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Irish language law was ‘doomed from start’

John Glennon (Letters, Dec 16) referring to the Official Languages Act claims “Without the active support of top management, the new legislation was doomed from the start.”

The gap between aspiration and reality has never been greater in relation to the Irish language. While criticising Official Ireland, his own letter is written in English. We have a Constitutional declaration made in 1937: “The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.” 76 years later our Dáil and Seanad have translators in permanent attendance in parliament and committees in case our first official language is used. The cost of this service should be levied on the salary of each TD and senator. Or they could sign a declaration that they are proficient to conduct business “as Gaeilge” and we can reassign the translators.

The “people are sovereign” is a phrase often invoked to imply that we all share power and responsibility, so maybe it is time to recognise, with regard to Irish sadly or otherwise, the people have spoken and continue to speak through English. Apart from school, Irish had no relevance in my working or social life or my family. Still, we tick the box on the Census form.

T Murphy

Ballincollig

Co Cork


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