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We need more emphasis on spoken Gaelic and we need more opportunities to use our native language, without any pressure or ‘compulsion’ towards perfect grammar.
The State must play its part, as Gaeilgeoir Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh intimated recently in an RTÉ interview, but so must businesses and every public service outlets.
It would be so easy to have an oifigeach Ghaeilge, employed as a bilingual public servant, at a check-out, desk, or customer-service counter that displays a public notice ‘Gnó Tré Ghaeilge’.
It would give us a chance to use our ‘cúpla focal’ without putting any public servant under pressure and would reveal a friendly attitude towards the use of Irish. I find it hard to comprehend that millions of euro are being spent on translating EU documents into Irish, when our native tongue is slowly slipping away from our grasp here at home.
The time for paying ‘lip-service’ to the cúpla focal should be in the ‘aimsir caite’.
We must promote its use in everyday conversation, in schools, and especially in the public service, to encourage the ‘shy Gaeilgeoir’ and spread a Gaeilge-friendly atmosphere i dTír ghlas na hÉireann.
Eilís Uí Bhriain
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