Seanad Éireann - Volume 43 - 04 March, 1954
National Development Fund Bill, 1953—Committee and Final Stages.
Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 4 stand part of the Bill.”
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha: Molaim an aguisín seo do chur leis:—
At the end of the section to add the following words:—
Provided that a fixed sum shall be set aside each year to be spent for the benefit of Irish speakers in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht; that the spending of this sum shall be supervised by an administrative unit responsible to the Minister which shall be charged with the duty of preserving and extending the use of the Irish language in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht in addition to improving the economic lot of this the people and which shall have no functions in relation to non-speakers of Irish.
 An lá deireannach nuair do bhí an tAire ag léiriú téarmaí an Bhille seo ba chúis áthais domsa ná raibh dearmad déanta aige ar an gceist thábhachtach seo i dtaobh na Fíor-Ghaeltachta agus go raibh beartaithe aige faoin mBille um Chiste Forbartha Náisiúnta go dtabharfaí £250,000 le haghaidh na Gaeltachta. Insan alt de na holibreacha sin is ea atá suim agam féin. Molaim an soláthar atá déanta ag an Aire i gcomhair na gceantar sin. Is mór an t-ábhar dóchais gur chuimhnigh sé féin air gan daoine eile bheith ag brú air. Molaim an Rialtas mar gheall air. Maidir leis na hoibreacha atá beartaithe ag an Rialtas faoin gCiste Forbartha Náisiúnta tá ceist nó dhó agam ina thaobh. Measaim gur luadh £250,000 Níl fhios agam an mbeidh sé i dtaobh leis an £250,000 sin gan aon bhreis a chur ins an gCiste an dara, an treas nó an cheathrú bliain. Níor innis an tAire é sin dúinn. Is dócha go bhfágfaí gach bliain dó féin agus ná fuil fhios cad a thitfidh amach. Faoin mBille féin cuirtear £20,000,000 ar fáil. Le haghaidh na Gaeltachta £250,000 as an £20,000,000 sin agus measain gur beag agus gur ró-bheag é sin.
Ba mhaith liom daingniú éigin a bheith agam go mbeadh suim éigin sa chiste. Ní raibh aon léiriú ag an Aire faoi caidé ciall a bhí leis an ainm “Gaeltacht.” Ba mhaith liom féin beagán a rá faoin gceist sin. Níl ionannas coinníoll ná ionannas Gaelachais i ngach cuid den Ghaeltacht fé mar aithnítear anois é. De ghnáith sambhlaímid dúinn féin trí chinéal Gaeltachta a bheith ann, ag tosnú leis an mbreac-Ghaeltacht mar a bhfuil Gaeilge ag roinnt bheag daoine fásta agus fíor-bheagán ag na daoine óga agus cleachtadh agus conbharsáid Béarla is mó a bhíonn ar siúl acu ionas gur beag leanbh in so' chor a tógtar le Gaeilge. Tá Gaeltacht eile idir é sin agus an Fhíir-Gaeltacht. Tugtar an Ghaeltacht air. Ins an gceantar sin bíonn cuid mhór daoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu. Bíionn cuid mhór Gaeilge ag cuid mhór de na daoine agus bíonn tigh fánach thall is i bhfus mar a tógtar leanbh le Gaeilge. Tugtar an Ghaeltacht air sin agus is cainteoirí Gaelige ó triocha faoin gcéad go dtí bhféidir  seachtó nó ochtó faoin gcéad de na daoine. Ach san gceantar sin tá an Béarla greamaithe go maith sna daoine óga.
Is é áit ar cóir dúinn an imní is mó a bheith orainn faoi ná an áit a dtugaimid an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht air, áit a bhfuil Gaeilg ag gach duine, áit a dtógtar leanaí le Gaeilg sna tithe, sa bhaile agus ar scoil. Is í an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht atá i gceist san moladh seo atáimíd a chur ós comhair an Aire agus is air sin atá m'aigne dírithe anios.
Tá an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht ann fós d'ainneion a bhfuair sí d'fhaillí, d'ainneoin a bhfuair sí de chroch-mheas go rí-mhinic, d'ainneoin Eibhlíse agus Chromaill, d'ainneoin an bhriseadh a tugadh ar lucht na Gaelige lena linn siúd, d'ainneoin na faillí oifigiúla a tugadh inti riamh ó shoin, d'ainneoin an tréigin mhóir a deineadh ins an naoú céad déag nuair do thréig formhór na tíre úsáid na teangan. D'ainneoin na nithe sin tá an Ghaeltacht fós ann, cé gur Gaeltacht bheag chúng atá anois ann tar éis na rudaí a tharla. Tá an teanga in uachtar go fóill agus tá sí ar an dtinteán sa bhaile agus leanaí á dtógaint inti. Is inontach an scéal gur mhair aon Ghaeltacht in Éirinn agus is iontaí fós an scéal go bhfuil sí chomh beo, chomh cinnte tugtha do Ghaeilge agus a bhí caoga nó céad bliain ó shoin.
Is ábhar dóchais dúinn agus is cabhair don náisiún agus do smaoineamh an náisiúnachais in Éirinn go bhfuil an iarsma fós againn chun feidhm do bhaint as, chun bheith maíteach as agus chun úsáid a bhaint aisti, chun an obair a thabhairt chun críche i dtaobh an Ghaeilge a thabhairt thar n-ais. Mar sin sé mo mholadhsa go gcuirfí cuid de chiste na Gaeltachta ar leith don Fhíor-Ghaeltacht, go gcuirfí airgead i leith an cheantair sin agus go gcaithfí é sin ar fad ar mhaithe le Gaeilge agus lucht labhartha Gaeilge ins an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Nílim á mholadh go ndéanfaí aon éagóir ar an mBreac-Ghaeltacht nó an Ghaeltacht imeallach atá idir an dá shaghas. Gheobhfaidh said sin a gcuid féin ach ba mhaith liom a dhaingniú nach bhfaighdís airgead atá ag teastáil don bhFíor-Ghaeltacht agus go mbronnfaí  an t-airgead go cinnte don obair speisialta atá le déanamh sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Obair an-speisialta ar fad atá i gceist agus ní hiononn in aon chor an obair sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht agus an modh oibre a caithfear a chleachtadh ins na náiteanna sin.
I suggest to the Minister that of the money provided already he should take part, earmark it for use in the Gaeltacht and in the Gaeltacht only, and see that it is expended for the benefit of Irish speakers and the more firm establishment of the language in the place we for call the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. With a fund like that, many things that have not yet been attempted can be attended to.
I am concerned with two things in connection with the Fíor-Ghaeltacht; the first is to assist them economically, but before that and above that and receiving greater consideration I wish the fund to be expended in such a manner as will encourage the people to remain in the status of Fíor-Ghaeltacht people, and encourage them to use, as they are doing at present, the Irish language only in connection with all their activities and any new activities that might be provided for under the Bill.
I want the Fíor-Ghaeltacht to receive public and official recognition and to be dealt with as a special problem, more complex than even the Breac-Ghaeltacht itself. I want moneys made available by the State to be directed possibly more towards the linguistic advantage of the area than in any other manner. For that purpose, I suggest the Minister should set up an administrative unit, a committee or board—call it what you like—responsible to the Minister himself. It would be charged with the wise expenditure of this money, or the advice to the given for its wise expenditure, in that very restricted area.
It is said to have to admit that there is now so restricted an area of Fíor-Ghaeltacht. It consists of ten or 12 parishes only, or parts of parishes. These comprise the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, scattered from Ring to Kerry and from Connemara to Donegal. That is the area I am concerned about and which I should like the Minister and  the Government to be particularly concerned about when they come to apply the funds for the betterment of the people in it and the language they speak. I am particularly concerned about the expenditure of the money— it is a considerable amount and it would be disastrous if it were spend to little effect. In order to ensure its wise expenditure, a body of the kind I mentioned should be set up. Their function would be to do whatever is given to them by the Minister to deal with, as the Minister is in sole charge and may erect any kind of machinery he wishes. For a long time we have been looking for such a body to deal with the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. This is an opportunity to bring it into being. We have not had as good an opportunity before, when funds could be made available and work laid out for such a body to do.
I should like that committee or unit to be concerned only with the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and its activities should not be scattered or disintegrated by other duties which verge on that. The Fíor-Ghaeltacht is so precious a heritage, it is so valuable to the national movement, it is the stamp of our historical nationhood, that I think it deserves at least that this step be taken. The problem is a very complex one. It includes the economic welfare of the people of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, the linguistic character of the purpose we have in mind, cultural instruction and teaching, social and other services. I would like to see a body getting authority to co-ordinate these things in relation to the Irish language and in relation to the beneficial treatment of the people who speak that language.
I do not intend to refer to the importance of the Gaeltacht. It is realised by everyone. We have failed so far to create some body to which the people of the Gaeltacht would look for direct assistance, direct instruction, direct interest, a body which they could take as fathering them and leading them to success and to a more satisfying life in their own area. That would include many of the things. I have mentioned.
There is also need for co-ordination of all the State services in order to aim  at a common end and common purpose as well as carrying out their ordinary functions. These are many. In the Gaeltacht, like the rest of the country, you have the State services in full operation all the time. Possibly the most active one is the Department of Education. In passing, I should like to pay a compliment to those working under the Department of Education for their work in the Gaeltacht schools. They are doing the thing we want done and we wish them success. You have the social services, old age pensions, unemployment insurance, national health benefits—for all of which there are very active units in every Gaeltacht in the country.
Under the Department of Justice we have the policy, the courts, the issue of licences and permits, and so on. We have the customs and excise people. We have transport, buses, goods deliveries and the rest. We have the Post Office. We have possibly the greatest of the whole lot, the activities of the local public bodies and councils.
One of our principal grievances in the national movement for a long time has been that there is no evidence of co-ordinated purpose among all these. Each works on its own for the carrying out of its own duties, irrespective very often of questions of language or the effect on the practice of the Irish language in these areas. I should like a body to be set up that would be permitted to take part in certain phases of the work of these Departments. I should like if there was a common purpose in regard to Irish in all the Departments and that advice and instruction would be available to the Departments and their officers from time to time as to particular circumstances in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.
If the Government set up the body that I speak of, I should like that they should be endowed with the right of interview with those people and of instruction and that the whole machine of the State, plus the machinery that would be set up under this Bill, would be directed to the betterment of the status of Irish in these areas and that there would not be stultifying carelessness or want of thought on the part of one Department to the detriment of the greater use of the Irish  language and more determined propaganda in regard to the Irish language.
