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Cuireadh chun aiseolas a thabhairt maidir le cur chun cinn sláinte mheabhrach agus folláine i mbunscoileanna

March 27, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Public meeting re Irish-medium post-primary education in Dublin 15 on March 26th

March 27, 2014

The public meeting organised by parents in the Crowne Plaza in Blanchardstown to assess the demand for an Irish-medium post-primary school in Dublin 15 was a great success, with a large crowd in attendance and a lot of interest shown in the campaign. An expression of interest form was handed out to everyone on the night and you can download a copy of the form here:

Survey BÁC15

The meeting discussed the advantages of Irish-medium at post-primary level, the process that the Department of Education and Skills have in place to establish new schools and the growth of interest in Irish in Dublin 15, including naíonraí, schools, classes for adult learners, social events and more. There was a discussion also on the difference between an independent Irish-medium school and an Irish-medium Aonad, and it was confirmed that an Irish-medium post-primary would be open to all applicants, regardless of their linguistic, cultural or economic backgrounds.

The next step is to establish a committee to steer the campaign, and anyone interested in taking an active role is asked to contact the Development Officer in Gaelscoileanna Teo. on 01 8535193 or by emailing clare@gaelscoileanna.ie.

Darren J. Prior attended the meeting on behalf of Raidió na Life and you can listen back to his report here.

Lá Dearg Bhéal Feirste

March 27, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Irish and ‘language snobs’

March 27, 2014

Sir, – The historical gaelteachtóir bias in Irish language policy has meant that other gaeilgeoirí such as myself, a third generation Dublin Irish speaker, are formally – and ridiculously – deemed not to have a native accent.

I and my many peers’ existence is seen as an inconvenience, the cure for which is a prescribed trip to a Gaeltacht to learn to mimic an accent not native to us.

Is mise mar dhea,

Ballymoneen Road,

A Chara, – I was interested to read Heber Rowan’s comments (March 26th) comparing the continuity of the Catalan language with Irish. However I should point out that Catalan always remained the vernacular language of the region, despite the efforts of the Franco regime to suppress its use, whereas this unfortunately cannot be said for Irish, which was evidently suppressed more successfully.

I myself very much regret that, growing up in Co Down and attending state schools in the 1960s, we were totally oblivious of our national language.

Is mise,

Sir, – Heber Rowan (March 26th) suggested that the best way to promote the use of Irish would be to dramatically increase the production of Irish language broadcasts. This letter was then followed by another from a Mr O’Cuinn which I could not read because it was in Irish. If Mr Rowan’s suggestion were to be transposed to print media and then enacted, I would have to stop reading your newspaper.

Yours, etc,
Upper Leeson Street,
Dublin 4

The Irish Times – Litir chuig an Eagarthóir

There is a new commissioner in town

March 26, 2014

Rónán Ó Domhnaill starts his stint as language lawman

So, we have a new Comish in the form of Rónán Ó Domhnaill and he is already dipping his toes in the waters by attending an international gathering of language commissioners in Barcelona. (What is the collective noun for a gathering of language commissioners? Gaggle? School? Brigade?) (Yes, other countries have more than one language and many offer those languages some measure of protection under the law.)

It was undoubtedly smart of the Government to give Ó Domhnaill the nod as new Coimisinéir Teanga/Language Commissioner; he is young, intelligent and able and his appointment goes someway to removing the sting from the departure of Seán Ó Cuirreáin in protest as what he saw as the Government’s failure to protect Irish-language services.
Still, there is no doubt that Ó Cuirreáin’s shock resignation in December set the linguistic fur flying and that the shock still lingers. The row over his resignation was understandable. Ó Cuirreáin was a popular figure, committed to his duties under the Official Languages Act and was well able to navigate the political currents that coursed around the language question during his 10 years in office.

