Policy document in relation to the advancement of Irish

Policy document in relation to the advancement of Irish


Bilingualism is an acceptable concept to most Irish people, and to some extent both Irish and English are part of the fabric of modern Irish society. A University Institution , which is educating its students to take part in and to be leaders of that society, should take whatever positive actions open to it to educate its graduates for this role. The University Calendar states that it is the wish of the authorities "to promote Irish in the everyday life of the University among staff and students". It is evident that, due in some part to schemes already begun under the auspices of the Governing Body, a considerable amount of goodwill already exists among staff and students. Bord na Gaeilge wishes to build upon this existing goodwill, and to strengthen it with the help of new language legislation in the country and in the light of the new status of Irish in the European Union. The proposals we make are designed to expand the activities already in place and are in line with Statute K under which Bord na Gaeilge operates. They fall under eight headings and they relate to two contexts (1) internal, (2) external.

1. Practical Training in Spoken Irish for staff and students who wish to avail of it, and (as a facet of the University’s educational services to the community) for groups of adults outside the University.
2. Academic Courses and Activities through Irish
3. Irish medium University Education in the Gaeltacht
4. Environment: An environment providing occasions in the life and work of the University in which Irish can naturally be used.
5. The Higher Education Authority
6. The National University of Ireland
7. Language Legislation in Ireland
8. The European Union

1.1 University Staff
1.1.1 Seminars and courses will be organised in Dún Chíomháin for staff and their partners combining language training with an introduction to the Irish speaking milieu.
1.1.2 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha courses in spoken Irish already available will be extended and made available to the partners of staff.
1.1.3 Special provision will be made by way of university courses and/or residence in Dún Chíomháín for the academic staff who are teaching Irish language courses and for their families.
1.1.4 Under terms laid down by Bord na Gaeilge, Dún Chíomháin will be made available for short stays to all members of staff and their families who wish to improve their Irish. When selecting participants from staff for the courses in Dún Chíomháin first preference should be given in general to those who have followed Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha courses.
1.1.5 Provision will be made in respect of Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha staff development in order to ensure the achievement of high professional standards in the work of An tIonad and in order to implement the university’s provisions for improvement.
1.1.6 Henceforth courses in Irish will be offered to newly appointed staff, as part of their year’s training.
1.1.7 Courses will be provided for learners who have a specific interest in domains of specialised language or in the acquisition through the medium of Irish of certain professional skills (e.g. office, organisational, computer skills).
1.2 Students
1.2.1 Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha courses will be developed and diversified so as to cater for
  1. beginners, students with an average ability in Irish, and special students who, with suitable training, could become highly proficient in Spoken Irish,
  2. students who wish to acquire through the medium of Irish certain professional skills (office, computer, organisational, broadcasting, interpersonal skills etc.).
1.2.2 The scheme of Gaeltacht scholarships will be strengthened and diversified. Scholarships of one or two week’s duration will be provided along with four-week scholarships for special students and postgraduates who are approaching high proficiency in Spoken Irish.
1.2.3 Courses will be made available in Dún Chíomháin for particular groups of students (where possible from a single Department/Centre) who may be expected to come together naturally in the life of the University.
1.2.4 A special Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha course will be offered to students completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) with a view to improving the standard of Spoken Irish in school teaching. This course will also prepare students for the Certificate in Irish for Post- Primary Teachers.
1.2.5 Special provision will be made to provide courses in Dún Chíomháin for students of the Combined Departments of Irish and for students of An Léann Dúchais (the Irish Studies programme).
1.2.6 Dún Chíomháin’s facilities will be offered, wherever possible, to any other University students who wish to improve their Irish. In general, however, it will be expected that such students should have spent some time previously in a Gaeltacht house.
1.3 Groups of Adults outside the University
1.3.1 The existing Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha courses for adult learners will be maintained and, if possible, extended (e.g. language courses for specific purposes, courses for particular groups of workers).
1.3.2 In-service courses will be offered to teachers of Irish, with the cooperation of the Department of Education an Science or any other government agency, such as Foras na Gaeilge.
1.3.3 The special provision already being made in Dún Chíomháin for those adults who have taken Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha courses, will be continued.
1.3.4 Consideration will be given to allowing members of other academic institutions, or of cultural groups outside the University, to use Dún Chíomháin, provided that such use does not interfere with plans for its use by University groups.
1.3.5 The Irish Language Schools’ Liaison Programme which functions under the aegis of Bord na Gaeilge, will continue.