These are the matters on which I should like the Minister to cogitate. After hearing us, he might be inclined to make some arrangement whereby that body could be brought into being. That is my proposal.
Go gcuirfí airgead cinnte i leith na Fíor-Ghaeltachta, cuid den airgead atá ag dul dóibh ó cheart, faoin mBille seo; go mbeach dream éigin le chomhairle agus le eolas do thabhairt don Aire mar is é a bheas i gceannas an ruda ar fad; go mbeadh an cineál sin coiste nó bord riaracháin ann agus go mbeadh, ina theannta sin, liaison éigin idir iad sin agus na seirbhísí poiblí eile ar fad. Tá riachtanas leis sin. Tá gach duine againn a bhfuil staidéir déanta aige ar an nGaeltacht ar an tuairim gur gá na nithe seo. Anois, ó tá an t-airgead seo á chus ar fáil agus coiste á bhunú, tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh as sin institiud nó coiste nó dream éigin a thógfaidh cúram na Fíor-Ghaeltachta orthu féin agus a bheadh ullamh chun chomhairle agus eolas do fhreastal don Aire. Molaimse go gcuirfimis an aguisín seo le alt a 4.
Mícheál Óg Mac Pháidín Mícheál Óg Mac Pháidín
Mícheál Óg Mac Pháidín: Is maith liom beagán a rá ar an mholadh seo atá anois roimh an tSeanaid. Tá a fhios againn ón Aire cheana féin go bhfuil sé socraithe ag an Rialtas ceathrú milliún punt a chur i leataoibh as an Bhille seo d'fhorbairt na Gaeltachta.
Mall agus eile mar tá an tarrtháil seo, fá fáilte agam roimhe agus bheirim mo bheannacht dó. Ach is é an eagla atá orm féin go bhfuilimid lán-mhall anois leis an chuidiú seo; tá sé mar bheimis ag cur glas ar an chomhra nuair atá an seod imithe agus an chreach déanta. Deir an sean-fhocal “Nach dtuigeann an sáthach an seang” agus má thuigeann nach i n-am.
Níl amhras ar bith nach dearnadh neamhairt agus faillí sa Ghaeltacht ó cuireadh an Stáit seo ar bun. Is náireach an scéal é don ghlúin seo agus beidh coigchís trom orthu ag an staraí a thiocfas ina ndiaidh. Ní rabhamid ach ag úthairt agus ag útamáil le scéimeanna beaga gan tairbhe sa Ghaeltacht, ranganna fíod.  óireachta agus cniotála a bhí ar bun cheana féin ag sean-Bhord na gCeanntar gCung. Leanamuid lorg Seáin Bhuidhe d'fhéach le muintir na Gaeltachta a choinneáil modhamhail sásta le hoibreacha fóirthine mar chineal déirce. Níor leor sin ar ndóigh.
Bhí muintir na tíre seo ag dréim go mbeadh saol níos fearr ag an Ghaeltacht faoi Rialtas Gael ach bhí siad meallta go mór. Anois le fiche bliain chonaicimid an Ghaeltacht ag imeacht agus ag críonadh roimh ár súile. Chonaicimid í ag cúladh siar go himeall chladaigh an iarthair, go dtí nach bhfuil fágtha anois ann ach an cumhanglach beag deireannach de fhírthreibh Gael. Chonaicimid aos óg na Gaeltachta ag tógáil a n-eiteog mar na Géanna Fiáine agus ag imeacht uainn thar sáile. Ach níor bhacmuid leo thar tionscail beag a chur ar bun thall is abhus sa Ghaeltacht, obair nár riar do dheichniúr as an chéad. Nuair a bhí monarchain mhóra á gcur ar bun i mBaile Átha Cliath agus i gCorcaigh, i Luimneach agus i geathracha eile, ní raibh mórán iomrá ar an Ghaeltacht. Fágadh muintir na Gaeltachta lom folamh ar “shop an t-séite” i muinín oibreacha fóirthine ar na bealaigh móra nó ag triomú na gcurrach. Ní raibh obair sheasmhach ag an fhear óg ní an cailín óg a bhí ar intinn pósadh sa Ghaeltacht agus clann a thógáil ann. Sin bun agus barr agus lár an scéil. B'éigin don lánúin óg sin a n-aghaidh a thabhairt ar an choigríoch agus is iomadh lánúin mar iad d'imigh uainn agus nár phill ó shoin. Chuir an t-ocras agus ditheamhail oibre an tóir orthu ón Ghaeltacht agus leis an leatrom a d'fhulaing siad ina gcuimhne. Is fíor-bheagáin a philleas arís ar an mbaile dhúchais.
Bhí an Ghaeltacht ariamh bocht agus ní raibh an cúltaca poilitíochta féin aici mar bhí ag an chuid eile den tír le intinn an phobail a choinneáil dírithe ar an droch-chaoi a bhí uirthi. Mheas siad féin gur den bhoichteanacht an Ghaeltacht agus nach raibh modh ná meas orthu nuair nach raibh an Béarla acu. Chonaic siad lucht an Bhéarla i bpostanna céimiúla fríd an tír. An dochtúir, an fear gnaithe, an fear dlí: tóiceannaí na tíre ag labhairt  an Bhéarla agus dímheas acu ar theanga a sinsir. Chonaic siad an Dáil agus an Seanad ag cíoradh gnaithe na tíire i mBéarla na nGall. Thugmuid cúl do chomhairle an Phiarsaigh i dtaca le náisiun Gaelach. Ní thug an chuid eile den tír an sompla ceart, an treoir agus an teagase, do mhuintir na Gaeltachta sa chruth go mbeadh meas agus grá acu ar theangaidh agus tréithe ár sinsir. Ní thugmuid an tslí bheatha dhóibh ba chóir dóibh a fháil má bhímid dáiriribh fan taisce luachmhar náisiúnta a choinnigh muintir na Gaeltachta dúinn fríd anró agus géarleanúint na gcéadta bliain. Ní bhfuair siad an buíochas ná an t-ómós a bhí tuillte acu.
Fuair siad moladh agus béal bán go leór ár ndóigh ach ní chuireann sin bia ná deoch ar an tábla don mhuirín bhocht sa Ghaeltacht atá beo ar an ghann-chuid ag strachailt leis an tsaol ó cheann go ceann na bliana.
Is maith liom go bhfuil suim fiúntach airgid as Bhille seo don Ghaeltacht agus tá súil agam go gcaithfear é go tairbheach ar oibreacha oiriúnacha a bhéaras slí bheatha seasmhach do na daoine bochta seo. Déanfaidh sé maith don fhuílleach beag Gael atá fágtha agus a sheas an fód go dtí seo. Níor chóir go gcaithfí an t-airgead seo ag crúthú postannaí úrá do dhaoine ar thuarastail mhóra le dul i gcionn sin go hoibre seo. Bheinn in aghaidh sin go láidir nó slugfaí an chuid is mó den airgead seo i gcostas riaracháin.
Is feasach dom go bhfuil fir mhaithe san Stát-Sheirbhís agus i Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta, fir atá oilte go maith agus a bhfuil a gcroí san obair seo agus atá eolach ar shaol mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Go dtí seo féin, bhí siad creapaillte de dhítheamhail airgid agus ní thiocfadh leo a dhul 'un chinn mar ba mhian leo. Measaim go mbeadh sé mar chúram ar na fir seo mar Fho-Roinn den Rialtas forbairt na Gaeltachta a chur 'un chinn agus a stiúradh. Tá súil agam nach mbeidh an Roinn Airgid cumhang nó ceachardha leo. Beimid uilig ag dréim go gcuirfidh siad snas agus bláith agus feabhas ar shaol na Gaeltachta ach go h-áithrid ar shaol geilleagrach na ndaoine. Beimid ag dréim fosta go dtabharfaidh siad aire speisialta do  shaol cultúrdha na Gaeltachta agus do shean-sibhialtacht na nGael a mhair ariamh anall i measc mhuintir na Gaeltachta go dtí an lá inniu féin.
Éamon Ó Cíosáin Éamon Ó Cíosáin
Éamon Ó Cíosáin: Is maith liom go móor cuidiú leis an moladh seo atá os comhair an Tí innin ar son na Gaeltachta mar is í ceist na Gaeltachta an cheist náisiúnta is mó atá le réiteach againn sna blianta atá le réiteach. Tá mór-dhóchas agam go dtiocfaidh maitheas as an díospóireacht seo nuair a chím go bhfuil daoine ag cur spéise sa cheist seo ar gach taobh den Tigh. Ach ní hé iné ná inniu a thuit sé sin amach agus admhaím, fé mar admhaigh an Seabhac, go bhfuil mórán déanta cheanna féin ar son na Gaeltachta, ach b'fhéidir nach bhfuil an oiread san déanta agus ba mhaith linn a bheith.
Nuair a chualas ar dtús go raibh an sórt seo de mholadh le cur síos níróchinnte a bhíos i dtaobh conas cur chun na hoibre seo i gceart. Do cheapas ar dtús go mb'fhéidir náir chóir ceist na Gaeltachta nó na Fíor-Ghaeltachta a bheith fite fuaite leis an rud atá insan ceist atá sa mBille, sé sin Bille Forbarta Náisiúnta a chur ar bun anseo ar son an Náisiúin uile agus go mb'fhéidir go mba chóir ciste ar leith, lasmuigh den chiste seo, a chur ar bun do'n bhFíor-Ghaeltacht. Acht is dócha a nach mbeadh mórán difríochta ann sa deireadh thiar thall.
Tá fhios agam go maith, ó thaithí, go bhfuil an Rialtas seo i bhfábhar ceist na Gaeltachta do réiteach chomh mór le haon duine eile anseo. Ach nuair a aontaím le cainteoirí eile—agus go háirithe leis an Senabhacgo mba chóir suim áirithe airgid a chaitheamh insan nGaeltacht, deirim nach leor é sin a rá agus go mba chóir dhúinn suí síos agus machtnamh a dhéanamh ar conas mar ba cheart dúinn an t-airgead a chaitheamh. Do b'fhéidir linn milliún punt sa bhliain do chur ar leataoibh le haghaidh na Gaeltachta—ach níor leor é sin.
