“the idea of positive discrimination has not been ruled out completely…”

Robin Swann on why he’s not convinced by a stand alone Irish Language Act…

Instead of focussing on that which should unite society – the need to tackle waiting-lists, the crisis in school budgets, and the need to create new and better jobs – Northern Ireland is being all but held to ransom by Sinn Fein demands about a language that was politicised by them and used and abused by them for their own selfish reasons.

Sinn Fein have now disassociated themselves from the Conradh na Gaeilge proposal that 10% of civil service recruits should be fluent Irish speakers. It should, however, be noted that the idea of positive discrimination has not been ruled out completely, merely the percentage. Quite simply, the Ulster Unionist Party will not support discrimination against English speakers.

It takes a lot of political capital to unlock such generosity towards one section of society, and it seems to me, no one in nationalism is currently prepared to spend what it might take to get such an action up and going.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And positive discrimination usually only leads to grumbling and resentment which NI sees far too much of whether due to groundless or substantiated grievance. Positive discrimination does of course imply an “unlevel” playing field. However, requiring 10% of a workforce to have working knowledge of a language that only 2% of the population speak to any degree of fluency does not redress any unlevel playing field that I’m aware of.
    Anyway it sounds like we’re both still fact checking on Mr Swann’s claim of the 10% stipulation. When will we know?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Why is it subversive in Northern ireland and not subversive in Wales or Scotland? Are Gaidhlig speakers in Scotland deliberately refusing to read signs in English? Are Welsh speakers in Wales deliberately refusing to listen to announcements in English? Why would you deny Irish speakers in NI rights that are freely available in other parts of UK? is it because citizens of the UK in NI are second class citizens? Is that your view? That’s what it seems like to me? Every post you make makes the case against an Irish Language Act more ridiculous! You are gradually worming your way into my good books! Keep it up!

  • Jeff

    but concubhar, the whole point is people on the whole have no interest in speaking Irish, learning it, let alone being told they have to have it as a condition of employment. It is a social language that those who wish to use it can do so to their hearts content. I think your bordering on dangerous ground if your liking it to a medical qualification.

  • The worm!

    What’s with this England, Scotland, Wales thing? This is Northern Ireland and if you want an Irish Language act here, this is where you need to make the case for it.

    You went off on a rant there and as usual totally avoided the issue so I’ll make it simple.

    How will being able to speak the Irish language enable civil servants to serve more people as you claim?

    It’s a pretty simple question.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Ah yes, those more inclusive and secure types of prods.
    I wish I could be more of an exclusive type or prod myself. The main barrier is that it’s a highly selective kind of private members club. Nonetheless, I might just bluff my way through the vetting procedure.
    Tell me what the criteria are for membership please!

  • Jeff

    Police, hospitals, fire brigade etc are essential services, speaking Irish is not. Your now suggesting enforced learning of Irish in the work place. What if I said I didn’t want to learn Irish? Would I be discriminated against? By your comments I think I would be. Keep it as a valuable social language that’s it, if there is an organic growth it it across the community as a whole, fine, but I fear we are on a fascist agenda, one that I’m very uncomfortable with.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    The joke was that it was ‘Prison Irish’: ungrammatical, with poor syntax, and of a similar standard to the abominable English I’m responding to.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Forgive me for thinking that NI is still part of UK and the same rights including minority rights (indigenous language rights also) extend to all parts of UK!

  • The worm!

    You are quite correct so no forgiveness required.

    Now could you be so good as to answer the question if you don’t mind.

    Thanks.

  • Pang

    I always suspected the Irish Language Act was about making up jobs for Shinners (I know not all Irish speakers in NI are Shinners, but lots more than vote UUP/DUP).
    Down here in the Republic a lot of government jobs were reserved for Irish speakers – just in case during your 40 year career someone exercised their right to receive the dole through Irish).
    Adding an Irish language requirement to a job when the job can be done without it is wrong – why not just have a religious requirement or sex or eye colour.
    I hated learning Irish in school & was fairly bad at it. If there was a vote to downgrade the status of the language I would be out campaigning.
    If there is a way to get people to hate something it us to give it the full backing of legislation.
    I fear the legislation will be used to ram the language down people’s throats.