2.1 Academic programmes which are offered solely through the medium of Irish will be supported e.g. An Léann Dúchais, Applied Irish, Computer Studies.
2.2 An Bord will consult with the Department of Education in the University and with other relevant departments ar to whether it would be feasible to (a) develop a substantial course, (b) provide an academic course in teacher training in Irish.
2.3 An Bord will consult with the Department of Education in the University as to which section of the PGDE (HDip) course might be given through Irish.
2.4 Academic programmes through Irish will be supported as appropriate e.g. the BCL Degree in Law and Irish, along with new programmes which are still at the planning stage e.g. Certificate in Journalism.
2.5 An Bord will consult with the Cork University Press as to what initiatives could be undertaken with regard to publishing in Irish
2.6 An Bord will consult with the Language Centre and any other relevant centres in the College which may assist in the advancement of Spoken Irish.
2.7 An Bord will continue its provision of special lectures and seminars to foster an awareness of cultural and linguistic issues relevant to the Irish language situation.
2.8 That Irish be recognised and used as part of academic planning programmes in the university, in university academic journals/reviews etc.

3.1 That language programmes, schemes and activities through the medium of Irish be offered at the appropriate levels in the Gaeltacht in the context of Institiúid na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge (Institute for Irish Medium University Education).
3.2 University centres will be established and developed in the Gaeltacht under the aegis of the Institute and the appropriate resources will be sought for this purpose.

4.1 Social functions will be organised where Irish might normally be spoken, for staff and students (an invitation to at least one of these functions could be extended to University officers and governors). These functions, as a general rule, might be organised on the basis of departmental or other existing groups.
4.2 In future, the Office of Buildings an Estates will consider that departments which carry out some or all of their business through the medium of Irish should be placed together, with a view to providing a natural bilingual milieu in the University and that An Seomra Caidrimh be available to those who speak Irish in the University.
4.3 The Irish Language Residence Scheme Áras Uí Thuama (part of University Hall) will be further strengthened in consultation with Campus Accommodation UCC Ltd.
4.4 The annual Gradam na Gaeilge scheme will be continued for those students who undertake worthwhile initiatives in the expansion of Spoken Irish in University life.
4.5 The Students’ Union and An Chuallacht (the student Irish language society)will be consulted with regard to assisting them in particular initiatives (e.g. Seachtain na Gaeilge/Spraoi Cois Laoi).

5.1 Bord na Gaeilge will submit an annual report to the Governing Body and thereafter to the Higher Education Authority indicating progress made on the main policy areas outlined above. It is recommended that an annual meeting take place between representatives of An Bord and the Authority.
5.2 An Bord urgently presses The Higher Education Authority for the provision of an integrated HEA policy on Irish in Third Level Institutions.

An Bord requests that the Authority enunciate a policy in relation to University Education through the medium of Irish in the university and the Gaeltacht.

That it be indicated in particular in such a policy what financial assistance might be provided for teaching academic courses through Irish in Third Level Institutions. That an increased number of scholarships/grants be made available to students who would pursue these courses.

An Bord requests the Authority to adopt a specific programme with a view to overall policy implementation.

5.3 An Bord will cooperate on a continual basis with the HEA with a view to the implementation of the Authority’s objectives in regard to Irish. (cf. Development of the Irish Language, White Paper on Education 1995.)

6.1 That the National University of Ireland admission requirement in respect of matriculation in Irish be continued and that the Irish Government be asked to provide suitable support in this regard.
6.2 That Bord na Gaeilge cooperate on a continual basis with other Third Level Education Institutions and particularly with NUI Institutions in regard to the advancement of Irish.

Note: The provisions in regard to the advancement of the language are provided in the Universities Act and in the Official Languages Act. These place a formal responsibility on the university to support Irish and to implement an institutional language scheme.
7.1 Irish will be promoted on a legal basis in the University and in Ireland in accordance with article 8 of the Irish Constitution (1937), the Universities Act (1997), the Belfast Agreement (1998) and the Official Languages Act (2003).
7.2 That public announcements be bilingual, in general; an exhaustive policy in this regard should be enunciated in accordance with the UCC Language Scheme and with the Official Languages Act. That the existing policies be continued that all University stationery be produced with bilingual headings. The Officers/Mangers concerned with the implementation of the language scheme, should be consulted on items including the following:
  1. the provision of facilities so that students may register through Irish,
  2. the bilingual provision of University administrative forms,
  3. an appropriate amount of notices and official documentation of the University to be in Irish,
  4. due emphasis to be placed on linguistic accuracy
7.3 The provisions of the language scheme will be implemented, in consultation with the relevant officers in the University, with a view to laying the foundations for the natural use of Irish in certain University centres of business (e.g. the Library, the Registrar’s Office, the Switchboard, the Enquiries Office).
7.4 Regular note will be taken of the national language planning context especially the aims of the Irish Government’s twenty year plan.


Note: Irish has enjoyed official status in the European Union since January 2007. This greatly underlines the importance of Irish as a professional working language and as an educational resource internationally.

8.1 The “ab initio” courses will be supported as will the evening courses for non-nationals.
8.2 Appropriate exchange schemes between Irish language teaching staff in UCC and certain other universities in the Union, will continue.
8.3 The programme of work in the translation unit and the academic programme of Irish language translation will be developed in light of the official status accorded to the language in the daily workings of the European Union.


Statute K

Note:       The university’s Statute K establishes Bord na Gaeilge and gives it statutory responsibility to strengthen and promote Irish in the university. A copy of Statute K, Chapter I is included below.

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