Thursday, 30 March 2006
Irish Language: Statements.
Fergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
We need a new national strategy for the Irish language which would make a clear and honest assessment of where we are, what the Government wishes to achieve, what it can do and what people in society are expected to do in supporting the language. A national strategy will ensure that all bodies and initiatives working for the Irish language have a clearly defined role and a clear sense of purpose.
This debate is important but it must be based on reality and new modern thinking, especially where young people, the choices they make, the television programmes they watch and the lives they lead are concerned. The language must be part of this and, unfortunately, it is not. The challenge lies therein for all of us. The Minister's policy of compulsory Irish, the old policy, has failed. The Gaeltachtaí are disappearing and we should try to save them.