We will translate everything until 2008..

The Irish Times has a short report[subs req] on the questions in the Dáil yesterday on Irish Language, picking out specific responses by the Taoiseach and other party leaders, but this response, from the Taoiseach, is worth noting in particular, and may be recalled should the Assembly ever manage to debate this issue – “In response to a question here recently I said the cost of preparing a particular document in English was €685 but the cost of the Irish translation was just short of €17,000. In terms of some documents we should not change things, but for others I must consider if that expenditure can be justified in the longer term. Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.”The full quote is here –

The Taoiseach: I accept that cost is not always the priority especially with important documents. Deputy Rabbitte made the point that some documents were widely read but others are not. In response to a question here recently I said the cost of preparing a particular document in English was €685 but the cost of the Irish translation was just short of €17,000. In terms of some documents we should not change things, but for others I must consider if that expenditure can be justified in the longer term. Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.

He went on to say, in response to a follow-up question from Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin –

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Is the Taoiseach reviewing how to have documents translated or whether there is a need for them to be translated?

The Taoiseach: The sheer volume of work involved in translating everything must be kept under review. If a document is important, for example those connected with education, then it must be translated into Irish regardless of cost but the costs over a period of time are substantial and must be taken into account. We will translate everything until 2008 but we have to keep it under review.

From the Irish Times report

Irish translation costs have to be kept under review, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil as he pointed out that the preparation of a particular document in English was €683 but the Irish version was just under € 17,000.

“I accept that cost is not always the priority, especially with important documents.” However “some documents were widely read but others are not”, he said during questions on the Irish language.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte asked if the requirement that every official document be published in both languages was the best use of public money to stimulate greater use of Irish.

“Apart from the cost for every organisation producing a bilingual report, the amount of hours that go into doing so is considerable. Is that the best use of money or would a similar bequest to TG4 produce a better response from the public?”

Mr Ahern said: “Another factor we must watch closely is the overall cost because if it comes to the point where everything must be translated, the cost could be enormous.”

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    The Taoiseach on this occasion was only quoting the costs associated with graphics etc wrt to the English version of the document while the time involved by the civil servants and the entire kitchen sink was accounted for in the figure for in the Irish language document.
    The question that should be asked is not whether journalists working in the Irish language aren’t entitled to the same service as their English language colleagues but rather why did the government need to produce a 70,000 word document in the first place? In any language, it was a gross exercise in vanity.
    Incidentally such poorly balanced postings as that posted by Pete wrt to the Irish language are to be expected. It doesn’t of course make them right. It’s entirely typical of those who wish to denigrate Irish to misrepresent the facts in this way.
    The source for my assertions is an interview done by Irish language commissioner, Sean O Cuireain, on RTE RnaG early this morning.
    Perhaps Pete can check it with the Taoiseach – it might be nice if somebody were to check such blatantly wrong and misleading stories about the Irish language before posting them gleefully.

  • Pete Baker

    it might be nice if somebody were to check such blatantly wrong and misleading stories about the Irish language before posting them gleefully.

    Oilbhear

    Where to begin? Seriously, I’ve linked to the questions [and answers] in the Dáil and quoted the Taoiseach directly and extracted from the Irish Times article. gleefully??? Sheesh.

  • Todd

    If it was 70,000 words I could have got it done for €12,600 !

  • Butterknife

    Don’t forget the fee for the taxi from Dublin too Belfast;-) That brings it up to €126,000 …

  • Crataegus

    Common sense, is it a good way to spend money, and could it be better spent. These are perfectly valid questions. Why should Irish be above such considerations?

    One of the few occasions I would agree with Bertie. The amount of time and resources spent trying to revive Irish and the effewctiveness really has to be questioned in light of other priorities. The approach needs to be reassessed.

    What is the percentage of the population on this island that speak Irish as their primary language? 30,000 out of 5,600,000; 1 in 186; .053% The population of a reasonably sized county town.

  • Crataegusm, you can’t count the entire population of the island, this is a matter for the Irish state surely?

    What’s needed is a balanced approach here, and while the figures might be off what the Taoiseach is saying seems quite reasonable.
    “Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.”

  • J McConnell

    > Crataegusm, you can’t count the entire population of the island, this is a matter for the Irish state surely?

