Ca bhfuil muid ag dul? asks councillor in road signs saga

A Galway county councillor has asked what is the position of Galway County Council on Irish only road signs.

Athenry-Oranmore area councillor Jim Cuddy described monolingual signs as “ridiculous”, citing the example of Claregalway (Baile Chláir ) causing major confusion for people trying to access the village from the motorway.

Cllr Cuddy said; “Where does the council stand on road signage? Places are put up in Irish and it is confusing. It is putting people off. Acht na dTeanga prevents TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland ) putting English signage on motorway. It is ridiculous.”

Cllr Cuddy raised the issue as the Galway County Council considered Scéim Teanga Chomhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe 2019-2022 (Galway County Council Language Scheme 2019-2022 ) at County Hall on Monday.

The adoption of the scheme sees the council committing to the progression of a bilingual culture in their dealings with customers and to providing all its services through the medium of Irish in a phased manner over a series of schemes.

The scheme, whose commencement date has yet to be confirmed by the Department of Culture, Heritage, and Gaeltacht, replaces the second language scheme adopted in 2014.

Councillors also raised the issue of how the language is taught in schools. Independent councillor Karey McHugh suggested council led workshops may help encourage people to embrace the language.

Cllr McHugh said; “I think the long term work is vital for restoration of the Irish language. We need to look at how it is taught in early years and early education. There seems to be an uptake in the language where I am from. People seem to be more passionate about the native language. Maybe workshops may encourage people.”

Conamara area councillor Seosamh Ó Cualáin suggested there should be more emphasis on the speaking of the language.

Cllr Ó Cualáin said; “I would banish the books and look more at speaking it, without the tuiseal ginideach or modh conníollach. All [people] can remember is the hardship of grammar. [Emphasis] should be on speaking the language and encourage [people] to speak it and don’t criticise them for an English word here or there.”

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