7.2.3 | Gaeltacht na hÉireann - The Gaeltacht and our Linguistic Heritage
There are five Gaeltacht Areas in Cork, Kerry and Waterford, each with a unique economic and cultural character. The 2016 Census indicates that the Irish language is strong in the Region. All Gaeltacht areas are served by Údarás na Gaeltachta, the statutory regional development authority with the aim of preserving and promoting the Irish language as the community language of the Gaeltacht. These areas have an important role in promoting the use of the Irish language to the wider community, for example through residential Irish Summer colleges that also bring economic benefits. The RSES supports opportunities to normalise the use of Irish and greater visibility of the language in the naming of buildings, streets, signage and in references to public bodies and agencies. New initiatives to plan and develop the Gaeltacht areas and use of the Irish language were introduced by the Gaeltacht Act 2012. The key measures include the development of Language Planning Areas (LPAs) and the development of Gaeltacht Service Towns (GST). The designation of GSTs is a recognition of the provision of services required to support Gaeltacht areas including digital and educational resources.
The RSES supports the unique linguistic and cultural heritage of our Region’s Gaeltacht areas and supports the statutory functions of Údarás na Gaeltachta under the Gaeltacht Act 2012. The RSES recognises the designation of GST and the location of LPAs in the Region as spatial designations which support the growth and sustainability of Gaeltacht areas. There are five LPAs in the Region - Na Déise in Co. Waterford, Muscraí and Cleire in Co. Cork and West Kerry and South Kerry. The designated GSTs are Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Cork City and Macroom and Co. Cork and Daingean Ui Chúis, Cahirsiveen and Tralee in Co. Kerry. The Gaeltacht Act 2012 places a new emphasis on language planning and each of the LPAs and GSTs are required to prepare a language plan, to be prepared by a lead organisation. Outside of the Gaeltacht areas, the development of Carlow as a bi-lingual town is significant in a part of the Region located at a remove from the Gaeltacht areas, as is the spread of the ‘pop-up Gaeltacht’ phenomenon across the country and overseas. There is an Irish Summer College at ColaisteUi Chomhraidhe inCarrigholt Co Clare. For places removed from traditional Gaeltacht areas, the Gaeltacht Act 2012 provides for a new statutory designation of Irish Language Networks to which such locations can aspire, providing an innovative new option to build critical mass for the language.
Map 7.1 | Gaeltacht Areas in the Southern Region
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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