The state has anglicised the Gaeltacht by encouraging the immigration of English-speakers

Finland has laws to prevent Finnish-speakers settling on the Aaland Islands. These laws have been effective in preserving the Aalands as a Swedish-speaking community. Ireland has no such laws to protect the Gaeltacht from being swamped by English-speakers. Shaping The Future points out that:

p94-95 "In a situation where two languages are in competition and are not equal in strength, the absence of specific legislation determining favourable rights to use of the weaker one must effectively strengthen the dominant one...A pertinent example would appear to be laws governing planning applications by non-Irish speakers to build houses in existing Gaeltacht areas. Under the law, neither the objectives of Gaeltacht policy, nor the threat to the survival of the minority language community can be used as legitimate objections to such applications".

Even worse, state policy has encouraged the movement of English-speakers into the Gaeltacht. This tactic has been used throughout history by states which wished to rid themselves of a troublesome minority. Shaping The Future says:

pxxvi "only about half Gaeltacht children learn Irish in the home... this is related to the high level of in-migration and return migration which has accompanied the economic restructuring of the Gaeltacht in recent decades... the decline in Irish-speaking ability seems likely to continue".

p47 "That economic development of the kind undertaken was likely to have such consequences was readily predictable a decade ago".

The following extracts are from The Death of the Irish Language:

p71 "Séamus Ó Raghallaigh, an inspiring regional officer for Roinn an Gaeltachta, himself an Irish 'learner' from Belfast with a long experience of Irish college work before he joined An Roinn, initiated the idea of an industrial estate in Gaoth Dobhair and organised the entrepreneurs to get it underway. The danger that success might 'bring in English' and kill the Gaeltacht was fully appreciated; but it was already dying of emigration and slow depopulation...

...Cynics predicted the disruption of the language community as an inevitable consequence. Ó Raghallaigh and his collaborators and backers took the robust view that the state owed modern employment opportunities to the people of the Gaeltacht, that the haemorrhage of emigration had to be stopped if there was to be any hope of language survival, and that if the language could not survive such manifest social and economic benefits it hardly deserved to survive"

p170 "State-aided industrial growth transformed the economies of the two main Irish-speaking Gaeltachtaí during the 1970s... There were serious initial errors in overemphasis on attracting foreign 'hi-tech' firms which brought in too much outside labour and proved quick to leave once the tax holiday was over, but replacement by local, more resource-based enterprises has been largely successful... Restored confidence in an economic future for the Gaeltacht has unfortunately been undermined as a linguistic benefit by 'reverse emigration' and numerous side effects"

What is striking here is the extent to which Hindley agrees with Bord na Gaeilge about the basic facts. Stripped of all the profuse praise & justifications, Hindley is agreeing that state sponsored industrial development undermined the language by stimulating in-migration, that this was predicted even when it was proposed, and that the officials charged with preserving the Gaeltacht thought the destruction of Irish was acceptable. Yet he still said of the Donegal Gaeltacht:

p252 "North-west Donegal... seemed secure thirty years ago and fairly so around 1970, but its successful industrialisation has inadvertently shattered its core and pushed remaining Irish dominance in to the most peripheral school areas..."

Hindley's claim that this was an unavoidable accident conflicts with the evidence that he himself quotes. The only possible interpretation of the facts is Bord na Gaeilge's one that " the anglicising consequences of public service agencies must be seen as deliberate, intended or acceptable outcomes of their behaviour rather than as an 'unconscious' process, in which they are powerless to intervene."

Hindley does quote one fact which Bord na Gaeilge omitted, namely that the population of the Donegal Gaeltacht was declining before the state intervened. However, he does not mention other pertinent facts. Shaping The Future, (page 46) refers to some research which it says shows that "under the right conditions, the industrial workplace has the potential to be a location for the maintenance of spoken Irish and to encourage non-native Irish-speakers to speak Irish as a communal language... It need not necessarily be a focus for language shift". It also says that factors which seem to determine the effect of business on language include the size, location, the type of work being carried out, and the nationality of managers & owners. It says more research is needed but that "what is most significant from our point of view is that there appears to be little systematic attempt to monitor the impact of such differences on language use in the workforces and local communities involved... the major agencies for state intervention in the Gaeltacht do not regard monitoring of this nature as a routine necessity"

Both sources neglect to mention that this damaging increase in the use of English took place after Ireland's entry into the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. This opened up tremendous opportunities for trading with non-English-speaking countries. In addition, the EEC made available considerable funds to help the Irish economy to catch up with the rest of Europe. These were surely the most favourable circumstances for the maintenance and strengthening of Irish-speaking communities.

I have concentrated here on the Donegal Gaeltacht, but other Gaeltachtaí were similarly affected. Hindley mentions that government spending which was officially supposed to support the language boosted the growth of Galway, which he states is a major anglicising force on the Conemara Gaeltacht.

Although he quotes some instances where Údarás na Gaeltachta has helped to preserve Irish, and is at pains to praise its efforts, Hindley's is honest about the general situation when he carried out his 1989 survey. On p170 he says:

"The location of most Údarás-supported enterprises outside the truly Irish-speaking parts of the Gaeltachtaí... is a recurring theme... All enterprises receiving Údarás support have to demonstrate ability and willingness to make maximum use of Irish in their operations and to give preference to Irish-speaking applicants for employment when they are otherwise suitably qualified. Non-Irish-speaking employees are expected to attend courses (provided by Údarás) to learn the language to the required level. Performance after grant has been paid is difficult to monitor effectively, though this is provided for. Random visits to a handful of enterprises in places including An Rinn, Baile Bhúrine, and Daingean/Dingle found only English in use, confirming the local opinion of dedicated Gaeilgeoirí."

Obviously the rules which are supposed to ensure that Irish is supported in Údarás-aided businesses were not being enforced. Although Hindley says it is difficult to monitor compliance, he clearly had no difficulty in finding out the truth.