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The recent drink-driving case ruling from the High Court has fallen like manna from heaven to those like Victoria White (Irish Examiner, September 24), who wish to have a go at the Official Languages Act.
The fact that a non-Irish national was involved in the case only adds to the hilarity, as they see it. While Victoria declares her love for what she describes as “our beautiful language”, it is clear she has nothing but disdain for those who would support its use in an official context. She accuses such people of a Taliban approach, and equates our language commissioner with a ‘tally-stick’. She ridicules the idea of Irish being used in our public institutions and uses the phrase ‘Evidenzer’s poor familiarity with Murfi agus a Chairde.’
Victoria would confine ‘Murfi agus a chairde’ to social gatherings of ‘caint, ceol agus craic’. Ironically, such occasions are often lubricated by the ‘cúpla deoch’, but, in deference to Ms White, we’ll skip over this aspect. She invokes the name of Flann O’Brien to buttress her case, unaware, it seems, that O’Brien’s first language was Irish and that his comic genius in the English language arose from the ‘súil eile’ (alternative eye) he got from Irish. Finally, if Ms White had done a modicum of research, before jumping on this bandwagon, she would have discovered that it was the Road Traffic Act, not the Official Languages Act, which specified that the document at the centre of the recent case needed to be produced in Irish AND English.
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