Nonetheless, it would be a shame if his resignation obscured what he had to say in his annual report for 2012. 2012 was, he dryly informed the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions (Wednesday 04 Dec, 2013), “not a vintage year for the promotion of the Irish language in the public sector, and for every one step forward there appeared to have been two steps backwards”.
He dealt with 756 complaints from people who had difficulties in accessing a state service through Irish and three quarters of the statutory language plans with state bodies had expired without renewal by the end of 2012. New schemes had been introduced but he was concerned about the quality of some of them and he was worried that state bodies were unable to deliver effective services in Irish.

This want was particularly troubling in the Gaeltacht where, too often, compulsory English (my term) was the order of the day. In his 30 years working in the Irish language, Ó Cuirreáin said he had never seen confidence and morale so low. It would be a “travesty” he said were Ireland to lose its “linguistic sovereignty – a cornerstone of our cultural identity…”

Many Irish speaker believe that the Government has not been overly active in fulfilling its duties – and a cúpla focal from the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, while always welcome, does not disguise that fact. A little meaningful political leadership could do so much to address the issues Ó Cuirreáin raised. Indeed, some worthwhile political direction would do much to challenge the cynicism amongst those who speak the language and those who don’t.


Coimicí Gaeilge i gCeatharlach

March 26, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Irish and ‘language snobs’

March 26, 2014

No reply Sir, – On the subject of the Irish language, which has been featuring in these columns over the last few days, I feel I must express some pent-up feelings that have been with me for decades.

Going to school in Dublin 4 during the 1950s, at all times during Irish class I was reminded that I was not a “fíor gaeilgeoir”. Terms like “seonín” were used liberally and frequently. I was good at Irish and got more than 90 per cent in my Leaving Cert and I have retained a strong affection for the language. But that did not matter during class time.

The school did not have a GAA team – neither did it have a soccer team. It had a rugby team, and I was its captain at several age levels. No opportunity was ever missed to remind me of “garrison towns”.
Some of my classmates were from rural Ireland. The favouritism shown to them by the teacher was little short of sectarian.
Needless to say, most of the rest in the class were completely demotivated from ever having any interest in speaking or having a strong feeling for the retention of the language.

How wonderful now to have TG4 showing Rugbaí Beo . I don’t care if Jerry Flannery’s Irish isn’t perfect (his rugby was very nearly). Can we get on with preserving the language by making it living and not an academic exercise? Yours, etc,

Glasnevin Hill,
Dublin i9

Sir, – The only meaningful way to ensure the continuity of the Irish language in Ireland is if we mandate a high percentage of all broadcasting to be made in Irish. This would allow people the ability to think of the language outside of school. A similar policy has worked wonders for Catalan. So why not in Ireland? Yours, etc,

Annagh lodge,
Co Sligo

A Chara,- Tá go leor scríofa, agas cainte déanta, faoi “Ceist na Gaeilge”. Is trua gur i mBéarla a bhíonn sé! Tá sé in am dúinn anois ár dteanga Ghaeilge a úsáid, a bheag nó a mhór de atá againn. Mar a deir an seanfhocal, “Beatha teanga í a úsáid”. Use it or lose it! Is Mise,

Gleann na Smól,
An Charraig Dhubh,
Átha Cliath


Insealbhú an Choimisinéir Teanga nua

March 26, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Dlí de réir briathair

March 26, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shúilleabháin celebrating 20 years

March 26, 2014

Gaelscoil Dr. Uí Shúilleabháin 1
Aisling Ní Néill, príomhoide, Sean Óg Ó hÁilpín, aoi speisialta, Maeve Uí Chaoimh, ball bord bainistíochta, Adrian Healy, Méara An Sciobairín, Máire Céitinn, Cathaoirleach Bord Bainistíochta, Paidí Ó Lionáird, aoi speisialta
Foireann na Scoile; Múinteoir Verona, Múinteoir Áine, Múinteoir Aisling (príomhoide), Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Múinteoir Leanne, Múinteoir Maeve, Múinteoir Clár
Foireann na Scoile; Múinteoir Verona, Múinteoir Áine, Múinteoir Aisling (príomhoide), Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, Múinteoir Leanne, Múinteoir Maeve, Múinteoir Clár

Comhghairdeas mór leis an scoil as gach rud atá bainte amach acu le 20 bliain anuas! Seo thíos scéal maidir leo a foilsíodh sa Southern Star:

It was two decades ago on March 15th that the Gaelscoil in Skibbereen had its humble first beginnings.

