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GAELTACHT PROPERTY CASE - LEAGUE PROTEST
The Celtic League General Secretary has written to the Minister for the Gaeltacht expressing concern at the outcome of a recent court case over housing in the Ring Gaeltacht in Co Waterford. Rhisiart Tal-e-bot says that the criterion in respect of linguistic fluency for incomers who purchase properties in Gaeltacht areas should be
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 5/12/06 20:33

The Celtic League General Secretary has written to the Minister for the Gaeltacht expressing concern at the outcome of a recent court case over housing in the Ring Gaeltacht in Co Waterford.

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot says that the criterion in respect of linguistic fluency for incomers who purchase properties in Gaeltacht areas should be revisited.

The full text of the correspondence is set out below:

"Dear Éamon Ó Cuív TD

Warterford Gaeltacht

I was concerned and dismayed to learn this week that residents of the Ring Gaeltacht (An Rinn), Waterford lost their court battle against developers in an attempt to restrain them from selling houses to people whose competence in the Irish language is in doubt.

I am aware that Waterford County Council had previously stipulated that other houses in the development could be sold to purchasers who only had Irish to Leaving Certificate standard and that Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill last week ruled that this meant that a higher standard of Irish language ability could not be imposed on other purchases.

However, the Planning Authority of Waterford County Council makes reference to protecting the interests of "the Irish language and mitigating any negative impacts that the development may have in terms of the use and the position of the language and the Gaeltacht status of the area…" when considering potential purchasers of houses in the area. Also, Waterford County Council did emphasise that only the first of the five houses in the development should be sold to people with the Leaving Certificate.

The Celtic League believes that if the residents of An Rinn feel that purchasers of houses in the Gaeltacht who only hold the Leaving Certificate in Irish are not competent enough in their language ability to qualify for a house, then this is an issue that needs to be immediately addressed.

It therefore means that the present criterion to qualify for a house in Gaeltacht areas is not good enough. As you are well aware Gaeltacht communities were set up to protect and promote the Irish language and are a model and source of inspiration for other lesser used language communities in the Celtic countries and throughout Europe.

Last week's ruling will no doubt have implications throughout Ireland and potential purchasers will no doubt feel that they too have a right to buy a house in a Gaeltacht area if they have the Irish Language Leaving Certificate. The problem with this is, as I have already highlighted, it does not mean that these people will have any degree of proficiency in the language and be able to fit well into the community. This will especially be the case if these people have not maintained and/or developed their language skills.

Consequently the standard of Irish spoken in these communities could potentially decrease and its possible that over time people in Gaeltacht communities will not be speaking Irish at all.

The Celtic League urge you, as Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, to do everything in your power to ensure the outcomes of this particular case will not have a negative implications on the future of Gaeltacht areas.

We look forward to hearing your views on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League"

See also Celtic News Nos:

2013 GAELTACHT HOUSING BATTLE GOES TO COURTS - Sep 17, 2006

1990 HOUSING - CULTURAL AND SOCIAL PRESSURES HIGHLIGHTED - Aug 12, 2006

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

25/11/06

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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