Saturday 3 December 2016

Irish: if we really care about it, let's stop the pretence

It'll take more than a survey to convince Eilis O'Hanlon that people give a damn about the language

Published 13/02/2011 | 05:00

Six out of 10 parents, according to new research, think children should be tortured daily. Or forced to learn Irish up until Leaving Cert, to give the practice its official name. The survey? Oh, that was carried out on behalf of Comhar na Muinteoiri Gaeilge, a support organisation for Irish language teachers.

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That's a bit like using a survey by the Babar Institute to claim that six out of 10 people who visit the zoo think elephants should be given more sticky buns.

As it happens, I don't believe a word of it. That is, I believe 61 per cent of parents claim to want Irish to remain compulsory, in the same way that people, if asked by pollsters, would express a desire for less rain, or for Dart carriages to smell of hollyhocks and freshly baked bread. I just don't believe that so many parents actually care that much about the subject, since, if they did, they could make a greater effort to use Irish with their children in their own daily lives.

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