‘Elite Peasants’ And The Weird World Of Gaeilgephobia


The breakdown of respondents who said they could speak Irish in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland censuses of 2011

Colm Ó Broin, who last week compiled a rich example of prejudice in the national press about the Irish language, writes:

There are people in every society who are hostile to groups that are different to them. We are all familiar with prejudice against people of a different gender, sexuality, skin colour, nationality, ethnic background or religion.

But what about people who speak a different language? Usually bias against a language is classed as racism – for example, immigrants being verbally abused for speaking their native languages or chauvinists repressing the languages of minorities like Kurdish in Turkey.

We have our own version of this chauvinism here in Ireland – the hostility of British loyalists to the Irish language. One of the earliest examples are the Statutes of Kilkenny, which outlawed the speaking of Irish among the descendants of settlers from Britain.

These laws were enacted in 1366 but given the political nature of this hostility it’s more than likely it goes all the way back to 1169. The fear behind it was the belief that people would be less loyal to the English Crown if they spoke Irish – a fear still heard today in hysterical claims that the United Kingdom will be “undermined” if speakers of Irish Gaelic are given the same rights as speakers of Scottish Gaelic.

Which brings us to Gaeilgephobia – the irrational fear or hatred of the Irish language and those who speak it. You’ve probably never heard the term before and the concept has received little or no recognition in English-speaking Ireland, despite it being one of our oldest recorded prejudices.

While we can see the open hostility of Unionist politicians to the Irish language in Northern Ireland, many would find it hard to believe that there is prejudice against Irish speakers in the Republic of Ireland as well. Any negativity surrounding the language south of the border is supposedly related to government efforts to promote it, and not the language itself.

If you read the articles that the quotes used in my post are taken from you will indeed see legitimate arguments against official policies on the language – but scattered among them you will also see something entirely different – prejudiced attacks on the Irish language and Irish speakers.

One thing that’s striking is the GUBU nature of these statements, which would be worthy material for a Louis Theroux documentary.

In the bizarre corner we have the claim that no Irish word has been created in the past 100 years and the argument that Irish is comical in some way because it has taken words from other languages, something that practically every language on the planet does, none more so than English itself.

Then we have the comparison of Irish speakers with Nazis, skinheads, Communists and Islamic fundamentalists.

Among the worst is the comparison of a school in Dingle with the Finsbury Park Mosque, an establishment frequented by Islamist terrorists linked to Al Qaeda. The great crime committed by this school was to teach through the medium of Irish – in what is officially an Irish-speaking area.

Then there is the association of Irish speakers with IRA terrorism, “mucksavagery” and last but not least, the sexual abuse of children. If linking an entire community to the sexual abuse of children isn’t prejudice then ‘prejudice’ has no meaning.

Like other phobias Gaeligephobia has its own set of mantras that are repeated ad nauseum regardless of evidence, many of which are seen in the quotes.

One of the most common is the false claim that Irish is a “dead language”. The commentators who say this are fully aware that there are Irish-speaking communities in Ireland as well as thousands of fluent speakers in the rest of the country, so this is simply a crude attempt to insult Irish speakers.

After all, if Irish is a “dead language”, and you speak Irish, that means there is something “dead” about you and your community.

The most blatant example of Gaeilgephobia is the ludicrous claim that Irish language schools are “middle class”. The basis for this seems to be that because there are Gaelscoileanna in middle class areas in Dublin then all Gaelscoileanna must be middle class, which is like saying that only middle class people shop in Dunnes Stores because there is a Dunnes Stores in Stillorgan.

Opponents of Irish language education don’t have to send their children to Gaelscoileanna and are not affected in any way if other people make this choice. However, they still go out of their way to attack parents who choose Irish-medium education for their children.

But as they don’t have a rational reason for this opposition they have to resort to bogus pretexts. This is the most revealing attack on Irish as it relies on false claims, which is a sign of pure bias against the language.

Claims that the Irish language is somehow “middle class” are also very amusing for Irish speakers as for centuries we have been told that Irish was a “badge of poverty”.

This Orwellian doublethink will be familiar to other groups subjected to prejudice, like the immigrant who can scrounge on the dole while stealing your job at the same time.

Similarly, if a poor person speaks Irish it becomes a “peasant language”, but if a rich person speaks it it’s an “elitist language”. The object here is not to establish facts but to negatively stereotype the minority group using any means necessary.

Attacks on the Irish language began hundreds of years ago and the quotes highlighted last week show that they continue to this day.

