herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Ten of 63 councillors choose to use Irish

Nial Ring
Nial Ring

Just ten of Dublin City Council's 63 councillors have signed up to use Irish when corresponding with their constituents.

And in the country's largest council, just one Sinn Fein official has chosen to deal with queries through Irish.

Councillor Criona Ni Dhalaigh is the only member of the Sinn Fein party who has a note on her contact details stating she is open to communicating in Irish.

She explained that she is aware of more than just the ten councillors in the chamber who have more than a cupla focail.

Confidence

"You're always disappointed when the numbers are low," she said. "I thought the number would be higher than that. I know there are more on the council who can speak Irish but it comes down to confidence."

On October 9, all 63 councillors received an email asking if they would like the additional note, "Cuirim Fáilte Roimh Gaeilge" (that you welcome communication in Irish), attached to their contact details.

Independent councillor Nial Ring also chose to have his details updated to state that he would communicate in Irish as did Fine Gael councillor Kate O'Connell.

Fianna Fail's Daithi De Roiste was another of the ten councillors.

Culture

Ms Ni Dhalaigh said that her own father "fought the fight" to keep the Irish language alive when some wanted it made redundant. "You can't put a value on culture and language, and if you lose a language it's gone for good," she stated.

The councillor said that she speaks with family and friends on public transport in Irish and never receives any backlash.

"I've never had any negative feedback - it's always been very positive," stated the councillor.

She said that she is aware of two of her colleagues in the chamber, Sinn Fein councillors Micheal MacDonncha and Emma Murphy, having fluent Irish.

When Dublin City Council was contacted by the Herald a spokeswoman said the data in relation to Irish-speaking councillors was fully up-to-date.

jfegan@herald.ie

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