Ní mór dúinn déantúisí oiriúnacha do chur ar bun ann agus muna ndéanfaimíd é sin is beag maitheas dúinn a bheith ag caint faoi chúrsaí airgeadais. Tá fhios agam go bhfuilim ag insint na fírinne nuair adeirim nach  cúrsaí airgeadais atá sa tslí maidir le réiteach na Gaeltachta ach scéim mhaith, chiallmhar sheasmhach a thiubharfadh obair lán-aimsearach do mhuintir na Fíor-Ghaeltachta, a choimeádfadh ag baile iad, agus a thiubharfadh dóchas agus misneach dóibh san am atá le teacht.
Nuair a dheinimíd tagairt do aonad anseo, aonad a bheadh freagarthach don Aire agus don Rialtas i dtaobh conas a caithfí an t-airgead san bhFíor-Ghaeltacht, ní ró-léir ar fad atáim féin faoi cén sórt aonaid ba chóir dúinn a chur ar bun. An machtnamh dom ar an scéal, b'fhéidir nárbh b'olc an cuimhneamh é feidhm do bhaint as comhairlí paróistí. Dá mb'fhéidir linn comhairle pharóste a chur ar bun i ngach cuid den bhfíor-Ghaeltacht ar dtús sé mo thuairim gur céim mhór ar aghaidh a bheadh ann. Nuair adeirim go mba chóir comhairle pharóiste a chur ar buningach cuid den Ghaeltacht sé tá in aigne agam ná go mb'fhéidir nach iad na fadhbanna céadna a bheadh le réiteach, mar shampla, i gCiarraighe is a bheadh i nDún na nGall, agus mar sin de.
Ach sin rud gur féidir machtnamh a dhéanamh air fós nuair tá fhios againn cheana—lesmuigh den Moladh seo ar fad—go bhfuil an Rialtas toilteannach cabhair airgid a thabhairt, uatha chun ceist seo na Fíor-Ghaeltachta do réiteach, más féidir é a réiteach in aon chor—agus má chuirimíd le chéile chun a dhéanta is dóigh liom go dtiocfaidh linn beart d'réir ár mbriathar a dhéanamh.
B'fhéidir go bhfuil aonad againn cheana i seirbhísí na Gaeltachta. Tá Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta anseo cheana le cuid mhaith blianta agus tá mórán déanta acu chun cuidiú le tionscailiú na Gaeltachta. Óm thaithí-se ar na Seirbhísí sin tá fhios agam go bhfuil iarrachtaí na seirbhísí sin ag dul i méid agus i dtreise ó bhliain go bliain.
Bhí mé ag cuimhneamh leis, nuair adúirt an Senabhac go bhfuil baint ag beagnach gach Roinn den Rialtais le ceist seo na Gaeltachta gurab é sin díreach an cúram atá ar an aonad, seirbhísí na Gaeltachta, agus tuigtear dom anois go bhfuiltear ag dul ar aghaidh níos dúrachtaí agus í níos  dícheallaí anois leis an obair agus gurab é cúram Rúnaí Pharlaiminte don Rialtas aire do thabhairt do seirbhísí na Gaeltachta agus féachaint chuige chun tionscail oiriúnacha do chur ar bun insan Fíor-Ghaeltacht agus san mBreac-Ghaeltacht chomh maith.
Mar a dúirt na cainnteoirí eile, limistéar ana bheag is ea an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht anois agus sí an cheist í cad is Fíor-Ghaeltacht in aonchura ann, mar an limistéar atá in a Fhíor-Ghaeltacht anois nímar sin a bhí sé nuair cuireadh Comisiúin na Gaeltachta ar bun 28 bliana ó shoin, is dóigh liom. Tá an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht ag dul i laghadh ó shoin agus is mór an trua é, ach ní fheadar cé go bhfuilmíd go léir annseo duthrachtach agus anduthrachtach sa rud seo, agus go mbeimís toilteannach ár ndícheall a dhéanamh chun deire a chur le meath na Fíor-Ghaeltachta atá ar siúl, tá an cheist ann an eireoidh linn an beart a dhéanamh gan cabhair mhór d'fháil ó mhuinntir na Gaeltachta féin leis. Is mar gheall ar sin gur dóigh liom gur cheart comhairle pharóiste a chur ar bun ins gach áit—comhairle a bheadh ar chomh-chomhairle de Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta—agus mas féidir tionscail oiriínacha do chur ar bun ins na háiteanna san chun na daoine a choimeád sa bhaile is mór mar raghaidh sé chun tairbhe na tíre seo.
Mar a dúirt Seanadóirí eile, is oidhreacht luachmhar an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht agus an Ghaeltacht agus mar gheall ar sin, níor cheart dúinn sinn féin a spáráil chun teacht i gcabhair ar na daoine atá in a gcónaí ins na háiteanna san agus bfhéidir nuair a bheadh rud déanta againn ansan chun cúrasa eacnamúil na Fíor-Ghaeltachta do chur chun críche, go bhféadfaimís ansan ár n-aire do dhíriú ar an mBreac-Ghaeltacht, mar is dóigh liom gur rud tábhachtach é sin leis.
I am very glad that this recommendation has been tabled in connection with this Bill. At first I was more or less inclined to think that it might be better to approach the question of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht on an entirely independent basis, on a basis independent altogether of the considerations that would arise in connection with the Bill  in its general form, but, so far as the money question is concerned, it is entirely a matter of providing the funds which would be sufficient to alleviate the bad economic conditions that obtain in that part of the country known as the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.
While the vast majority of us may be quite willing to lend our support to the expenditure of money in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, we must consider also the practicability of whatever measures we may take to improve conditions in the Gaeltacht, because it is not sufficient for us to say here or elsewhere that we should put such a sum aside for the betterment of the conditions in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. We must also think our a constructive plan for the econoomic rehabilitation of the people in the Gaeltacht. One could spend £1,000,000 or £2,000,000, and throw it away in the Gaeltacht, without bringing any tangible results, and indeed I am aware of a few times when money spent in the Gaeltacht did not bring the results we anticipated and it is because of that that I think a long term practical plan is necessary as well as the expenditure of money.
I am sure the vast majority of us here would be willing to give our support to practical proposals for the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, or, for that matter, for the Breac-Ghaeltacht, and I know very well that the members of the Government are only too anxious to come to the assistance of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht for the improvement of the economic conditions there and the advancement of the Irish language, if the way can be found by which it can be done with beneficial results. The Government organisation knowns as Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta was set up some years ago—its activities have been growing from year to year—for the purpose of paying attention to the problems of the Gaeltacht, and, in the matter of the co-ordination of whatever plans would be prepared for the solution of the Gaeltacht problems, the Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta is in a better position than anybody to organise the necessary contacts with the various Departments of State for the sake of the Gaeltacht.
 Nearly all the Departments of State are concerned in this and a lot of good work has already been done, especially, as Senator Ó Siocfhradha has said, by the Department of Education and, indeed, I do not agree with anybody who says that we have neglected the Gaeltacht.
I do not think it is right for me to detail the things that we did for the Gaeltacht, but under the aegis of the Department of Education things have been done for the people of the Gaeltacht over and above what the people of the country generally are entitled to. One example, of course, is the £5 grant under the Department of Education for Irish-speaking children. As far as I know that is not confined to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. It also extends to the Breac-Ghaeltacht. I do not know whether it is advisable to draw a distinction at this stage between what might be termed the Gaeltacht and the Breac-Ghaeltacht. I think it would be nearly as well to let the term “Breac-Ghaeltacht” cover the areas adjacent to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht where Irish is still spoken but not exclusively.
Mar focal scoir, tá áthas orm go ghfuil an ocáid seo againn chun ceist mhór thábhachach na Gaeltachta do chur ós cóir an phobail arís mar gurb í sin díreach an cheist is mó atá le réiteach againn, fé mar adubhairt mé i dtosach mo chuid cainte, ins na blianta rómhainn amach.
Professor Hayes Professor Hayes
Professor Hayes: I find this a peculiarly depressing discussion. I listened to the speech of the mover of the amendment which has, by the way, a rather peculiar history. He made no proposal. He spoke about administrative units but he made no contribution of any kind as to what he meant by an administrative unit, not, indeed, did the Senator who has just sat down. Senator Mac Pháidín thought that civil servants should be used and, perhaps, there is a great deal to be said for that.
It is just over 60 years since the Gaelic League was founded in 1893 and it is more than 30 years since an Irish State was founded and yet we have a discussion here to-day on the weakness  of the Irish language in its own areas —a discussion which is completely barren with regard to any definite suggestion to the Minister or the House as to what should be done. There is a peculiar form of self-deception among people that if they succeed in getting a great many people to put their names to a motion they have accomplished something. That, of course, is not so.
This particular amendment was put down in the form of a motion in the names of certain people, including An Seabhac. I was asked if I would put my name to it and I refused because I said it was out of order. It was anticipating a discussion on the Bill which we are just discussion now. I suggested that it should be put it down, if they wanted to put it down at all, as an amendment to the Bill because it is not a proposal to increase the charge upon the people but a proposal to spend part of the money the Minister is looking for in a particular way.
Peculiarly enough, that proposal was adopted but not acknowledged, although last week, when the Bill had reached its Second Stages and when the Second Stage had been carried, but for the efforts of Senator Douglas on this side of the House the Committee Stage would then have been taken and this amendment could not have been moved at all. Senator Douglas—I was presiding at a Joint Library Committee— fought very hard to have the Bill postponed a week. Nobody said a word in support of the idea that the Bill should be postponed for a week. Neither Senators Ó Siocfhradha, Kissane or anybody else on the Government side of the House urged the Minister to give them an opportunity of moving their own amendment.
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha: I do not think the Senator is quite right. I did.
Professor Hayes Professor Hayes
Professor Hayes: It is not in the book. There is nothing in the book about it. The only person who urged that was Senator Douglas, who was endeavouring to preserve for An Seabhac rights which apparently he has not the courage to endeavour to preserve for himself. The amendment is one which asks for a certain sum of money to be set aside for certain purposes.  I would agree entirely with the last Senator who, I think, said that it was not entirely a question of money. Perhaps, I would be allowed to say this. It is now over 60 years since the Gaelic League was founded, and the only success of a major nature achieved as far as the Irish language is concerned surely was to make it an object of State policy, to put the revival of the Irish language into what you might call the canon of Irish nationalism. On the establishment of an Irish State the Irish language got into the schools and became essential for posts in the public service, but in regard to the all-important matter of preserving the living Irish language as a natural language, of preserving the areas in which Irish would be a naturally spoken language, continuing the tradition of at least 2,000 years, there has been, I am afraid, complete failure.
