Sinn Fein would not the main winners from an Irish language act

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Niall Ginty’s comments in his letter (‘Sinn Fein are the winners when the unused Irish language becomes a sacred cow,’ August 23) about the Irish language are completely off the mark.

Mr Ginty claims that “the Irish language agenda espoused by Sinn Fein and the all powerful ‘Language Commissioner’ continues to enjoy full governmental approval for the downgrading of English in the Republic of Ireland”.

It is not the policy of any Irish government to downgrade the English language in Ireland.

Can Mr Ginty point to any act or statutory instrument that says that the English language has to be removed and replaced with Irish?

The language commissioner’s role is to be an ombudsman for Irish speakers and hold public bodies to account if they fail to provide services in the Irish language.

It is not about downgrading the English language but about bringing the level of provision in Irish up to the same level as English.

It is very important to clarify for Mr Ginty and others that it was the Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats’ coalition that introduced the Official Languages Act in 2003.

Sinn Féin had nothing to do with. Sinn Féin loves the Irish language so much that is President and Vice-President can’t be bothered to learn to speak Irish.

Sinn Féin secured a promise from the British government in the St Andrew’s Agreement that an Irish-language act would be introduced, but they, Sinn Féin, never bothered to make that promise a reality.

Irish speakers in Northern Ireland were left disappointment when Sinn Féin did not press the issue.

Mr Ginty’s claims hold no water. Sinn Féin cannot be trusted with Irish language. Sinn Féin are interested in holding power, not in the Irish language.

Mr Ginty claims that “Sinn Fein would also be the sole beneficiaries of its (an Irish-language Act) introduction”.

That is is not true, the beneficiaries would be Irish speakers.

To be fair to Sinn Féin, they do use the Irish language a lot, but so too do Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

The defunct unionist party, NI21, even had a stab at using Irish.

The Irish language does not belong to a single political party, it belongs to everyone.

People and parties have a choice to use it or not. It might surprise Mr Ginty to know that the Turas project in eastern Belfast is the largest provider of Irish classes in the city.

Turas is a project for Protestants and unionists in eastern Belfast to learn the Irish language.

Turas also supports the introduction of an Irish language act so those Protestant unionists in eastern Belfast would also benefit.

People can love or hate Sinn Féin but they should not base their opinion of the Irish language on their opinion of Sinn Féin.

It is as silly as basing one’s opinion of the English language on one’s opinion of the Ku Klux Klan or the UFF or any other terror organisation whose members speak English.

Seanán Ó Coistín, Trier, Germany