The Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr. Clodagh Higgins launched two new initiatives by Ollscoil na Gaillimhe and Gaillimh le Gaeilge to increase the use of spoken Irish in Galway city at a press event in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.
Both initiatives are key measures outlined in the Irish Language Plan for Galway City which have an instrumental role to play in achieving the status of ‘Gaeltacht Service Town’ for Galway. Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, Gaeltacht Service Towns are defined as those towns situated in or adjacent to Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas.
Gaillimh le Gaeilge is collaborating with Galway City Council, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe and other key stakeholders to facilitate the process of implementing the Irish Language Plan in the city. The objective of the plan, in line with Government policy, is to increase, on an incremental basis, the communicative use and knowledge of Irish in Galway city as a community language. The plan includes the creation of a local directory, along with badges, to identify those who can speak Irish.
Speaking at the event, the Mayor of the City of Galway Cllr. Clodagh Higgins said:
“The idea of an insignia or a badge came up again in Galway City’s Irish Language Plan as a suggestion, as a way for Irish speakers to get to know each other. The new brooch pins designed by Ollscoil na Gaillimhe will contribute to the visibility and use of Irish and I understand that the initative will also be extended to Galway city, which I believe is a great idea. I’m also delighted to launch ‘An tEolaire – Seirbhís i nGaeilge’ created by Gaillimh le Gaeilge. This is a comprehensive list of businesses and organisations in the city who can provide a ‘seirbhís i nGaeilge’– a useful resource to anyone who wishes to conduct their business as Gaeilge. An tEolaire will include information regarding upcoming Irish language events in the city. ”
Ollscoil na Gaillimhe’s Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, has said that this latest initiative will ensure that “we can improve and broaden Irish language services for the Irish speaking University community as the new brooch pins will ensure that the large amount of staff members across the University who are providing services in Irish are easily identifiable. It is evident from international experience that making bilingual services available does not ensure that they will be acquired. The services must be publicised and must be of equal standard to the English services so as to ensure that people are at ease requesting and availing of the services and that is exactly what we are striving for here.”
He also commended the ongoing collaboration between the University and Gaillimh le Gaeilge and spoke of the University’s role in the implementation of the Galway City Irish Language Plan. This new initiative is also significant in terms of the University’s Irish Language Strategy. The appointment of the Irish Language Officer and the relaunching of the Irish Language Residential Scheme are among the other achievements which have been reached since the Strategy for the Irish Language 2021-2025 was launched. For the first time ever, the sixteen Irish speaking students residing in Teach na Gaeilge were also awarded special scholarships this year.
Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge Bernadette Mullarkey spoke at the event and said:
“Is céim thar a bheith nádúrtha agus tábhachtach é seoladh an dá thionscnamh seo inniu chun úsáid na Gaeilge a mhéadú i gCathair Dhátheangach na hÉireann. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the University of Galway on this initiative and we look forward to working as lámh a chéile arís on other potential strategic joint ventures in the future.
Gaining status as a ‘Gaeltacht Service Town’ is one of Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s main objectives outlined in our new strategy for the next 3 years. I would encourage anyone who can provide a service as Gaeilge to let ‘everyone’ know about it by signing up with Gaillimh le Gaeilge today. It is also equally important that all Irish speakers avail of the Irish language services provided and continue to create a demand for such services into the future.”
An tEolaire lists 64 businesses and organizations and 96 people from a wide range of sectors are registered in it. The Cathaoirleach thanked everyone who registered in the Eolaire. She also thanked The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, the organisation’s main funder that provided a once-off grant to develop the Eolaire.