10,000 march in support of saving the Irish language in Dublin


Irish language campaigners are to turn their sights on the Northern Ireland government after ten thousand protesters marched in Dublin in support of the language.

The campaign against the treatment of the Irish tongue by the Governments on both sides of the border saw marchers descend on the Dublin parliament on Saturday afternoon.

Organizers told the Irish Times that 10,000 people took part in the march which started at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square and continued down O’Connell Street before a rally took place in front of the parliament, Dáil Éireann.

Marchers wore red in support of the campaign and were addressed by speakers who condemned the lack of public services available in Irish.

The event - Lá Mór na Gaeilge – was deemed a celebration of Irish on the streets of Dublin and attracted marchers from all over Ireland in the largest such demonstration since the 2005 campaign to elevate the status of Irish in the European Union.

The Irish Times reports that the current protests follow the decision in December by language commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin to resign in protest over the failure by Government to implement legislation protecting the rights of Irish speakers.

The marchers heard from language group Conradh na Gaeilge general secretary Julian de Spáinn who said that Irish language speakers were ‘red with rage’ at how speakers are being treated by the State.

He stated: “We will continue to campaign our public representatives until we achieve fairness and equality for the Irish-speaking and Gaeltacht communities throughout the island of Ireland.”

The Dublin march marks the beginning of a campaign to seek equal treatment for Irish language speakers north and south according to the report.

De Spáinn added: “We are planning a march on Sunday week in Connemara and in Gaoth Dobhair to coincide with the resignation of the Coimisinéir Teanga and on the 12th of April we are planning a large demonstration in Belfast.

“In addition we are going to focus on the local and European elections. There is a lot to do but today was just a beginning.”

De Spáinn said Conradh na Gaeilge had responded to an offer of a meeting with Irish PM Enda Kenny and are awaiting a response from the his office.