Letters to the Editor

Nonsense claims need to be corrected in the interest of the Irish language

THE recent letter by Brian Mac Lochlainn – ‘Act na Gaeilge’ (April 14) – needs to be rebutted, and his nonsense claims need to corrected in the interest of the Irish language in case that any reader takes his claims as truth.

Conradh na Gaeilge has provided documents with its demands for an Irish language act and what it will entail, or in what contexts one would have the right to use Irish. There were some financial costings included in these documents, which are not enormously expensive. While there may not be a critical mass of fluent Irish speakers in Northern Ireland at present, it is not impossible to imagine that if there was a strong Irish-language law in place, it would encourage more and more people to speak and use Irish in their dealings with the state. Without such a law, it makes it difficult for people to be able to do that.

An tUasal Mac Lochlainn’s commented that the Irish government was the body that originally “hijacked” the Irish language to make it into a meaningless symbol. This is nonsense. Many of the revolutionaries a century ago (Eoin Mac Neill, Tomás Ashe, Micheál Ó Coileáin, Richard Mulcahy, Éamonn de Valera, Cathal Brugha, Earnán de Blaghd, etc) were members of Conradh na Gaeilge, and they wished to see the aim of the Conradh to re-establish Irish as the vernacular language of Ireland being made real by laying down in law that Irish was an official language of Ireland. That was not hijacking, it was practising what they preached. Native speakers were not ignored when creating a simpler and standardised spelling system. It does not take much effort to be able to learn the older and modern spellings of words, so Mac Lochlainn’s claim of leaving generations illiterate holds no water. The reason why native speakers were forced to deal with the state in the English language was for a number of reasons, including there being no language legislation to lay out what Irish speakers could expect and how, the reluctance of entitled civil servants to learn Irish and the lack of political will from the government to fire civil servants who were unable or unwilling to learn Irish. The Irish state was handed over by the British to Irish ministers in early 1922. The Irish ministers kept the British systems in place, apart from changing the flag and painting post boxes green.

The civil servants operated in English, and they refused to make a switch to Irish. No separate bodies were created to serve the Gaeltachtaí, so anglophone judges, gardaí, civil servants, engineers, teachers, etc. were sent to work in Gaeltacht areas. This was a disaster for the use of Irish in local government offices in the Gaeltachtaí.

It is true that the Irish government fought for years to prevent Irish becoming an official working language of the EU, but that was remedied in the 2000s and Irish is now an official language of the EU. Lastly, the claim by Mac Lochlainn that Irish place names are embarrassing and incorrect is nonsense. He provided no examples of incorrect place names, nor proof that Irish place names are “a complete embarrassment”.

From reading Mac Lochlainn’s

letter, it appears that he has a grudge against many things relating to the Irish language rather than a proposed piece of legislation in the north.

He should support the cause of An Dream Dearg to get the law passed, rather than spread false histories and claims.

SEANÁN Ó COISTÍN
Trier, Deutschland

 

Medical alert bracelets are a valuable asset

Medical alert bracelets, pendants, and wallet cards can take the guesswork out of medical assessments once a person is found in difficulty. However, you will be hard pressed to find a first aid or first responder course anywhere in the country that mentions them. Vital minutes are lost by passersby and sometimes medical personnel who neglect to look for this very helpful information. Medical alert bracelets have a person’s medical condition on them – such as diabetes 1 or 2, anaphylaxis, heart condition, allergy information etcetera and their requirements. They may also have ICE (‘in case of an emergency’) information on them. In addition, they have information about injection pens, which the patient has on their person. It is all very well having defibrillator units all over the country at various locations such as shopping centres, Garda stations, churches, sports clubs and other strategic locations; however these units deal with heart arrhythmia, not a variety of other medical problems with can be understood through fast ready information on the person who is in difficulty. Every person who has a medical condition, no matter what age, should have one and it should also be part of the Census. It saves crucial time, speeds up diagnosis and treatment to save lives or life-changing injury. Let’s be intelligent — wear one and look for one.

MAURICE FITZGERALD
Shanbally, Co Cork

 

Political carousel

Once again on May 5th, under the guise of a democratic election, a political pantomime is coming to the province where we useful innocents live. As usual the posters are bright and glossy, spouting the same old recycled verbiage, and just like last time the pantomime came we simple folk will lap it up and get our desserts. All we have to do is to tolerate another sinecure brought about this time by the declining DUP, Sinn Féin having already had their turn. Blatant examples of the betrayal of we simple folk, by political parties who do not give a rat’s tail about the electorate until an election is looming.

Not entirely idle during the latest Stormont meltdown, time will have been spent burnishing flags of orange and green with which they will beguile us simple folk, as their tawdry pantomime passes through, and they know we will succumb as we have been doing for generations.

WILSON BURGESS
Derry City

 

Eloquent description of Irish place names

I detect an attachment to Irish place names in Brian Mac Lochlainn’s letter (April 14). I recommend him to read John Creedon – That Place We Call Home.

Creedon travels the byways and boreens of Ireland and writes eloquently and descriptively about place names and reveals stories from the land of Eireann.

He will acquire knowledge and tranquillity from this excellent book rather than listen to unending rhetoric from politicians.

BRIAN WILSON
Craigavon, Co Armagh

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