A NEWcampaign to secure Gaeltacht status for Clare has been launched ten years after breac-Gaeltacht designation was taken away from many parts of the western seaboard.\.
The newly formed Clare Gaeltacht Committee is spearheading this drive as part of what it has called a campaign “to revitalize and strengthen further Irish in county Clare”.
Kilmihil-based Seosamh Mac Ionnrachtaigh is one of the main drivers of the initiative, which earlier this year saw him make a submission to the Draft County Development Plan 2011-2017, which called on Clare County Council to play its part in promoting the language.
Now, the new language revival campaign has bee cranked up with the announcement of a four-month consultation process between now and the end of April has been ﬂagged by the Clare Gaeltacht Committee.
“In the context of language planning, the people of Clare and the general public are invited to send electronic or written submissions for Plean na Gaeilge 2012-2017 in Clare that will identify what needs to be done for Irish in the county,” said Mr Mac Ionnrachtaigh.
“We intend seeking Gaeltacht sta tus for the people of County Clare in the near future. To that end a new language plan for the county is going to be formed as part of revitalizing the language in the county and getting back the Gaeltacht status that was taken away many years ago,” he added.
In his submission to the county development plan, Mr Mac Ionnrachtaigh said “the future of the Irish language in the county is important in economic, social, infrastructural, cultural and environmental terms”. He also said “the establishment of Gaeltacht status should be recognised in the Draft County Development Plan”.
“In relation to establishing a Gaeltacht in the county, this is not within the remit of the County De- velopment Plan,” responded county manager, Tom Coughlan. “The responsibility for establishing new Gaeltachtaí lies with the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and not with the local authority.”
Clare enjoyed breac-Gaeltacht status from 1929 to 2001, with the biggest Irish-speaking districts being near Ballyvaughan, Doolin, Kilkee and Carrigaholt were the Irish College operated by Macdara Tóibín is located.