Text size

Tráth Ceist na Nollag do Charthanacht | Fun Christmas Table Quiz for Charity

December 17, 2013

Tráth Ceist na Nollag

Ceolchoirm i PS na Tríonóide, Eochaill

December 17, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Will unofficial policy silence Irish forever?

December 17, 2013

The resignation of An Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, adds to the growing suspicion that there is now an undeclared policy in operation to do away with what’s left of Irish in the public life of our country.
As someone who spent 30 years in the civil service,I know the deep dislike of Irish that is common among top civil servants. The days of Leon Ó Broin, TK Whitaker and Noel Dorr are long-passed. Our top officials will not openly express their dislike of Irish. Their tactic is to demean the language by ignoring it and marginalising those few who promote it. There was unanimous cross-party support for the Official Languages Act when it was going through the Dáil — proof that the legislation was positive sentiment about the Irish language and wouldn’t mean much in practice. Despite its limited scope, the Act conferred rights in legislative form for the first time. It provided cover for Irish speakers in pursuing their linguistic rights. But in the eyes of the mandarins, this was exactly what made it ‘a crank’s charter’ — to use a phrase popular in their circles at the time.

Without the active support of top management, the new legislation was doomedfrom the start. But what started as passive inaction in relation to it now seems to have moved up a notch or two to one of active undermining. It reminds me of a phrase used by President Michael D Higgins, when he was speaking at the biennial Tóstal na Gaeilge conference in Galway in 2010. He referred to those “for whom Irish was not half-dead enough.” Mr Ó Cuirreáin was appointed to his office by the President and will now be tendering his resignation to him in what are frustrating circumstances. As the courageous defender of minority rights that President Higgins has always been, and as the guardian of our constitution, I expect Uachtarán na hÉireann will have something to say about what appears to be the current, if undeclared, policy to undermine the standing of Irish in the public life of our country.

John Glennon
Co Wicklow


Scéal na Gaeilge, Doire Cholm Cille

December 17, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Highlights 2013

December 17, 2013

As we approach the end of 2013, we look back at some of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge’s highlights from the past year.

Advocacy and Representation

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge provided information regarding the Official Languages Act 2003 to the public and to public bodies. In total, 20 submissions were made to public bodies preparing draft language schemes under the Official Languages Act 2003.

An Chomhdháil played a central role in the Forum of Core-Funded Organisations, to address changes in the sector in conjunction with its member organisations, other core-funded organisations and both States. This role involved regular contact with Foras na Gaeilge, the Sponsoring Departments, members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Assembly as well as other stakeholder groups.

An Chomhdháil actively participated on the Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta and in the campaign to establish a Language Act in Northern Ireland.

An Chomhdháil also actively participated on the Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG) and had an active role on the Coiste Stiúrtha for the INTEREG research and training project entitled Menter Iontach Nua.

Awareness campaigns were organised encouraging the public to take part in a Foras na Gaeilge public consultation on Irish language readership; an online campaign on the public consultation on the Draft-bill on Education (Admission to Schools) Bill which also involved media coverage and contact with members of the Houses of the Oireachtas as well as other interested parties – An Chomhdháil also made a comprehensive submission regarding this matter. An awareness campaign was also organised regarding the consultation on the changes to the Junior Certificate syllabus.

Digital Services

An Chomhdháil undertook a comprehensive digital strategy this year with the overall aim of Gaelport.com being to the forefront on the digital stage.

Gaelport.com Mobile, which is available on all smart phones, is continuing to be received well and Gaelport is being continually developed on digital and social platforms with multimedia material, videos and pictures published on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The biggest news feeds on Gaelport.com continue to be developed:

Latest News: The latest stories from the Irish language community – Visitors to this page increased by 6%.

From the Papers: A daily news digest of the latest Irish language news stories from the national and regional press.

Jobs: A free online recruitment service – Visits to this page increased by 19% and 134 vacancies were advertised throughout 2013.

Events Diary: An events calendar detailing Irish language events around the world – Visits to this page increased by 57% and 254 events were advertised free of charge.

Courses: An online resource detailing training courses and Irish classes for all levels – Visits to this page increased by 84%.

7 na Seachtaine, a new publication of a selection of the biggest news stories from Gaelport.com, was launched in 2013.
• 7,685 subscribers to the weekly e-zine 7 na Seachtaine
• 2,035 subscribers to the daily news digest As Na Nuachtáin

Other Comhdháil projects

Over 1,962 students from 56 post-primary schools attended the Buntáiste Breise na Gaeilge seminars throughout 2013.

Cuireadh Chun Cainte was broadcast on TG4 during the Easter break and was distributed to all post-primary schools in the country during 2012/2013. This learning package has received over 190,000 views on YouTube.

Céim Chun Tosaigh TG4 was broadcast on TG4 in the Spring and a copy of this DVD along with all extra material has been received by every post-primary school (824 schools) since September 2013.

