Independent Article 10.17.2004


Strictly speaking . . . an Irish solution to an Irish problem


EAMONN O Cuiv is at again. Minister O Cuiv is under the delusion that forcing an Irish language clause down the throats of county councils and residents is somehow going to save the language from extension. Kerry County Council, have granted permission for a housing estate alongside a Gaeltacht village in the Dingle peninsula and in so doing have decided not to include an Irish language clause. Perhaps someone would be good enough to advise Minister O Cuiv of the causal connection between ramming something down someone's throat and they then saying no thank you - go raibh maith agat.

If the Minister and his colleagues had their way you would have to be fluent in Irish to get planning permission in areas from Barna to Carna. Don't worry about not having a roof over you head - have you got the cupla focal? Doubtless soon you will need to be fluent in Hebrew to live in Terenure and have experimental Arabic to live on the South Circular Road.

In reality Minister O Cuiv's remarks say more about governmental attitude to our first language then it ever can about our planning laws. Planning restrictions are after all plentiful across Europe. In Denmark for instance they have laws passed which ensure that Germans don't get above themselves and buy too many houses belonging to the natives. Wales has equally strident planning regulations to keep out the Sassenach.

Thankfully our constitution has some relevant things to say about property rights including that an individuals property rights will be protected by the State from unjust attack. There is a catch however - the State can delimit these rights to "exercise with the exigencies of the common good". This is called having your proverbial cake and eating it. You will be protected unless the State feels that by so doing the common good will be disturbed. This neatly dovetails into the Planning Act of 2000 which as Minister O Cuiv is only too aware, entitles, indeed insists that the local councils preserve the linguistic ethos of the area when making planning decisions.

The notion that O Cuiv's latest cry for Eire will somehow protect the Irish language and culture in the area is mindless optimism writ large. The Gaeltacht areas have been an experiment that have clearly not worked in promoting the use of Irish. Yet this is another hopeless ministerial intervention to stem the tide of the English language in such an area.

There is an argument that any area whose sole purpose is to cater for confused school boys and girls for three weeks in the summer may be well need to reflect on its continued existence. Are Gaeltachts' there to foster and promote the Irish language amongst those with whom Irish is not the mother tongue? If so, they have failed. Are they then trying to ensure the survival of the language at least amongst families in the neighbourhood? Failed again - local Irish speaking families have been relocating in droves having been the most vociferous in their complaints that councils are not providing affordable housing for them to live there in the first place. If alternatively Gaeltacht areas continue to exist so that that people who never have, and never will speak Irish can feel good about their national identify, then they have been a roaring success.

Trying to get to the heart of what the vast majority of the population have against the Irish language has never been an easy exercise. One can at least say that every experiment to force people to speak it has failed. You can wedge the Nuacht in between man landing on Jupiter and Ryan Turbiddy committing hari-kari and we still won't watch it. When you then throw the housing dilemma into the mix you have a fire from which fingers are likely to get very burnt.


If the Minister and his colleagues had their way you would have to be fluent in Irish to get planning permission in areas from Barna to Carna. Don't worry about not having a roof over you head - have you got the cupla focal? Promotion of a language and culture is not about coercion or vaguely glamorous newsreaders and is certainly not about herding Irish only speakers into an estate when thousands are crying out for homes. And guess what Minister? Those who are struggling to get on the housing market in Co Kerry are no less Irish then your good self and do not need to attach themselves to a language to so prove it. Kerry County Council has got this and so should you. Culture and identity is about a lot more than the cupla focal - with the greatest respect.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Náid (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 62.231.55.170
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 01:50 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Reply to Article. Sunday Independent 10.31.2004
By Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Afairs


World heritage lost if Irish dies



A Chara - I refer to an article in the Sunday Independent (17/10/04) headed 'Strictly speaking - an Irish solution to an Irish problem'.

Contrary to this article, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the population have a positive attitude towards the Irish language. This was most recently evident in the outcry against the singing of the National Anthem in English at the Ryder Cup in America. It is true also to say that the vast majority of the people of this country believe that our ecological, archaeological and linguistic heritage should be protected particularly when that heritage is of world importance.

