TWO of the foolishnesses that shape our lives came together yesterday with the suggestion that hundreds of prosecutions for drink driving could be in doubt after the High Court ruled that results of alcohol breath tests must be supplied in Irish as well as in English.
We have a long tradition of trying to find any dodge, no matter how tenuous, to evade a conviction for drunken driving, but they serve no-one well. They discredit our courts and undermine road safety programmes. They may also allow those guilty of drink-driving back on our roads and, in some instances, threaten the lives of those accused as well as other road users.
The weight we give to the need for all official documents to be translated into Irish is as laughable as it is delusional, but in this instance the consequences are — potentially — far too serious. It is time to refine the law around what must be translated into our ‘first’ language and what might be. If a citizen does not ask for documentation in Irish, then it must be assumed that English suffices. Even for a court summons.
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