Monday, 30 July 2007

Sunday Tribune and the Irish Language Industry

Gombeen Man has observed that many of the dahlings of the Irish media have a 'gra' for the auld 'native tongue'. And why wouldn't they? Sure how could you get on in RTE without it?

How could a major talent such as Hector flourish without Official Ireland's first notional language? And aren't the Gaelic schools a handy, free, middle-class route to third-level education, with a few extra points thrown in for doing the Leaving in 'Irish'?

On the 15th of July, the Sunday Tribune published an article by an "Irish language" supporter claiming that 1.6 million speak "De Language" throughout the State.

What the letter didn't point out - and the Tribune left unchallenged - is that this 1.6 million figure includes children at school (even Kindergarten) from the ages of 3 years up.

In fact, 2002 CSO Census figures say that:

"a quarter of those who indicated that they could speak 'Irish' [a quarter of the above figure] were reported as speaking it on a daily basis. Most of these (76.8%) were in the school-going ages."

That puts the 1.6 million figure in perspective doesn't it? Then remember the State jobs and teaching jobs, the legal profession and others all requiring prospective employees to have "Irish" and it really paints a picture of the true popularity and proficiency of the "language" among the real public.

It's a pity a Sunday newspaper will uncritically publish such misleading information.

Gombeen Man calls for an end to compulsory 'Irish', subsidies, and the Stalinist State approach to its promotion!

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RG said...

And aren't the Gaelic schools a handy, free, middle-class route to third-level education?

Outside South Dublin this is definitely not the case. Have you been to the Gaelscoils in Ballymun for example?

Indeed there are many Gaelscoils throughout the country that have no official recognition and are only running because of the great effort of parents and teachers. So this 'Stalinist State' promotion of Gaelic is a fallacy.

Brian said...

Can't help thinking that providing education through Irish, in an increasingly multicultural environment where many immigrants do not even speak English, is failing proper educational provision. Of course Gaelscoils are run on tax payers money - so its not all about 'dedication' of parents and teachers. But the responsibility of the State is to provide education to all of its citizens. The best way to do that is through the vernacular, which by definition is the language we all speak.

Ange said...

Some people do actually have a love for the language and it is not all about getting extra points in the Leaving Cert or working for RTE. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be brought up with the language are very proud of it as I'm sure the like of Hector, Blathnaid, GrĂ¡inne Seioge are.

The Gombeen Man said...

Hi Ange - thanks for your comments.
I take and respect your point, but would reply that there are also people who hate it - mainly due to the methods of promotion applied by its adherents and the State (lots of examples on this blog).

Surely, if there is a genuine love for Irish/Gaelic, why all this stuff? Why does it need so much taxpayers' money spent on it? Why a need to construct an industry to keep the thing going? Why the - discriminatory, in my view - incentives? Why the compulsion?

It's all that stuff that gets me going!!!

The Gombeen Man said...

I also find it funny that a prat such as Hector is considered "cool" by the TG3, gaelscoil generation.