To put it in its world context, the Irish language is the oldest vernacular written language in Europe. It is of major importance in this context as part of our world linguistic heritage. Furthermore, in the European context, the European Union is founded on the concept of unity in diversity and on the protection and the development of the diversity and richness of European culture.

In this context it would be a major decision for the Irish people to decide that those areas in which the Irish language has been continuously spoken as a vernacular language for the last 2,000 years were not to be given special protection, particularly in view of the major threats being faced in linguistic terms by these areas. Obviously if it is the choice of the people of the Gaeltacht and also of the people of Ireland that the Gaeltacht is no longer of any importance, I will as a democrat accept the democratic wishes of the people.

However, every Government since the foundation of the state (led first by the Cumann na nGaedheal government in the Twenties who set up the initial Coimisiun na Gaeltachta) down to the present day has had as one of its objectives the preservation and development of the Gaeltacht.

Despite certain failings in the policy, when one considers the rate at which the Irish language was in decline at the time of our Independence, the success of this policy is evident. However, changing times bring new challenges and one of the major challenges now facing the Gaeltacht is not decline but over-rapid population shift. Not to recognise this is not to recognise some basics in relation to linguistic behaviour.

As Minister of the Gaeltacht I would welcome an open and honest debate in relation to the future of the Irish language in this country and also in relation to the future of the Gaeltacht. I have no difficulty with people saying that the Irish language, despite its national, European and world importance, should be allowed to die and that no effort should be made to preserve it; everyone is entitled to their opinion. What I do have difficulty with, however, is those people who say that they believe the Irish language should be preserved and developed and then oppose any reasonable steps taken to ensure that preservation and development.

Finally, I wish to make clear that I have never at any time in my life had other than a very inclusive view of what Irishness is. Furthermore, I have never tried to say that knowledge of the Irish language makes a person more Irish than another.

However, what is self-evident is that the Irish language is an uniquely Irish heritage belonging to the people of this island, to be shared with the rest of the world.

On a visit to Ireland the Canadian Language Commissioner illustrated this point clearly when she said that if French were to die in Canada the French language would continue to thrive throughout the world. However, if Irish were to die as a vernacular spoken language in Ireland, a priceless part of world heritage would be lost. Certainly culture and identity is about a lot more than the cupla focal. However the cupla focal is very much part of that identity.

The difference is between exclusivity and inclusivity.

Eamon O Cuiv, TD,

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Afairs

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alevans
Member
Username: Alevans

Post Number: 139
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 07:40 am:   Edit Post Print Post

"Minister O Cuiv is under the delusion that forcing an Irish language clause down the throats of county councils and residents is somehow going to save the language from extension."

Typo? Misquote? Slip of the tongue? Anyway, it's funny! :-)

--Al Evans

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Antaine
Member
Username: Antaine

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 31, 2004 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

my thought? come up with a 30 year plan to turn the whole country into a gaeltacht. Current schoolteachers and students would be grandfathered in to the current system, but new teachers would need extensive irish. more and more of the school day each year would be conducted solely in irish. in the US, we have ESL (english as a second language) programs for students who don't speak english, yet have english-only classes. start with kindergartens and pre-k and have the program follow them through.

if israel could do it with hebrew, ireland can do it with gaeilge. and, if you ask me (not that anyone did, mind you), it should be done.

I see no reason why Ireland can't speak Irish like the US speaks english, and english be given the place of "most important second language" like spanish is in the US.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Simon Leonard (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From: 193.1.100.102
Posted on Tuesday, November 02, 2004 - 08:08 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The way to promote the Irish language is education, education, education. All national school teachers must be good Irish teachers, and be able to make it interesting for the students. It is no wonder that students who have had poor Irish teachers early on, grow to dislike the language. We can say alot about housing in Gaeltacht areas etc., but if the young people have no interest, then what are we to do? Irish must be shown to be interesting and exciting, not boring hours of grammar and ancient poetry. Nobody wants anything to be forced upon them, lets show everyone what the language has to offer, and let them make up their own minds.



©Daltaí na Gaeilge