Monday, December 4, 2017

A pronounced low level of respect!

‘I have a great love of the language… but I’m not promising that I’m going to study Irish,’ is the headline this morning in the Irish news service (Irish). It is quoting remarks the new Minister for the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, made in a programme on RTÉ Television - view the segment here.

Beirt gan Gaeilge!
According to a number of tweets that followed,  she displayed a marked depreciation of the National Language and culture. And another stated that she would be unable to communicate with the community she is supposed to be serving.

Indeed is is hardly an exaggeration to say that she embodies, as have all Ministers of the Gaeltachta since 2011, the State message noted by Seán Ó Cuirreáin so many times - "Speak Irish among yourselves but speak English to us!"

The fact that she seems to pawn off this part of her responsibility to a Junior Minister tells its own story - " know Joe McHugh has dedicated statutory responsibility for the Gaeltacht...."

A Green Party candidate for the Dublin Mid West Constituency, Peter Kavenagh, remarked, "It would appear that Fine Gael think Irish is quite nice, but that they do not have to take it seriously and show any commitment or leadership at the cabinet table!"

But perhaps the most fluent of the comments on twitter was from the twitter account of author Felicity Hays-McCoy.

"Not being proficient in a language doesn't imply you don't love it. Being unwilling to improve your proficiency in Irish when you're the minister with responsibility for the Gaeltacht suggests your definition of "loving" a language doesn't imply a high level of respect for it."

In last Saturday's Irish Times the incomparable Miriam Lord spoke about the new minister's insistence on the correct pronunciation of her name.

One wishes she showed even half this enthusiasm for the language and culture of the Region she has the honour to be responsible for, even if she tries to disown that responsibility.