Whatever the reason for this bizarre prejudice it’s time we consign it to the rubbish bin of history, where it belongs.

Colm Ó Broin is an Irish speaker from Clondalkin, Dublin and a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. Follow Colm on Twitter here.

Previously: I’ve Nothing Against Irish Speakers, But…

Pic: Wikipedia

90 thoughts on “‘Elite Peasants’ And The Weird World Of Gaeilgephobia

  1. Baffled

    What I’d like to know is why on earth is Irish still a compulsory subject in secondary schools? Maybe if people weren’t compelled to ‘learn’ (mar a déarfá) it you’d have less resentment towards the language.

        1. ReproBertie

          I blame they way they teach it. I did Maths all through school and couldn’t tell you what a differential is. Presumably that’s why they keep dumbing down the exams.

          1. mildred st meadowlark

            I think you’re bang on the mark there. School gave me an abhorrence of maths and all things number related.

            That said, I read a book called the Housekeeper + the Professor which defied all my expectations in every sense of the word and showed me exactly how beautiful and amazing numbers are, and its a truly wonderful story to boot. If you aren’t moved to tears by it you have a heart of granite.

          2. Lush

            I was totally traumatized by maths in school.
            Thanks for the tip Millie; it’ll be on my Kindle before the day is out.

          3. ReproBertie

            Alex Bellos’ Adventures in Numberland did it for me. Super stuff. Much check out that Housekeeper Professor one.

            Hopefully Motherfoclóir will have a similar impact on people with a passing interest in Irish.

      1. Pip

        Maths should be optional beyond useful arithmetic.
        Those who can, will, as they did in school while the rest of us struggled endlessly.
        Solve for X……… aaaargh!

      1. Rob_G

        Because it is the spoken language, not only of Ireland, but many other countries, with many practical applications.

  2. missred

    I’d love to re-learn Irish but I’ve heard too many native speakers say they don’t want to converse with you if you aren’t fully fluent. Very sad stuff.

    1. ReproBertie

      That’s mad! I’ve never once heard a native speaker say they wouldn’t converse with someone who wasn’t fully fluent. Do they make you do a little exam first?

      I have, however, met loads of speakers who were more than happy to engage and encourage no matter how hesitant or mixed the language used was on either side.

      1. missred

        I didn’t mean all of them and I’m not assuming the worst without proof. I mean that was my experience with a good few of them over the years and it’s been off-putting. There was a comment last week about the organiser of a pop up gaeltacht saying the events were only for those up to scratch can attend. Disappointing.

        1. ReproBertie

          I suspect that comment was utter garbage. The pop up Gaeltachts are far too packed and widespread to be fluent only.

        2. TheQ47

          My experience of hearing about the pop-up Gaeltachts (I’ve never attended one, cos they’re mostly in Dublin) is that they’re actually very inclusive. From what I’ve heard, people of all levels of Irish are welcome, in a friendly atmosphere, to explore their Irish in a social setting.

          On another note, the Motherfoclóir podcast (where I heard the above about the pop-up Gaeltacht) is always good, with smatterings of Irish throughout, but no real knowledge of the language required to enjoy it.

        3. Osgur Ó Ciardha

          This is simply untrue.

          Pop Up Gaeltacht are open to all and all are welcome..

          As they are completely public it wouldn’t even be possible to exclude someone on any basis.

          ( Osgur, Comh-bhunatheoir Pop Up Gaeltacht )

          1. missred

            Grand so. Happy to be corrected on that one. There was a post from a fella last week on Colm’s other article listing it as being on a podcast interview, that’s why I mention it.

          2. Elron

            Good for you Missred. But its educational to see how lazily the slur slid out of your mouth.

          3. mildred st meadowlark

            I’ve come across groups that were wonderfully inclusive and very helpful to those who want to learn, but I’ve equally come across individuals who like to use their fluency in Irish as a means of asserting some kind of superiority. It depends on who you’re dealing with really.

            I think missred’s comment could qualify as a misconception, a generalisation, sure, but calling it a slur is a bit of a stretch. Maybe if she said all gaeilgeoir are w*nkers you’d have a point.

          4. SOQ

            That’s about it Mildred, each side pointing to the extreme of the other as a reason for their own stance.

    2. Elron

      You clearly dislike irish speakers and thats your right. However, stopping distorting facts to prove your point.

      1. missred

        I don’t dislike Irish speakers. It’s not meant to be a fact, just my experience, not a universal one.

