Resignation of Coimisinéir Teanga must be a wake-up call to Government

Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has expressed his surprise and disappointment at the resignation of Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin.

‘It is clear that An tUsail Ó Cuirreáin resigned out of sheer frustration at the lack political will and support for preserving and indeed promoting and developing our national language.

Mr Ó Cuirreáin has done immense work over the past 10 years and Councillor Feeley has said the news of his resignation must act as a wake-up call for the Government and indeed Irish Society.

“Seán Ó Cuirreáin has been a strong advocate for the promotion of what he describes as ‘our linguistic sovereignty’ over the past 10 years. It is deeply regrettable that he now feels he has no choice but to resign before the end of his term following successive cuts to resources, unnecessary delays in progressing policy and a general lack of interest and support for the issue,” said Councillor Feeley

“The promotion and use of the Irish language, a hugely important issue that goes to the heart of our national identity has slipped off the political agenda.  Before leaving office, the previous Government published a 20 year strategy on the Irish language but unfortunately little has been done since then except cutbacks to resources in the area.’

“Since 2011, the Government has dragged its heels on a review of the Official Languages Act, it has scrapped democratic elections to Údarás Na Gaeltachta, it has merged the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Ombudsman’s Office without consultation and it has further cut the resources available for the protection and promotion of the Irish language.

Mr Ó Cuirreáin has expressed real fear that a cornerstone of our cultural identity, our heritage and our soul is in danger. Over one hundred years ago the desire to preserve our native language and culture led to the formation of the GAA and Conradh na Gaeilge, both organisations have played a vital role in Irish Society and their work proved a key inspiration to the revival of national spirit at the start of the 20th Century. Inspite of the great work done in our Gaeilscoilenna and in other organisations around the country some elements in Government and in some state agencies view our language as a burden, not an integral part of our national identity. Government and the State agencies pay lip service to the Irish Language and our national culture only making use of it and our music and dance when it suits a particular end. The emphasis must not be on preserving a language but of promoting and developing it and encouraging its use by all, however limited.’