Stádas

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Nuair a ghlac an DUP le hAireacht an Oideachais, dúirt daoine go raibh mí na meala thart maidir leis an Ghaeilge.

Ní bheadh ‘tionscnamh peata’ don Ghaeilge ag an Aire nua. Ní bheadh sé ag rith go Gleann Cholm Cille le dianchúrsa Gaeilge a dhéanamh, cé go bhfuil an Ghaeilge in áit lárnach ina lán scoileanna sa Tuaisceart. Shíl muid go mbeadh sé ag amharc go géar ar an Ghaeloideachas agus ní féidir a bheith ag gearán faoi sin: ba chóir cinntiú go bhfuil rannóg na Gaeilge chomh maith le rannóg an Bhéarla. Ní gá cás speisialta a dhéanamh don Ghaeilge: tá sí in ann an fód a sheasamh ó thaobh an oideachais de. Rinne Peter tús an-mhaith. Thug sé cuairt ar Choláiste Feirste, agus de réir na ngrianghraf bhain sé féin agus na daltaí an-sult as an lá. Mhol sé an scoil agus gheall sé cothrom na Féinne do na daltaí sa chóras oideachais.‘An bhfuil ré nua ann?’ a dúirt mé liom féin. ‘Seo polaiteoir a thuigeann gur rud cultúrtha í an Ghaeilge, nach rud polaitiúil í, gur cuid d’oidhreacht achan duine í nach ndéanann dochar do dhuine ar bith.’ Cheap mé go bhfeicfinn dhá ghealach sa spéir, nó sárghealach ar a laghad, nuair a smaoinigh mé ar a ndúirt comhgleacaithe dá chuid faoin Ghaeilge roimhe sin. Mar sin de, bhí díomá an domhain orm nuair a léigh mé tuairisc faoi úsáid na Gaeilge san Aireacht Oideachais. Anois nuair a scríobhann tú chuig an Aire i nGaeilge, gheobhaidh tú freagra i mBéarla. Ní thuigim sin: cad chuige nach bhfuil an t-aistritheoir a chuireann Béarla ar do litir chuig an Aire ábalta Gaeilge a chur ar an fhreagra? Bheadh sin béasach. Ach a mhalairt atá ann: tá an polasaí seo maslach. Deir sé gur teanga den dara grád í an Ghaeilge agus dá bhrí sin gur saoránaigh den dara grád na daoine a bhaineann úsáid aisti. Ba cheart don Aire Oideachais Gaeilgeoirí óga a spreagadh in áit teachtaireacht mar seo a thabhairt dóibh. Íocaim cánacha sa stáitín seo. Cad chuige a bhfuil orm cur suas le dímheas ar mo chultúr ó ionadaí poiblí?

Translation

Status

When the DUP accepted the Ministry of Education, people said the Irish language honeymoon was over. The Minister would not have a pet project for Irish. He would not be running to Gleann Cholm Cille for a crash course in Irish, although Irish has a central position in many schools in the North. We thought he would be looking closely at Irish medium education and you can’t complain about that: it is only right that the Irish sector should be as good as the English language sector. It is not necessary to make a special case for Irish: it can hold its own educationally.

Peter made a very good start. He visited Coláiste Feirste, and if the photographs are anything to go by, both he and the pupils enjoyed the day. He praised the school and promised the pupils a fair deal from the educational system. Is this a new era? I asked myself. Here is a politician who realises that Irish is something cultural, that it does not belong to politicians, that it is part of everyone’s heritage and does nobody any harm. I thought I would be seeing two moons in the sky, or at least a supermoon, when I thought about what some of his colleagues had said about Irish previously.

I was therefore very disappointed when I read a report about the use of Irish in the Ministry of Education. Now when you write to the Minister in Irish, you will get a reply in English. I can’t understand why the translator who translates your letter into English cannot translate the Minister’s reply into Irish. That would be the mannerly thing to so. But the opposite is the case: this policy is an insult. It says that Irish is a second class language and consequently the people who use it are second class citizens. The Minister of Education should be encouraging young Irish speakers instead of giving them this message.

I pay taxes in this little state. Why must I tolerate disrespect for my culture from a public representative?