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Galway Independent

Editorial

Incorporating Irish

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017 1:01am

The number of people speaking the Irish language on a daily basis is decreasing. The latest Census shows that 73,803 people speak Irish each day outside the education system, 3,382 fewer than five years previously.

The Census shows that 1,761,420 people – 39.8% of the population – say they are able to speak Irish, a slight decrease on the 41.4% the figure. The knowledge is there, in one form or another, but it’s not being used.

As Ireland’s first Bilingual City, Galway is home to the largest community of Irish speakers in the country, but the number speaking Irish daily here has also dropped, with migration a decided factor.

Despite such challenges, Galway’s strong Irish language population is part of what makes it unique. It’s little wonder that Galway’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2020 placed such an emphasis on the Irish language here, calling it “an integral part of daily life”.

And that’s why initiatives like the bilingual business awards Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh are so important in boosting the use of Irish here.

This year’s overall winner was Ionad na Faiche Móire/Eyre Square Centre. The majority of signage throughout the centre is bilingual, their adverts, website and Facebook all incorporate the Irish language, as does each event held there.

In the past year, customers are greeted with a ‘Fáilte’ as well as bilingual signage in the new main entrance, where you can also see the Irish version of the centre’s logo. The Irish language can be heard on the PA system and is a feature of the children’s play area -Tír na nÓg.

Small changes, but every single one makes a difference. It’s positive to see businesses embrace Irish, as An tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Cathaoirleach an Phainéal Moltóireachta, said, “What stood out the most for us was the reassurance that ‘Irish has a future’. These businesses have adopted a creative and dynamic approach to the language and is very much part of their strategy going forward. It is not necessarily an after-thought.”

Irish is part of Galway, and it most certainly has a future here.

Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh Winners 2017:

- Ionad na Faiche Móire/Eyre Square Centre, Retail Category and Overall Award.

• The Connacht Hotel, Tourism & Hospitality.

• Lorg Media, Services.

• Carey Building Contractors, Other Companies.

• Mary’s Fish, Bronnadh Speisialta na Moltóirí.

• Portershed also won a University Scholarship sponsored by Acadamh nahOllscolaíochta Gaeilge for making a special effort to promote and use the Irish language with their clients and tenants.

Comhghairdeas!

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