Former chairman of Oireachtas committee says it is ‘incredible’ that people from the Gaeltacht will not be able to conduct their business in Irish without relying on an interpretation system
Former chairman of the Oireachtas culture committee, Peadar Tóibín, says that a person without Irish should not be appointed chair of the Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and Gaeltacht Committee.
It was announced last week that Niamh Smyth, Fianna Fáil’s culture and arts spokesperson, will chair the new Oireachtas committee which will be responsible for the Gaeltacht.
The leader of Aontú, who chaired the same committee in 2018 before leaving Sinn Féin, said that it was “incredible” that people from the Gaeltacht who come before the Committee would not be able to conduct their business in Irish.
“In the houses of the Oireachtas, in the capital of the country, the people of the Gaeltacht will have to conduct their business in English or rely on an interpreting system, a system that has many problems,” he said.
Peadar Tóibín said that the appointment was another indication of Fianna Fáil’s “disdain” for the Irish language.
“If you respected the language you would want to strengthen it, and it is clear that this government is doing the opposite.
“The Irish language is a marginal issue in the spirit of Fianna Fáil. When I was a student, I was a member of the party and I remember the second goal was to ‘build a country with Irish’ but you couldn’t say that today, ”he said.
Tóibín said that the “lack of services” available in Irish is the biggest barrier facing the Gaeltacht and Irish language community and that the same barrier can be seen at the highest level in the state.
“We are seeing the same appalling standard at the highest level in the State and ministers in charge of the Gaeltacht and the Irish language who cannot deal with people in Irish,” said Peadar Tóibín.
Mairéad Farrell told Tuairisc.ie that it is “disastrous” that the chair of the new committee, which is responsible for the Department of Culture, does not speak Irish.
“It is very important that the chairperson speaks Irish to ensure that matters relating to the Irish language are discussed in Irish,” she said.
Secretary General of Conradh na Gaeilge Julian de Spáinn said that you would “expect” that Irish language and Gaeltacht matters would be discussed in Irish by any committee with responsibility for the Gaeltacht.
In the meantime, it appears that a resolution regarding the establishment of the other Irish and Gaeltacht committee in the Houses of the. Will be tabled in the Dáil next week.
It was claimed in the Dáil last week that it was a “strange step down” for the language that the Oireachtas na Gaeilge Committee was not on the list of 17 committees submitted to the Dáil.
The person nominated as Chair of the. Committee, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, said that an explanation was needed regarding the delay in establishing the committee.
When Sinn Féin’s Irish language spokesperson expressed his concern about the matter in the Dáil, Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, stated that the Irish language committee was not being pushed “aside” and was “of particular importance”.
Tuairisc.ie understands that the terms of reference of that committee have now been agreed.
The committee will continue to be responsible for the Gaeltacht islands.