  3. Paulus

    I’ve become much better disposed towards the auld gaeilge as I’ve got older; though some fáda-fascists along the way did little to help.
    It can be very handy while away on holidays to draw the missus’ attention to some thing/person where you wouldn’t want your comments overheard.

    1. Ultach

      The fada fascists tend to not be as fluent as they let on. They do like to show off their rote learned cúpla focal and berate anyone they perceive as less knowledgeable or patriotic as themselves. I should know, I used to be one of those fada brandishing pedantic chauvinistic reactionary ubernationalistic elitist cúpla foclóirs. Since I’ve achieved fluency (yay me!), I am now a fada brandishing pedantic broad minded anglophilic chilled out inclusive fluent gaeilgeoir who can sometimes be quite sufferable. Every single native speaker and fluent learner I’ve met (a lot) are similar. We absolutely respect other people’s right to not speak Irish and are very welcoming and inclusive of anyone trying out whatever level of Irish they have (except, on occasion, a harrassed barman or deli counter assistant trying to get through their shift and would prefer the tourist just to hurry up and use their most fluent language rather than use them as a learning aid, but this is exceptional and happens in other countries as well).

  4. SB

    I’ve had no time for Irish since my son wasn’t allowed in the local Irish school because I wasn’t fluent in it myself. By definition, you’re never going to grow a language using that criteria.

    1. ReproBertie

      That’s very disappointing. The Gaelscoil my children attend offer classes for parents as they are well aware that the language needs to be spoken in the home as well, though not necessarily full time, to help the child learn.

    2. Muireann

      Was that because they were oversubscribed and giving priority to children raised through Irish? In which case, yes you can see why, but obvioulsy disappointing for you.

      But if it’s purely that they had room, but had “standards” then it’s disgraceful. How long ago was this?

      1. Ultach

        Every school has published admissions criteria. Demand for Irish-medium education outstrips supply. If a school is oversubscribed it has to apply its admissions criteria. The obvious answer is to increase supply at the expense of underscubsribed English-medium schools. Why are there still monoglot English-medium schools in an independent Irish republic?

    3. John Joseph

      I’ve heard of this often enough, and read it too.
      It may happen, but the real fact is that only a minority of parents of kids at Gaelscoils speak Irish, and even fewer speak it in the home.
      As a reason “to have no time for Irish” it is beyond ridiculous.

      I’d guess that you weren’t very much in favour of Irish to begin with; maybe you’re one of those fabled beasts who wanted a place in a gaelscoil to avoid the working class, or the travellers, or the blacks in the English-language system?

      1. Rob_G

        “maybe you’re one of those fabled beasts who wanted a place in a gaelscoil to avoid the working class, or the travellers, or the blacks in the English-language system?”

        – I’d say you must be feeling a bit tired after the giant leap that you made just there?

  5. Declan

    I’d have thought of it as a fear of it as oppose to a phobia and a sadness for being unable to speak it. The above article doesn’t really help the situation by the way

    1. Elron

      The above article needed to be written unfortunately. Things need to be called out. I know that its uncomfortable for some to have to reflect on why they would actively campaign to get rid of a language that has been here for thousands of years. But this happens. And because Irish speakers are a minority, they either have to be shouty or be silent. The latter is boring.

        1. John Joseph

          Not as such.
          They campaign to have it downgraded in various ways.
          The end result of all these downgrades is to diminish, and ultimately, to destroy the language.

  6. rotide

    The original post was absolute rubbish that proved nothing beyond your own ability to trawl through 20 years of newspaper articles in search of tiny tiny incidence of quotes that support your incorrect assertion.

    This article just expands on your paranoid delusion that something called Gaeilgephobia exists in any real sense.

    It doesn’t and you are bordering on insane. The very existance of the requirement of Irish for many state jobs blows a giant hole in your fantasy.

    1. Elron

      Its an excellent post Colm and the resistance to its truth is evidence of it. So funny to hear people still go on about “its the way it was taught in school” argument. If people wanted to learn it, there are a million ways of doing so. But they don’t, so they find reasons why they shouldn’t. The reason they don’t is complex, but post colonialism comes into it definitely. Centuries of being told Irish was the language of savagery sticks, and that is what happened here. Im a big fan of the popup Gaeltachts which are the most revolutionary things that have happened Gaeilge in a long time. As a speaker myself i dont want to be protecting, promoting, defending or anything else the language, I just want to speak it. Why? Because its my language, I was raised with it, I have suffered all the usual crap Irish speakers suffer- and to be honest I dont care. I just want to speak it.
      The bull crap about it being exclusionary, middle class, useless, economically unviable, forced on us- thats all just stuff from people who are not comfortable in their identity and view those who are with an envy and a suspicion that drives them to ridicule it.

