Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Irish Gaelic no longer required by Garda recruits

My knowledge of Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) is very limited, but I understand that the language is not in very good health even though there are many laws in the republic that are supposed to proctect it and guarantee peoples rights to use it, especially in the public sector. By reading many blogs, including Slugger O'Toole, I get the impression that there are more 'language haters' in Ireland than we have in Wales. The situation of Gaeilge
is often used here as an excuse aginst creating laws top safeguard welsh speakers' rights to use Welsh in Wales.

Eurolang points out that there are going to be changes, where it will no longer be required that applicants who wish to join an Garda Síochána (police force) are able to spaek Gaeilge. The reasoning given is that this is to increase the number of police officers from the ethnic community. This is basically implying that people form ethnic minoraties are not able to learn the language for some reason. In Wales, some language haters use the presence of an ethnic population as a reason against a bilingualism (English/Welsh) even though many of these people are multi-lingual. It's no wonder then that one of the groups who have voiced their unhappiness with the changes are iMeasc, which is a group of Irish speakers that are immigrants or that come from an ethnic background.

I'm really intrigued by the existence of such a group as iMeasc, but can't find much about them on the web, any links would be greatly welcomed. Here in Wales the nearest we would have is CYD, but this organisation aimed at all learners regardless of nationality or ethnicity, but is more of an umbarella for local socialising groups rather than a lobby/pressure group. Although I don't have any statistic to hand at the moment, 25% of the population of Wales were born outside Wales. Roughly 20% of the whole population is able to speak Welsh, and 7% of resident who are born outside Wales can speak Welsh (17% of immigrants can speak Welsh in Gwynedd in the north west where 64% of the whole population can speak Welsh).

More on the
Back Seat Drivers
and Raiméis blogs


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9/28/2005 12:29 pm  
Blogger wonderful-electric.co.uk said...

If you're interested in stats, then there's the Census website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/profiles/commentaries/ethnicity.asp#birth

9/28/2005 4:13 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

Thanks. THere's loads of info on the census site, but finding exactly what I want is difficult. There's been a lot about ethnicity in Wales (and Uk as a whole recently), but the was a really simple table about people born in/outside Wales on the Assembly's site and can't find it now. Damm that site!

9/28/2005 5:07 pm  
Anonymous maca said...

Hello again!

These language haters really baffle me. I don't know why someone would hate a language, why is it such a threat to them?
Of course in Ireland Irish is compulsory in schools and a lot of people use that as the excuse for hating that language. But that excuse is total bull.

I found an article on iMeasc for ya, unfortunatly it's in Irish :)
Here's one letter from iMeasc to the Irish Times if you're interested.

You could mail them if you want info: imeasc@eircom.net

9/29/2005 9:23 pm  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

Thanks for both the links. The letter makes very good points and the following paragraph in particular is very telling of the different attitudes.

Lest our efforts be tiresomely and patronisingly dismissed as "trying to be more Irish than the Irish", iMeasc was formed directly out of deep concerns as to where repeated attempts in the national media to use immigrants as a weapon against the Irish language, and on a lesser level, native Irish culture, could lead.

10/03/2005 10:11 am  
Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

Welsh is also 'compulsory' here in Wales, and many parents and pupils resent this. I think the term compulsory is a loaded term. No one bangs on about compulsory maths or science, even though being able to converse in Welsh is much more of an usefull skill than understanding pythagoras[?]. In the south east, many non-Welsh speaking parents send their children to Welsh medium schools, in most cases over 90% of children come from non-Welsh spaeking households, and while the number of schoolchildren drop overall, the demand for Welsh medium education outstrips supply. But due to the way the media and politicians and the public sector treat the Welsh language, many kids (being kids) resent it.

10/03/2005 10:20 am  

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