UUP councillor: SF have used Irish as battering ram in Newry and Mourne

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Martin O’Muilleor may describe the proposal that 10% of new entrants to civil service jobs must be Irish speaking as ‘bunkum’ but the fact is it was contained in a document from Conradh na Gaeilge which Sinn Fein were actively promoting. He can’t run away from that.

Furthermore, Sinn Fein`s own 2015 draft Irish language bill included the line ‘provision for affirmative action in favour of Irish speakers in recruitment to the civil service and other public bodies.’

In other words, Sinn Fein do support positive discrimination.

I have the utmost respect for the Irish language, but it has been used and abused by Sinn Fein in particular over the years.

We have direct experience of this in my own council area.

If anything it is Sinn Fein who have shown massive disrespect to the language, using it as a battering ram to try and advance their political agenda.

Just as the proposal for 10% of new entrants to the civil service being Irish speaking is unacceptable, so too are the proposals for the creation of an Irish language commissioner with the powers of a High Court judge.

In Sinn Fein`s own 2015 draft Irish language bill they proposed that the Irish language commissioner would have the power to ‘initiate prosecutions for a newly created summary offence of refusing or failing to co-operate with the work of an Irish language commissioner’.

Is this the type of society we want to create where non-Irish speakers will live in fear of being hauled before the courts because they choose to conduct their everyday lives using English?

I dread to think where this could end up.

David Taylor, Councillor, Ulster Unionist Party group leader, Newry, Mourne & Down District Council

Other views on Irish language:

Ben Lowry: Moderate advocates of Irish language act should turn their ire on pro-Gaelic hardliners

Robin Bury: Compulsory Irish has failed in the Republic, at huge cost to taxpayers

Letter: Like many Protestants, I am at ease with Irish but not with prospect of pro-Irish jobs bias

Paying republicans the Dane-geld means they will come back for more

Queen Elizabeth probably conversed in Gaelic with Grace O’Malley

DPP: I enjoyed learning Gaelic in Scotland where the speakers are Presbyterian