In the Gaeltacht the difference is that Irish is spoken not as it was spoken here to-day as a demonstration, and not for a national object, but because it comes easiest to the speakers. It is their vernacular, the normal means of intercourse, and it comes natural. The case for this amendment, if a case has got to be made for it at all, is that that kind of Irish, preserved by people whose natural language it is, is the well and spring from which all other kinds of Irish must derive. If that well dries up, then in the words of a great Irish scholar “the rest is silence”.
When that ever happens, if it does happen, no money, no Acts of the Oireachtas, no political speeches in Irish or English, no books, nothing can avail to accomplish the objects that so many people have at heart and for which so many people made such sacrifices. When that happens, we shall have lost a link with our past which is all-important.
I support the substance of this amendment on the ground that we should endeavour to preserve the Irish language in the Gaeltacht, not because of its antiquity, beauty or flexibility, but simply because it is Irish. For historical reasons the language is spoken on remote areas, often in bad or barren  lands or on uneconomic holdings. I should like to put it to the Minister that apart altogether from the Irish language the State has an obligation towards citizens in those parts of the country to make a living possible for them or to take them out of it.
The Gaeltacht has a special claim for the reasons I have stated. Taking the people out of the Gaeltacht by wholesale migration is not, I think, a remedy. It would have the inevitable effect of making the next generation English and not Irish speakers. But nobody has suggested what can be done. Before we could offer any opinion, we ought to discuss what the problem is. I am sure the Minister and people like him are familiar with the problem he has to face. The problem is how can we preserve Irish-speaking communities in their present situation. We must provide the young people with a living which will not induce them to forget, despise or abandon Irish. That is a very great difficulty. The problem cannot be considered purely on an economic basis. It cannot be considered, as I think Senator Ó Cíosáin said, on the basis of what particular tangible, visible value you get for money. If you accept the thesis about Irish which we all have accepted, you must necessarily accept the notion that these areas must be preserved.
They have decayed very steadily since just before the Famine. I suppose Senators are aware that in the 18th century the population of Ireland was more than quardrupled—of course, largely the rural population and so almost entirely the Irish-speaking population. In the year that Thomas Davis died, 1845, there were 8,500,000 people in the Ireland of whom at least 3,500,000, probably considerably more, were normally Irish speakers. The Famine changed all that. It is interesting when we as an Irish Parliament consider that as late as 1881, when Parnell was agitating for Home Rule, there were more than 1,000,000 Irish speakers in Ireland. The census gave the figure as very nearly 1,000,000 and the census presentation of the position was probably an understatement.
There has been decay ever since then and the wide, homogeneous  linguistic areas of Irish speakers have been disappearing. Decay has continued since 1893 since the Gaelic League was founded and has continued over the last 30 or more years under Irish government. It may have slackened the pace of the decay but it certainly did not stop it. The present Government has been nearly 20 years in office and there can be no doubt that in spite of any profession of interest in Irish they have not succeeded in accomplishing anything in this particular line. When I say that I would like to add that it is a very difficult problem and it is by no means entirely an economic one. It does not matter very much in the beginning what sum is set aside. The mover of the motion wanted to know what sum would be set aside after the first year. I think the Minister's answer—and a very sound answer —would be that a certain sum would be set aside in the first years and, according to the results achieved, the same amount or more would be provided later on.
There are many things against Irish apart altogether from economics— fashion, all the modern trends, all the new equipment, radio, screen, television, aeroplanes; they all enter in. There is also the immense additional strength of English from the rise of the United States of America, to which we are now so near and to which, incidentally, the Gaeltacht is nearer than any of us. However, in this Bill we must confine ourselves to the economic consideration. On that I agree that, if it were possible, there ought to be unified direction. The reason there ought to be unified direction is that the problem is to get a combination of hard-headed business people who know what will do good in the economic sense, to get as well competent administrators and at the same time to have people who will endeavour to preserve and will succeed in preserving the national and the spiritual values which we associate with the Irish language, which make this amendment important, and which would impel any proposal of any kind to provide particular sums of money in these particular areas. You need a combination of different kinds of  people for these rather different ends and sometimes the two interests conflict one with another, the economic and the linguistic or spiritual.
I feel that the only unity you can achieve is unity under a particular officer of a particular Minister assisted by the appointment from outside the Civil Service of an advisory committee. There is a very genuine difficulty in allowing somebody who is not a civil servant and who is not directly responsible to a Minister, firstly, to spend public money and, secondly, to interfere in more than one Department. The Department of Education has been mentioned and has been praised but the Department of Education would certainly not be enthusiastic— the Department of Education, I think it may be said, are not enthusiastic about the Department of Finance but that is natural—about a position in which somebody outside themselves could direct them as well as directing officers of Industry and Commerce and also directing officers of the Department of Agriculture.
Under the last Government there was a suggestion made about a particular area. Deputy Dillon, who was Minister for Agriculture, submitted a memorandum to the Government suggesting that as regards Connemara a particular scheme should be put into operation, and that a great many suggestions should be investigated. It was also suggested that the money should be found from the land project moneys and that the direction should be under Irish-speaking officers of his own Department. That would give you an experiment in the part of the Gaeltacht which is to-day the most important of all, Connemara. My friend, Senator Mac Pháidín, might protest at that but Connemara has the advantage over Donegal of being a homogeneous whole——
Mr. Baxter Mr. Baxter
Mr. Baxter: It has no advantage over Donegal.
Professor Hayes Professor Hayes
Professor Hayes: ——whereas Donegal is unfortunately divided into two parts, so that you could work best in Connemara if you started there. The suggestion was to take that area in Connemara because it has the most  concentrated number of Irish speakers and is closely knit. It is not the most numerous by counting heads, but, as I say, Donegal is split into two parts.
It may be worth while to see what that particular plan was and how far it had got. It had got so far in 1950 that a particular officer had been appointed and had taken up headquarters in Galway, that various people had been communicated with including some very eminent scientists, some people in University College, Galway, who had always been interested in scientific problems connected with the development of the Gaeltacht and certain English experts who were investigating mineral resources. In any event, by the end of 1950 the memorandum was written by the then Minister for Agriculture for the Government and his proposal was this. He pointed out that the principle would have to be accepted that in certain areas like Connemara people would have to be provided with the means of making a living for themselves. His own words were:—
“If this principle is accepted, when the Government finds itself confronted with an area such as Connemara, they must accept the fact that there is an obligation upon them either to evacuate the population to some other area where hard work will produce an income, or create in Connemara conditions which will permit of those families who reside there to earn their living by hard work.”
That is the core of the problem which this amendment sets out to meet. He continues:—
“If we accept the view that evacuation of and the population is not a practicable solution of the social problem here envisaged, we must acknowledge the duty to do all that can be done to create the necessary conditions whereunder the residents of the area can earn their own living.”
That has been dealt with up to the present by methods of relief, by spasmodic schemes. The Minister at that particular moment was not  optimistic—and perhaps that is the best mood in which to approach this. He continued:—
“To repair the damage done to the morale of the people in Connemara by 15 years of such a policy is a formidable undertaking, and I cannot represent to the Government that there is more than a 30 per cent. chance of success. Nevertheless, so long as there is this slender hope, I feel certain that it is the duty of the Government to make their best endeavour to restore the earning capacity and morale of the Connemara people. To that end, therefore, I have a programme to recommend which is of an exhaustive nature and will involve the collaboration of several Departments of State and the effective co-ordination of these several activities.”
I think that is what the amendment asks for. He continues:—
“The great danger in an undertaking of this kind is that one may be tempted to undertake the work piecemeal, with the inevitable consequence that the whole and project will peter out in futility, and it is for this reason—”
and this meets exactly the point of the amendment—
“that I recommend to the Government that all the necessary measures should be simultaneously undertaken under the direction of a competent and experienced administrator, authorised to call on every Department of State for its assistance within the scope of the plan laid down, and having at his disposal finance on the lines laid down in Section 35 of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891.”
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: Is this memorand available to the members of the House?
Professor Hayes Professor Hayes
Professor Hayes: I have think it could be put in the Library. I would be prepared to do that. I do not think it is a confidential document. It that what the Cathaoirleach would like done?
An Cathaoirleach An Cathaoirleach
An Cathaoirleach: Yes.
Professor Hayes Professor Hayes
 Professor Hayes: The memorandum continues:—
“I, therefore, ask approval for the appointment of an administrator and deputy and administrator for a Connemara development board (the names of these two officers I shall submit verbally to the Government) and suggest that the administrator will be of the rank of an agricultural inspector of this Department (Agriculture) and his deputy of the rank of an assistant principal officer.
It is intended that one or both of these officers shall be at least the equivalent of a native speaker of the Irish language.”
Added to that, the Minister intended to have a board of not less than five nor more than nine persons, acting in an honorary capacity and comprising people interested in the language and skilled in the particular problems which present themselves in those areas. Now, the Minister was told on that occasion to go ahead with the money at his own disposal and see what could be done about it. He made a number of suggestions and explored a number of possibilities and interested a number of people who were undoubted authorities.
I think that was a practical method of beginning. If you begin in one particular place, other places will at once say they need immediate attention. I know the problem is urgent, but if one succeeded in Connemara one could make an effort then in Donegal, and in Mayo, where there is a small area with some Irish left. One could also start west of Dingle—a place in which Deputy Dillon as Minister was also very interested. It is not possible to find a sound solution without appointing some group of people to give their special attention to it from day to day, and without appointing an officer or officers whose duty it would be to report upon it. I am sure the Minister has some experience of the difficulties. The kernel of the problem is how to bring about and economic development without doing injury to the Irish language as a living tongue. Economic and industrial development is a modern thing, and the Irish language  is not in that sense a modern thing at all and the two things do not seem to come together. The scheme that was adumbrated then by the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, involved fishing, as follows. The Sea Fisheries Association would operate three large boats with Scottish skippers and crews 50 per cent. Scottish and 50 per cent. Connemara, to train Irish skippers and maximise fish landings at Cashla. It involved special attention to the area by the veterinary staff of the Department, the improvement of sheep and the bringing in of Kerry cattle. All of these plans are necessarily open to argument.
