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LEAGUE - FINE GAEL DIALOGUE ON LANGUAGE ISSUE
The Secretary General of the Celtic League has exchanged correspondence with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (see below). Previously Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has written to Fine Gael to express concern over a motion relating to the Irish language adopted at the Party's conference earlier this year. The matter was tabled for discussion by Irish
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 24/10/06 7:44

The Secretary General of the Celtic League has exchanged correspondence with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (see below).rnrnPreviously Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, has written to Fine Gael to express concern over a motion relating to the Irish language adopted at the Party's conference earlier this year.rnrnThe matter was tabled for discussion by Irish delegates to the Celtic League Annual General Meeting held in Brittany in August.rnrnThe League unanimously adopted a resolution expressing it concern over the likely impact of the Fine Gael Irish language motion. The Celtic League also expressed support for Conradh na Gaeilge who had condemned the FG proposal.rnrn "12 SEPT 2006rnrnDear RhisiartrnrnThank you for your recent letter and for contacting me regarding my recent comments on the Irish language.rnrnI believe a new agenda for the Irish language is long-overdue, and that much of our approach to Irish to-date has not, in fact, served our language well.rnrnFor this reason, I outlined a package of measures to reform our approach to the Irish language, in both the classroom and broader society. These proposals include:rnrnAt Primary Level, a renewed concentration on immersion in the Irish language for new and practising teachers, the utilization of the best available modern technology and teaching methods for the Irish language, and the development of a Specialist Language Support Corps to help individual primary schools which are having particular difficulties with the teaching of Irish.rnrnAt Second Level, a radical reform of the curriculum, the introduction of an oral component at Junior Certificate level, an improvement in textbooks and educational resources available to all-Irish and Gaeltacht schools, the introduction of a new subject at leaving certificate level, Communicating in Irish, and a choice for all post-junior Certificate students as to whether they choose to study Irish for the Leaving Certificate.rnrnAt national level, the development of a National Strategy for the Irish language which sets out the goals for the development of the language, what the Government and other agencies will do to support the language, and will ensure that all bodies and all initiatives working for the Irish language have a clearly defined role and a clear sense of purpose.rnrnThe Irish Language Commissioner has already noted that many of our young people leave school without any real command of the language, even following 1,500 hours of tuition in Irish over the course of primary and secondary education. I believe that our current approach is driving many young people away from any real engagement with the language, and it is for this reason that I have set out a reforming approach which seeks to address, openly and honestly, the real issues facing the Irish language both in the classroom and outside it.rnrnSince I first set out this reform agenda, I have received an enormous response, especially from many parents who wish their children to have a good working knowledge of the language but who are frustrated by the failure of current teaching methods and policies.rnrnOur challenge, and the focus of my proposals, is to give young people an opportunity to develop a real appreciation for, and fluency in, the Irish language.rnrnThank you once again for taking the time to contact me, and please find enclosed a copy of a statement which I released last March and which details in full my proposals for the Irish language.rnrnWith best wishesrnrn Enda Kenny, TD Leader of Fine Gael"rnrn "08.10.06rnrnEdna Kenny, TD Leader of Fine Gael Office of the Leader of Fine Gael Dàil Éireann Leinster House Dublin 2rnrnDear Edna Kenny, TDrnrnEnd to compulsory Irish for Leaving-Cert studentsrnrnThank you for your response to my letter, dated 12 September 2006, regarding the above issue.rnrnI was encouraged to note that you seem committed to the development of the Irish language and that you want to provide young people with opportunities to appreciate and become fluent in Irish.rnrnI agree whole heartedly with your wish to reform an educational system that you and parents see to be failing children through the failure of current teaching methods and policies. However, the main issue for delegates at our 2006 AGM was the decision by Fine Gael to eliminate Irish as a compulsory subject at second level and instead allow students to choose whether to study the language as a subject for their Leaving Certificate.rnrnMy own experience of teaching languages in different settings (and having been educated in a school system where students had a choice of studying their own Celtic language or not), I firmly believe that allowing students to opt out from studying Irish when confronted with their Leaving certificate, will be detrimental to the development of the Irish language in Ireland in the future.rnrnIf it is your belief that "the current approach is driving many young people away from any real engagement with the language", then maybe it is the pedagogical approach to the teaching of Irish that needs to be modified and not the option itself.rnrnIn addition, could you send me a copy of the statement you released last March with details of your full proposals for the Irish language, which you failed to enclose in your last letter.rnrnMany thanks in advance and look forward to hearing from you soon.rnrnYours sincerelyrnrnrnrnRhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League"rnrn If you have comment on this issue or information on any Celtic Language issues that you believe may be of interest to the Celtic League contact Rhisiart Tal-e-bot at: rnrnrhisiart.talebot [at] ...rnrnJ B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

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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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