Paying lip service to the Irish language

The biggest contribution Laois County Council could make to the Irish language was to continue the tradition of putting up bilingual signs.

Councillors should also insure that such signs were used on the new Portlaoise bypass.

This was stated by Mr Andy McQuillan, assigned Irish officer to the Council, at its monthly meeting (May 1994). Adopted unanimously was his draft plan for the development and use of Gaelic by the local authority.

Cllr Jerry Lodge stressed the importance of getting the right spelling on Irish signs, especially placenames. Several members addressed the meeting in Irish while others regretted their lack of proficiency in our native tongue. All paid tribut to Mr McQuillan who is about to retire as a council official.

Cllr Joe Dunne described the draft plan as a step forward.

Cllr Jimmy Kiely thought it was a very special plan and revealed the he might go to the Gaeltacht this year.

Deputy Charlie Flanagan: “It is very important that we in Laois play our part. Laois is not noted for its over familiarity with the language”.

Cllr William Mansfield said the pan was a marvellous report.

Cllr Larry Kavanagh wondered how one would play “golf as gaeilge” as was recommended in the plan.

Cllr Jimmy Cooney said Andy McQuillan was a tireless worker for the language.

Cllr Joe Dignan: “As a lover of the Irish language, I am delighted to see the report. I feel inadequate because I am not fluent”.

Cllr Tom Keenan: “The Council should adopt the objectives of the report”.

Senator Cathy Honan: “We have paid lip service to the language. Unless there is action, the language will die”.

Cllr Fintan Phelan: “I thing that plan has set out something that is achievable.”


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