An Gaeilge, imigh libh!

I have to say that I have been flying in and out of Ireland, north and south, as the market dictated, for about twenty five years. On too few occasions have I been greeted in Irish. But it seems that the one carrier that could be relied upon to use the cúpla focail on landing, Aer Lingus, will no longer do sonot do so on their new Belfast service. Republican Sinn Fein are not happy, “Aer Lingus have long claimed to be the National carrier, but their actions in relation to their new Aldergrove hub shows that they have only self-interest rather than the National interest at heart.”

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh, tá fáilte romhaibh ar bord na heitilte seo – or hello and welcome to your flight. It’s a familiar greeting you’ll hear when flying Aer Lingus to anywhere – except Belfast.

The Dublin-based airline has ditched its familiar Irish-language greeting because it might upset passengers flying to and from the northern city.

Aer Lingus launched services from Belfast earlier this week.

But The Irish News has learned that executives at the highest level took the decision not to use Irish on board flights from the city because they might be politically contentious.

Since August, when Aer Lingus announced its plans for Belfast at Stormont in the presence of First Minister Ian Paisley, senior airline officials have been embroiled in a number of battles.