The Irish language is worth in excess of €136 million annually to the economy of Galway city and county, supports more than 5,000 jobs, and more than 90 per cent of city businesses believe that it is a unique selling point for Galway’s image and cultural identity.
These are the key findings of a study into the economic benefits associated with the Irish language which accrue to Galway city and to the Galway gaeltacht.
The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon Ó Cuív who formally launched the report, stated: “We have long appreciated the importance of the Irish language in a cultural and qualitative sense but this report now quantifies the economic value associated with it. Irish is a key driver of tourism in Galway city and county generating revenue in the order of €40 million annually. Within the tourism sector, the Coláistí Gaeilge Samhraidh are extremely important to the Galway gaeltacht and they contribute approximately €14 million to the local area through tuition fees, pocket money, and payments to the mná tí who host Irish language students in their family homes each summer.
“In recent years, Galway has become synonymous with the Irish language audio-visual sector which is currently one of the most important sources of economic activity in the Galway Gaeltacht. The report shows that this sector contributes an estimated €24.3 million in added value to GNP each year and because of the nature of audio-visual businesses, most of this money remains within the local economy through wages, salaries, and local purchases.”
The study found that the Galway Gaeltacht’s labour force of almost 22,000 is concentrated in relatively high-output economic sectors. It also found that Gaeltacht households and companies spend more than €700 million on the purchases of goods and services in Galway city.
“This report highlights the results of targeted investment by the State to support the language and sustain the local Irish-speaking community in the Galway Gaeltacht”, said Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, chairman of Gaillimh le Gaeilge, adding: “Galway city has a vibrant community of Irish speakers and support for revival of the language is high, as is support for English/Irish bilingualism, particularly among young, educated urban people. In Gaillimh le Gaeilge, we want to harness goodwill towards the Irish language and to build and capitalise on the economic and cultural benefits identified in this report.”
The study was undertaken by Bane Mullarkey, a Galway-based business and marketing consultancy, in association with economist Jerome Casey. The full report is available to download at www.gleg.ie