Bhí breis is 200 leathanach I dtuarascáil Anson. Foilsíonn muid anseo na moltaí a rinneadh ag deireadh na tuarascála. Ba choir dÚdarás Na Gaeltachta an tuascáil ina iomláine a aistriú go Gaeilge, agus é a chur ar fail anois, le go dtiocfadh leis an phobal áitiúil agus a gcuid ceannairí úsáid a bhaint as an tsaineolas atá foilsithe ann.
...I am done with great things and big things great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny invisible molecular forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of men's pride....
In general terms the approach to the future being recommended is that both Udaras and the community (and in some respects, the County Council and the State) should co-operatively become involved in as wide a range of activities as possible directed towards the specific goal of creating employment within the context of the language and culture.
The clue to the achieving of this is the realisation of the potential which presently exists WITHIN the people themselves. The future must come from within the community for, in a dramatically retracting world - in which clearly it's 'every man for himself' (or as one member of the community put it, `Mé Féin`) - there will be little help from outside.
Involvement in a dozen spheres of activity some of which may only require a modest financial input - may well be more profitable (in releasing the initiative) than the creation of expensive industrial developments which may become 'white elephants' in due course, leaving behind them a residue of community bitterness and cynicism.
To Udaras na Gaeltachta.
1. Become more involved in the 'grassroots' of the community. Re-locate the Present Udaras, local office - it is remote from the people. The office should be on the main strip and should be designed to attract all the people. When I requested that Udaras executives-become involved in the participatory sessions, the response was that it wouldn't work as Udaras would simply be criticised. This is a totally counter-productive situation.
2. Use the full weight of Udaras 'power' to 'save' Toraigh. The loss of this island will be a 'body blow' to the Gaelic culture, and Udaras credibility will be seriously weakened if the organisation is not seen to have been behind struggle to survive.
3. Alter the directional policy of the Industrial Estate in two ways. Firstly, counter-balance its centralism by a determined policy of creating local employment in outlying settlements. Secondly, direct any further estate development towards the `town centre
4. Design and build at least two Integrated Development Sites- one in the Cnoc Fola region and one in Dun Luiche.
5. Set up an Alternative Technology Unit- as proposed by George McRobie, but make every effort in the setting up of such a unit, to involve grassroots community from the start- that is, do not make the mistake of it being viewed as another Udaras project remote from the People.
5. Set up several Initiative Centres - Do not combine them with recommendation No. 5 - the concept of 'as many activities as possible is paramount.
6. Implement the road and bridge project Carrickfin and An Bun Beag. This is really linking the airstrip and the town centre. These are clearly associated elements (totally disassociated at present) which can bring vitality to the study area.
7. Investigate, with a view to funding and expanding, the existing community newspaper,
GUTH agus TUAIRIM ( Iris Dhá theangach a foilsíodh I nGaoth Dobhair sna hOchtóidí)
8. Investigate in depth the concepts of a Folk Park and Nature Reserves with a view towards at least delineating suitable 'locations which could then become 'protected' until finance is available to develope them. In this context initiate the development of a local museum of history - cultural traditions can only be developed if a people's 'roots' are established and understood.
9. Perhaps the most important recommendation of all is for the Udaras to keep on planning and developing the process of grass-roots -Participation'. This Project and this report has only been a beginning, but a beginning in the right direction. A great deal more involvement is needed, for creative planning is a continuous process. In this respect the Udaras must work quickly to establish a PERMANENT community planning office within the 'heart' of the community and endeavour to have it staffed by local people.
Clearly the above recommendations are not related to any 'maximum' plan; this is right and proper for two reasons.
Firstly, it is highly doubtful that financial resources would be available for such an undertaking and it would, therefore, be irresponsible to make such recommendations. This, however, does-not preclude a 'master plan' being used as a guide to the future, providing it is capable of infinite flexibility.
Secondly, it is preferable that planning be implemented in an 'organic' way -with full involvement of the people: as a generality, modest, BUT MANY, actions are the appropriate form for this.
It is contended that were Udaras to use its good offices to implement the above programme the spirit' of the community would be aroused.
It was suggested by the Udaras Supervisory Group that my report would '..have to advise the Udaras on those things that the Udaras could do to cause the community to help itself.... I contend that the above programme would do just that, providing Udaras sincerely believes that decision-making power be largely devolved to the local community.
It was further insisted by the supervisory Group that ... the question of the language, and how to encourage the people of the Gaeltacht to be Gaelic was central... to the project.
I am in full agreement with this goal and would only re-emphasise the point already made in this report: no community can be encouraged to do anything it does not wish to do. The people of the study area will only be Gaelic' if they passionately wish to be so, because it is their IDENTITY. Their identity will be strengthened when they achieve greater control over their own destiny.
Recommendations to the County Council:
The Council has frankly acknowledged the chronic lack of basic infrastructure in the study area.
It is not appropriate that this report should make recommendations in that regard particularly as the County faces such dramatic pressures due to scarcity of financial resources and the phenomenal population increases.
However it is valid for the report to make comment on two issues.
There seems to be a similar 'communications gap between the Council and the community, as that which exists between the people and Udaras. For example when the Council executives were also requested to join in the participatory sessions the response was a Council official is present at such meetings it almost inevitably developes into a session of complaints about what the Council hasn't done...'
It follows therefore that the County Council also improves its communications with the grassroots of the study area.
This could be commenced by the Council deliberately aiding the setting up of a community planning office in the area.
Recommendations-to The Community:
1. The community must organise itself. It should create a regional committee (or Council) to guide all aspects of the Problem. The creation of the Udaras was a major step forward but clearly more is needed than a handful of local representatives. The form of such a committee will have to be thought through, in fine detail, and it is, important that the matter is not rushed.
By definition any such community Council must be large, for it will need to fully
represent - at a grassroots level several localities, as well as numerous subjects.
2. The community must actually decide whether it WANTS decision-making power to be devolved to it in a major way.
3. The community must fully debate the crisis of the language and culture, on the understanding that it is only THEY who can save it in this context it should seriously review its attitude towards visitors on the basis that many tourists actually WANT the language and the culture for it is these that make the area Special,
4. The community must come to realise that, notwithstanding the fact they have valid complaints against authority, authority has its own problems, and, having organised, make a deliberate effort to work creatively with the Udaras and other authorities.
5. The community should accept the fact that, visually, English dominates the area. This is not a difficult problem to overcome.
Finally I would recommend that the 'organised community and Udaras na Gaeltachta urgently set up a series of conferences - which may proceed over a period of weeks -to iron out a co-operative policy for the immediate future, using the report (and any other suitable documentation) as a working document.
It is most important that such a 'forum' be given time to succeed for, given the naked hatred' referred to above, time must be allowed for both parties to. break, through this barrier to at least a workable basis of co-operation.
In 1970 1 saw the North West Donegal Gaeltacht as special.
Today I see it as precious.
In those twelve years the world has become engulfed in a technological revolution, the human and cultural outcome of which we do not fully understand.
But we do know that, in the process of this change, many human values as we understand them are being swept away.
It is not that change ought to be resisted rather that, we should have control over it in order that it retain a human facet.
The communities of many areas of the world have lost the possibility of that control as they have lost - or been robbed of - their culture and thus their identity. From now on the new technology will mould them, not they the technology.
The community of the study area still retain the possibility of such control over their own destiny. It is they who must give the lead: not Udaras na Gaeltachta, nor the County Council, nor the State, can save the Gaeltacht -
If they, the people, lead then the word Gaeltacht given the prevailing situation in the world, can be a synonym for hope. If not, there is a remarkably similar word to describe the outcome Gealtacht!