Tuesday, 5 October 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
191. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to encourage Irish-speaking parents to pass on the language to their children; the cost of this programme and its objectives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22768/04]
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): I was pleased to launch a language awareness campaign entitled Ár dTeanga Nádúrtha Féin on 13 September last, in line with the recommendations of Coimisiún na Gaeltachta. The €300,000 campaign is being managed on behalf of my Department by Údarás na Gaeltachta. The promotion is aimed at increasing awareness amongst parents of children between the ages of 0 and 5 — and expectant parents — of the advantages of choosing Irish as the main language of the household. The campaign primarily consists of a television and radio advertising campaign, the provision of a website www.teangafein.ie which offers advice and information, as well as an information booklet and poster which will be distributed in the Gaeltacht. While this initiative has been devised to specifically target households in Gaeltacht areas, it will also be of benefit in encouraging the usage of the language on a national basis.
My Department has for long recognised that its transmission from one generation to the next is critical for the survival of the Irish language as the predominant household and community language in the Gaeltacht. It is for this reason that the Department operates a number of schemes and initiatives aimed at the maintenance and strengthening of the language in the Gaeltacht. These include scéim labhairt na Gaeilge, which targets families with school going children in Gaeltacht areas. To further develop its scope and effectiveness, a review of the scheme by my Department is now nearing completion with a view to launching a revised scheme formally in the near future.
Funding was recently sanctioned by me to facilitate the piloting of a home visitors initiative by Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, which will involve the provision of support information and advice on a one-to-one basis to families with young children who reside within the operational area of the organisation.
Other measures and initiatives which will help to further develop the necessary support framework for Gaeltacht parents wishing to pass the language to their children include a language planning initiative aimed at further enabling community-based Gaeltacht organisations in developing and implementing measures aimed at strengthening the language at local level; the provision of an additional sum of €1 million in the current year to further enable Údarás na Gaeltachta in the development of pre-school education facilities and youth services; and the implementation of changes to scéim na gcampaí samhraidh trí Ghaeilge do aos óg na Gaeltachta for the purpose of improving the number, nature and effectiveness of recognised Gaeltacht summer camps.
The successful outcome of all of these measures is largely dependent on the commitment of Gaeltacht communities and families themselves in ensuring that Irish is transmitted not only as a vibrant and viable language but also as a most important natural resource to the next generation.
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