NEWS — 16 July 2014

gaeltacht protest 0473

Protesters gathered outside Irish Government buildings today to oppose Enda Kenny’s decision to appoint non-fluent Irish speacker Joe McHugh as the new Gaeltacht Minister.

Members of Conradh Na Gaelige protested against the Donegal North East TD’s appointment as Gerry Adams debated the new Cabinet roles in Leaders’ Questions.

Adams, speaking mostly in Irish, criticised the Taoiseach’s decision, along with the appointment of Jimmy Deenihan to the role of Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Adams said: “The appointment of the two ministers is a backwards step, because they do not speak Irish. The manner in which the department has been organised is a further mark of the downgrading of the Irish language.

“It is evidence of the disregard that the government has for the Irish language.”

Kenny argued that McHugh’s Irish was a little rusty but could be improved upon.

“What you have just said, is typical of the reasons why we are not as bilingual as we should be…. because you have suggested we are not capable of learning the language,” he said.

“He has the Irish inside of him, but it is rusty, and isn’t a good thing to say Deputy Adams, ‘I am as Irish as anyone else, and I am going to learn the language’.”

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