Turas na bhFilí took place in Ireland in April and in Scotland in September with full attendance at all events held as part of this cultural exchange between. Once again this year there was great interest in Comórtas Uí Néill, the bilingual poetry competition held as part of the festival.

The sale of An Fáinne Óir, An Fáinne Airgid and An Seanfháinne continued successfully as well the Mass leaflets service provided by Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge which delivers to 43 parishes throughout the year. Over 25 participants took part in the Ciorcal Comhrá which was held in Cois Teallaigh from January-September 2013.

Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

Online Irish Language Newspaper Scheme

December 17, 2013

Last week, Foras na Gaeilge announced the details of a new scheme which will provide funding to an online Irish language digital newspaper.

As two print newspapers were discontinued earlier this year, the Irish language community will rely heavily on this scheme to fill the current vacuum in the area of written news, as they pray that this publication will not be destined to the same unfortunate cycle as its predecessors.

The plug was pulled on Gaelscéal in February 2013, when Foras na Gaeilge announced they were to discontinue their contract with Toras na dTonn due to low sales figures. At that time, Foras na Gaeilge claimed the newspaper sold approximately 1,300 copies per week, a figure which was disputed by Gaelscéal editor, Ciarán Dunbar. Foras na Gaeilge were heavily criticised at the time, with people such as Doiminic Ó Brolcháin MLA accusing Foras na Gaeilge of having knowingly agreed unattainable targets with Gaelscéal at the outset of the contract.

Later this year, another axe was set to fall on the Irish language print media with the announcement that Foinse would not return to our shelves at the beginning of the school year in September. Foinse was founded in 1996, but when Foras na Gaeilge discontinued funding in 2009, the paper was remodelled and remarketed as a supplement in the Irish Independent aimed specifically at Irish language learners. Another twist in the tale came when the Irish Independent unexpectedly launched a successor to Foinse, Seachtain, a new supplement with a different team of editors and journalists.

In a statement from Foras na Gaeilge in February of this year, it was noted that a printed format is not the most suitable format to provide news to Irish language readers. After public meetings and focus groups, details of the new scheme which will replace Gaelscéal have now been announced.

Under the new scheme, the ‘newspaper’ will be provided on a weekly basis, in a digital format free of charge, and will focus predominantly on written reporting and commentary. The criteria set out in the scheme emphasises the necessity to serve the requirements of the entire Irish language community, with national and regional news, with regularly updated Irish language news.

The type of editorial slant to be employed by the paper is also referred to within the criteria, and this must be focused on an Irish language audience, and any direct translation from English language sources must be avoided. Along with providing a weekly newspaper, the successful company must also provide a “training, employment and a platform for a new generation of journalists with technological skills.”

In the application form, it is necessary to describe how the paper would seek to cover the following remits:

  • International, national and regional news
  • News relating to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language sector
  • A diary of events
  • Feature articles, articles of special interest, cartoons, and photographs
  • Sports news
  • Arts and Literature Reviews
  • Content for the Irish language diaspora
  • Content suitable for learners

With a budget of €1.2M over a four year period, a budget which is lower than that afforded to Gaelscéal, Foras na Gaeilge are hoping to achieve a lot. Not only will this new team of journalists have to provide news across a wide range of subject categories, but they will also be responsible for training the next generation of Irish language journalists. A tall order indeed and one would have to wonder whether Foras na Gaeilge are repeating the same mistake again, as they seek to provide a single publication which will cater to every market segment.

The small print of the scheme requires applicants to include screen grabs or mock-ups of the paper, which at first glance would appear to give an advantage to those already up and running who would therefore have access to the design tools required.

The deadline for applications is Friday, 24th January at 1pm. Once assessed, a shortlist of applicants will be invited to an interview by the Foras na Gaeilge Newspaper and Magazine Committee.


Irish language law was ‘doomed from start’

December 17, 2013

John Glennon (Letters, Dec 16) referring to the Official Languages Act claims “Without the active support of top management, the new legislation was doomed from the start.”

The gap between aspiration and reality has never been greater in relation to the Irish language. While criticising Official Ireland, his own letter is written in English. We have a Constitutional declaration made in 1937: “The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.” 76 years later our Dáil and Seanad have translators in permanent attendance in parliament and committees in case our first official language is used. The cost of this service should be levied on the salary of each TD and senator. Or they could sign a declaration that they are proficient to conduct business “as Gaeilge” and we can reassign the translators.

The “people are sovereign” is a phrase often invoked to imply that we all share power and responsibility, so maybe it is time to recognise, with regard to Irish sadly or otherwise, the people have spoken and continue to speak through English. Apart from school, Irish had no relevance in my working or social life or my family. Still, we tick the box on the Census form.
T Murphy
Co Cork


Nuachtlitir Futa Fata-Nollaig 2013

December 16, 2013

Nuachtlitir Futa Fata

Céad Mholadh ó Uachtarán na hÉireann

December 16, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Cén treo anois do phobal na Gaeilge?

December 16, 2013

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

« Previous PageNext Page »