There is in that an excellent idea, that there should be a development board of not less than five nor more than nine, all honorary, to advise and to be subject to the Minister. The Minister for Agriculture is a better person than the Minister for Finance —I do not mean personally, of course— as the Department of Agriculture is a better Department than the Department of Finance of the Department of Education for this purpose. The scope of the Department of Education is necessarily narrow. You need interested people, people experienced in the congested areas and people who also have an interest in the Irish language. All that needs money. I hold that the need for money is less than the need for expert knowledge, for intelligence and enthusiasm and for direction which is sympathetic and which while in favour of the Irish language is not foolish from the point of view of spending money to no purpose.
Considerable assistance might be given, for example, in certain areas in the equipment of and houses to receive visitors. Again if—as is true, of course —certain members of families must leave the Gaeltacht, it seems to me they could be equipped to make a better living than they make as unskilled workers when they do leave it.
The real difficulty in the amendment and in dealing with this problem of the Gaeltacht is the trend of world events. When the Department of Education made certain proposals—in 1922, I think—with regard to schools, someone wrote a leading article in the  Gaelic League paper at the time, Fáinne an Lac, saying: “Tá gach rud ar ár dtaobh anois; níl in ár gcoinne ach an saol,” meaning, “everything is in our favour and nothing is against us but the world”—the trend of events and the general trend of fashions and new developments. Since the Gaelie League was founded and even since the State was founded 30 years ago, the world has become considerably smaller and the difficulties of a weak language have become considerably greater.
To put this amendment into operation—not necessarily in its present form, but in any form—requires a combination of very different kinds of people, working towards two objects— economic development and cultural development—which it is not always easy to reconcile. I agree that an effort should be made in that direction and should be made soon and should get a chance. I would be satisfied with even partial success. I feel that nothing can be accomplished for the Irish language in any sphere if the place where it is spoken as an ordinary national language is allowed to decay —and that is happening.
Pádraig Ághas Pádraig Ághas
Pádraig Ághas: Is mian liom labhairt i bhfábhar an aguisín atá molta anso. Is áthas liom caoi d'fháil ar sin a dhéanamh mar and is dóigh liom go bhfuil an t-am tagtha ina gcaithfimíd cúnamh cinnte a thabhairt don bhFíor-Ghaeltacht más mian linn í choimeád beo.
Bhí súil againn, nuair a bhí Bille eile cosúil leis seo ós ár gcomhair, go ndéanfaí éacht ar son na Gaeltachta; ach ní mór a deineadh, don bhfíor-Ghaeltacht go háirithe. Bhí díomá orainn, ach is féidir an scéal a leigheas anois; agus leigheasfar é, im thuairimse, má cuirtear ar bun an rannóg mar atá molta anso chun an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht a chaomhnadh agus a chosaint.
Anois, is doigh liom gur gá iarracht éigin speisialta a dhéanamh chun an Fíor-Ghaeltacht do chaomhnú agus do chosaint.
'Sí an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht tobar na Gaeilge. Is ar an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht a thugaimid aghaidh nuair is mian linn feabhas a chur ar ár gcuid Gaeilge  agus má théann an tobar sin i ndísc, crapfar an teanga Gaeilge. Ní bheidh an saidhbhreas ins an teanga. Is dóigh liom féin gur mór is fiú dhúinn an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht a chosaint agus a choimeád beo. Caithfidh gach éinne sin d'admháil, mar is cuspóir linne Éire Gaelach a bheith againn. Is deacair an cuspóir sin a bhaint amach má cailltear an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht.
Anois tá a lán daoine a rá go bhfuil an iomaraca peataíreachta á dhéanamh ar an nGaeltacht. Ní dóigh liom féin gur fíor é sin. Tá muintir na Gaeltachta ag díol cánacha chomh maith le h-aon dream eile. Is beag a bhíonn le fáil ag muintir na Gaeltachta de thoradh na gcánacha sin i gcompráid leis an méid a bhíonn ar fáil ag an nGallthacht agus liomatáistí saidhbhre. Baintear úsáid as an airgead sin chun cúrsaí tionscail do chothú agus neartú le cúrsaí feirmeoireachta ins na ceantair is saibhre ins an tír. Is beag den airgid sin a thagann thar n-ais do mhuintir na á Gaeltachta agus dá ainneoin sin, táimid ag síor-chlos go bhfuil an iomarca peataireachta á dhéanamh ar an nGaeltacht. Ní dóigh liom gur fíor é sin.
Má deintear an rud a moltar ins an leasú seo, is dóigh liom gur mór an chabhair é chun an Ghaeltacht do shábháil, sé sin, coiste de shaghas éigin do chur ar bun a bheidh ag obair ago díreach fé'n Aire. Beidh ar an gcoisde sin daoine a thuigeann an Gaeltacht, daoine a chaitheas a saoghal le cúrsaí na Gaeltachta agus le cúrsaí na Gaeilge. Beidh cabhair le fáil acu san ó na daoine is cliste ins an Stáit. Ní haon mhaitheas daoine a chur i mbun na n-oibre nach bhach bhfuil tuiscint aca ar an Ghaeltacht, nach bhfuil dúil aca sa Ghaeilge agus nach bhfuil muinín acu as cúis na Gaeilge. Ní h-aon mhaitheas daoine a chur i mbun na hoibre gur priosuin leo gach blian a chaitheann siad sa Ghaeltacht. Caithfí daoine fháil a bhfuil eolas acu ar an nGaeltacht agus ar an obair a bheidh le déanamh. Tá a leithéid sin le fáil agus tá go leor daoine sa tír a bhfuil tuiscint aca ar an Gaeltacht, agus lán stuidéar déanta aca ar an gceist.
Deir daoine eile linn nach gnó don Rialtas é obair seo na Gaeilge; go  bhfuil Connradh na Gaeilge ann agus go bhfuil Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge ann agus gur obair dóibh sin é. 'Sé mo fhreagra ortha siúd ná—ní le Connradh na Gaeilge and teanga; Ní le Chomhadhail Náisiúnta na Gaeilge an teanga. Is leis an náisiún an teanga agus 'sí an mhaoin is luachmhaire atá againn í 'mo thuairimse agus dá bhrí sin is obair don Rialtas an mhaoin sin do chothú agus do riarú agus do chosaint. Dá mba mianach airgid nó guail nó iarainn a bheadh ann, féach an strus a bheadh orainn á shaothrú. Tá maoin na Gaeltachta comh saidhbhir agus chomh tairbheach céanna má's mian linn náisiún neamhspleách Gaelach a bheith againn. Má's maith linn bheith Gaelach agus náisiún Gaelach a bheith againn, caithfimíd féachaint chuige go mbeidh an Fhíor-Ghaeltacht ann—é sin nó é chaitheamh suas ar fad go díreach macánta agus aghaidh a thabhairt ar an nGalldachas agus a bheith gallda amach agus amach.
Maidir le módh oibre, ní dóigh liom gur gá dul isteach ins na cúrsaí sin anseo. Má cuirtear an bord seo ar bun, sin é an chéad rud a bhéas le déanamh aca. Sé mo thuairim go mbeidh comh-oibriú le fáil acu má's mian leo dul ar a lorg. Beidh fonn ar Connradh na Gaeilge agus ar Chomhdhail Náisiúnta na Gaeilge gach cabhair agus cúnamh a thabhairt dóibh agus agach comhairle, ós iad is fearr a thuigeann an scéal, nuair a raghfar i mbun na hoibre.
Mr. S. O'Donovan Mr. S. O'Donovan
Mr. S. O'Donovan: Twenty Senators have signed their names to this recommendation and, judging by the number of Senators who have spoken, there are many other Senators who agree with the principle outlined in the recommendation. When I was asked to sign the recommendation I did so very willingly, visualising the establishment of a privileged class. The Gaeltacht Committee which investigated the position of the language in 1925 outlined the Gaeltacht and Breach-Gaeilge tacht areas. I have seen maps issued by Comhdhail Naisiunta and na Gaeilge recently showing that these areas are becoming more restricted every day and that now the Fíor-Ghaeltacht area is very small. We have applied the  word “Fíor-Ghaeltacht” to a restricted area which was formerly classified as “Gaeltacht” as distinct from “Breac-Ghaeltacht.”
The Breach-Ghaeltacht is gone and the Fíor-Ghaeltacht has become so restricted that I felt it a duty to recommend the amendment to the Seanad and the Government which would mean the establishment of a privileged class in the Community. We must regard those who use the Irish language as their natural medium as a class that we cannot afford to lose. If, as a community, the Fíor-Ghaeltacht is lost entirely, it will be a national loss. I think it would be a European loss if it should go altogether. If it goes altogether, we have nothing in its place except a hope of reviving the language, spreading from, we might say, Dublin.
Senator Hayes has just left. While he was speaking, I thought of the time, over 30 years ago, when, in a prison camp, he was teaching me Irish. We had a discussion on the different dialects as between the Donegal, Connemara and Munster dialects, and on which would ultimately be the spoken or the dominately one in the language of the Irish nation when we all became Irish-speaking. In the course of that discusson, mention was certainly made of the expression “Dublin Irish”. What hope have we, speaking here in Irish, speaking Irish salutations and with our children learning Irish, of reviving the Irish language as the spoken language of the people? The odds are so terrific against us that I, personally, grasp at the idea of creating what I will call a special privileged class in the present Fíor-Ghaeltacht areas.
Any machinery we have at present, even that established for Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta agus na gCeanntar gCung, has widened the area envisaged by An Seabhac when addressing the House. I agree that it is the present area, which is not so easy to define, but which we conceive at any rate as the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, and those few districts, those 11 or 12 parishes in which Irish is naturally spoken as the average language of the people. Someone may say: “Well, will we build a  wall around them and leave them inside it and see that they are immune to all influences from outside whether they be American influences or anglicising influences or other influences?” We cannot do that but, by making them a privileged people, I feel that we would make them proud of their language and proud to maintain and speak that language irrespective of any influences that may be brought to bear upon them.
I more or less disagree with An Seabhac that that can be done as a literary or as a spiritual mission alone. It must be co-ordinated with economic progress. Certainly, there is immense room for economic development in those areas to make them more self-supporting and to improve the economic conditions so that the people there will be able to live in comparative comfort and will be glad to maintain the language which the rest of the nation has designated to them as their privilege. These are the points which impressed me when I consented to put my name to this proposal. I am sure that practically every member of the Seanad will agree that we must do something specific, something further to ensure that our Fíor-Ghaeltacht does not become still more restricted.
