Foras na Gaeilge has facilitated the investment of more than €4.1 million to date in the language planning process in eight areas that have recently recieved official recognition for the developments in their Irish language communities. These communities throughout the country gained this recognition and were given state support and funding to draft and implement language plans to further improve the use of Irish in their areas.
At an event in Ennis last Wednesday, the Ennis, Irish Language Network proposal was officially started, in which Ennis Town will be part of the Gaelphobal (Irish language community) national campaign. This is a result of continuous work for the last five years, and it is the start of a new era for the development programme underway by An Clár as Gaeilge.
In 2016, An Clár as Gaeilge, the lead organisation responsible for the promotion of the Irish language at communiity level in the county, put together a plan for the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, to recognise Ennnis as an irish language network. The department accepted this application and on the 24 of September 2021, the Minister of State Jack Chambers launched the plan.
Ever since the work to recruit and appoint a planning officer has been underway, and now Macdara Ó Conaola from Inis Oírr has been appointed as language planning officer for the Ennis network. Macdara will be based in An Clár as Gaeilge offices in Barrack Street in Ennis and he will be charged with interacting with state bodies, public and private bodies, chambers of commerce and community groups, with a view to promoting the Irish language in everyday work.
Chairperson of An Clár as Gaeilge, Dónal Ó hAiniféin, welcomed Macdara to Ennis and said that the new planning officer would be ploughing fruitful soil due to the work undertaken to promote the language in the town in the last twenty years. He referred to the national prizes won by the town over the years and said that he was sure that more would be coming in the years ahead. He explained that the day today was the result of research and the forward planning carried out to gain the status of Irish language network. “This is the future of the development of the Irish language in Ennis and in County Claire. Therefore, we all have a duty to take part in the planning process which will be directed by Macdara here,” he said.
The new language planning officer, Macdara Ó Conaola, said that he was delighted to be part of this innovative proposal to promote Irish as a community language in Clare. He was really looking forward to getting to know all the groups active in Irish language circles in the county and working with them.
Minister of State Jack Chambers said, “As Minister with responsibility for implementing the Gaeltacht Act 2012, I am happy to see the significant progress made in the language planning process throughout the whole country. In the communities I visit in towns and villages throughout Ireland, I am so excited by the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of local people who are so passionate about strengthening and promoting the Irish language. I congratulate Foras na Gaeilge on this campaign and website which will be an excellent resource for the language planning organisations in existence now and in the future. I am also delighted that the focus of this initiative is to make it easier for the community to get information about the Irish language in their own areas. This is vital if more people are to embrace the language and ensure that it continues to grow in the future.”
An Clár as Gaeilge, as lead organisation for the development of the Irish language in the county, will be coordinating the work and the whole community are invited to take part.