Saturday 1 October 2016

Pub rubbishes claims that young Gaeilgeoir was sacked for speaking Irish

Published 09/09/2016 | 21:06

Cormac Ó Bruic and inset statement from Flying Enterprise pub
Cormac Ó Bruic and inset statement from Flying Enterprise pub

A pub has hit back after management were accused of punishing a former staff member for speaking Irish at work.

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Cormac Ó Bruic, who comes from the Kerry Gaeltacht, claimed this week that he was told to stop speaking Irish at the Flying Enterprise pub in Cork because "this is an English-speaking business".

In an interview with RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta on Thursday he said he had been working at the bar for eight months and used to chat to fellow members of staff in Irish before the owner told him to stop.

But now the management of the bar have hit back with a statement on Facebook denying the allegations.

Management said that in many ways they were "surprised" by the comments attributed to Mr O'Bruic.

"This matter is certainly not about the Irish language."

Managers claimed that they employ 70 staff and of them there are six different nationalities.

"They [staff] respect that while at work the most sensible and practical language to speak is English.

"Cormac fully understands that this is a HR matter which has been dealt with by our external HR Company and him. We wish to clarify that Cormac was not fired or dismissed nor did we intend to fire or dismiss Cormac in this regard.

"However while Cormac did initially engage with the HR process he decided to leave before the process was concluded."

The statement concluded by saying it would be unfair to Cormac if they were to discuss "an internal HR matter publicly".

On Thursday Mr Ó Bruic told RnaG that his manager was unhappy when he spoke Irish: “He was shouting at me and banging on the table, because I stood up to him and told him I wasn’t going to stop.  He told me then to go back to work, but I told him that I couldn’t."

He continued: “I couldn’t go back working for that man after him saying that.”

Mr Ó Bruic said that Irish was mainly spoken among staff but that they would speak Irish to customers if they had it.

“Lots of customers would tell us that it was lovely to hear the language spoken, especially to hear young people using it in Cork,” he said.

Cormac never returned to work despite that, saying “In my mind I have to stand up for the language, I love it and that there are still people who don’t want to hear the language at all, I can’t understand it.”

Speaking to independent.ie, Mr Ó Bruic said the management had never mentioned complaints from customer before he received their letter with his P45.

"I always spoke English to every single customer but kept the option to speak Irish open if they wanted to. I would even speak a few words in Spanish to Spanish speakers who came in and they were delighted, so I don't see why anyone would have a problem."

Mr Ó Bruic decided to leave the job because he had a principled objection to being told not to speak Irish. "The thing I'm most proud of is where I come from and my native language."

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