Welcome Announcement of Irish being recognised as an Official EU Language
Aontú representative for East Derry and Gaeilgeoir, Gemma Brolly, has welcomed the announcement that the Irish Language has been finally recognised as an official EU language. She has further encouraged encouraged all citizens to use this occasion as a springboard to develop the language further.
“1st January 2022 was a remarkable day in the history of the Irish language” Brolly begins, “and will be officially recorded as the day the Irish language deservedly and rightfully achieved FULL status as an official EU language, therefore demanding all documents published by the EU will be translated into Irish.”
“As we lose count of the promises and agreements made to implement an Irish language Act here in the North of Ireland, we are both strengthened and motivated by the efforts of those with such love and appreciation for the language, who strive to develop it, to encompass it in all walks of life and encourage it’s use respectfully. The organisations, the clubs, the schools, the parents who choose Irish Medium Education, the conversation circles, the language classes, the people willing to try a “cúpla focal”- have all contributed to January 1st 2022 becoming such an historic and significant day” continues Brolly.
“It goes without saying that this overarching implementation again shines the spotlight on the empty stage which should have presented an Irish Language Act long before now. Following a series of empty promises, including the most recent failure to implement the Irish Language Act by end of October, I cannot help but recall a speech made by Countess Markievicz 100 years ago:
“No one ever got the benefits of the promises the English made them.”
In that same speech, Countess Markievicz also stated:
“I say that the Irish language has begun to grow…in our schools…and I don't see that giving up our rights… is going to help.”
With this in mind, I would ask the government in the 26 counties: “does this statement remain true today? Are you encouraging and developing the native language of this country, the soul, the roots which run through our land and our people?” The recognition as an official European language certainly highlights the lack of effort from the Irish government towards the Irish language. There are now 24 official languages under the European Union and the EU can communicate effectively with every citizen in their own native language, something the Irish Civil Service cannot do themselves. Accessibility to civil servants with Irish would of course be much easier, if the same respect and equality was awarded to the Irish language by the state as is by the European Union.
This historical move challenges the Irish government to progress bilingualism further and impressive the education system. The Official Language Bill was reformed just before Christmas and ambitious recruitment targets were detailed within. The Irish government must resolve the issues regarding the teaching of the language in order to meet these targets.
Brolly concluded “The first day of 2022 will go down in history as the day the Irish language became officially recognised by the EU. I believe just as this was only the beginning of 2022, this should mark a fresh and new unified effort, building on existing efforts, developing the love and use of the Irish language through every person, town and county, and encouraging the recognition and use of our native language in every corner and province of this country.”