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Irish an ethnic cleanser

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Sir -- I have to commend Eilis O'Hanlon (Sunday Independent, February 13, 2011). Eilis is courageous in her allegations. Being interested in this subject and a reader with 60 years' experience, very few journalists have tackled this subject.

It is a dangerous game, a bit like kicking a sacred cow in India. The "As Gaeilge" people are bigger dictators than the British who ruled before them. In fact, I would say De Valera's switch to Irish in 1932 was the most effective ethnic cleanser that was ever invented. De Valera's "Big Switch" to Gaeilge had little to do with his love of Irish. He was a brainy man and also very observant. In the years 1922-1932 De Valera was not in power. He observed that the pro-treaty government had very little power, as all the business was done by the pro-British Civil Service which the State had inherited after the Treaty.

Dev realised that these people had to be shafted, and the only way to do it was with compulsory Irish. This broke the tradition of civil service jobs being handed down father to son.

Nobody realised that the cure here was as bad as the disease. It opened the door to a new breed of people to become our controllers. These people from the western seaboard, country peasants a lot of them, didn't know English, a handicap they had suffered from a time when they had to emigrate.

However, in 1932 this all changed. Dev put them on a pedestal, and boy did they glory in it. This ethnic move ruled out any competition for jobs in the civil service from the non-Gaelic-speaking part of the country.

This was a disaster as it barred people from parts of Ireland where people lived in a business background, farmers' families, the business people's families, people who paid rent and rates to keep the country going.

The "As Gaeilge" people had no background in the real world. These were people who were bred from people who never paid rent or rates -- ie poor land, small farms, fishermen; emigration was the only way out.

The sooner the better we get rid of this "sacred cow" and give equal chance to the best brains in the whole country rather than confining entry to the corridors of power to people from the western seaboard.

Keep at it Eilis, there are a lot of worms in this can.

Willie Spring,

Castlemaine, Co Kerry

Sunday Indo Business