New research finds that that 93% of the population (in 26 Counties) are pro-Irish Language.The report found that 40% are in favour of ‘revival’, 53% wanted ‘preservation’ according to the reasearch.
6.7% wanted the language ‘discarded’. Readers of say the Irish Independent may be shocked at that low number but I think we should take it that many of the commentators who hold very negatitive views towards the language do not have the support they claim, they do not speak for ‘the people of Ireland’.
The report also found positive attitutes towards the language from ‘foriegn nationals’.
The report had concerns with the treatment of Irish in the education system.
I myself believe that an education throught Irish should be a constitutional right, thirty percent of the population have indicated a preference for IME, and that is what they should have, it is not good enough to provide for IME only after English medium is secured, in too many of our remaining Gaeltachtaí are native speaking children denied an education through Irish as they are a minority in a school or more shockingly, to accomadate an English speaking minority.
It is not permitted to set up a Gaelscoil in the ‘Gaeltacht’ by the way.
Having said that, one should never put all your eggs in one basket and I feel that it is true to say that the rise of the Gaelscoil movement has seen a paralell decline in Irish in the English medium sector, something which needs to be addressed.
I have seen the language taught in English medium primary schools in the North and I have to say I was inspired but the quality, a number of schools I could only describe as bilingual, somewhere between a Gaelscoil and full English medium.
If that quality could be replicating in the South, then the fortunes of the Irish language would be truely transformed.