History tells us that Ulster Scots don’t react well when offered 30 pieces of silver

When Declan Kearney, above right, responded to a question in Irish at Stormont at the Sinn Fein press conference on Monday, led by Mary Lou McDonald, Sky News cut away. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
When Declan Kearney, above right, responded to a question in Irish at Stormont at the Sinn Fein press conference on Monday, led by Mary Lou McDonald, Sky News cut away. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Surely it is time to question what exactly the advocates of an Irish language act are trying to achieve?

I have no quarrel with the Irish language. The fact is that nobody is denied the right to learn or speak Irish.

Letters

Letters

We even have schools opened with 12 pupils, which would not be tolerated in any other sector.

With the best will in the world, nobody can seriously claim that the English and Irish merit equal billing.

One is spoken by 100% of the population, the other is a language that is spoken in the home by less than 2% of the population.

This is not Scotland or Wales. Scots Gaelic and Welsh were not hijacked by violent terrorist groups who sought to overthrow the state by physical force.

Irish has been tainted by those who sought to politicise it and do it a major dis-service as a result.

Nor can we ignore the experience of the Irish Republic. There the Irish language has been heavily promoted and generously supported in the Republic for close to a century.

Millions of pounds, punts and euro, and millions of classroom hours teaching children have been spent, and all to no avail.

The Gaeltacht is continuing to shrink and as Enda Kenny himself said when Taoiseach, ‘we are an English speaking island’.

During Monday’s Sinn Fein press conference, when Declan Kearney responded to a question in Irish, Sky news cut away.

That is the reality of Irish with regard to daily usage in the island of Ireland in the 21st century.

How many of Sinn Fein’s own supporters would be able to understand an interview conducted in the medium of Irish?

It is absolutely farcical. And unbelievably, this is what is dominating political debate instead of the health service or education system or job losses.

And please, let nobody in the DUP negotiating team think that some kind of trade-off for an Ulster Scots act will do anything to lessen the genuine anger that exists within the wider unionist community on this issue, because it most emphatically will not.

History tells us that Ulster Scots do not react well when offered 30 pieces of silver.

Furthermore, we know that whatever might be conceded at this stage and sold as being reasonably harmless, will be banked and the process of bringing forward further demands will begin almost immediately.

The Irish language is being used a tool to divide people in this country. It will be used to exclude non Irish speakers from conversations in the workplace and even jobs. It is the very opposite of a shared future. Surely we have had enough of ‘us’ and ‘them’?

David Taylor, Ulster Unionist Party councillor Slieve Gullion, Bessbrook

Robin Swann: Gifting SF an Irish act in any guise will sow mistrust

Morning View: SF’s new leader makes clear she’ll only accept full ILA

Samuel Morrison: Unionists should reflect on Kipling about paying Dane-geld

David McNarry: This looks like a shoddy deal that smacks of desperation

Rev Ivan Foster: SF is the unchanged fount of murder and terror