‘It started off in Townshend Street, where the Skibbereen Community Resource Centre is now, and moved to the campsite in Tragumna Road,’ said the principal, Aisling Ní Néill, who is hoping that Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shuilleabháin will one day have a permanent and purpose-built facility.

‘Our premises at Gortnacloghy, at the rear of Rossa College, is suitable for our needs at present,’ said Aisling, who was appointed principal in 2008, ‘because it is large enough to accommodate our 66 pupils, our three teachers, our two special education teachers, and our naíonra playschool, which accommodates up to 20 children and their four leaders.

‘When the school began there were just 21 pupils enrolled, but that number has increased year-on-year because of the growing interest in our Irish language and culture.

‘It is not just a West Cork phenomenon: the increase in popularity of Gaelscoileanna is evident right throughout the country.’

It has been proven that the most successful approach to learning a language is to be completely immersed in it. But that is just one of the reasons why these schools have become so popular: There is also an ethos in the smaller Gaelscoileanna that parents consider to be a good fit for their children.

Aisling said: ‘We are a Catholic primary school but we run an ethical education programme in tandem with that to cater for everybody regardless of their faith.

‘The ethical education programme is similar to the programme used in other multi-denominational schools, such as “Educate Together”, and gives pupils a broad introduction to other religions and cultures.

‘By being immersed in the language from their very first day the pupils learn the language and end up speaking the language without any great difficulty so it is, within a matter of weeks, very easy for them to do all of their subjects through the medium of Irish.

‘Parents initially worry that learning different subjects through Irish might be difficult,’ said Aisling, ‘but that is not the case because speaking Irish becomes second nature to them.’

But it is not just the curriculum that keeps them interested: extra-curricular activities, such as the puppetry club, the school choir, as well as learning the accordion, tin whistle and guitar are fun events that keep them happily chatting as Gaeilge.

‘Drama is a big part of the school’s extra-curricular programme: every year Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shuilleabháin puts on a drama performance as part of it Seachtain na Gaeilge celebrations.

This year, the pupils performed in a competition, Coirm, in Fermoy and won two awards – one was for their use of props, and the second was for music.

The children and their parents made the puppets and anyone who has seen them has been struck by the fact that they are evocative of old Irish legends, such as the stories of Oisin and Tir na nÓg, as well as the ever popular Children of Lir and the Brown Bull of Cooley.

At Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shuilleabháin the children also have fun while learning about the environment and they are delighted to be working towards achieving their third Green Flag for water conservation.

The school has recently expanded its school garden courtesy of Rossa College. In time, the plot of land will be used to grow vegetables, as well as flowers to adorn the school.

According to the principal, Aisling Ní Néill, ‘the education of young people has evolved and changed over the last 20 years and today, I believe, it is more child-centred, more active and more inclusive than ever before.

‘Children learn how to work as part of a team and the school’s sports programme is a big part of that. The children also come to understand that learning goes beyond what can be found in books. They take an interest, not just in their school, their community and their environment, they also learn to take a world view too.

‘But for now we will be spending the next week or two preparing for our 20th anniversary celebrations,’ said Aisling.

All past parents, pupils and friends of Gaelscoil Dhochtúir Uí Shuilleabháin are welcome to gather at the school on Saturday, March 15th from 2pm until 5pm to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

The Cork sports personality, Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, and Paidí Ó Lionaird of TG4 fame will be the guest speakers on the day. It promises to be a relaxed social event with plenty of good food, drink and music to mark the occasion.

Jackie Keogh, Southern Star


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