  • The worm!

    Have read the responses today of one of it’s most vociferous campaigners on here, I fear you could be quite correct!

  • Aodh Morrison

    Which model are you going for, the Welsh or Scottish? They are quite different in application.

    The more you post the more I think an Irish Language Act would be just another irritant. The Irish (and English)-speaking malcontents will spend their days wandering around trying to catch out civil servants for not responding in the preferred language. Those opposed to the language will be energised by the imbroglio that will follow.

    Still there’s fun to be had. A recent story from Wales illustrates the silliness that is almost inevitable when a minority language is force-fed into the milieu of public bodies were only a few actually can speak the language fluently. The story made the BBC News.

    The highways’ department of a local government are required to erect a sign directing trucks away from a particular road. Of course as required by the local Welsh Language scheme the sign must be bilingual. So the department sends a email to the council translation service (the jobs for the boys as already referenced on this thread).

    A reply returns and the sign is made. Unfortunately, and after being in place for several weeks, a member of the public informs the council that the Welsh language sign does not say what the English one does. In fact it has nothing whatsoever to do with traffic at all. It is an ‘out of office’ response (in Welsh only) requesting that contact is made with the translation office when the staff return.

    Fun for all! Welsh language activists complain about the council’s attitude to Welsh (although they might not have you the ‘R’ for respect word), those who are less enthusiastic about enforced Welsh signage decry the waste and redicule heaped on council employees.

    And all that in Wales! Where the levels of fluency in Welsh across the country can only be dreamed off anywhere in Ireland; and where the language question is not being injected into an existing fraught communal environment.

  • The worm!

    Well I just hope we actually do get to know before a deal is done.

    I’d been leaning towards the stance that the DUP should just agree to it and get on with things but I’m firmly of the view now that it’s something that’s needs to be dealt with within a working assembly so that we know properly what we would be getting and it could be decided by as wide a range of views as possible.

    I obviously didn’t take it seriously enough or fully realise the potential ramifications of an act but my thanks to Mr O Liathain for the education.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    They will be able to offer the same level of service as is available to Gaidhlig speakers in Scotland and Welsh speakers in Wales. Equal nations! Equal rights!

  • james

    “You are, of course, being ridiculous.”

    Well, one of us is.

    “Me lobbying for a doctor AND patient to learn Irish ‘ solely so that each can perform their end of the consultation in a language that neither are likely ever to speak’. Whoever said that?”

    That is exactly what you are proposing.

    “You will find that people who come from the rest of Europe/Asia/Africa or wherever else will see it that way too”

    Not sure what ‘it’ is. If you are suggesting they are eager to learn Irish you are probably wrong; if you think they wish to be discriminated against because they don’t speak Irish, you are definitely wrong.

    “as they are probably multilingual (as opposed to monoglot like most English people)”

    Perhaps. A lot of English people are monoglot, I personally speak several languages besides English. I also know three or four words in Irish – does that make me part of the ‘10%’?

  • james

    Further discrimination then? Extra holidays for Irish speakers while non-Irish speakers pick up the slack? You’re verging on self-parody here….

  • The worm!

    Still no answer to my question then!

    Again, how will being able to speak the Irish language enable civil servants to serve more people as you claim?

    You made the claim, it’s perfectly fair to ask for an explanation of the reasoning behind it.

  • Tropicop

    In my limited exposure to fluent Irish speakers the question is more about considering dilaects. Im led to believe that all 4 provinces have their own unique dialect, pretty much the same with English. I have met people from Tyrone who I struggle with in English at times. How is this countered if public services are opened up in Irish? If the staff member learns Irish in say, Munster and they are talking to someone who leanred in Ulster, do they revert to english for the part they fail to understand clearly?

