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Irish language debates at the top of Government agenda for Seachtain na Gaeilge

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin to play lead role in celebrating Gaeltacht regions and the Irish language as part of two-week long celebration 
  • Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers prioritising Irish language statements in Dáil and Seanad to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge 2021

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers have announced that the Irish language will be placed at the heart of Government business to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge.

The annual Irish language festival, which runs from 1st to 17th March, is one of the biggest international celebrations of our native language and Irish culture. 

The Irish language will be prioritised in the Dáil and Seanad during Seachtain na Gaeilge with specially arranged debates in both Houses of the Oireachtas, following agreement by the Dáil Business Committee to the Government’s proposal.

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Sport, Gaeltacht & Defence Jack Chambers has announced a Dáil debate on the Irish language will take place on the 3rd of March with another debate in the Seanad the following week on March 10th.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will lead the debate in the Dáil and will outline Government commitments on the protection and promotion of the Irish language and our Gaeltacht communities.

“Seachtain na Gaeilge is always a wonderful celebration of the Irish language and Irish culture. Although different from previous years, I am greatly looking forward to discussing and debating the unique and integral role the Irish language plays in our society and the Government’s work in this area during this year’s virtual festival. 

“The Programme for Government is very ambitious in its commitments to the protection and preservation of Gaeltacht areas and to ensure that they remain at the heart of a living language.

“We are making good progress on the progression of the Official Languages Amendment Bill and in our work encouraging Irish speaking communities outside the Gaeltacht regions, in addition to developing platforms to increase young people’s engagement with the language. Seachtain na Gaeilge offers a wonderful opportunity for each of us to examine and assess our relationship with the language and I sure this year’s events will be enjoyed by so many people in Ireland and abroad.”

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said Seachtain na Gaeilge is an important celebration of the language for fluent Irish speakers and those who are trying to improve their ability, as well as a chance to promote Irish culture and heritage all around the world.

“Alongside Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, I am delighted to be participating in Seachtain na Gaeilge as Minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht. There is a fantastic series of online events planned for Seachtain na Gaeilge 2021 in which I hope people of all ages and from all backgrounds will fully participate.  

“As Chief Whip I have prioritised statements on the Irish language to coincide with Seachtain na Gaeilge and will use the opportunity to discuss the government’s priorities for the Gaeltacht and the progress of the Official Languages Amendment Bill which I am bringing through the house.

“This is a landmark piece of legislation which will reset the State’s relationship with the language and I am pleased it has the support of deputies from across the house, as well as Irish language organisations. 

He added: 

“The fact that the Taoiseach will be leading the special debate in the Dáil shows the value and priority the government is placing on the language. Throughout Seachtain na Gaeilge, I am looking forward to engaging with a variety of different groups and stakeholders, our Gaeltacht communities, fluent speakers, those brushing up on their Irish and those new to the language.”