I would just say to the Minister, knowing that he is probably just as interested as we are, that I am quite satisfied that this nation should vote money to make the residents in these areas, few and all as they are, a privileged community that would be so capable of living in average comfort in their districts and that would be so treated by the rest of the nation that they would feel they have a proud possession. I should like to see them capable of maintaining themselves and maintaining those areas which ultimately would be a centre from which the Irish language would spread outwards to the rest of the community rather than to dream of the day when we shall be so competent in speaking Irish in, say, the Cities of Dublin, Cork and Galway, that we can resuscitate the language through the medium of English. I feel that that would be a very difficult job and that all our  aspirations and speeches to that effect would be negatived if we could not maintain these small areas and make them such that there would be no chance of the people there ever surrendering their language for the sake of any advantages that might accrue to them through falling in with the ordinary economics of the country.
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha: I should like, if I may, to put the Senator who has just spoken right. I did not intend that economic betterment should not be part of the work of the board. I suggested economic, linguistic, cultural and social means. I mentioned these specific things.
Mr. Baxter Mr. Baxter
Mr. Baxter: Like other Senators, I was invited to put my name to this motion. If I have not done so, it is not out of any want of sympathy with the idea of the restoration of the national language. In the first place, I was very interested in and anxious to hear the point of view which was responsible for this motion. I wanted to know the mind behind this motion, before I expressed an opinion on the whole question.
I do not think that any more difficult or more complicated problem could be set the Oireachtas to-day than to advise or to determine the line of policy or a plan that we would be satisfied and confident would bring about the restoration of the language.
Senator Hayes has pointed to the fact, in his very admirable speech, that the Gaelic League was established here 60 years ago, and that when the State was founded over 30 years ago there was the belief that the problem with regard to the restoration of the language would be solved easily. I had the privilege of being one of those who served on the Gaeltacht Commission in 1925. We saw much of the area then styled “Gaeltacht.” To-day it is much narrower. The confines of the language are now limited indeed to a very much smaller part of the country than was the case in 1925. I think if anything real or practical is to be done in this whole matter then all those who are interested must themselves be realists. We have not succeeded. The language is not making progress. Many people  have changed and shifted their point of view in regard to the language and the possibilities of its restoration in the course of the past 25 years.
Many people are not anything like as optimistic to-day as they were 25 years ago. What is the degree of failure? Have we failed absolutely or is there a margin left? I want to suggest that no concrete proposals can be made that will be of any value until, first, we assess the measure of failure and face up to that. Next we have to study the causes, the factors, operating against the language and try to think what we can do to counter them. We have to ask ourselves if we can counter them at all.
My honest opinion is that the language movement has not been the success it ought to be because there has been an awful lot of claptrap talked about it, and an effort made to elevate people for the sake of the language, mar dheadh, and it has done infinite damage to the policy in regard to the restoration of the language, so that, instead of a mere proposal like what one gathers was in the back of Senator Ó Siocfhradha's mind of spending money or the appointment of a body of people to do something, from what I saw in 1925, what I see now and what we have all experienced as a result of the recommendations of the 1925 commission and the efforts to implement them, we have to do much more hard thinking than has been done on the subject, or we will have to abandon the battle altogether.
There is a major fundamental consideration. In the first place, let us ask ourselves: Does the nation really desire the preservation of its language, or does it not? That is something which it is very difficult to answer. How many people would vote for that policy with grave doubts about the possibility of its being made a success? If we really desire to see the language the spoken tongue of the country, why must that be our desire? Is it, as Senator Hayes put it, because it is the Irish nation in essence, a symbol of a separate and distinct people, a link with the past, and, if it be broken, the Irish nation changes and become something else? Is that  the real reason for which we must stand for the restoration of the language? If that be so, there is much in that that is spiritual. The people in this small area in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, we may say, are to-day the custodians of the national heritage, but are they conscious of that? Are they proud of it and what is the nation doing to make them conscious of the fact that they are the possessors of our national heritage?
Senator O'Donovan spoke of a privileged class. I do not know if the interpretation which I would put upon that would be what he had in mind. I do not think the language can survive as the spoken tongue of a people who themselves, as a people and as a race, do not want to survive. If these people who are the custodians of our heritage to-day are brought up with the point of view that there is nothing here, that Ireland is not a land to be proud of, and especially their part of it, that it is something from which they must get away, they cannot hold on to a language, a heritage or any great national possession.
If we are to do something in these regions of the country, it must not be designed to make a privileged class in the sense that people will get something very easily. A race like that will be spoiled; a people like that cannot survive, because it is the people who have to battle for survival who manage to carry on through the stresses and trials of life, and these people will not hold on there, unless they have to make a battle for existence equal to what they would have to make elsewhere. I think they ought to get a chance and it might be made somewhat easier there than elsewhere in Ireland and definitely easier for them than it would be in Britain or America, but to adopt an approach which means pampering means that we are going to make them weaker, and, in such conditions, I do not think we can be satisfied that the heritage of the language can long be safe.
It is true that the Fíor-Ghaeltacht includes that region which is the most impoverished portion of the country and one has to make a study of the  conditions as they are to-day, with the scientific knowledge in the possession of the world to-day, and see what can be done. I looked on these areas from the purely economic point of view in 1925, along with my colleague, Senator Ó Siochfhradha, and the other 20 members of the commission, but the knowledge and understanding available to us then was nothing like what is available to the nation to-day. There is in our possession to-day scientific information, ways that and means of doing many things that did not occur to us in 1925 and it may be that there are possibilities of development there which were undreamed of in 1925. One could survey these areas again now with the new knowledge we have and see what might be done.
I feel, however, that the first thing we have to do about this problems of the restoration of the language, and the Fíor-Ghaeltacht in so far as this amendment applies to it, is to inculcate in the minds of these people the belief and the conviction that just as soldiers battled in dark and difficult days in this country and carried on the light, these people are the people whom we are asking to play their part in carrying on the light in the future. Are they competent to do it? Have they got that spirit, that pride of race? What are we doing to inculcate that pride? It is possible to go into an area, and, instead of making the people there proud, conscious of their superiority, of their nobility, to degrade them and to destroy that spirit of independence, that desire for progress, initiative and so on. That is the one thing we have to be most careful of in any recommendation we make to the Minister.
It is very valuable that this matter has been raised anew. I presume that from one angle the Council of Education have been replanning the curriculum in our national schools. I do not know what they are doing, though I have no doubt that this problem of the language in the schools has been resurveyed; but I think the time has come when we need to make a new survey of the Gaeltacht areas, with the new knowledge available and with minds which, in the past 20 years, have  had to adjust themselves to new techniques and to many changes, many of which were unknown and were not anticipated by us when the Gaeltacht Commission originally sat.
I could not help wondering, when An Seabhac was making his plea, whom he had in mind or what type of man he had in mind to go into these areas to do the kind of things which he wanted done. This is a major problem. It is very difficult to get the personnel to implement any plan under this amendment which would be sure to bring the reward justified by the money spent. While I realise that no effort should be spared if the language is to survive, I am equally convinced that no ready-made proposals can be enunciated by any members of the Oireachtas or even by a Minister to-day which will prove they will deliver the goods unless there is a further and much more minute and searching inquiry into all the economic, social and psychological problems confronting the people who desire too see the language restored and made secure in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht so that it may spread in other days to the country as a whole.
Professor Johnston Professor Johnston
Professor Johnston: As one of the persons who signed this amendment, I should like to say a word about the reasons why I gave it my support. First of all, as to the place which this amendment occupies in relation to what I might call the major policies that concern the language, I suppose the most ambitious policy of any would be that Ireland should become unilingually Gaelic speaking from Fair Head in Antrim to Mizen Head in Cork. Undoubtedly, the realisation of that policy is going to present considerable difficulties. One method used for furthering that policy is the compulsory teaching of the language in the schools. I am glad to see my grandchildren learning Irish at school. They frequently converse amongst themselves in the Irish language, especially when they want to conceal their thoughts from their parents or their grandparents, but I doubt very much whether in 20 or 30 years' time they will still be speaking Irish in the daily business of life. I doubt very much  whether that major policy is one which has in it the possibility of success.
A less ambitious and, I think, a more practical policy is that to which this amendment is a valuabel contribution —a policy of preserving geographical bilingualism in the country as a whole. We have bilingualism on a geographical basis in the sense that there are certain small areas where Irish is the only language and a certain large area in which English is the common speech of the people. But the future of geographical bilingualism is undoubtedly very precarious in view of the extremely rapid rate at which the language is disappearing in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht.
There are examples of successful geographical bilingualism. Look at Canada, for example. It is bilingual, French and English being spoken there. French is exclusively spoken in Quebec and English is exclusively spoken in the rest of Canada. Why is it that the French language and culture have survived in Quebec, and why is it that Gaelic speaking is in danger of disappearing in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht? The reason is that the people of Quebec had a tolerable economic basis for their culture and language. Therefore, the problem here is not so much a linguistic problem. The problem is to give a tolerable economic foundation to the life of the people living in the Irish-speaking communities who constitute the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. That is a difficult procedure but not, I think, a hopeless one.
It will have to be done in such a way as not to pauperise or demoralise the people in those areas but rather to give them a new sense of pride and hope in the realisation of the valuable part they have played in preserving the national life and the part they may hope to play in developing it in the future. That, I think, is the reason why it is suggested that some flexible unit should be established under Government auspices as a means of giving effect to a policy of this kind.
The heavy hand of a State Department and the methods of centralised and departmentalised bureaucracy are not at all appropriate to a very delicate and difficult operation of the  kind we have in view. So far, the use of that kind of administrative system has, on the whole, tended to anglicise rather than gaelicise the people in the Gaeltacht in so far as they are affected by the activities of a central Government. Consequently, I think it would be desirable that some kind of semiofficial or even private agency should be created, organised and subsidised out of moneys provided from these sources.
I have in mind the kind of work done in other parts of the country by bodies like Muintir na Tíre, the Gaelic League or the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. Would it be possible to create from these a new private agency endowed with this special task, give them considerable latitude in the way they would approach this very difficult task and not too closely supervise them with regard to the financial side of their operations? I think some such body would be more flexible, more adaptable and more able to understand the psychology of the problem they would have to deal with than anything that the State could create by using the agency of its own official civil servants.
