Thursday, December 19, 2013

Coimisinéir not a child of Celtic Tiger!

Sometimes we read articles that ire us in the newspapers. An short article (see picture below) by columnist Brenda Power in the Irish edition of the Sunday Times, (8th December 2013) got to this blogger and he wrote a response which, mirabile dictu, made it past the editor with very few changes.

This is the letter as originally written:  


Brenda Power, Sunday Times Ireland, 8/12/2013
I was surprised at Brenda Power's short item, "That's a failure in any language!" in last Sunday's edition. It displayed quite surprising ignorance.

It said that the the post of Coimisinéir Teanga was a child of the Celtic Tiger, implying that it was throwing money away. Maybe it was but last year the budget for his office was a mere €600,000, hardly an extravagance. It would not pay many of our public representatives!

His appointment by the President of Ireland was to a position which was to see that state agencies themselves ensured the implementation of their obligations. These, let us not forget, are obligations under the constitution and under laws as enacted by the houses of the Oireachtas.

He has resigned not so mucht because the fulfilment of these legal obligations has failed, but rather because they have not been implemented.

That there are people in Ireland who wish to speak Irish, both in the Gaeltacht and in urban areas, is not in doubt. That they have rights in this regard too is not in doubt. This right is asserted both in the Constitution and also in the unanimously enacted Official Languages Act in 2003. The fact that over 6000 people found it necessary to use the services of his office - 28% from the Gaeltacht - surely is significant. Indeed in at least one case a citizen of this state was handcuffed and hauled off to a police station for asserting this constitutional right!  Presumable these people already have a love of the language which has hardly been fostered by order indeed the non-implimentation of these laws or orders is surely inimicable to this love.

Ms Power want's to "dump" this "pointless quango." To whom does she recommend these 6000 go when this office is abolished as she wishes.

Yours etc

See further correspondance in response to this letter at: What about the 83%? (30/12/2013)

See also our piece: Waiting for eggs for omelettes since 1892! written after the announcement by Seán Ó Cuirreáin of his resignation as Coimisinéir. This includes a full translation in English of his address to a Joint Oireachtas Committee at which he made the announcment!

This article in The Examiner, gives an end-of-year view following on the resignation of Seán Ó Cuirreáin - The surprising people speaking up for Irish! (31/1/2013). The editorial in the Irish Times, "The newspaper of record" is also a sharp defence of the words of the Coimisinéir, "Fudge Farce and Falsehood!" The Government has made no response to the resignation other than a short statement (issued initially in English only) thanking him for his service and the promise that a new Coimisinéir will be appointed.

Other letters have been written in English to the English language newspapers, not all of which have made it past the editorial eye! Two of these have been penned by the ever-thoughtful Aonghus Ó hAlmhain in his regular blog "Smaointe fánacha Aonghus!" (Tr: Aonghus's stray thoughts!). This contribution "Gaeilgeoirí, Gaeltacht agus Gearáin"*  includes two considered pieces in English which he had written and which were not published.

*The term "Gaeilgeoirí" is one which has different meanings or connotations depending on where one lives or where it is used. In the Gaeltacht it is a term used for the Irish students who flock in their thousands in the Summer. It is sometimes used derogatively especially in the hostile pens of certain loud journalists and then elsewhere used as a hand catch all phrase to include all Irish speakers. It can be translated to mean "Speakers of Irish" which is what it means in Aonghus's article. "Gaeltacht" meaning "Irish speaking Area) hardly needs to be translated. "Gearáin" means "Complaints."

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