North­ern Protes­tants get grá for gaeilge in gaeltacht

Irish Examiner - County - - News -

AN tAthair Tomás Ó Murchú, at­tached to the Clon­tead parish, Kin­sale, and who spent many years in SS Pe­ter and Paul’s, and Far­ran­fer­ris, chair­man of the Brú na Gráige Trust, Bal­ly­fer­riter (Din­gle in the Gaeltacht, Co Kerry) wel­comed lan­guage rights ac­tivist Linda Ervine and Gor­don McCoy, lead­ers of “Turas” and its mem­bers from New­ton Ards Rd, East Belfast mis­sion to an Ghráig, Bal­ly­fer­riter re­cently.

He said the trustees of Brú na Gráige, the Rú­naí, Nol­laig Ó Donnab­háin and other mem­bers of the trust were de­lighted to pro­vide a weeks free ac­com­mo­da­tion for them at Brú na Graíge so that they could prac­tise their Irish in an en­vi­ron­ment where the Irish lan­guage is the nat­u­ral medium of every­day con­ver­sa­tion.

He said that they com­mended the tremen­dous work of “Turas”, its lead­ers Linda and Gor­don and its mem­bers in help­ing to con­nect peo­ple Protes­tant com­mu­ni­ties to their own his­tory in re­la­tion to the Irish lan­guage.

An tAthair Ó Murchú said that the Irish lan­guage be­longs to ev­ery­one who lives on the is­land of Ire­land, Catholic, Protes­tant, Pres­by­te­rian, Jew, Mus­lim and Pa­gans to­gether with the Na­tion­al­ists, union­ists and those of no party. Dou­glas Hyde, a faith­ful mem­ber of the Church of Ire­land, un­der­stood this only too well and worked tire­lessly so that the peo­ple of Ire­land would dis­cover their rich lin­guis­tic her­itage which stretches back to 2000 BC to pa­gan times. He also re­alised that the Irish lan­guage was the key to that rich her­itage and that with­out it we would nei­ther have a her­itage nor an un­der­stand­ing of it.

An tAthair Ó Murchú said that the lan­guage can only be taught prop­erly in con­text with the Gaeltacht. “Time spent in the Gaeltacht opens a win­dow to the stu­dent of Irish on the im­por­tance of the lan­from guage as the key to our rich her­itage. Ev­ery child in Ire­land is en­ti­tled to the key of this her­itage,” he said.

He called on the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and the gov­ern­ment to in­clude in the cur­ricu­lum - a two week stay in the Gaeltacht dur­ing the school year for all 1st year stu­dents in sec­ond level which should con­tinue dur­ing suc­ces­sive years un­til they had com­pleted sec­ond level. He said it would en­hance the teach­ing of Irish and pro­vide a badly needed stim­u­lant for eco­nomic growth in the Gaeltacht, whose econ­omy was shat­tered dur­ing the re­ces­sion, re­sult­ing in un­em­ploy­ment and em­i­gra­tion.

He thanked the Ju­nior Min­is­ter of Health, Jim Daly, a for­mer mem­ber of the staff of Brú na Gaeilge, for tak­ing time out of his busy sched­ule to wel­come the North­ern vis­i­tors on be­half of the gov­ern­ment on this his­toric oc­ca­sion.

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