WHILE once a hotspot for Gaeilgeoirs, the Dundalk Democrat set out to discover if we still have a gra for our first language.....
Some argue that the Irish language has seen a dramatic decline out in the town of Dundalk and with a new Gaelscoil opening in September, many hope that the standard of Irish will improve. When asked would he like to see the Irish language spoken more in Dundalk, Cllr. Tomás Sharkey told the paper “Yes, I would absolutely love to see the Irish language spoken more, it would be great to see more people speaking fluently as I’m fluent myself and to be able to socialise more through Irish would be a brilliant and healthy thing to see in the town.” The people of Dundalk gave the paper their opinion on the Irish language with the majority admitting to having a very low standard of Irish. When the news team asked the people of Dundalk their opinion of the Irish language negative opinions dominated, with ‘dreadful’ and ‘embarrassing’ amongst the responses, with one person pronouncing the language as ‘dead’. The Dundalk Democrat also asked the public what they thought should be done to improve the standard of Irish in the area and the most common response was that Irish should be taught directly as a spoken language, as it would be easier to pick up than from learning a book. With talks of Irish becoming a non-compulsory subject in second level education we asked the people of Dundalk their opinion on the matter. The majority of adults said it should stay a compulsory subject in secondary schools as learning another language can be very beneficial and speaking Irish gives the Irish people an identity, but when one teenager was interviewed they said that it should be a non-compulsory subject.
The Irish language, as taught at the moment, can only serve to evoke and sustain a long-lasting resentment and antagonism towards the language amongst young people. We even tested the people in Dundalk on their knowledge of Irish by asking the local people what the Irish term for ‘Dundalk’ was. Just a handful of people of were aware that the Irish name for their home town was‘Dun Dealgan’. On a brighter note, the majority of people said that the opening of the new Gaelscoil Coláiste Lú in September will be beneficial to the town.
The writers of this article Amy and Philip were on work experience in the Dundallk Democrat