DUP should go to the Scottish island of Lewis and see how Gaelic is used there

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Given the current controversy regarding the status of the Irish language, I would recommend that the DUP send a deputation to the island of Lewis on a fact finding mission.

The first thing they will notice is the proliferation of places of worship of the reformed faiths, including the Free Church of Scotland and the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, such as occurs in Northern Ireland.

The next point to be noted is the widespread use of the Gaelic language, particularly outside Stornoway. This sounds very much like Irish and is in common use, being the mother tongue of a large proportion of the population.

Lastly their attention will be drawn to the widespread use of written Gaelic on various signs, road signs, public notices and schools. In particular, inscriptions in Gaelic are widespread on monuments in graveyards and on war memorials; the First World War claimed the lives of many men from the Western Isles.

As with the spoken word, the written language looks much like Irish and can be read without much difficulty by competent Irish-speakers.

The implications of this situation are that the Irish language is not the property of any one section of the population but rather is one component of the heritage of Celtic languages shared by diverse communities in several regions of the islands of Britain and Ireland.

Michael Walsh, Clontarf, Dublin 3