    If we are destined to go as far as court casesservices being conducted in Irish, the world really has gone mad. I speak two other langaues, one with regional fluency, and I can assure you whilst I could easily defend myself in a court situation in this language, my first choice would always be to speak English as I know I am unlikely to be misundersttod. It is one thing to speak a language, but its a different matter in understanding different regional dialects, with certainty. In official situations like a courtroom, when using a second language it presents a risk.

    I have nothing against an IL act, and totally respect anyone who speaks it, or desires to learn it. The IL has a place and should be cherised by those who love it. But to give it partiy to English is very foolish indeed. To give, or to give thought, to funding to it whilst NI health and education are in crisis is lunacy.

    Learning a language is a process and the process is hastened by being immersed in a comminity that use the language every day.Does such an area even exist in NI?

    I read this site ofen and am always staggered at how little thought some posters seem to have given the commitment required to learn a language, never mind learning to fluency levels.

    Lets have an ILA that protects amd celebrates the IL, but with no more funding than it has today. Legislation only, the hard facts are NI cant afford any more than this in its current state. The future? Who knows.

  • Tropicop

    How many years do u suggest employers should allow for staff to “upsklli” as you call it, to fluency? A desire to learn is by no means a template for success in learning any language, never mind one where you are not being exposed to and immersed in.

  • Karl

    There are requirements for sex and religion. Why shouldnt there be a requirement for language ability? Without it, the majority of workers would be white, male protestants.
    Public service bodies should employ a workforce that are areflection of society to a sensible degree. If 5% of society speaks Irish, why shouldnt public bodies be reflective of that to within a couple of percent?

  • Oggins

    Catholic schools sir, not Irish nationalism.

    It’s a bit like saying that unionism is responsible for not allowing Catholics into the Orange Order. … By the way, it’s not !!!

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Its not it’s: learn to use English properly.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    It’s simple. Bilingual or multilingual civil servants will be able to deal with people who want to use Irish for no other reason except that’s our language. That’s a better service.

  • Karl

    Yup. Declaring a public holiday where one side of society celebrates beating the other side of the same society in a battle over 300 years ago.
    I would say thats more divisive

  • Hawk

    – “Its not it’s: learn to use English properly.”

    Seems you have a problem with “its” and “it’s” yourself.

    People in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • The worm!

    Deary deary me, is that really all you’ve got left.

    You really need to have a chat with Mr Ghobsmacht about being a fine advocate for Irish, as you seem to play into just about every unionist stereotypical concept for opposing an Irish language act.

  • The worm!

    Oooops! 🙂

  • james

    A lot of people in NI make a lot of grammatical errors – perhaps that’s where we should be channeling these resources. Better to improve everyone’s English, I think.

  • William Kinmont

    I presume they may well do already don’t think people are being turned away from jobs because they have a bit of Irish.Can’t see how positive discrimination would work. Presumably a formal qualification would be needed would many fluent already want to sit through classes to achieve this . .Would many from a unionist background bother as it won’t affect their competativeness for jobs as long as the other fair employment rules remain in place. Assuming that the department which translates documents will be 100 percent Irish speaking if this department is any size then all others will have to be well below quota to average out. Education to might well have to be well above quota so will other departments be discriminating against Irish to keep the overall quota right.

  • The worm!

    So again we’re back to want.

    You think you’re quite justified in campaigning for something that a very small number of people want, when public services are presently incapable of providing things that much larger numbers need?

    That’s a position which I find quite difficult to respect no matter what the cause.

  • The worm!

    I think it’s probably the only slip I’ve made all day. And it was because I (rather foolishly admittedly) typed a response to someone else in a hurry as I was trying to sign off a job before closing time.

    But hands up, I made a mistake.

  • William Kinmont

    Yes I completely failed to understand you there worm what with those few pixels missing on the screen.

