The abject failure of government policy since the creation of the state has meant the number of Irish speakers collapsed from about 250,000 to 20,000. According to a report two years ago, the number of Irish-speaking families with children at school in counties Mayo, Cork, Waterford and Meath was just 53. Throughout the entire Gaeltacht regions there were just 2,143 families with school children who were using Irish at home.
This, then, is what more than 80 years of independence, 80 years of forced learning and faux regard for the ludicrously titled “first official language” has delivered. What is most astonishing, though, is that even now our politicians do not want to recognise the policy for the disaster that it is, and so we continue to clutter up the school curriculum with an approach to Irish that is a waste of time and money.
Daithi’s been running a billingual discussion on this since Sunday.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty