Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív says the Census 2011 figures published today confirm the worst fears of those who cherish the Irish language, and they show the negative impact that this Government’s neglect of the language is having.

Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “These figures are extremely worrying as they show a decline in all areas relating to the Irish language – there are fewer people claiming they know language and in those speak the language on a daily basis.  What is of particular concern is the decline in the numbers of people in Gaeltacht areas who speak the Irish language.

“The results of Census 2016 compares unfavourably with the very positive trends, which emerged in Census 2011.  Between  2006 and 2011, the number of people who claim to be able to speak Irish increased by 7.1% to 1.77m, whereas there was a decrease of nearly 1% in the figure for the last 5 years.

“In Census 2011 there was an increase of 5,000 in the number of people who claimed to speak Irish on a daily basis, whereas over the past five years, this figure has fallen by 3,382.  Similar negative trends are being seen in the Gaeltacht.

“Fine Gael’s failure to implement the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language is an absolute disgrace, however it is symptomatic of the complete lack of interest in the Irish language by successive Fine Gael led governments.

“Fianna Fáil would if in government reverse the trend of the last 5 years.  We would adopt a positive programme for the support and promotion of the Irish language and fully implement The 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language”.