    Not if you are all in favor of a united Ireland…

    Actually a more interesting number is not the number who use Irish on a daily basis (less than 2%) but the number of mono-lingual Irish speakers who can read Irish but cannot read English.

    Have there been any such people for the last few generations?

    Surely the whole point of publishing official documents in minority languages is for the benefit of those who cannot read the majority language.

    Oh, I forgot, this is Ireland. Where the only reason for publishing documents in the minority language is to keep up the pretense that the minority language is still alive and viable.

  • Crataegus

    Maca

    OK .075% is not much of an improvement. By the way I agree.

    The current approach to Irish has been an abject failure and it is time to reconsider.

    To quote from http://www.villagemagazine.ie/article.asp?sid=1&sud=40&aid=755

    “Despite the average pupil having over 1,500 hours of tuition in Irish spread over 14 years, the vast majority of students leave our schools completely unable to hold a simple conversation, or even spell Irish names correctly.”

    It is a good article from someone who I believe is supportive of the need to invest in Irish.

    Personally I simply dislike being compelled to take an interest in something that I really do not have the slightest interest in, or see any need for, but am quite willing to pay tax to pay for the education of those with interest just as I would for those interested in Astronomy etc. However I would like money spent prudently and proportionately based on real demand and interest.

  • JMcC
    “Not if you are all in favor of a united Ireland…”

    ???? What’s it got to do with a UI??

    Crataegus
    “OK .075% is not much of an improvement.”

    You’re right, but I just wanted to point that out anyway. (though are you sure about the 30K?)

    “The current approach to Irish has been an abject failure and it is time to reconsider.”

    You’re going on to a different issue there. Translating documents is not about promoting the language, it’s about providing for the minority who have Irish as a first lamguage. IMO.

  • George

    JMc,
    “Surely the whole point of publishing official documents in minority languages is for the benefit of those who cannot read the majority language.”

    Actually, it isn’t. The whole point is to allow people to use their minority language wherever possible. If there is a demand for documents in Irish from the minority community then they should be in Irish.

    Seems sensible that you shouldn’t be forced to use the majority language. Seems equally sensible that if there is no demand, they shouldn’t be translated.

  • Crataegus

    George

    There are probably more people who speak Chinese as the first language so do we translate into Chinese? I think the money would be better spent ensuring that areas where Irish is viable remain socially cohesive. If that does not happen it will die as a living language. The number of people in Dublin indulging their interest will not save the language. It would be like a fad similar to the ruling class in St Petersburg speaking French. A very fragile future.

    Maca

    The figures I have seen vary from 30000 to 70000. Either way it is disastrously low. I am merely being devils advocate. The problem is that it is being progressively replaced as the FIRST language by English. In Finland which people keep referring to Swedish is about 6% of the population and the language in Lapland 7%

  • Crataegus
    “Either way it is disastrously low”

    It certainly is, unfortunatly.

    As for Finland, I believe they have much the same problem, Swedish being replaced by Finnish but I think measures to promote the language there go a lot further than for Irish in Ireland afaik

  • Of course the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland has a large Swedish-speaking country just across the border. The Irish-speaking minority is Ireland is not in the same happy situation – which goes some way to explaining the disparity.

  • Crataegus

    Sorry need to correct the post above the Lap language is only spoken by a few people and is regarded as an official language in municipalities where 7% speak the language. I knew there was a 7% somewhere.

    I think in Finland the Swedish minority has its origins in Christian missionaries, and the number speaking that has dropped from 20% (18th Century) to 6% now. The decision to have Swedish as the second language is very pragmatic given the historic difficult relationship to the East.

    In ways I agree with notmyopinion learning Swedish has distinct advantages and note it is not the Lap language as the second language.

    Imagine a group of people in Dublin or Belfast in a bar deciding to speak Irish, what exactly is that all about? Is it a hobby, an interest, or a badge of identity? On an uncharitable day I would say that it was a form of escapism on a power with playing Dungeons and Dragons. Let’s speak elfish and pretend. Fine with me and good that people have that interest as few would actually want the language to die, but I personally prefer pottery or the Sky at Night. Equally sad interests, but I don’t make inflated claims to justify their importance

  • notmyopinion
    “Of course the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland has a large Swedish-speaking country just across the border. The Irish-speaking minority is Ireland is not in the same happy situation – which goes some way to explaining the disparity.”