      1. Junkface

        But it is the way it is taught in school. As a kid, given the choice I probably would have preferred not to learn French either, but go out and play more football. After 2 years of French classes I had better French than Irish because the way Irish is taught (was in the 90’s) in schools is a total failure. The whole approach was awful. Whereas in French class we were encouraged to have conversations, no matter how small. We learned quickly.

        The failure of Irish language in schools is a reflection of the failure of the Irish teachers chosen method of teaching. They should talk to the French teachers.

        1. Elron

          Listen to yourself. Are you going to actually continue with that line? You know if you wanted to learn it you would. If you dont, then fine, say so. But stop with the blaming. take some responsibility and make your peace with the fact that YOU dont want to learn it. Then move on!

          1. Cian

            Wait a minute, listen to him. He said he didn’t want to learn either Irish or French. But in 2 years on ‘not wanting to learn French’ he was better than 10 years of Irish (I’m assuming this was 1st + 2nd year). His point the Irish is badly taught is valid (relative to French).

          2. Junkface

            Did you read what I wrote at all? How come my friends from School, my brothers, and thousands of other Irish people from my generation feel the same then? Its a very well known fact by now. How far is your head into the sand? It must be getting soggy now.

            You: No. its the kids who are wrong. We teach Irish perfectly

          3. Elron

            You speak as if attitude had nothing to do with it. Its the anti Irish attitude, bred and bet into us over centuries, that close your mind. Cognitive bias is also hugely at play. But you continue with the same self delusion and put fingers in your ears.
            Just cos your friends echo your same feelings says more about the environment you create (which is obvs hateful to Irish speakers). but the fact that 77% profess to like it indicates another world that your friends dont share with you.

        2. Ultach

          I went to school in the north east, the bit that’s still in the UK. No Irish in primary school apart from the oul master throwing us the odd phrase off the clock. In secondary school I was arbitrarily put in the French class. I asked to be put in the Irish class but was refused. I wasn’t allowed to learn it. So I asked a friend to steal me a textbook and learned the language out of sheer spite. Went on to do a joint honours degree in French and Irish. I now live, work, socialise, rear a family, argue, play, whine and dream mainly through Irish, also sometimes through English and French for old times sake, making good shakes at Scottish Gaeilge, putting out tentative feelers to Welsh and German and Spanish, and wonder if I will live long enough to get as far as Russian and Arabic. But I digress. The point I am trying to make is I don’t blame my school’s shortcomings or any ineptitude my teachers may have had for anything I have failed to learn since I left them. If you want to learn Irish, do it. If you don’t, fair enough, but don’t blame a bad teacher you have long escaped.

      2. rotide

        I don’t speak Irish after 12 years learning it in school.

        Maybe im bad at languages, maybe its taught badly. I don’t care. This victimhood is entirely in your and colm’s own head. If you want to speak Irish, more power to you, the vast majority of people don’t give a single eff.

        As for the elitism stuff, its very defintely a middle class aspirational thing to send their children to irish schools. This doesn’t make the Irish language elitist. It makes elitist people elitist. The author doesn’t even understand this basic point.

        This entire thing is a waste of electrons

        1. Elron

          Rotide. Don’t you think its strange that you dont speak Irish after 12 years. You dont come across as stupid so it must be a psychological thing. The vehemence with which you reject others and throw your toys out of the pram is also not like you? So what’s up? Why the hackles? The vast majority do give an eff, the evidence shows that. They just dont articulate it because of hectoring like yours. normally youre actually quite reasonable, but on this a nerve has definitely been touched. You should explore it.

        2. Ultach

          Rotide, if you were learning it you would have learnt it. Whatever you were doing in Irish class wasn’t learning. Not saying it’s your fault. Every school should be a Gaelscoil.

      3. stephen

        Elron your arrogant attitude is exactly why some Irish people have an issue with Gaeilgeoirs.
        So it’s bullcrap to say Irish is useless? I haven’t had to use a single word of it in 20 years. Not once. Why was I forced to learn it for 12 years?
        Then you say anyone who has an issue is not comfortable in their identity and just jealous….hahaha.
        I have no problem with Irish or those who love and celebrate it. I have an issue with deluded clowns like you.

