Like Mark Twain, the rumours of the death of the Irish language have been regularly exaggerated. In fact what’s most remarkable is its healthy resistance to government and official indifference. But no one who loves the language can deny that in its designated heartland, na Gaeltachtaí, it is getting harder and harder to find it being used as linga franca of the day. Indeed there seems to be a cut off point in the age groups that still unconsciously use it in public place. An age that I suspect varies from district to district. According to an as yet unpublished report by the Republic’s Department of Community and Gaeltacht Affairs, spoken Irish may only have about 20 to live in such official designated areas. It proposes a seven year intensive care programme.