City council to explore designated planning area for urban Gaelgoirí

The Galway City Council is to examine the possibility of creating a Gaeltacht language planning area in the city, effectively a mini-Gaeltacht zoning to accommodate some 20 houses which would be available for sale exclusively to Irish language speakers.

Cllr Cathal Ó Conchúir proposed the initiative at a city council meeting convened this week to discuss the draft Galway City Development Plan, which is due to go on public display shortly.

Cllr Ó Conchúir told the council that the Gaeltacht Act 2012 provides for the designation of such areas, with similar initiatives already under way in Clondalkin and Belfast. A designated Gaeltacht language planning area for Galway would comprise a small estate of “maybe 20 houses”, he added.

“One of the failings of the Irish language is that it is predominantly seen as a rural language,” Cllr Ó Conchúir said. “We need to develop the language in the cities and towns if we want to bring it ahead.

“This would be to facilitate families who want to rear their children through the medium of Irish, and to use Irish as an everyday language within the estate.”

Galway city already contains a number of areas which officially lie within the Gaeltacht, including parts of Tirellan Heights, Menlo, and Knocknacarra. It is understood a similar designation is already in place in Barna.

The draft development plan will go on display in the New Year, and the public will have until mid-March to make submissions on it.

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