        1. Elron

          What kind of person would actually call a language useless? And then what kind of person would actually go to the defence of calling a language useless? That kind of attitude shows either a venomous animosity to those who value the language and speak it or it indicates that you know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

          1. Stephen

            No Elron, the only venom is coming from you. I’ll try and spell it out for you; it’s deemed “useless” by some because the vast majority of people have no use for it in their lives. You simply don’t need to use Irish for anything. It’s not hard to understand.
            I’ll repeat what I said, because judging from your other replies, you don’t read people’s points: I have no problem whatsoever with those who love Irish and want to learn it. None. Good for them. It’s part of our culture and history, and for a small minority, our present.
            But I object to the paranoid defensive crap that you and the OP come out with. I don’t denigrate people who speak Irish, but you feel free to stereotype those who don’t.
            And although I respect Irish and those that love it, I believe it should no longer be a compulsory subject in our schools. Make it a voluntary choice instead of something forced upon you for 12 years, then suddenly never needed again, and you might find less of the hostility you so clearly perceive to exist.

        2. Junkface

          Elron is a very angry, deluded little gnome.

          Yes Elron, in an international and pragmatic context Irish is useless. It is not needed to move forward with work and life for most people in Ireland. Abroad it is useless. Its nice to be able to speak your native language, and its a good thing that there are people keeping it alive for future generations to try and learn, obviously with completely different teaching methods.

          1. Elron

            But why does Irish arouse such anger and disgust in your both? And such venom for the speakers. Its like a trauma manifesting itself in a vomit of self loathing. And Im the mad one?? Lolz.

          2. rotide

            Mate, no one is angry or disgusted here apart from you.

            You’re the one that’s continually banging on about a prejudice that doesn’t exist. No one else is particularly bothered one way or the other. Some people like and speak Irish, some people don’t. The world turns. You seem to be bashing out the comments, tongue out, face turning red.

            Relax Colm, read a book (in Irish if you want.)

          3. Elron

            Mate? But Rotide, you are the epitome of snarky coolness, why the anger? 146 on a previous thread comments and no one is bothered? The defensive racism and no one is bothered? Why does this of all subjects get you in a heap, when other much more serious subjects dont bother you at all? Sin í an cheist!

          4. rotide

            It seems you are tying to employ the Donald method of repeating something to persuade people it’s actually true.

            Again, noone is angry apart from you and colm, no matter how many times you try and assert that people are.

            There is no “defensive racism” happening, no matter how many times you claim there is. Colm and yourself have provided zero real evidence that there is.

    2. pedeyw

      I understood it to mean a broader societal anxiety/phobia about Irish rather than an official anti Irish language policy. I suspect if the government attempted to ban it you’d get a lot more armchair republicans deciding to learn it.

    1. Elron

      Point out where he is wrong. Or is it just easier to attack the man? Blame school maybe? Or native speakers? or the church?

  7. Elron

    And that was inspired by Rotide but meant for Colm. Maith thú. The requirement for Irish in a state job is entirely understandable, but totally neglected.

  8. Cu Cullan

    There is only one question: why, after all of the time and resources of the State over the last 100 years do the vast majority of the country not want to speak Irish. Answer me that and you will take the first step to saving the language.

  9. simon

    To Me its not hostility against a language its the teaching of a subject that is non productive outside this state
    The resources in education could be used for teaching something relevant to a career that would pay a decent wage
    Irish should be like religious studies taught outside school hours for those who wish to learn these things and certainly not subsidised as we have thousands homeless

    1. Elron

      Ah yes. The economic argument. Being productive should trump all. The Finns, Japanese, Hungarians, Maltese and Israelis need to learn from you.

    2. Colmán

      Haha, are you blaming the existance of the Irish language in our ciriculam on homelessness now? This is getting beyond rediculous. So if we stop teaching Irish there will be no homelessness? What about the people who teach Irish, the people who go to Irish schools, the people who were brought up with Irish. Should we fire them all, shut down the schools, ban it in our schools, ban the language on TV and radio too?

  10. SOQ

    The breakdown of respondents who said they could speak Irish in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland censuses of 2011

    So says the map. That ‘map’ is not comparing like with like Colm. % of 1.5 mil in NI will of course produce a different graphic to % of 5 m in ROI and more importantly, one was measured more granular than the other.

    I am always suspicious when people use maps to prove a point.

    1. SOQ

      Assuming both data sets were represented in the first place otherwise, you shat your entire argument first thing this morning.