    I’m not sure I agree with that so much. It makes it easier to move to Sweden and get a job maybe, and Swedish tv programs can be imported rather than made at home but I’m not sure I see that many other benefits.

    Ctataegus
    “the Lap language is only spoken by a few people and is regarded as an official language in municipalities where 7% speak the language.”

    It’s more accurate to say The Sami Language, and of course Lapland plus the Sami people are spread across Northern Europe, they’re not just confined to Finland.

    “The decision to have Swedish as the second language is very pragmatic given the historic difficult relationship to the East.”

    On the other hand they have been speaking Swedish there for probably about 1000 years. In some areas of the country, such as Österbotten, Swedish speakers were the first inhabitants (apart from the odd Saami nomadic tribe) so Swedish speakers are actually as “native” as Finnish speakers.
    Or to put it another way, there were Swedish speakers there before Finland came to exist.

    “On an uncharitable day I would say that it was a form of escapism on a power with playing Dungeons and Dragons.”

    That is not accurate and I would go so far as to say that it’s offensive!
    Elvish was invented by Tolkien. Irish has been developing here since the Gaelic speaking Celts came to the island. Irish, along with English, is part of my identity and I am free to use either language if I so desire.

    “I personally prefer pottery or the Sky at Night. Equally sad interests, but I don’t make inflated claims to justify their importance”

    Hmm.

  • Dutch

    Crataegus,

    Your ideas about where the Swedish speakers came from in Finland are misplaced.

    As Maca said the Swedish speakers in the coastal areas like Ostrobothnia are descended from Vikings who first settled these areas before the Finnish even got there.

    Aland is a monolingual Swedish speaking island that belongs to Finland.

    Other Swedish speakers came during the time when Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. These were the ruling class and akin to the English speakers who settled the Pale in Ireland.

    The next group comes from mixed marriages. When Swedish was the main language of education and commerce and every Finnish person was compelled to have a Swedish name it was also de rigeur for the children of mixed marriages to be brought up as Swedish speakers. A related group was the group of Finnish people who abandoned Finnish and brought up their children as Swedish speakers.

    It is also not true that the Swedish speakers are in decline. In the last 20 to 30 years the group has been stable at 5 to 6% of the population. It is unlikely to grow but neither is it likely to collapse because Finland provides a Swedish spesking prallel infrastructure and even has Swedish apeaking universities like the famous Abo Akademi. Added to that is the fact that Sweden is just next door and everybody has Swedish television.

    The big problem with Ireland is that there is no urban centre where Irish is the main language. Here in Holland Frisian is in a healthy state because Leeuwaarden is a city where the majority speak Frisian. Without a critical mass of speakers you are doomed.

    Added to that is the paucity of good, affordable literature and magazines in Irish. If I want to brush up my German I just buy Focus or turn on
    ZDF. What do I do if I want to practice Irish?

    Rather than paying so much money to translate government documents that even Irish speakers read in English the government should use that money to translate major European literature into Irish. That way I don’t have to try to read novels set in the Gaeltacht. I have never read a novel in Irish that I actually liked (short stories yes, poetry yes). There is a translation into Irish available of Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier. That’s the kind of direction they need to keep up.

  • J McConnell

    Dutch

    > The big problem with Ireland is that there is no urban centre where Irish is the main language.

    And the reason for this is very simple. All the cities, and almost all the towns, in Ireland were founded by either the Scandinavians, Norman Welsh or English. The urban areas of Ireland have never been majority Irish speaking. Irish was always the language of rural areas.

    Regarding Swedish speakers in Finland. They are mostly a remnant of the several hundred years of Swedish rule that ended in 1815. Their position in Finland is somewhat analogous to that of Protestants in the South. They tend to be disproportionately middle/upper middle class, and have suffered a precipitous decline in numbers soon after independence to a number that has stabilized around 5% for the last few decades.

  • Dutch

    J McConnell,

    The reason that there is no Irish speaking urban centre isn’t really related to who founded the city. After all it is not unknown cities change inhabitants and language. Polish speaking Wroclaw was German speaking Breslau before World War 2.

    To use the analogy of Leeuwarden the Irish government(or British government) before 1921 could have undertaken policies to consolidate Irish speakers into say Galway city. Using the right policy tools they could have made an existing urban area predominantly Irish speaking
    Everybody in Leeuwarden speaks Dutch but Frisian is in common use, it is the kind of situation that Galway maybe should have but doesn’t.