I think it is highly important that every effort should be made to preserve the living speech in those parts of the country where it still exists. I think that a great many people who are themselves hopelessly anglicised would have a great deal of sympathy with the efforts to preserve the language in those parts of the country where it is still a living language and even with the extension of the areas in which it is still a living language. This is not merely an Irish interest. It is not merely a matter of national sentiment but it is also a European interest for the people of the Gaeltacht are the inheritors of a tradition that goes back into the mist of prehistory, before the Christian era and before the Roman Empire. They are the inheritors of a cultural tradition that is of great interest to archaeologists in European countries as well as at home. It would be a tragedy from a European point of view as well as from the Irish point of view if we allowed the Gaeltacht to perish and its people to cease to be the  living inheritors of a spoken Gaelic language.
Mr. S.T. Ruane Mr. S.T. Ruane
Mr. S.T. Ruane: As one of the signatories to this recommendation I would like to say a few words and I promise to be very brief. With Senator Baxter I am in thorough agreement that this is a serious problem, and no direct suggestions have been made as to how it can be handled by the Government. It cannot be denied that since we established our own Government every encouragement has been given to the spread and development of the language and the preservation of the Gaeltacht. Concessions have been given to people living in the Gaeltacht in so far as admissions to preparatory schools and training colleges are concerned, which many in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht said were not altogether fair and which interfered with the possibility of many Irish speakers who did not happen to come from the Gaeltacht entering these colleges, while candidates lower on the examination of successes entered.
It is unfortunately true that the enthusiasm that marked the language revival at a time when we were under foreign domination has more or less evaporated since we achieved our own government. It is a matter of regret to those who were associated with the pioneers in the early days of the Gaelic League that not alone has the language position itself deteriorated but even Irish customs are not patronised as they were 30 or 40 years ago. I had the experience some years ago of visiting England and being taken round some of the halls there by Irish men and women who were in lucrative employment there. I can assure you that there was more evidence of a love of Irish dancing and Irish customs in those English halls than you would find in many halls on the fringe of the Gaeltacht to-day. That is an unfortunate admission but it must be made and we must face up to the fact that something drastic must be done if we are to save the language for the country. What can be done, and how to set about doing  it, is the problem for which I cannot offer a solution.
At the present time and for the past ten or 15 years those working for the language have been up against obstructions and distractions that did not manifest themselves in the early years. You have the radio and films which are certainly not racy of the soil. The people who have radios installed do not always tune in to the Irish programmes; they look for something lighter and more fetching. This also shows that the enthusiasm for the restoration of the language has declined to a great extent.
I have no suggestions to make as to what the Government can do, but as regards the setting up of a body to work under the supervision of the Government to devise ways and means by which people can be kept in the Gaeltacht, I sincerely hope that there will be no soft money in relation to these provisions, that the work done will be constantly supervised, and that there will be value given for the money that may be allocated by the Government.
Aire Airgeadais Gniomhathach (Proinsias Mac Aogáin) Aire Airgeadais Gniomhathach (Proinsias Mac Aogáin)
Aire Airgeadais Gniomhathach (Proinsias Mac Aogáin): Tá áthas orm gur cuireadh an méid sin suime ins an rún seo. Ní dóigh liom go raibh gá leis agus ní dóigh liom fosta go ndéanfaidh sé an obair atá in aigne ag An Seanadóir An Seabhac agus na daoine eile a mhol é. Mar dúirt mé an lá deireannach sa tSeanaid shocraigh an Rialtas go n-íocfaí suim éigin as an gciste seo, an Ciste Forbartha, gach bliain, agus go gcuirfimis £250,000 ar leataoibh an bhliain seo. Dúirt mé cheana leis an tSeanaid an méid atá íoctha amach as an gCiste go dtí seo agus an méid atá á chaitheamh ag an Rúnaí Parlaiminte atá i gceannas Oifig na Gaeltachta agus go gCeantar gCúng. Sílim féin go ndéanfaidh an Rúnaí Parlaiminte aon rud is féidir le Bord a dhéanamh agus go ndéanfaidh sé níos fearr é. Ó cuireadh an Roinn sin ar bun téann an Rúnaí Parlaiminte i gcomhairle lena lán daoine i Ranna an Rialtais. Taobh amuigh de sin téann sé go dtí gach ceantar den Ghaeltacht agus tugann gach duine a bhfuil suim aige sa cheist comhairle dhó agus déanfaidh sé a  dhícheall an chomhairle sin a chuir i bhfeidhm más maith leis an scéim.
Tá fhios ag na Seanadóirí go léir ó cuireadh and Roinn sin ar bun an méadú mór atá tar éis teacht ar an méid airgid a chaithimid ins an nGaeltacht. Cúpla bliain ó soin d'ardaíodh an méid a caitheadh ins an nGaeltacht. Sa Roinn Tailte, cuir i gcás, táimid ag caitheamh os cionn £200,000. Anuraidh do thug an Rialtas £400,000 don Roinn Rialtais Áitiúil agus tá an méid sin á chaitheamh ins an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht ar dheisiú na mbóithre atá oiriúnach don chuartaíocht. Sílim féin go bhfuil sé i bhfad níos fearr an dualgas a chur ar an Rialtas Féin gach rud is féidire a dhéanamh chun feabhas a chur ar an tslí bheatha sa Ghaeltacht agus chun cuidiú le hathbheochaint na Gaeilge ins an nGaeltacht agus taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht.
Aontaím go mór leans lán daoine anseo adúirt nach féidir le muintire na Gaeltachta an Ghaeilge a chosaint iad féin. Ní féidir agus ins an saol atá anois ann is mó a bhraitheann an bhua ar an gcúl tac ná ar na fórsaí atá tréineáte agus caithfidh an cúl taca ar fud na hÉireann teacht chun cuidiú leis an muintir atá ag troid ins an dún atá sa bhFíor-Ghaeltacht.
Tá muintir na hÉireann ag teacht, tá an Ghaeilge ag dul ar aghaidh, tá Gaeilge mhaith ag na daoine óga atá ag fágáil na scoileanna faoi láthair. I ngach bliain beidh sé sin ag dul i méid. Tá obair mhaith á dhéanamh ins na scoileanna náisiúnta agus ins na meán-scoileanna chomh maith. Níl mé chomh sásta leis an méid atá á dhéanamh ins na hOllscoileanna. Sílim nach ceart don tSeanadóir Micheál Ó hAodha bheith ag rá gur “demonstration” a rinneadh anseo nuair do labhair duine anseo as Gaeilge. Tá sé deacair gó leor labhairt in aon teanga agus tá sé an deacair dhomsa, cur i gcás, labhairt as Gaeilge. Ach is maith an rud é an saghas sin “demonstration” a thabhairt ó am go ham. Tá a fhios agam nach bhfuil Gaeilge mhaith agamsa, tá a fhios agam go bhfuil sé go huafásach, do réir gramadaí agus mar sin de.
Micheál Ó hAodha Micheál Ó hAodha
Micheál Ó hAodha: Ní bhfuair mé aon locht ar an nGaeilge.
Proinsias Mac Aogáin Proinsias Mac Aogáin
 Proinsias Mac Aogáin: Tá a fhios agam, ach bhí an chaint faoi dhaoine anseo a labhair i nGaeilge.
Micheál Ó hAodha Micheál Ó hAodha
Micheál Ó hAodha: Tá an tAire á rá. Dúradh go maith é, ach ní dúradh aon rud.
Prionsias Mac Aogáin Prionsias Mac Aogáin
Prionsias Mac Aogáin: Dúirt an Seanadóir gur “demonstration” é. Tá daoine timpeall na tíre go léir, daoine nach bhfuil Gaeilge ró-mhaith acu agus tá siad dúthrachtach agus tá siad deimhnitheach go dtiochfaidh an lá nuair bheidh formhór na ndaoine in ann obair a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge ar fad. Tá mé cinnte go bhfuil an lá sin ag teacht agus tá sé ag teacht i bhfad níos sciobtha ná mar atá fhios ag a lean daoine anseo.
On the question of setting up an administrative body, I think we have enough machinery to do any work that any reasonable man will suggest, either to improve the economic life of the people in the Gaeltacht or to help to spread the language through the country. It is not really more machinery we want but better implementation of the ideas that are already accepted. We want more ideas and better ideas if possible as to the means by which we can improve the economic conditions of the Gaeltacht. The unfortunate thing for us is that the whole trend of the economic life in the world is to desert areas and occupations in which there is not a livelihood to be got that is as high a standard as people can get in any other area to which they are free to move. Our people are free to move from the Gaeltacht areas to other parts of the country. They are free to move to a large number of other countries. Whereas the people would be content to put up with a very hard existence if they had nowhere else to go, nowadays people in the Gaeltacht or in the congested districts would like to get the same sort of livelihood as they could get in practically any other country or in any other part of this country. That is difficult to give them.
We have, however, improved their economic conditions very greatly. I remember when I was young—and I am not too old yet— that famine was endemic in the Gaeltacht areas. I  remember reading as a boy of famine in Connemara or famine in one or other of the islands. We are very far away from that now. I am not saying that is anything to boast about, but the ordinary person in the Gaeltacht now has a very much higher standard of living and very much greater security of that standard, than he had 50, 40, 20 or even ten years ago.
They are not going to be content with mere security of that kind. As Senator Micheál Óg Mac Pháidín and other speakers said, we need to put industries into the Gaeltacht that will stand on their own feet, and in which the workers will be able to earn a reasonable standard of living. We have made several attempts at that. There are scattered throughout the Gaeltacht small industries which are giving workers there as good a standing as they could get a many other parts and indeed a very much higher standard than in many of the industrial towns in most of Europe. But our people want a better standard than would satisfy most of the people of Europe—because most of the people of Europe are not free to move. Our people can. We have to provide such a standard as will keep them there of their own free will by their own preference.
I do not agree with the people who are cynical about the future of Irish or regard it as hopeless. The people of the Gaeltacht have a pride in Irish. There is nothing else has kept Irish alive in the past, say, 100 years and particularly for the last 20 years. The opportunities of learning English have been multiplied and now it is very easy indeed for the ordinary person in the Gaeltacht to get a complete knowledge of English. They are proud of their Irish and that is what is keeping it alive and not what has been done for them to improve their standard of living or to give them jobs in the Gaeltacht.
