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Ennis seen as Irish language hub as Council’s Scéim Teanga gets set for first update in ten years

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*Photograph: Bob Singer

Ennis is seen as a location where students across the country want to come to learn the Irish language.

These comments were expressed by Cllr Mark Nestor (FF) at a sitting of Clare County Council where he also called on the local authority to review and update it’s language scheme.

It has been ten years since the ‘Scéim Teanga’ was updated, the scheme was originally drawn up by Clare County Council in 2007. A review commenced last year with the appointment of an Irish officer.

Increasing and encouraging the use of Irish in the local authority has been the goal of the Scéim Teanga, Director of Finance and Support Services, Noeleen Fitzgerald noted. Its key aims include promotion of the Irish language, increasing and improving the number of services provided bilingually and enhancing staff competency in Irish through the provisions of training and support.

She outlined, “Significant progress has been made on signage across the county with the co-operation of all departments. Staff Irish Language sessions recommenced also in 2019 and are proving beneficial”. The review will continue into 2021.

Addressing the meeting as Gaeilge, Cllr Nestor acknowledged that the use of the language was more prominent in Ennis than in parts of North and South Clare. He stated that students across the country were attempting to come to Ennis to try learn the language. The youngest elected representative in the county was of the view that Coláiste Eoghain Uí Chomhraidhe would play a strong part in the plan.

Support for the motion was voiced by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF), Cllr Mary Howard (FG), Cllr PJ Kelly (FF) with Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG) also agreeing that the Carrigaholt Irish College was an important piece of infrastructure, “Irish has been forgotten by a lot of people. I’m looking forward to seeing Irish spoken,” he added.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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