    About the Swedish speaking Finns you are only right about a percentage of them. If you read my post above I explained the origin of the different Swedish speaking groups.

  • This is a debate that is aoften raised in Wales, but although there have been a few Language Acts here (the latest being in 1993), I would imagine somehw that the equivaent in the Republic is strickter. As a Welsh speaker I want to be able do as many things as possible through my mother tounge. As Welsh is a minority langugae in Wales this isn’t always possible, and like in Ireland opportunities vary from area to area. But the one situation where one should be able do expect a service in one’s language of choice, regardless of where you live is when dealing with the state.

    Having said all that, there’s nothing wrong with discussing/reviewing the issue occasionally, because as with everything there’s the question of resources.

    What dissapoints me here is peoples attitudes towards the Irish language (although I read exactly the same in Wales re. the Welsh language), and the general ignorance towards linguistic rights.

    Many here complain about being ‘forced’ to learn Irish at school (where as I’d say they’re ‘given the opportunity’), but see no problem with an Irish speaker being forced to fill in a form in English. A minority language becomes more of a minority when the opportunities to use it dissapear.

    The ‘more Chinese speakers than Irish speakers’ argument is completely irrelevant. Chines people choose to settle in Ireland, and therefore the onus is on them to learn one of the two languages spoken in the country. Irish speakers have a right to use their own language in their own country.

  • Dutch

    Rhys,

    I see where you are coming from but I don’t really agree that spending so much money on making forms and documents available in Irish really helps.

    What helps a language is making media available that make you want to use that language and communicate in it. I went through the Irish school system and left school in 1989 with an A in higher level Irish. After I left school there was zero opportunity to speak the language in my daily life and there was only one news program in Irish on the television.

    Anno 2005 the situation is better. There are Irish websites like Beo and you can get TG4 if you live in Ireland. However, the websites that there are tend to be self-indulgent so there are many articles about the status of the language, the Gaeltacht or interviews with Irish speakers.
    TG4 is ruined by showing programs in languages other than Irish.

    If you are learning any other language, including smaller ones like Icelandic, you will find a whole world on the internet with real people chatting in that language, writing good books in that language, making the language sexy.

    The Icelandic government subsidizes the publication of translations into Icelandic so that there are always good works coming into the body of work in that language. They realize that every Icelandic author is not Halldor Laxness or Olaf Olafsson.

    The Irish government should spent the Irish language budget on making good TV programs, books, magazines and websites available in the language.

    Without these stimuli there is not much incentive to want to keep up a good level of Irish. I say this as somebody who speaks many other languages. If anybody should be a supporter of the Irish language it should be someone like me. Unfortunately I spend more time speaking Polish and Japanese now than Irish.

  • Both of you lads have very good points there (hello again Rhys), I guess the trick is to find the meeting point between both positions.
    I think Rhys is definitly right in that an Irish speaker should at least be able to deal with the state through his/her first language, I don’t think that is too much to expect.

    Dutch you also raise a good point on the material which is available and on reflection I agree that a lot of the material seems to be “self-indulgent”, your suggestion is a good one.
    There is at least one place you can use your Irish anyway, the Irish language blogs. An tImeall is the best and he has links to other Irish language blogs.
    http://imeall.blogspot.com/

  • Dutch

    Maca,

    Thanks for that link, I’ll check it out. I haven’t looked into blogs in Irish before. Up until now I looked at Yahoo groups and the normal Irish language websites but nothing attracted me to keep it up.

    It’s funny because I am learning Japanese now and going through the whole process of looking for usable media and I am getting children’s books, I have found learner websites and there is even a very good learner’s magazine. Even with my small knowledge of Japanese I am finding a lot of things to grab me.

    I would love if the Irish language community could take a step back and think of a person learning Irish in Japan. TG4 should be free over the web (not 8 euro a month). There should be a learner’s magazine about normal Irish life and not just Gaeltacht issues. There should be a short wave station broadcasting in Irish.

    These measures would also help the ‘former’ Irish like myself. Make the language sexy, it is not too hard.

    Government documents in Irish read like insurance policies, they don’t make me have a better view of Irish.

  • Crataegus

    Dutch and Meca

    I do know that the Swedish language goes back a long time and thanks for the clarification, but historically, over the last two centuries, its use has declined to I think 5.7%. It may well have stabilised in recent decades. I also know the Laps speak Sami and the Finnish language spreads across the Russian border etc. All interesting information.