  • William Kinmont

    My children’s does use the term. Christian ethos unfortunately and seems to use this for employment reasons. I don’t have much choice small town one primary and would like my children growing up with their local peers.

  • Oggins

    Mistake on the grammar or the ILA? 😉

  • The worm!

    I stand corrected then!

    Original post edited accordingly.

  • The worm!

    Certainly a lot clearer on potential outworkings of an ILA now.

    So was probably mistaken about much of it prior to today.

  • William Kinmont

    i agree with much of your arguement , am a bit concerned with irish language schools as they may not aim to further subdivide our society inadvertantly they do. i would like to see some irish in all our schools plenty that could be left out of the curriculum to provide time and resources.
    i have no problem with the third level proposal except that it would have very limited scope due to current staff time resources. pressure for less staff to teach and research more is already at breaking point.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    It’s tiresome arguing the same points. There needs to be equality between different nations in UK wrt indigenous languages (Irish in NI = Gaidhlig in Scotland = Welsh in Wales) or else the U.K. is an unequal union. The UK Govt needs to live up the commitments re the Irish languages it made in various treaties and agreements – the Good Friday Agreement, St Andrews Agreement and the European Charter for Regional & Minority Languages. It’s not good enough to renege on those now. As for health and other priorities, I’m as concerned as you are. Maybe it’s time the UK misGovernment put health ahead of vanity projects such as the Trident missile system, which costs 100s of billions as opposed to the paltry few million an IL would cost in comparison.

  • William Kinmont

    What level is that? What percentage of inquiries are dealt with purely in a native language.

  • james

    Indeed. It does seem more and more ‘sketchy’ the more one learns about it.

    Small wonder the Shinners were eager to bustle it through without anyone reading the small print!

  • james

    “Applicants have/had to be able to contribute to the “Roman Catholic” ethos of the school simple
    The Fair employment legislation exempts the education system. (can`t claim you didn`t get a job because you were prod).”

    Well, if that’s still going on it should certainly be stopped.

  • james

    Yes, it was good to get clarity on how the discriminatory mechanisms are meant to work.

  • Damien Mullan

    “You are lobbying for a doctor and his patient to each learn Irish solely so that each can perform their end of the consultation in a language that neither are likely ever to speak as the common language they already share – English.”

    I’ve seen some straw man arguments in my day but that takes the proverbial biscuit and the whole tin as well.

    This entire thread is a sad reflection of where we are at in the sordid place. No authentic Irish nationalist can ever have any genuine affection for this political entity we call Northern Ireland. It’s a hideous and odious place that ought to best elicit the steepest contempt. The ILA is more than the sum of its parts, I’m not an Irish language speaker or current enthusiast, but as a cultural asset I support its protection and promotion. And for that protection and promotion to be enshrined in statute.

    As for the argument that, because few in Northern Ireland converse solely or partially in Irish, there ought to be little in the way of this being facilitated by the state via its public agencies and bodies. I make a simple observation. There are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion.

    If the development of culture, language included, was an exercise in monoculturalism, then English, a meddling of Latin, German, French, and others languages over the millenniums, would never have arisen. It is appropriate that Irish be afforded a privileged position in legislation, both as an authentic exercise in historical memory, which demolishes the arguments made about Polish, as Polish has no traditional historical linguistical weight in this island, Irish does, and history establishes precedent, it’s this which makes a mockery of the arguments of opponents of ILA, history and tradition, makes an ass of their argument. For history and tradition, is what marks all the contentious disagreements concerning culture in NI, whether its Orange Order marchers or Irish Language enthusiasts, does Mr Swann really suggest that we ought to bleach all of this historical accumulation from contemporary society in Northern Ireland, does this not logically mean that continuing to designate the 12th of July as a public bank holiday is anachronistic, and possibly offensive to Nationalist/Republican public workers, who may not wish to partake of this government enforced public holiday.

  • Damien Mullan

    As for the argument that, because few in Northern Ireland converse solely or partially in Irish, there ought to be little in the way of this being facilitated by the state via its public agencies and bodies. I make a simple observation. There are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion.

