Government Insult To The Irish Tongue - No Cabinet Member Available To Take Questions On Day Set Aside For The Language

The 14 March edition of the Irish Times carries an article that would be laughable if it were not emblematic of the cruel indifference of the Irish government toward the  Gaelic tongue.  Under the headline "Lack Of Irish Speaking Minister 'Disastrous' - No Cabinet Member Available To Take Irish Questions On Day Set Aside For Language", the article describes a dismal diplay of incompetence on the part of the Minister for Jobs , Richard Bruton, who was trotted out to take questions on the day in the year that the Government has assigned that business was to be conducted in Irish.  But this Government's contempt for the Official Language of Ireland apparently has no limit and thus Minister Bruton was unable to conduct busisness in Irish on the the day he had been assigned to do just that.  Minister Bruton was forced to make the following statement: "I would not feel competent to answer questions as Gaelige with the sort of exacititude that would be necessary in this house."

According the Times article, Mr. Bruton made the statement in response to Sinn Feins Aengus O' Snodaigh's criticism of the Government's failure to provide an Irish speaking Minister to conduct the day's business. Mr. O' Snodaigh made the following statement: " (it was) disastrous, and it's the wrong story for the world, and it's an insult for those of us who are making an effort to have at least one day in the year to advance the Irish in this chamber."  O' Snodaigh continued: "It is so insulting that the Minister for the Gaeltacht (Jimmy Deenhan) who as senior Cabinet Minister doesn't have Irish." O'Snodaigh called for 25% of public sector jobs to be reserved for Irish speakers versus the current 6%.

In the parliamentary session headed by Bruton, Independent member of Parliament, Maureen O'Sullivan, representing Dublin Central, sated that she did not unsderstand why since the foundation of the State every primary school was not a Gaelscoil (Irish Medium School): "Children are like sponges and even if they started without Irish, within a year or two they would speak it."  

The Irish Independent with it's predictably tepid support for the Irish tongue seems amused.  In an article headlined "Opposition Anger At Farce Of Tongue-Tied Minister", which was posted to,  the Independent insinuates the situtaion is excusable because no other Ministers were "available" due to the demands of March 17 travel plans.



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