    What I would like to see is a common sense approach to the Irish language. It is a field of learning that I am happy enough to fund with my taxes, just as I am other fields of learning. However once zealots start making inflated claims, treating disproportionately and squander money then you alienate people like myself, who then say, this is a disgraceful waste of money and we would rather see the money spent on care for the elderly, health …… Similarly if you force children to learn something they see as utterly irrelevant you make enemies of them for life. Most of us have some distasteful memories of school. The use of Irish as a political football in the North is a major mistake.

    National identities are constantly changing. Irish was once the language of this country, but there were other languages before that and now it is English. A small number speak Irish as their first language. There are many people established in this country who have their own social networks and who use other languages as their prime means of communication. The Chinese, Indian and Islamic communities are prime examples, but there are also quite large communities who speak Portuguese and other languages. The social networks around some of these languages will ensure they endure and that is without one cent of financial support from public funds. Compare that to the resources thrown at Irish. As immigration continues these communities will grow. Ireland is changing.

    People learn Irish as an interest, out of nostalgia, as a badge of identity, an interest in the past etc. As language is primarily a means of communication this interest of itself will not ensure the survival of the language as a living language. For Irish to survive where people speak Irish must have a sustainable local economic base and viable social networks. The money needs to be spent on the day to day things people do and need and common interests. There needs to be industries that produce wealth and employment locally other than tourism. General tourism and holiday homes will cause a decline in the use of the language. There is a very different feel to the Welsh speaking areas of Wales and Irish speaking areas. The point regarding towns may have something to do with it, but you feel that Welsh is here to stay for a while yet, you don’t get that feeling about Irish despite all the tokenism. On this island we like our myths.

    Maca sorry to offend the elfish was a bit over the top. But there are times when I really can’t see the point in spending time on something that is for me utterly irrelevant. Why learn a language so you can go down to the pub on a Friday to spend an hour talking to someone who has also learnt it, when both of you could save effort and simple converse in English? To me it is like some complicated game or ritual and it really has me foxed. Why bother? It is not as if you are using the language for the purposes of research or the re-examination of source material or to speak to an Irish speaker. So why do people do it? I really do not understand. Is it some indefinable communal sense loss, the manifestation of a grief? An insecurity, an need for an identity? But then I have to remind myself that philosophical debates on dark matter and the origins of the Universe seem esoteric to most people. So if other people’s interests are generally positive and don’t threaten or impose on me let them get on with it. Variety makes life interesting.

  • Crataegus

    PS
    the points on Books etc are excellent.

  • Dutch
    Do you listed to RnaG much? You can get it over the web. How about Lá (nuacht.com) or Foinse(.ie), do you subscribe?

    For learners there’s quite a lot of material, IMO. There’s umpteen books available, some with tapes/CD’s, there’s a good few websites, some with downloadable sound files. There’s Gaeltalk.net where you can get lessons online, there’s also mailing lists like Gaeilge-B for learners or Gaeilge-A for fluent speakers. There’s at least 3-4 online book shops with a good supply of books for learners.
    I think learners can find plenty of resources, at least enough to learn the basics of the language, though I agree there is an absence of resources for advanced learners or fluent speakers. It’s something that does need to be looked at.

  • aonghus
  • Dutch

    Crataegus,

    I think that you make some great points. For me it is pointless if two English speakers engage in a discussion in a language that neither of them is fluent in. I am not interested in sitting in a pub talking to second language speakers in Irish.

    However, I would love to speak to a native speaker because then you are learning from the source. Irish is in decline because there are just not enough native speakers.

    I can’s speak for all Gaeilscoileanna but I know kids in my home town who went to the local Gaeilscoil. They followed all of the lessons in Irish but then spoke English at the break. Surely that is one place where Irish should be the natural language of communication.

    I don’t think that it is a waste to devote money to the language but the budget needs to be used effectively. I really think that a Baile Nua could be the answer. Once the Irish language has a proper infrastructure in an urban area it has a chance to grow.

    There is a hypocritical attitude to the language in Ireland with the tokenistic cupla focail every blue moon and the idea that Galway is a bilingual city. A bit more realism and the language could be helped to survive in an economically sustainable way.

