Ministers focused on increasing Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas by 25%

The Government wants to increase the number of Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas by 25%.

Ministers are aiming to reverse an 11% decline from 2011 to 2016.

Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh T.D. Photo: Colm Mahady/Fennell Photography.

A five-year action plan was launched today pledging to raise the number of overall speakers outside education from 83,000 to 250,000.

The intention is to support the use of Irish in creches, nurseries and schools.

Ministers hope to boost the numbers accessing shared services in Irish, produce a new English-Irish dictionary and enact an official languages bill.

A fifth of new entrants to public service would be Irish speakers and by 2030 two million people would have Irish. 42 new schools would be established for Irish-medium education outside the Gaeltacht.

Government chief whip and minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh said: "Implementing this plan is critical to the survival of our language.

"It creates a spirit of co-ownership and working together across government and puts our language at the heart of government policy. The spirit of co-operation is central to this endeavour."

"By supporting each other, we, and the Irish language and the Gaeltacht, will thrive and prosper."

- PA

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