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Fine for swearing is a load of f***ing b******s

A COUPLE of years back French Connection UK, sellers of the popular FCUK T-shirt, won a legal injunction in Dublin that barred a local business from selling a T-shirt marked 'FCEK -- The Irish Connection'.

It was of course a play on our favourite Irish swear word -- feck. Favourite because it's far less offensive than the other word and it's sort of a verb too.

You see there's slang and swear words here that don't quite mean the same thing as they do elsewhere.

One example for Americans. Be careful using the word 'ride' in Ireland. It doesn't mean what it does in the land of the free. If you ask a woman if she'd like one, expect a black eye and swear words and abuse to rain down on you.

Though you'll probably find the cursing more offensive than the physical assault.

That's the difference between us Irish and our American brethren. Paddies do swearing like the Yanks do jingoistic nationalism. It's engrained in our DNA; our way of punctuating a sentence, a catharsis.

We like to think it's our way of showing we're down to earth and that we live in a classless society.

Even our politicians do it. Deputy Paul Gogarty didn't skip a beat when he said: "with all due respect, in the most unparliamentary language, f*** you Deputy Stagg. F*** you."

When you have children you realise it's time to keep the swearing in check, lest social services turn up at your door. Even though you secretly think it's funny when someone else's child does it.

Now a town in the US has voted to make the foul-mouthed amongst them pay a $20 fine for swearing in public.

Imagine that here? We'd have the national debt cleared in jigtime. I swear.