Ag Cnagadh ar Dhoras Downing Street

irish language column downing street

Christy Evans meets young Irish language campaigners in Downing Street

“Is le gach duine an Ghaeilge”, a deir John- Joe Ó Connor, 19, as Brighton, “agus tá an t-éileamh mór sa Bhreatain anois”.

Rugadh John-Joe sa Bhreatain ach tá Gaeilge ag a thuismitheoirí. Bhuail mé le John-Joe agus a chara Órla Ní Chonchubhair, 18, as Lewisham, i Sráid Downing le déanaí. Comhartha den bheocht na Gaeilge sa Bhreatain an bheirt mac léinn lasmuigh de ‘Ten Downing Street’ tar éis dóibh tuarisc faoin nGaeilge a fhágáil isteach den Phríomhaire Theresa May.

Sa tuairisc, Ár dTeanga sa Bhreatain ‘shows that at least 5 per cent of children in state schools have a genuine and well-reasoned wish to study Irish’. Dá dtosófaí le deich gcinn de ‘Irish Beacon Schools’ sa Bhreatain bheadh tús maith déanta. Deir Órla “Is breá liom ár gcultúr.Tá an Lewisham Irish Centre ar fheabhas ar fad.

Tá ranganna Gaeilge ar siúl gach Luan agus ceol gach Céadaoin. Chonaic mé John Redwood i Sráid Downing. Bhí imní orm nuair a chonaic mé na póilíní, ach shil mé ‘misneach’ agus chnag mé ar dhoras Uimhir a Deich”.

Bhí John-Joe agus Órla an-deas ar fad. Ba dhaoine béasach agus cliste iad. Tá Gaeilge measartha maith acu ag an am seo, ach tús maith leath na hoibre, mar a deirtear. Má tá suim sa Ghaeilge nó ceol agat, bí i dteaghmháil le Lewisham Irish Centre nó ancolaiste@aol.com


“More people seem to realise that Irish belongs to everyone”, explained John-Joe Ó Connor recently, “and there is a growing demand for Irish classes”.

John-Joe, 19, lives in Brighton but comes from an Irish-speaking background. I met him and fellow Irish campaigner Órla NÍ Chonchubhair, 18, from Lewisham, at Ten Downing Street.

A new report called Our Language in Britain ‘shows that at least 5 per cent of children in state schools have a genuine and well-reasoned wish to study Irish’.

The research shows that a number of large secondary schools in urban areas could run viable GCSE courses in Irish. The report calls for ten Irish Beacon Schools, with more to follow.

Órla was quite nervous going into Downing Street “I was stood in the security line with the Conservative politician John Redwood, and there were guns everywhere, but I thought ‘Misneach!’, and so I knocked on the door of Number Ten”.

It was a joy meeting John-Joe and Órla. They recommended the Irish classes and music tuition classes at Lewisham Irish Centre. These two young ambassadors for Irish culture were friendly and well-mannered, and well on their way to fluency in Irish.

A new term of Irish language and music classes begin shortly at Lewisham Irish Centre. Contact the centre or e-mail ancolaiste@aol.com


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