    As to why anybody would want to learn Irish. For me you learn to know a different version of yourself with every language you speak. Irish has unique ways of expressing concepts. It is our link with an ancient past. It is part of what we have become and it can be part of what we are if we don’t let it slip away.

  • Dutch

    Maca,

    There are indeed materials available for learners of the Irish language but IMHO they are not of a comparatively high quality compared to other languages.

    As for advanced learners or fluent speakers that is the main area where good resources are lacking.
    There are very few translated novels, there are zero films and, although Beo and the TG4 website are good, they are not as interesting as any number of websites I might go to to read in other languages. The main difference is that I can read all of the news in German or Dutch instead of English but I cannot use Irish instead.

    I do agree that RnaG is a good resource but it is parochial and the only reason to turn it on is to hear Irish. I would like a station to listen to that was similiar to an English or Dutch station but in Irish. I am not interested in local life in Donegal, I am originally from Clare. Clare FM is my equivalent of RnaG

    Aonghus,
    Thanks for the links. I know that there are books available in Irish but there are just not so many that seem interesting to me. An Beal Bocht was recommended to me but I wouldn’t want to read the English version of it either.
    I want to read books set in today’s world about crime, love, society, war… Unless they start translating more books into Irish then it won’t be so attractive to read books in.
    Poetry in Irish is a sceal eile.

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    The initial post is based on a lie or, to put it more diplomatically, a skewed presentation of the facts. The Taoiseach said what he said – but it was incorrect or at least incomplete.

    Therefore the discussion is based on a falsehood and is skewed. I pointed this out – and no one has contradicted me.

    Yet some have taken this as another cue to get on their anti Irish bandwagon. So be it.

  • Pete Baker

    Oilbhear

    By all means dispute the actual figures, and how the Taoiseach arrived at them.. but if it’s a lie, or a skewed presentation of the facts, then it’s a lie/skewed presentation by the Taoiseach not by me. And no-one’s climbed on to any anti-Irish bandwagons.. you should keep on eye on that caffeine intake.

    Personally, I thought the more interesting aspect of what the Taoiseach said was this –

    “In terms of some documents we should not change things, but for others I must consider if that expenditure can be justified in the longer term. Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration.”

  • aonghus

    Scríobh Dutch

    I want to read books set in today’s world about crime, love, society, war

    Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé has written a few novels set in the 60s, including one about a Kerryman in the Mafia.

    There are a series of books for adult learners, some of which are whodunnits.

    There are lots of books, and some translation is going on.

  • aonghus

    “Whether a document is important and in demand from Irish speakers should be a consideration”

    I don’t often agree with Bertie, but he has a point.

    I want to be able to do my business with teh State in Irish – that mostly only means forms for Taxes in Irish – which I use.

    The report of the Dept of an Taosieach, running to 70k words is not top of my reading list. I wonder is it “important and in demand from English speakers”?

  • Crataegus

    Rhys

    “The ‘more Chinese speakers than Irish speakers’ argument is completely irrelevant. Chinese people choose to settle in Ireland, and therefore the onus is on them to learn one of the two languages spoken in the country”

    Many of these people are 2nd and 3rd generation and yes they do speak English, but their language seems to endure without state aid? At what point do you think we should regard them as Irish and afford them equally rights? How long does a population have to live here? How widespread does a minority language need to be before we recognise it is here? Conversely how low a percentage use must a native language sink to before we consider down grading it?

  • Crataegus

    Dutch

    I agree with what you say regarding expenditure and speaking to someone fluent and/or whose language it is does make sense to me. What gets right up my nose is much of the sheer hypocrisy and tokenism. You can’t even imply criticism or suggest something may be wrong or could be done better. It is a sacred cow and that is not healthy.

    “For me you learn to know a different version of yourself”

    I think that is true for most fields of learning or a skill you get a sense of satisfaction from. Some people get it from making furniture, working on engines, abstract mathematical concepts or a sport. Anything that people can aspire to do well, and for that individual raises their spirit, but it is a mistake to burden your interest on someone who does not share it, but you should make the opportunity available to them.

    Oilbhear Chromaill

    “another cue to get on their anti Irish bandwagon”

    I thought the thread was generally quite positive. No one is saying Irish should be allowed to die but simple suggesting that a review may be necessary. Let us face reality the last 50 years could hardly be described as a roaring success.