How to revive the Irish language? Make every school a Gaelscoil

One journalist reckons recent efforts to revive the Irish language has been an "utter failure"

How to revive the Irish language? Make every school a Gaelscoil

File Photo Minister for Education Richard Bruton is to publish rules aimed at reducing the cost of education for parents. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

It's being suggested that all national schools across the country should be turned into Gaelscoils to support the revival of the Irish language.

Irish Daily Star journalist Ger Colleran told Newstalk Breakfast that he believes recent efforts to revive our native tongue has been an “utter failure, a waste of money and worst of all, has created resentment veering towards out-and-out hatred for the language among hundreds of thousands of victims of the language policy.”

Colleran said that while the Gaeilscoilenna movement has been a "mass experiment! its also provided the language with one of its biggest success stories.

"The solution is right there in front of our faces, and we seem to be looking around it," he said. "The language was never the problem - it was the teaching of it."

Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that we are speaking less Irish.

Of the 1.76 million people who stated they were able to speak Irish, 73,803 spoke the language daily outside of the education system, which is 3,382 fewer than 2011. Some 32% of Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas spoke Irish daily outside the education system.

'A terrible, dark legacy'

Acknowledging the long-standing criticism of the way Irish is taught within schools, Colleran said there were "excesses, excuses and blagarding" involved in its teaching.

However, he added that the country has a responsibility when it comes to changing that.

"We have to turn around and say, 'look, are we going to put up with this terrible, dark legacy that has been given to us in respect to the teaching of the language, or are we going to change it?'

"We have a wonderful model there, and there is no problem about changing it if we have the public will and the public authority."

On Newstalk Breakfast, Colleran called for a national debate in respect of the language, re-imagining the country as a bilingual one.