The 2011 Census, released by the Central Statistics Office Ireland (CSO), shows that Irish is the third most spoken language in the country, after English and Polish.
The Census found that 82,600 in Ireland speak Irish outside of school (where it is an obligatory subject). The CSO also reported that 119,526 speak Polish at home and 56,430 speak French.
In Gaeltacht areas (Irish speaking areas) 35 percent of people speak Irish on a daily basis.
In comparison to the last Census the number of Irish speakers is up by 7.1 percent with 1.77 million people saying they could speak Irish. This means 41.4 percent can actually speak the language but simply don’t.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Dinny McGinley, the Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said the increase in the number of people capable of speaking the language was a mark of how their 20-year strategy to develop Irish language is working.
He said “The increase in the number of daily Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas is good news, particularly since the 20-year strategy has set a target of a 25 per cent increase in this area over its lifetime.”
Ireland’s Census also examined the standard of English among foreign language speakers. They found those from Denmark spoke the best English while those from Lithuania had the lowest level.