    If the development of culture, language included, was an exercise in monoculturalism, then English, a meddling of Latin, German, French, and others languages over the millenniums, would never have arisen. It is appropriate that Irish be afforded a privileged position in legislation, both as an authentic exercise in historical memory, which demolishes the arguments made about Polish, as Polish has no traditional historical linguistical weight in this island, Irish does, and history establishes precedent, it’s this which makes a mockery of the arguments of opponents of ILA, history and tradition, makes an ass of their argument. For history and tradition, is what marks all the contentious disagreements concerning culture in NI, whether its Orange Order marchers or Irish Language enthusiasts, does Mr Swann really suggest that we ought to bleach all of this historical accumulation from contemporary society in Northern Ireland, does this not logically mean that continuing to designate the 12th of July as a public bank holiday is anachronistic, and possibly offensive to Nationalist/Republican public workers, who may not wish to partake of this government enforced public holiday.

  • james

    “I make a simple observation. There are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion.”

    The same kind of protection and promotion as Latin?

    Sure – fine by me.

    But, of course, nobody is advocating for Latin-medium schools, courts conducted in Latin, or that 10% of the civil service should be ut sciat loqui facunde in Latin. Nor that those who are not conversant in Latin should be legally discriminated against.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    No I don’t.

  • William Kinmont

    if we are to have positive discrimination and quotas for Irish speakers what if within this 50 percent or so of applicants employed because of their Irish qualifications had to be of a Unionist/protestant background and 50 percent had to be Nationalist/catholic. This would remove jobs for the boys accusations or suspicions that one side would get favourable treatment by requesting an Irish speaking civil servant. It would also encourage greater uptake of Irish in protestant circles spreading the language and making it less devisive

  • Damien Mullan

    “But, of course, nobody is advocating for Latin-medium schools, courts conducted in Latin, or that 10% of the civil service should be ut sciat loqui facunde in Latin. Nor that those who are not conversant in Latin should be legally discriminated against.”

    There seems to be a consistency in the deployment of straw man arguments among people in this thread.

    Any production of evidence and precedents from Scotland or Wales, from which you base your assertions, or is it straw man arguments all day everyday.

  • The worm!

    It was a fair cop, I got it wrong, no argument there.

    But as someone who is the sites most prominent campaigner, for what is currently our most prominent issue, you’d think he could do better than have to cast up one single rogue apostrophe!

  • Damien Mullan

    “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” – Christopher Hitchens –

    “Hitchens’s razor is an epistemological razor asserting that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim and if this burden is not met, the claim is unfounded and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchens%27s_razor

  • james

    Put simply, you don’t understand your own argument.

    You have said that Irish should be afforded the same protections as Latin.

    I have showed you that what is proposed in the ILA goes way, way beyond any protections offered to Latin.

  • james

    Quoting someone considerably more intelligent than yourself adds nothing to your argument – particularly if the quote in qiestion has nothing to do with your argument.

    Relevance, please?

  • Hawk

    You said:
    “Its not it’s”

    You mean:
    “It is not it’s”

    It should therefore be:
    “It’s not it’s”

    ‘Its’ is possessive and clearly that is not what you mean

  • Damien Mullan

    Again you are using straw man arguments.

    Where did I say, “Irish should be afforded the same protections as Latin.”

    Let me give you an understanding of straw man arguments.

    “A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

    I have shown the use of Latin in are contemporary everyday lives, minus the relevance of Latin as a spoken language in modern day Northern Ireland.

  • Damien Mullan

    The relevance is the repeated use of straw man arguments by yourself and others which is replete throughout this thread.

  • james

    Hmm…

    Not sure the quote is relevant then.

    Kinda seems like you were just eager to use the quote, relevant or not.

  • james

    “Where did I say, “Irish should be afforded the same protections as Latin.”

    Well, you said it here…

    “There are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion.”

