FILÍOCHT SA GHAEILGE

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Cuireadh an file Gréagóir Ó Dúill faoi agallamh in ‘Comhar’ an mhí seo caite. Labhair sé faoi thodhchaí na filíochta in Éirinn. Cuireann a bhfuil le rá aige an-imní orm. Deir sé nach ndéanann ach 300 duine an scrúdú A-Leibhéal sa Ghaeilge gach bliain sa Tuaisceart. ‘Ní bheidh cumas léite filíochta ag duine nach sroicheann an leibhéal sin’. Deir sé nach bhfuil suim san fhilíocht ach ag an mheánaicme sa Deisceart, a bheag nó a mhór. In áit ‘filíocht na Gaeilge’ a rá, sílim gur féidir ‘an Ghaeilge’a rá, go simplí. Le huimhreacha chomh híseal sin, cé mhéad duine a bheadh in ann filíocht nó prós sa Ghaeilge a scríobh? Scríobhann Ó Dúill féin a lán i mBéarla anois: ‘Ní thugann an Ghaeilge teacht isteach don fhile.’ Ach tá cúiseanna dóchais ann chomh maith. Creidim go mbeidh ardú i gcaighdeán na Gaeilge mar gheall ar na hathruithe a rinneadh sa GCSE Irish ar na mallaibh. Níl an bhearna idir GCSE agus A-Leibhéal chomh mór is a bhí sí, agus b’fhéidir go ndéanfaidh níos mó daltaí Gaeilge Á-Leibhéal dá bharr. Tá níos mó daoine ag léamh Gaeilge go rialta anois: tá páirt rí-thábhachtach ag ‘Foinse’sa dul chun cinn seo. Tá an Gaeloideachas ag dul ó neart go neart ar fud na tíre, beagnach, cé go bhfuil éisceachtaí ann.(Tá mé ag smaoineamh ar chathair náisúnach i dTuaisceart na hÉireann nach bhfuil ábalta meánscolaíocht a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge.) Mura bhfuil daltaí ábalta oideachas a fháil ó 4 bliain d’aois go dtí 18 bliain d’aois agus níos faide tríd an Ghaeilge, mura bhfuilimid ábalta deiseanna fostaíochta a thabhairt do Ghaeilgeoirí óga, beidh orainne Siopa na Gaeilge a dhúnadh agus an eochair a chaitheamh uainn. ‘Druidte mar gheall ar easpa suime. ‘Mo chlann féin do dhíol a máthair.’

The poet Gréagóir Ó Dúill was interviewed in ‘Comhar’ last month. He spoke about the future of poetry in Ireland. I was very worried by what he had to say. He says that only 300 pupils do A-Level Irish in the North every year. ‘A person who doesn’t reach that level will not be able to read poetry’. He says that only the middle class is interested in poetry in the South, more or less. Instead of ‘Irish poetry’, you could say ‘Irish’, simply. With numbers as low as that, how many people would be able to write poetry or prose in Irish? Ó Dúill himself writes a lot in English now. ‘Irish does not provide the poet with an income.’ But there is also cause for optimism. I think there will be a rise in the standard of Irish because of recent changes in GCSE Irish. The gap between GCSE and A Level is not as great as it was and perhaps more pupils will do A Level Irish as a result. More people are reading Irish regularly now: ‘Foinse’ has a very important part in this progress. Irish medium education is going from strength to strength nearly everywhere throughout the country, although there are some exceptions. (I am thinking of a nationalist city in the north of Ireland that is not able to provide secondary education through Irish.) If pupils are not able to get education through Irish from 4 years of age to 18 and beyond, if we cannot provide employment for young Irish speakers, we will have to shut the Irish Language Shop and throw away the key. ‘Closed due to lack of interest. ‘My own family has sold its mother.’’