From the “Programme for a Partnership Government“, the recently published agreement underpinning the right-wing minority administration of Fine Gael and various independent TDanna, supported by Fianna Fáil, comes this “commitment” to the rights of Irish-speaking communities and citizens in Ireland:
“11. An Ghaeilge
The Irish language is of crucial importance to our heritage and culture. The new Government needs to systematically implement the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish language, increase the number of people using Irish in their daily lives and ensure that Irish becomes a more visible language in today’s society, both as a spoken language and also in areas such as signage and literature.
Among other measures, we will:
* Focus on job creation in the Gaeltacht, through Údarás na Gaeltachta
* Encourage the attendance by children in Irish-medium pre-schools or naíonraí in Gaeltacht areas
* Recognise the importance of the status of Irish as a full working language of the EU institutions and work towards ending the derogation, as circumstances allow
* Increase investment in the Irish language”
The Irish language is not just of crucial importance to our heritage and culture – it is important to the men, women and children who actually speak it. Yet, as always, these people remain invisible to our would-be policy-makers. As for the unimplemented twenty year government programme on our national tongue that would be the original “20 Year Strategy for the Irish language 2010-2030“, announced six years ago with cross-party support from the Oireachtas. Yes, that’s right, in 2016 the political classes are still pledging to begin a strategy supposedly started way back in 2010. The rest of the measures are pretty much at that level of non-commitment, meaningless sound-bites of no significance because no-one, be they Fine Gael, independent or Fianna Fáil, has any intention of implementing them. Or as they might put it: “We will continue to work towards the protection and restoration of the Irish language, and associated rights, as circumstances allow“.