Common sense must prevail to spare Northern Ireland the Republic’s failed experience of imposing the Irish language
I read with interest Dermot Nesbitt’s letter (‘Leisure facility in unionist town has Irish signage first,’ November 9).
He has come across a good example of the sly introduction of the Irish language signage, in this case by a nationalist dominated council at a leisure centre in a mostly unionist town, Saintfield.
As we in the Republic know to our cost, the sacred cow status of the language is regularly deployed as a weapon by rabid republicans who will only accept unionist tradition and values on it’s terms and conditions.
Common sense must prevail if Northern Ireland is to be spared the southern Irish experience of the imposition of a failed project through winks and nods.
Once again, and without any public discussion, we see how the teaching of Irish in the Republic’s schools is about to be made compulsory, but this time, in subjects other than the language itself.
In an article published in the Irish Times (Home News, p7, Monday 11th November) under the heading: ‘Key subjects to be taught in Irish to boost standards’, Donegal based Minister for Education Joe McHugh is to announce that 19 schools and early-years centres have been selected for a pilot project to promote the teaching of Irish.
Subjects such as physical education, maths and art have been randomly selected to be taught through the medium of Irish.
Co-incidentally, on the same page as the above and under the heading ‘Languages may be cut due to lack of teachers’, there is reference made to a report that reveals evidence of a ‘class gap’ in access to foreign language tuition.
The Republic of Ireland suffers from a drastic shortage of students and workers with even a basic command of modern languages. Languages that really matter are squeezed out in favour of, what is in essence, a failed project.
This has led to major employers having to trawl Europe to fill thousands of high tech jobs in industry and elsewhere.
If ever there was a sound reason to avoid the absolute stupidity of the Irish government’s nonsensical approach to the revival of a language, a language that about one or two percent of the population can either speak or understand, then surely the above is it.
It is also why the arch purveyors of language revivalist nonsense, Sinn Fein should not, under any circumstances, be accommodated in their unreasonable quest for an Irish language act in Northern Ireland.
Niall Ginty, Killester, Dublin 5