Northern Protestants get grá for gaeilge in gaeltacht
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.