Ombudsman report hits raw nerve

IRISH is at a crossroads judging by yesterday’s report showing that despite spending €500 million a year and countless hours on teaching, most people lack a rudimentary command of the language.

Its call for an urgent review of how Irish is taught in schools should not go unheeded. On the eve of St Patrick’s Day, this takes on added weight, especially coming from the office of the Ombudsman for Irish, An Coimisinéir Teanga.

By raising pointed questions over the value of money and time spent teaching Irish, the report will touch a raw nerve. But even more vital is the central question concerning the importance we attach to the language and its central role in the identity of the Irish people.

In an era when that identity is being eroded, the language Ombudsman has raised questions that go to the heart of what it means to be Irish.

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