  11. Chris

    Does colm always write in third person? Who’s paying for him to cone up with this one-sided dreck?

    So many of the comments in the last article pointed out the cherry picking going on, proving a lack of journalistic standards. Now we see another attempt to prove the same claim – perhaps Colms’ eagerness to prove his point is getting in the way of any attempt at balance – put someone less zealous towards the subject matter on the job!

  12. Rob_G

    Wow, I bet everyone will start wanting to learn Irish now, get to talk with mad-sound people like Elron…

  13. Colmán

    Maith thú a Choilm, alt maith eile. Tá rudaí ag athrú i measc an aosa óig agus muintir óg na hÉireann ag cur fíorshuim sa teanga agus an réamhbhreithiúnas ag laghdú go mór dá réir. Is rud é an réamhbhreithiúnas a bhaineann leis an seanghlúin a bhí go mór in ísle brí maidir lena dteanga agus a ndúchas féin rud a fuair siad le hucht mar gheall ar réimis Shasana sa tír seo agus cultúr na dtiarnaí talún agus seanmóireacht na heaglaise in éadan na teanga.

  14. Stan

    Lazy Islamaphobia is an article attempting to identify and condemn a newly minted prejudice? Not cool and not helping your case

  15. Dinny Do Well?

    Gaeilge is more widespread in the Irish community in the UK than many think.

    There was even a modh in East Enders.

  16. Maolíosa Ní Chléirigh

    Very good article that had to be written. I’ve come up with the ‘Gaelscoileanna are middle class’ thing over and over even though one of the few non-fee-paying Secondary schools in South Dublin is a Gaelcholáiste. Nothing wrong with something being middle-class except it is always a put-down when stated. Yes there is prejudice, but you don’t notice it if you are not part of the Irish-speaking community in the same way that you may not notice racism if you’re not black/asian/dark-skinned. The amount of times that I’m made to feel like a nuisance when I give my name which is in Irish is unreal. It goes ‘Oh it’s in Irish….. yes we have problems finding Irish names.’. Or else ‘What’s that in English.’ I lived in Holland for a while and people just simply asked me to spell it and that was it: no prejudice. A man changed my daughter’s surname to the English version and started calling her that. To further illustrate my point, when my sister married a German, her new German surname was never a problem.

  17. Steph Pinker

    David Stifter’s, Sengoídelc, is an easy academic read for those who want to study and understand the origins of Old Irish and how it evolved to Middle Irish; it also provides prehistoric and historic context of other Proto-Indo-European (PIE) languages.

  18. Dinny Do Well?

    Fair enough to call out racists for what they are.
    However, the article needs to acknowledge some of the complexities of the situation, and it does not.

    1) For one thing, there IS an element of racism with these Gaelscoileanna, ironically not so much in Dublin, but outside woth parents using the Gaelscoileanna model as the anti-Educate Together way of having their kids (and thefore themselves) avoid those horrible immigrants. These people are the real racists. And, yes, they’re middle class Doctors, Consultants, etc. from Oranmore and so on.

    2) There IS a disproportionate state investment in the G-aelsoileanna. TWICE as much of an An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta’s budget for school investment goes to the G-schools as to otthers. That funding model is WRONG, morally, ethically, economically. It’s Arlene Foster in reverse.

    3) There is also no such thing as a common Gaeilge dialect. In urban areas, the Irish language is fast approaching pidgin status, which is fine by me, but not by the fada führers. Just as the future of the French language lies in Africa and not in Macron’s jurisdiction, the future of Irish is in urban areas, and abroad (look at the Duolingo Irish language sign-up stats: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19407224/Irish-President-meets-with-Duolingo-and-course-contributors) and not in the Gaeltachts. Its future also needs to be decoupled from utter drivel like ceilí house on RTE, feiseanna, and the rest of an outdated cultural narrative. Teaching people to discuss abortion, drugs, how to download music illegally and talk about Ed Sheeran in Irish is relevant. Irish dancing on the radio is not.

    4) Pop-up Gaeltachts ARE inclusive. They set a modern example others could learn from.

    5) The reason people hate Irish is not because of the language, but because of the way it is taught, and what is taught, but fundamentally it’s a personal: Irish language speakers are like people who have read Ulysses or work for Google – they’ll let you know before you ask or even want to know – they’re a major pain in the Áras.

    6) We need a referendum to repeal the position of Gaeilge as one of the two official – but more official – languages of the State. It’s offensive and wrong.

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