Wednesday 22 November 2017

All aboard for the Gaeilgeoir grenadiers...

Talking our language: Famous Irish speaker Peig Sayers
Talking our language: Famous Irish speaker Peig Sayers
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Well, that certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. You may remember -- but you can be forgiven if you don't, it is a busy time of the year, after all -- that the dreaded topic of the Irish language was mentioned in iSpy earlier this week, following a row over the number of civil servants who can speak it.

I pointed out that if you want to learn and use Irish with like-minded people, then good luck to you -- after all, learning another language can never be a bad thing. I also, as it happens, pointed out that TG4 is undoubtedly the finest, most innovative channel on this island and, against all my predictions at the time, has gone on to be a massive success. In fact, TG4 is one of those occasions when it's nice to be proved wrong and the Little Broadcaster That Could has done more to make the language more relevant than any number of educational drives ever could. But I also believe that it is not the Government's business to be hiring and training more civil servants to speak the language.

This isn't merely an economic argument, although that is compelling in itself.

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