  • Damien Mullan

    You peddled falsehoods, i.e. straw man arguments, and I called you out on it.

    That’s the relevance, and rather stark it is too.

  • james

    Yes. Thank you, I know that.

    And yet you did say:

    “There are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. IsThere are even fewer people who converse in Latin, yet it is etched in the currency people use daily. Is the use of Latin, which is not just confined to etchings on coins, but also in the fields of Law and Medicine, a reflection of the historical rather than the contemporary. Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion.”

    In case you missed that:

    “Is therefore Irish, due solely to its cultural value, historically and traditionally, not also in want of the same kind of protection and promotion”

    You’re passing fond of this ‘straw man’ thing…

    Is there also a word for someone who makes an argument, sees that argument is defeated, then tries to pretend he never said it?

    Plenty o’that on Slugger, too, boys….

    Usually preceded by a shrill “show me where I said….!”

  • Damien Mullan

    Latin is promoted for historical reasons on sterling coins, as well as within the fields of Law, Medicine, Philosophy, History, to name but a few.

    You qualified protections and promotion as, “But, of course, nobody is advocating for Latin-medium schools, courts conducted in Latin, or that 10% of the civil service should be ut sciat loqui facunde in Latin. Nor that those who are not conversant in Latin should be legally discriminated against.”

    I stated the observed presence of Latin within a society that does not converse in spoken Latin. I then extrapolated the same historical pretensions of Irish in an Irish context, i.e. the island of Ireland, for its cultural value in attaining an equal promotion, in this instance, through an Irish Language Act. An Act that would be commensurate with its cultural and traditional value.

  • Damien Mullan

    It was you who gifted this particular orphan in qualifying protection and promotion as, “But, of course, nobody is advocating for Latin-medium schools, courts conducted in Latin, or that 10% of the civil service should be ut sciat loqui facunde in Latin. Nor that those who are not conversant in Latin should be legally discriminated against.”

    I extrapolated from observation of Latin’s use in contemporary society, the mere fact that it is significant within a society that does not converse in spoken Latin. It’s for historical reasons that this is so.

    This is the basis, historical and culture, much like Latin, that I base my premise for the elevation of Irish through an Irish Language Act. The parallel I am drawing is the historical value, both have a historical claim.

  • Starviking

    That’s rubbish. Some people do not have aptitudes for languages.

  • james

    “I extrapolated from observation of Latin’s use in contemporary society, the mere fact that it is significant within a society that does not converse in spoken Latin. It’s for historical reasons that this is so.”

    Hmmm…. there are quite a few 5 dollar words smattered through what you’ve written – but that in itself doesn’t mean you’re really saying anything.

    In the case of Latin, it is an extremely useful thing for a student of medicine or law to have some grasp of Latin – since both of these disciplines have an extraordinary amount of jargon lifted directly from Latin. Economics, too, to a slightly more limited extent. Students of literature also have much to gain from it, given how deep its roots run in Latin.

    Any impartial observer would have to say, respectfully, that simply isn’t the case for Irish.

    So there’s really no equivalence there.

    There are no doubt some words in contemporary English that come from Irish – blarney for one, presumably – but many, many more come from French, German, Spanish, or Italian. Even Arabic – though those are mainly ‘slang’ words.

    One could argue that learning any language is a useful intellectual exercise – and one would be right. But, personally, I’d be inclined to invest that time learning a language I can actually use somewhere.

    I’ve got nothing against learning any language, Irish included. I speak several languages myself, and I’m considering learning Japanese as a project for 2018 – but I certainly don’t expect you to pay for it.

    As for an ILA, well, if we really need one perhaps there is room for it – though it certainly shouldn’t need even more funds allocated to it than currently are and perhaps actually less.(using Jim Allister’s figures here, as quoted on Nolan).

    Nor can it be allowed to be hijacked as a lever for discrimination, or a vehicle for thick-witted obstructionism. Reading several of the key posters on here it seems very likely it would be quickly exploited for both those ends.

