Galway City native Micheál Óg Mac Aoidh has been appointed as the coordinator for the city’s new Irish Language Plan.
In September the Salthill man will start the the implementation of the plan which aims to increase the amount of Irish that is seen, spoken, and heard on the streets of Galway.
A graduate of NUI Galway, Micheál was brought up in an Irish-speaking household and his mother, the late Dr Eithne Conway-McGee, was a well-known and much-loved family doctor.
She instilled a love of the Irish language and culture in her family and Micheál was immersed in the Arts scene in Galway City while growing up.
He worked for several Irish language theatre groups, including An Taibhdhearc, (Amharclann Náisiúna na Gaeilge) Fíbín and Na Fánaithe and regularly volunteered with Galway International Arts Festival, Macnas, Cúirt and other Arts organisations in the City.
He spent ten years working as an Arts Officer in Gaeltacht regions and after returning to education and graduating with a degree in language planning, Micheál became the first-ever Irish language planning officer in Ireland.
He worked as a language planning officer for three years in the Gaeltacht region of Cloich Cheann Fhaola in Donegal, initiating many innovative language projects. Micheál also spent two years working for a publishing company in Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Speaking about his appointment, Micheál said: “Fearacht fhormhór na nGaillimheach, táimse an-bhródúil as ár gCathair.
“Tá sé ar cheann de na háiteanna is breátha le cónaí agus le hoibriú ann agus tá spiorad iontach sa gCathair. Measaim go gcuireann an Ghaeilge go mór le beogacht agus fuinniúlacht na Gaillimhe.”
Micheál said that being seen as a modern, progressive, Gaelic city bestows Galway with a ‘unique and highly appealing identity’.
“The language sets us apart and gives us a unique selling point or ‘brand’. The language can benefit the City in so many ways: economically, in terms of tourism, in terms of identity and branding and in enhancing the life of the City in general,” he said.
“Additionally, the story of the Irish language in Galway City over the last thirty or so years is a hugely positive one.
“Galway is surrounded by the largest and strongest Gaeltacht in the country and Irish has always played an important part in the life of the City. It is no surprise that Galwegians are proud of their linguistic and cultural heritage.”
He believes that the language can benefit the City in many ways and Galway’s language planning process will set out a roadmap to ensure all the benefits of the language are maximised.
“Language planning can be a complex and difficult process; however, the aims are simple. We want to ensure that more Irish is seen, spoken, and heard on the streets and in the suburbs of Galway,” Micheál added.
“Gaillimh le Gaeilge has done such amazing work over the past 30 years and has laid a very strong foundation, including transforming the image of Irish in the City.
“I hope to build on this work and look forward to working with them, Galway City Council and other key stakeholders in the City, as together we work to implement the 36 measures outlined in the language plan.”