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Tadhg Maloney

Chapel Street,
Co. Meath,
Republic of Ireland
+353 89 489 8229


The Editor,
Ground Floor, Metro Building,
6-9 Donegall Sq South,
Belfast, BT1 5JA,
Northern Ireland

A chara,

I am writing to you to give my thoughts on the opinion piece “An Irish language act
would be one of the most disastrous things that could happen to NI”, by Maurice Fitzgerald published

To begin, I find even the title of the piece to be nothing short of fear-mongering. To
suggest, after all that has happened in Northern Ireland’s history, that a piece of legislation to protect
and promote a minority language would be “one of the most disastrous things that could happen to
NI” and re-spark the violence seen over the last 40 years is, quite frankly, laughable.

Mr. Fitzgerald begins his tirade with the unsupported and uneducated claim that the
Irish language is beginning to take precedence over English in the republic. I would like to remind your
readers that this is certainly not the case. 1.7 million people may claim competency in the language
south of the border, but with a figure of around 80,000 who say they use it daily outside the education
system, this is not a language that is kicking English to the curb.

He goes on to say that people who have applied for planning permission in the
Gaeltacht regions (not zones) were denied such due to their lack of fluency in Irish. This is, again,
untrue. The percentage of people in the Gaeltacht who can speak Irish is decreasing not because
people are letting go of the language, but rather because of the sheer volume of monoglot English
speakers moving in.

Moving on to his point about road sign translations, what Mr. Fitzgerald fails to realise
is that the place names of this entire island have as much meaning in English as a certain word we all

new bilingual public-sector employees can essentially do two jobs for the price of one i. I think it says more about them than anything else. that it will shove Irish down their throats. then the original Irish place names must be preserved and promoted. One translator for an assembly costs effectively nothing. people are not going to lose jobs to Irish speakers. nationalist or unionist. In fact.e. unstructured. native to this land. this opinion piece by Mr. is to truly understand and appreciate where they call home. deal with the public through both Irish and English. To conclude. if someone becomes so irate over the mere sight of a language. they will adopt translation techniques already in place here. avoiding any starting confusion. Le meas. Tadhg Maloney. Fitzpatrick is completely and utterly farcical.know from Mary Poppins. . to engage with their own country’s government. which the majority of them won’t be much like the republic. When government documents are to be translated. and that it will breed a new generation of young radical paramilitaries that will terrorise the streets of Northern Ireland like before. To be perfectly honest. its arguments unsupported. the language outrageous and hyperbolic. as well as providing another stable job. If anyone in Northern Ireland. Onto the matter of public sector quotas and government. Catholic or Protestant. and provides Irish speakers the right to use their language. and chaotic and why it was published in the first place is beyond me. It is nothing but scare tactics to convince non- Irish speakers that an ILA is to be feared. Nothing could be further from the truth.