Ballymoney Sinn Féin Councillor Cathal McLaughlin has welcomed the publication of a new survey on attitudes towards the Irish language.
The survey was carried out by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, with respondents from across the north. It will help formulate Irish Language policy within the department.
The survey found that people felt there should be more opportunities for people to learn Irish in the North. Additionally 81% of respondents believed pupils should be able to choose it as a school subject if they wish. 52% believed that it is important the North does not lose its Irish language traditions, while 49% believed it to be important to the region’s culture. 41% believed the language should be supported and encouraged throughout the North.
Finally over half of all respondents thought that Irish should be offered as an option on documents, leaflets and notices where other languages are offered.
Welcoming the findings of the survey Cloughmills Sinn Féin councillor Cathal McLaughlin said:
“I welcome the findings of this survey. It demonstrates the huge support there is for the Irish Language across the north. The language movement here in the north is hugely energetic and enthusiastic. Over the past decade there has been a significant growth in the numbers of people learning, speaking and developing the Irish Language. The huge network of Naíscoileanna, bunscoileanna and gaelscoileanna across the north in recent years are just one small measure of this.
“As a political party, we have also tried to facilitate the demand locally to learn the language by employing an Irish Language Development officer who oversees the expansion of ‘ranganna’ or classes throughout the district.
“Additionally we provide bursaries to the large number of people who go to Gaeltacht areas to improve on their conversational Irish throughout the year. Locally we have witnessed such need and demand, as was outlined in the survey.”
Cllr McLaughlin concluded by saying:
“In welcoming this report I would also call on local people to get involved with the development of the Irish Language by joining the various classes throughout the district and play your part in developing our ‘teanga duchais’ or native language.