THE board of directors of Cill Dara le Gaeilge announced last week its intention to become the lead organisation for the greater Naas / Sallins area in relation to the local advancement of the Irish language.
Established in 2017, Cill Dara le Gaeilge aimed to support businesses in County Kildare that wish to conduct business through the medium of Irish. The group initially focused its efforts within the greater Naas area as the organisation had limited volunteer staff and resources. Many businesses in the area have expressed an interest in using Irish as a language of communication with the public. There is a Gaelscoil and Gael-Choláiste in Naas and the local Irish language community is exceptionally organised. A five year language plan for County Kildare for 2019 to 2023 has been published to formalise the revitalisation efforts for the Irish language in the area and in the county.
Cill Dara le Gaeilge will be applying to Foras na Gaeilge under the Scéim Pobal na Gaeilge (Irish Language Community Scheme) on behalf of the Sallins / Naas area when that scheme reopens this year. “It’s time for full-time employees to work for the development of the Irish language in the area,” says Daithí de Faoite, Cathaoirleach of Cill Dara le Gaeilge. “An application from County Kildare under the Irish Language Community Scheme has yet to be successful but Cill Dara le Gaeilge now has a comprehensive plan to recruit employees and to support community groups in the area who are organising events through the medium of Irish as soon as we are accepted into the scheme,” he said. The organisation intends to develop the county’s language plan and take advantage of all opportunities available.Cill Dara le Gaeilge also announced that the organisation would have a leadership role in leading a campaign for the granting of Líonra Gaeilge (Irish language network) status to the Naas / Sallins area. Under the twenty-year strategy for the Irish language 2010 – 2030, it is recognised that areas where the Irish language is flourishing and that have achieved a number of goals should be granted official status – education through the medium of Irish, a written language plan for the area, an organised Irish language community and where opportunities are provided for the general public to learn Irish and use it as a community language. Cill Dara le Gaeilge is looking forward to working alongside various groups in the area to promote the Irish language in the community.
The establishment of an Irish language and cultural centre in Sallins to serve the whole of County Kildare is also an ambition of Cill Dara le Gaeilge. In 2016 Kildare County Council purchased a 33 acre site for community use in Sallins. A plan for this community land has not yet been published. Under the plan of Project Ireland 2040 – Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage, the government announced that capital grants would be available for Irish language and cultural centres in Gaeltacht service towns and Irish language network areas. Cill Dara le Gaeilge is already working with Kildare County Council and the community of Sallins, to have a new cultural centre on the Sallins community land. The vision is for a community and cultural centre to operate side by side, to serve the local community of Sallins as well as the Irish language community throughout the county.Government support for the Co. Kildare language plan is critical and Cill Dara le Gaeilge remains confident that the Department of Tourism, Gaeltacht, Culture, Media and Sport and the relevant state bodies will support the county plan for the Irish language.