One definite scheme for keeping Irish alive in the Gaeltacht—the best one I think—is the improvement of housing in the Gaeltacht so that they  can take in visitors in the summer months. It improves the morale of the people in the Gaeltacht when they become teachers and use their Irish not only in their everyday work, but in teaching strangers from Dublin or elsewhere a language that they are anxious to learn. The experience has been that where there is a Gaelic college the morale of the people in the district is improved and the speaking of Irish receives a new life. Unfortunately, the Gaelic movement as a whole in the country is not doing enough to establish such colleges. Comhaltas Uladh have shown the lead in that respect and have done magnificent work, with no resources only what they themselves raise.
There are a couple of organisations here that are doing a little in that regard, but not anything like what they should be doing. Rather than establishing a body of any description to advise the Government as to what to do what is necessary is a group of people who will start Gaelic colleges in the various Fíor-Ghaeltacht districts and advise the people how to take advantage of the various Government schemes for the improvement of their economic condition.
There are schemes for the improvement of houses in the Gaeltacht. There are only a few areas that have taken up these schemes as energetically as they should. At the moment further sums are available for adding rooms and putting in water and generally improving houses in the Gaeltacht to a point where they each could take an extra couple of people in the summer months. I would recommend to the people who are interested that they should try to get further colleges established in the Gaeltacht and to secure an improvement of the homes in the areas of the colleges so that they could take extra visitors.
We should do more than has been done in getting electricity into the Gaeltacht areas. Senator Kissane suggested parish councils. If there were parish councils in the area, or committees, who would make it their business to canvass the people of the district to accept electricity very much more rapid progress could be made in  getting electricity into every house in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. I do not know of anything that would raise the morale of the people more or bring them more closely in touch with modern developments than electricity in their homes.
If all county councils did what the Donegal Council did in Ranafast, where they put in a piped water supply, great good would be done. If there were active local public opinion in regard to the provision of piped water in the houses in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht I do not see any reason why such schemes could not be put into operation at once. Anybody who is interested would spend his time very much better and to much greater advantage for the cause he has at heart if he could organise and promote these schemes and bring them to fruition. There is plenty of goodwill on the part of the Government. The funds are available to support it. It requires not a further centralised committee in Dublin but active work on the spot to get these things going.
There is a great number of organisations in existence that have an interest in the Gaeltacht. It is wiser for me not to say how they should come together but I hope they will come together, or else act separately, to promote some of the ideas that I have mentioned. The money is available for pushing them ahead.
If we had in some of the universities a group of people who wanted to modernise Irish or to use Irish for all the modern subjects that are taught in the universities, if they took an interest in that sort of work they might learn that they could discuss all the modern subjects through the medium of Irish and be able to steer the people of the Gaeltacht in developing a more modern life.
One scheme that is available to the people in the Gaeltacht that would do most widespread good and through which they could make most rapid progress is the scheme for fertilising the land. Recently, the Government announced a scheme whereby anyone who fails to get lime and fertilisers in the ordinary way, by means of his own money or his own local credit, can get  credit here through the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I do not say that it would not be a good thing if some giant could throw all the rocks in Connemara into the sea but I am certain that if it required £200 an acre to do it, that £200 would be much better spent on improving 50 acres to a point where it could produce many times what it is producing to-day. That is not a wild calculation. Even on the most acid soils in the Gaeltacht, if they are drained to any extent, an expenditure of £5 on lime, phosphate, potash, etc., would bring it into maximum production for that type of land. That is more than it would cost on the average. I am certain that if the land of the Gaeltacht around the rocks, without removing them at all, got a treatment costing on an average about £5 an acre, production would be more than doubled. At the moment production on most of it is very low. It wants not only lime. It is short of phosphates, potash and some of the trace elements like cobalt.
As a scheme and as an activity for people who are interested in getting the maximum number of persons to live in the Gaeltacht, and to give them that chance in the shortest possible time, I would commend some system, whether by way of parish councils, local committees or whatever way it is done, whereby people in the Gaeltacht could be enthused to the point where they would take advantage of the present system to lime and fertilise their land to the maximum desirable extent. There is no obstacle in the way and if it could be done by some magic or some method overnight I am sure that, within the next 12 months, the capacity of the land in the Gaeltacht areas to produce would be doubled—and that, at least, would be a step in the right direction.
I want to say to An Seabhac and to the other Senators who put their names to this motion that it is not pure cussedness on the part of the Government that is responsible for their refusal to accept the suggestions that have been made from time to time that a special board should be set up to deal with the Gaeltacht. Some of the people who made that proposal went on to suggest that complete and  absolute power should be give to this board to spend either a fixed annual sum or some lump capital sum on any work that they thought would do good in improving the economic life of the people in the Gaeltacht and in helping to promote the Irish language. It would be politically impossible for that system to work at the present time. Fifty or 60 years ago it was possible for the Congested Districts Board to work with great liberty of action simply because they were a long way away from London and the parliamentary question had not been developed to the stage which it has reached to-day. Any Government organisation—whether the Government takes direct responsibility for it or whether it is a special board— if it belongs to the State or is under the State, must give equal treatment to everybody. If one person gets a five pound note for doing a certain type of work then every other person in the same category must get the £5 also— and that is very difficult to reconcile with the liberty of action that most people think a board should have and the liberty of action which the old Congested Districts Board had 50 years ago.
One thing that anybody going through the Gaeltacht from Donegal to South Kerry or West Cork will notice is the patchy work that was done by the Congested Districts Board even though it existed over a great number of years. The signs of its activities are very infrequent throughout the whole of the Gaeltacht and the congested areas. In odd little patches of districts here and there you will see the type of house that was built by the Congested Districts Board: you will see the type of little footbridge that they put over rivers, and so forth. But their activities by no means affected every farm in the congested areas or in every district. Any board that would be established by the Government to help the Gaeltacht would nowadays be expected to do as much for every household as might be done in any single case— and that is something which it is very difficult to arrange.
One of the objections that there are to, for instance, the rock scheme of  Connemara is that it would take so long to carry out. It takes a couple of hundred pounds to do an acre. There are tens of thousands of acres in Connemara, Donegal, Kerry and Mayo, and nobody can say that you can do many of those acres, even if you could spend a great number of tens of millions of pounds in doing so. However, one scheme that can be done quickly and in which there are no obstacles of any kind is the raising of the standard of agricultural production in the Gaeltacht by more than double within the next 12 months. I think everybody interested in the economic life of the people in the Gaeltacht, and in preserving the Irish language, should put their shoulders to the wheel and see that as many families as possible in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and the Breac-Ghaeltacht will take advantage of the scheme that is there to lime and fertilise not only their arable lands but also the grass and the grass around the rocks until we get round to shifting them.
I think I have dealt broadly with the points that have been put forward by the various speakers. I can promise this Seanad that the Government fully intend to pursue with all possible vigour the schemes that have already been inaugurated for the Gaeltacht over the years and that they will adopt and put into action any scheme that is calculated to do the work which An Seabhac and the other speakers have in mind.
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha
Pádraig Ó Siocfhradha: Is trua liom a thuiscint ón Aire nach bhfuil fonn air na moltaí a chuireamar roimhe a ghlacadh. Na tagairtí a rinne sé do na nithe is féidir a dhéanamh faoin ngléas atá ann cheana, tá sé sin ceart go leor ach is é an locht atá agamsa ar na gléasanna atá ann cheana ag obair sa Ghaeltacht ná nach bhfuil siad dlúth go leor chun a chur ina luí ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta go bhfuil siad i gceantair a moltar dóibh leanúint leis an nGaeilge atá acu. Tá rud éigin níos dlúithe, níos muinteartha, níos comhgaraí dóibh fhéin ag teastáil. Ní mór ná go dteastaíonn a chur ina luí ar an líon daoine atá sa Ghaeltacht go bhfuil oidhreacht uasal le cosaint acu. Ní mór iad a  spreagadh chun an oidhreacht sin a chosaint agus ní mór, freisin, tuiscint a thabhairt dóib ar conas é sin a dhéanamh agus tuiscint ina theannta san ar conas é a dhéanamh. Sin é an chúis go mba mhaith liom go mbeadh an coiste sin nó an bord sin ann —daoine a rachadh ag caint leo agus daoine nach mbeadh acu an aigne fhuar a bhíonn ag oifigigh phoiblí. Nílim gan dochas fós ná déanfaidh an tAire an rud sin nuair a thiocfaidh sé chun é a thuiscint, mar tá riachtanas leis. Ní féidir an obair a dhéanamh gan é, agus is trua liom a rá, ach is fíor é, ná hoireann rialacha ná modh oibre na Stát-Sheirbhíse chun an cheist atá sa Ghaeltacht a fhreagairt agus a réiteach. Tá an Stát-Sheirbhís ina rud fuar agus caithfear rud éigin a chur ina háit. Ba mhaith liom go mbeadh dúthracht agus spioraid laistiar de na comhairlí a ndearna mé tagairt dóibh agus go ndéanfadh siad scrúdú ar cad iad na rudaí fónta agus eile a molfaí dhóibh agus rogha a dhéanamh. Tá dóchas agam as an Aire atá ós ár gcómhair go dtiocfaidh sé ar an aigne sin agus go gcuirfidh sé gléas éigin ann a thabharfadh do thuiscint mhuintir na Gaeltachta go bhfuiltear chun beart caidrimh a dhéanamh leo, go bhfuiltear ar aon aigne agus in aon pháirt leo agus go bhfuil Rialtas na hÉireann agus náisiún na hÉireann ag iaraidh orthu-san a ndualgas féin a dhéanamh chun an oidreacht sin atá acu fós a chosaint agus a choimeád. Sin é ba mhaith liomsa a thiocfadh de thairbhe as pé rud a dhéanfadh an Rialtas. Níl muinín agam as bheith ag caitheamh airgid dóibh—caithfear rud éigin eile a dhéanamh ina theannta agus seo caoi chun é sin a chur ar bun. Ba mhaith liom a iarraidh ar an Aire tuilleadh machnaimh a dhéanamh ar an gceist agus teacht ar aon chomhairle linne. Ní haon mhaith bheith ag tathaint an mholta seo ar Aire nach bhfuil fonn air glacadh leis—ní bheadh aon éifeacht dhúinn ann—agus le do chead, a Chathaoirligh, tarraingim siar é.
Recommendation, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 4 agreed to.
 Sections 5 to 9, inclusive, and Title, agreed to.
Bill reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Seanad Éireann 43 National Development Fund Bill, 1953—Committee and Final Stages.