  • Mike the First

    So if it’s just about appointing the most qualified person for a job, such as for a medical post, why are (at least some) advocates referring to “affirmative action”?

    That’s a different thing entirely. And it IS, by definition, discrimination not based on job qualifications. That’s why its alternative name is “positive discrimination”.

    Something doesn’t stack up here, Concubhar. Are you supporting or opposing “affirmative action”?

  • Mike the First

    Oh dear Concubhar – if this is where you’ve got to on debating this topic, maybe it’s time to step away from the keyboard for a few hours.

  • Accountant

    All schools should offer Irish, although there would need to be sensible budget and co-ordination between schools to make this affordable.

    Cultural/media/tourism/poetry/singing/writing should get more funding.

    Road signage, again, is fairly low cost and inclusive, as long as English is of sufficient (and probably greater) prominence, to allow visitors to navigate.

    Big signs at Aldergrove and even Larne, welcoming visitors and returners is a great idea. Not sure where they are welcoming them to.…best just to say welcome !

  • john millar

    “Be serious yourself. If somebody wishes a particular job is it unreasonable to require them to have the necessary skills to carry out the duties involved? And if that means learning a language, learn the language. It’s not rocket science.”

    Which jobs require the Irish Language ?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Jobs in which the provision of services in Irish is included among the duties. As would be created, possibly, by an Irish Language Act.

  • Reader

    Hawk: You said: “Its not it’s”. You mean: “It is not it’s”
    I think I can help. Now, everyone carefully watch the quotation marks and italics.
    Concubhar said : Its not it’s
    You think he meant: It is not it’s
    I think he meant: “its”, not “it’s”
    So he was wrong, but not in the way you think.

  • Reader

    Dónall: (3) Better resources for children in Irish language education. (4) Third level education through Irish.
    (3) They are already as well resourced as any sector.
    (4) Third level education in all subjects through Irish to serve 2% of the student body (not counting overseas students)? What proportion of the QUB school of Maths and Physics needs to speak Irish to deliver that?

  • Reader

    Concubhar O Liathain: Jobs in which the provision of services in Irish is included among the duties.
    Don’t you want all services to be provided in Irish? And isn’t the sole function of the civil service to provide services?
    So, that’s all jobs, isn’t it?
    Or do you feel that could be delivered with smart phone call diversion and a duty-Gaeilgeoir in offices open to the public?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I think that we need to go the smart route.

  • john millar

    “Jobs in which the provision of services in Irish is included among the duties. As would be created, possibly, by an Irish Language Act.”
    So no ” NEED” then just a task creation industry -as suspected

  • james

    Crumbs! So, it’s potentially the punctuation *and* the grammar that Concubhar struggles with?

    One would hope his Irish is better, in that case.

  • james

    “Jobs in which the provision of services in Irish is included among the duties.”

    Hmmm….isn’t that any job which requires speaking to somebody? So, basically, you’d like to legislate so that waitresses, mechanics, personal trainers, carpet fitters, costa coffee staff, taxi drivers, dog walkers, babysitters, accountants, engineers, painters, barmen, massage therapists, milkmen, post office workers, bakers, policemen, dentists, and binmen must be able to converse in Irish on command (or risk being replaced by someone who can)?

    That’s quite a big gig….

  • james

    The smart route would be creating an I&USLA out of current funding, providing optional classes and road signs, dropping the discrimination levers and abandoning this frankly insane demand that everybody must be able to speak it.

    Looking at your posts, the smart route isn’t your preferred option.

  • Gary Da;ze;;

    For almost two millennia Latin was a lingua franca throughout Europe and scholars communicated with each other in Latin. If memory serves me it was, until the early 60s a requirement to have it at Senior Certificate level to enter Queens, A person was not considered educated unless he had an understanding of Latin. It did have value. Irish is somewhat esoteric.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And a battle which lost both Catholic and Dissenter their religious liberties for a further century at that!