The 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 was published on 21 December 2010, following cross-party support in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Strategy promotes a holistic, integrated approach to the Irish language which is consistent with international best practice. The Strategy is the result of a consultative and research process, including a report commissioned by the Department (DCU, 2009), the Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht (NUIG & NUIM, 2007), and the report of Coimisiún na Gaeltachta (2002).
The Programme for Government 2011-2016 states that the Government will support the 20-Year Strategy and will deliver the achievable goals proposed therein.
The specific objectives of the Strategy are to:
• increase the number of people who speak Irish on a daily basis outside the education system from 83,000 to 250,000;
• increase by 25% the number of people who speak Irish on a daily basis in the Gaeltacht; and
• increase the number of people who use State services through Irish and who can access television, radio and print media through the language.
The Strategy itself recognises a need for a phased approach to accomplish its various measures. Four phases associated with the process are specified, namely:
• Establishment Phase which will be devoted to the communication of the goals and content of the Strategy and setting up the organisational and operational structures;
• Implementation Phase I when the foundations will be set during the first years of the Strategy;
• Implementation Phase II which will focus on the full implementation of all relevant measures; and
• Implementation Phase III when all measures will be mainstreamed.
The Strategy's establishment phase is ongoing under the leadership of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. A Strategy Unit has been established in the Department which is responsible for directing the planning and implementation of the Strategy.
Seán Ó Leidhinn