Comment: The Gaeltacht must be broken and remade to save Irish
In an opinion piece in the Irish Times today, Conchúr Ó Giollagáin (University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland) and Brian Ó Curnáin (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) make the case for policy changes that might give the Gaeltacht some chance of surviving, because "without vision and innovation, Irish will not survive as a community language beyond the next 10 years and we will lose the social context needed for young people to acquire fully functional Irish" and "You can’t have Irish speakers without the Gaeltacht and you won’t have a Gaeltacht without serious social change". They propose "the establishment of new social structures and organisations" that can help address the decline of the Gaeltacht.
"Except for rare individuals, you can’t really have competent Irish speakers without the Gaeltacht. And you won’t have a Gaeltacht without serious social change. Language communities need competent speakers and those speakers need communities. One reinforces the other".
I must confess the title of this upset me, but they do make good points. If the Gaeltacht dies, Irish won't be too far behind really. And evidence doesn't look good for the Gaeltacht surviving at the moment.
We need gaelacht areas in cities, districts where you aren't allowed to live or work unless you have a working level of Irish. There are no jobs in the gaeltachts.
I don't like the idea of excluding non-Irish people, but to get a B1 level of Irish is not such a big deal, look how fast Des Bishop did it. Okay, a lot of people come to Ireland specifically to learn English, so it won't be appealing for them, but some people come here simply because they want to live here, and like people who go to live in Catalonia, they won't mind learning a minority language.
They take run down areas in cities and they start turning them in to Soho so they can raise rents, why can't we take one and turn it into Spiddal?