Compulsion is the enemy of Irish language

THE allure of any commodity is greatly enhanced by the policy of forbiddance.

Does Conradh na Gaeilge president Daithí Mac Cárthaigh understand the difference between the Irish language and the entirely different science that is the teaching of the Irish language (Irish Examiner letters, June 17)?

As one who is qualified at both primary and secondary level, and has experience of teaching Gaeilge at every level from junior infants to Leaving Certificate, as well as a number of years as principal of a Gaelscoil, I would like to point out the following to MrMac Cárthaigh.

It is my considered opinion that the single greatest obstacle towards the successful teaching of Irish in schools today is the continuance of an extremely negative attitude evident among so many young children, and explicable by every parent-teacher meeting, when the following is so often offered: “My Johnny could never be any good at Irish, I hated it going to school.”

The level of competency among so many Leaving Certificate students in spoken and written Gaeilge is an abject failure, after having spent 14 years at school learning the subject.

I contend that attitude is the single greatest obstacle and until such time as a desire is evident and students chose to learn the language — nothing will change.

Compulsion is the enemy of the Irish language. The greatest growth recorded in the usage of our national tongue was during the years the language was forbidden. Today, in modern Ireland, having come full circle from forbiddance to compulsion, it is time we allowed our language to be free.

I respectfully suggest Mr Mac Cárthaigh stand down his repetitive attacks on the Fine Gael party and direct his energies towards creating a solution to the sorry state of our national tongue. Encouraging the electorate to vote against Fine Gael is simply urging people to shoot the messenger.

Deal with the issue Daithí, and leave the politics to the politicians.

Cllr Jim Daly

Fine Gael

Fernhill Road

Clonakilty

Co Cork

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