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Locals in Donegal demand action to save Irish language

Local councillors and residents are insisting action must be taken to try and halt the decline in Irish language in Donegal.

That is after a warning that the language could become completely extinct in the area within the next 10 to 15 years.

Locals in Donegal demand action to save Irish language

Currently, about 16% of Co Donegal is Irish speaking. Dónal O Cnáimhsí, assistant treasurer of Meitheal Pleanála Teanga an Iarthuaiscirt (Northwest Language Planning Team), warned that if the number of people speaking Irish on a daily basis in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking regions) falls below 66% then the language will be in danger of disappearing completely.

It is currently around 76% in the stronger Gaeltacht areas.

The preservation of the Irish language has been an issue of concern for more than a hundred years. Many nationalists from the late 19th and early 20th century spent their lives campaigning to keep it alive.

Minister for State for Gaeltacht Affairs Joe McHugh insisted he is “completely positive” about the survival of the Irish language.

He said: “We have initiated a consultation to try and increase resources in Gaeltacht schools that agree to fully immerse junior and senior infants in the Irish language.”

In recent years learning the Irish language has become more popular both in Ireland and around the world. DCU reported an active increase in the number of participants in their Fiontar courses. There is also a school in Galway that translates pop songs into Irish to encourage young people to learn the language.

However, the numbers of people speaking it as their first language is on the decline.

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