Thursday, 25 October 2007

Compulsory 'Irish', Big-time.

The following - in green - is from a Gaelgoeir who managed to have a letter printed in the Irish Independent, calling for Gaelic to be made the new spoken language of Ireland... whether we like it or not, apparently.

English football and the Irish language

All those letter-writers discussing why people here support English football teams, not German or French teams (Letters, April 23) are simply, but most sadly, missing the point.
People here support English, not Spanish soccer teams, get hot under the collar about the Manchester United takeover, not the AC Milan takeover.

They read English, not German papers.
They watch English not Serbian TV stations.
They emigrate to English-speaking not Spanish-speaking countries and look to London, not Moscow, to solve their problems.
Brendan Keenan, Ecconomics Editor of the Irish Independent has rightly said, 'We would not have the problem (rising sales of English papers here) if we were all Gaelic-speaking'.
He was taking part in a 'Prime Time' special on the sales of English papers here.
We are now in a very strange situation. (Gombeen Man in agreement here).

Some years ago, an English soccer team came to Galway to play against Galway United as a fundraiser.

There were more people from Galway supporting the English team than were supporting Galway United.
A GAA friend of mine told me that a quite a few GAA people, who had no interest in soccer, went to the match just to make up the numbers in support of Galway.
Additionally, the money that is being spent on the Gaeilge effort, E500m per annum, according to recent figures, would be far, far better spent.
Getting down to serious business on the revival of Irish as the real spoken language of Ireland takes just one phone call.
That phone call would be to the Israeli Embassy in Dublin to ask the only nation, in recent history, to engage in language revival. 'Tell us please how do you do it?'
The Israelis did it over two generations, from 1880 to 1930.
And, in view of the fact that they did not have words for things like 'doll', 'handkerchief' or 'ice cream', and we do, we could in one generation become the second nation in recent history to engage in language revival.
An Israeli chap said to me, 'But you Irish did not go for language replacement' as we discussed the contrast between Irish and Israeli language revival policies.
Very simple, but very harsh and most extremely tough.

Gombeen Nation replies:

Micheal Bearra, of Spiddal, seems to be on a letter-writing mission to
convert us all into Gaelic speakers (Letters, October 23rd).

Insultingly defining those who watch 'English' football teams as engaging in
"thick mickism" (how many Englishmen play for Arsenal, Chelsea, and
countless Premiership teams whose make up is undeniably international?), he
then goes on to provide the best example of that with his ludicrous appeal
to 'revive' Gaelic as the 'de facto' language of Ireland. What laughable

Despite the narrow worldview of many Gaelgeoiri, who like to paint the Irish
as a homogeneous Gaelic entity - despite us being a mix of Picts, Celts,
Norse, Normans, Anglo-saxons and God knows what else - only a small percentage of us
really, or want to, speak Gaeilge. Just to fully shatter the illusion
caused by Micheal's Gaelic-green tinted glasses, let him consider the

CSO figures state that 1.6 million people speak Gaeilge on a daily basis. A
figure used by the 'Irish' Language lobby to exaggerate its true popularity
(and no doubt keep their industry going). However, that figure includes
everyone from the age of Three upwards, in an educational system where
Gaeilge is STILL a compulsory subject.

In fact, further study of the Census figures show that only 72,000 people
outside the education system claim to speak Gaeilge on a daily basis: 4.4 per cent of
the population - despite all the taxpayers' subsidies. And how many of
those work in areas of employment where Irish is still a requirement or/and
an advantage?

If anything, rather than calling for Gaeilge to be enforced as the spoken
language of the country; perhaps we should vote to remove its status as the
'first official language' of the country, as such a move would pull the rug
from beneath the feet of Micheal and his language-fascist compatriots.

Referendum, please?

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RG said...

It seems Gombeen that you have little understanding of the Irish-speaking population, and indeed appear to have an extremely biased view of thousands of your fellow citizens.

Your points about narrow worldviews and facisim of all things are well off target in regard to the current Gaelic-speaking community.

99% of Irish speakers use their language daily, not to force others to use it, but because they want to, it's their tongue of choice. Surely we are entitled to the same services etc as English speakers?

And contrary to your ridiculous claims, people who are bilingual have a greater understanding of the importance and advantages of diversity than monoglots. Irish speakers can easily emphasise with other minorities and understand more than most the wonderful makeup of Ireland's diverse population.

Overall, I think you should get out more.

The Gombeen Man said...

Hi RG, welcome to Gombeen Nation. The figures quoted above are CSO Census figures. On the subject of not forcing it on others, your fellow enthusiast whose letter is reproduced is asking for precisely that. Also, many foreign workers in this country are excluded or put at a disadvantage in many areas of employment due to a continuing Irish Language requirement in many state jobs. This is not a figment of Gombeen Man's imagination - this is fact. Lastly, just because one doesn't speak Gaelic, does not mean one is a monoglot.

The Gombeen Man

Anonymous said...

Confusing figures.
That many people probably could speak the language to some degree but do not.
For example I can also follow the french news but do not speak french except on a rare occasion when meeting a french speaker.