Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has stated that the An Bord Pleanála decision on the proposed Rathcairn Housing Estate development is a “form of cultural vandalism”. He stated
“We do not value of our Gaeltacht communities near enough in this country. We have in our midst a living breathing community of Irish language speakers. These communities are a rich well of one of the oldest, most beautiful living languages in the world. This language holds the key to our identity, our personal and geographic names, the rhythm of our language and oceans of stories, literature and poetry”.
“Irish is a vibrant language. It can be the language of the family, community, business, sport, politics and education. But our language is at a tipping point. The decisions of our generation will determine whether it has a future where it flourishes and grows or a whether this is the last generation of the language as a living community language. There is no faster way to kill a Gaeltacht that to building homes within the Gaeltacht that are for English speakers. Where this is done the every day language flips to English very quickly. There are oceans of research and studies that show this outcome”.
“All the state agencies know this. All the campaigning groups know this. It is the policy of the Department to ensure that homes built in the Gaeltacht are for Irish speakers. The inspector that the wrote the report for An Bord Pleanála knew this. Yet we have a decision by the Bord that goes contrary to all this knowledge and research. This decision will do massive damage to our Gaeltachtaí”.
“Aontú will now bring forward legislation that will stop this from happening in the future. We can and should build houses in the Gaeltacht. There are many Irish speaking families living in urban areas around us who would love to raise their family in the Gaeltacht setting. Some of these Gaeltachtaí are within commuting distance from Dublin, Dungarvan, Galway and Cork. Its time that we develop and strengthen these communities but in a way that builds and strengthen them rather than gutting them. The laissez-faire policies of this government must be stopped in order to turn the tide to a brighter future for our language”.