An Irish language act would be disastrous for Northern Ireland and has the potential to cause enormous trouble, notwithstanding the impasse which it is currently causing.
It would ignite a sectarian war far bigger than the issue of flags, parades or other symbolic problems.
There are hundreds or flags and murals in Northern Ireland, with some causing flashpoints, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of road, street, and building signs which have the potential to be flashpoints under an Irish language act.
It would create division by people putting up Irish signs and placing one on top of the other. Some activists would undoubtedly remove or delete the English or Irish as the case may be.
There will be disputes about signage until the cows come home should legislation come in. Some of these could be in places of historical or cultural significance leading to uproar and mayhem.
The Irish language in the Republic is now being placed over the English. Exactly the same preferentialism could arise in Northern Ireland with serious sectarian implications and tensions. The potential for disputes is unlimited.
Election literature and all government documents would have to be bi-lingual and where would it stop?
What is wrong with English, which is a language we all can read, write, and speak.
There would also be trouble in relation to recruitment and the requirement to have Irish, as is the case in the Republic for many bi-lingual jobs where Irish language skills are controversially required and exclude many people as a result.
There are many accounts in the west of Ireland or Gaeltacht zone were people have been denied planning permission to build a house if they did not speak Irish.
An Irish language act would create double bureaucracy and the enormous expense involved which would put enormous strain on any budget for Northern Ireland.
There would also be those who might insist on a Ulster-Scots act and demand the same rights under law in insisting that bi or trilingualism is everywhere and anywhere.
Northern Ireland could end up in one hell of a mess, if it isn’t already with what would essentially become a labelling and rebranding exercise. Everything would have to have a Irish or Ulster-Scots name or interpretation, which may not mean the same in English.
Stormont parties would have to have very expensive interpreters and wear headphones should Stormont ever get up and running again.
Correspondence would be tedious and require large teams of administrators to decide what a word or phrase means, which could lead to very serious disputes.
The Irish language in the Republic is a state antique and is not a working language, other than in the minds of enthusiasts and those of course propagating it for political purposes.
In fact, the Irish government have been criticised for wanting it recognised as an official EU language by the EU, which its managed to get, but are known not to use it in discussions. How daft and wasteful is that!
Bringing in an Irish language act or any other language act would be one of the most dangerous things Northern Ireland could ever dream of.
It would build further walls between people and God knows Northern Ireland has enough of those. It should be rejected by all and sundry as a source of great division and extreme danger.
It could return Northern Ireland to the bad days of old and they are none to good at the moment either, with controlled explosions and evacuations still being carried out.
Maurice Fitzgerald, Shanbally, Cork
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