Irish is only the third most used language in Ireland

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Irish has dropped down to third in the list of the languages most spoken in Ireland, according to the 2011 Census.

Dinny McGinney, Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Dinny McGinney

The census showed that English is the most used language and Polish is now the second most used.

There are 119,526 people who speak Polish as their first language, and 56,430 who speak French.


It is mandatory for children to learn Irish in school but only 82,600 people speak Irish in their homes.

The number of people who say they can speak Irish has risen by 7.1% since the last census. More than 40% of the population can speak the language but the majority speak English instead.

More people are able to speak Irish

There is a 20 year strategy to develop the Irish language and Dinny McGinley, the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, thinks it is encouraging that more people are able to speak Irish.
He said: “The increase in the number of daily Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas is good news, particularly since the 20-year strategy has set a target of a 25 per cent increase in this area over its lifetime.”

It is good news overall for fans of the Irish language. It may have slipped to third in the list of languages spoken in Ireland, but the number of people who can speak it has risen.

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