Irish Language: losing the Gaeltacht?

Emily O’Reilly contrasts (subscription or registration needed) the fortunes of the Irish language inside and outside the Gaeltacht areas, and suggests that state intervention with the Gaeltacht has done little to halt the decline of the language.

“…as the Gaeltacht shrinks, the appetite for all-Irish schools in the so-called Galltacht, or all-English speaking part of the country, continues to increase. Gaelscoileanna open at the rate of three or four a year, while a number of Irish-speaking secondary schools, Gaelcholaiste, have also been established to cater for the needs of Gaelscoil graduates.”

“Most remarkable is that this phenomenon has occurred without state intervention, without special grants or incentives. In every case, parental pressure has been the driving force, with voluntary groups coming together to create an all-Irish speaking educational environment.”

“There are now 138 Gaelscoileanna and 30 Gaelcholaiste in the republic, serving approximately 20,000 primary school students and 5,000 secondary.”

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