European status for Irish is besides the point

If it’s true that Eilis O’Hanlon has little sympathy left for any project connected with Irish nationalism, this piece nevertheless comes under the heading of harsh but true. She argues that whatever the granting of official status to Irish in the EU, in Ireland, where it really matters, people are slowly abandoning it.

however much noise a small handful of our most vocal citizens may have made in recent months about European Union recognition of Irish, nobody really cares.

Oh, we say we do. If there was a list of issues we considered important, the status of the Irish language in Brussels might be one of the boxes we ticked – assuming, that is, we were allowed to tick as many as we liked.

It would be right up there with better nutritional labelling on supermarket food, more cycle ways, iodine tablets for all in case of nuclear emergency, universal peace and an end to world hunger, on the infinite wish list of things which it would be quite nice to have.

But deep down, we don’t really give a monkey’s about Irish. We only pretend to because it’s one of the things that educated and sophisticated Irish people are now supposed to believe, and because, well, believing in the spiritually-enhancing properties of the Irish language has become a habit we’re much too intellectually lazy to breakout of.

If we really cared about Irish, then we’d do something about it. Like speak it.