Foras na Gaeilge has facilitated the investment of over €4.1 million to date in the language planning process in eight areas that have recently received official recognition for the developments in their Irish language communities. These communities across the country have received this recognition and have been provided state support and funding in order to draft and implement language plans to further enhance the use of the Irish language in their area.
Loughrea is one of the Gaelphobail (Irish language communities) chosen for the national awareness campaign which is now in full swing. Gaeilge Locha Riach and members of the local community are central in the campaign. A new video has been created on the Irish language and the community in the area, as well as a radio advertisement on Galway Bay FM and much more.
A range of activities and services is being developed by Gaeilge Locha Riach for all age groups, to add to the opportunities already available to learn and use the Irish language. Practical targets and policies are set out in the Loughrea Language Plan in connection with all areas. For the young we are seek to strengthen the youth club Spleodar and to provide a space for young people so they can use the Irish language outside of the education system. A Families with Irish group will be developed for families rearing their children with Irish, to provide supports for them and to organise activities through Irish for the whole family. There is a conversation circle, Cairde Cois Locha, meeting every Wednesday, and the group is getting busier every week. Trips and interesting activities will be provided where people can use and practice their Irish.
Aoife Ní Chonghaile has been appointed as language planning officer in Loughrea, in charge of directing and achieving the policies in the language plan. Every measure in the language plan is aimed at increasing the number of daily Irish speakers outside of the education system in Loughrea. This language plan, as well as all information about the events we have taking place, can be found on our new website: www.gaeilgelochariach.ie.
Priorities we have for the year 2022 include feasibility study to be carried out to develop a physical sanctuary, a centre in which our services will be situated and which will be a visible centre for the Irish speaking community in the town. For the last twenty-five-years the profile of Irish has been significantly raised in the town and the surrounding area, and we now have plans and clear goals for the next twenty-five years, therefore we are really looking forward to seeing what progress we can make in the years ahead.
Pól Mag Lionnáin, Chairperson of Gaeilge Locha Riach, said, “I welcome the launch of the Gaelphobal campaign which gives us an opportunity in Gaeilge Locha Riach to share our experiences and gain expertise from groups across the country promoting the Irish language. The campaign will give us opportunities to create spaces in Loughrea where Irish will be spoken more. It also reminds us that everyone, each individual member of the community, has a responsibility to work together if they agree with this goal we have for our town and for the people, young and old, who will live here in the years ahead.”
Minister of State Jack Chambers said, “As Minister with responsibility for the implementation of the Gaeltacht Act 2012, I am pleased to see the significant progress that has been made in the language planning process throughout the country as a whole. In the communities I visit in towns and villages all over Ireland, I am always so impressed 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 new campaign and website which will be an excellent resource for the current language planning organisations and for those in the future. I am also delighted this initiative focusses on making it easier for the public to find out about the Irish language in their own areas. This is essential for getting more people to embrace the language and to ensure its growth into the future.”