Funding Package Approved for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018
Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh T.D. has welcomed the decision by Foras na Gaeilge to make special funding of €450,000 available for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018.
“This is an opportunity to encourage the public to speak our native language and to put the language in centre stage,” Minister of State McHugh said. “As I have previously said, we have a very special year ahead of us in Bliain na Gaeilge 2018, and I am delighted to have been able to identify funding for this in Budget 2018. I strongly believe that all Irish people have some amount of Irish. We will, therefore, be focussing on creating the right environment to encourage people to give speaking Irish a go on a daily basis.”
Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive Officer of Foras na Gaeilge, backed the Minister of State’s comment. “The 2016 Census showed that 1.76 million people are able to speak the language, but only 73,803 speak it on a daily basis. I agree with Minister McHugh that, due to our education system, the majority of people have some knowledge of Irish, and I believe that this is a great basis for developing and promoting the language in 2018.
Dr. Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, said “125 years on from the revival, Bliain na Gaeilge will give us the opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved in relation to the Irish language since 1893. It also represents an opportunity to bring the Irish language, with all of its associated challenges, to the centre of public discourse. It is wonderful that groups across the world will be taking part in this celebration, and huge thanks are due to those groups who will be working diligently to organise events as part of the celebrations.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Údarás na Gaeltachta, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, also welcomed the announcement. “Údarás na Gaeltachta are happy to be part of this important campaign and to be working along with the relevant parties to promote the Irish language, Irish culture and the Gaeltacht. It is very important to embrace every opportunity to encourage and support Irish as the spoken language of the Gaeltacht and we are hopeful that the investment in Bliain na Gaeilge will assist greatly with this.”
A high level committee will now be put in place, including representatives from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Conradh na Gaeilge, Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta to formulate and direct the programme for the year. As Minister McHugh has previously stated, he will be speaking with his Government colleagues in the coming weeks to obtain support across the state system for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018.
Conradh na Gaeilge will be announcing its programme for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 at Oireachtas na Gaeilge tomorrow, Saturday.