On 17th October 2010 last I wrote a piece Ed Walsh wants school budget for Irish to be halved - I agree. This post did attract some comment. Today, Colm Mac Fhionnghaile takes me to task about my comments on the Irish language. In the interest of fairness, here is his comment in full (which I have published on above link):
I find it confusing that you have called Irish both a 'dead language' and 'our first language' in as many sentences, cementing my first impressions of you as writing controversially for the sake of controversy here. This is a standard attack on 'our' language, an unrehearsed and ill-researched piece. As a man who's grown up in a bi-lingual family I believe the language is the standing-stone on which our heritage leans. I would hesitate to base opinions on that of Dr. Ed Walsh. 'But let those who are not enthusiastic about Irish drop out after primary school'. Would he also be comfortable letting those with no enthusiasm for math, or English, or History, Geography etc. abandon those subjects?
Having said this much, this is a well written piece, and will have been read by plenty people, therefore I believe you should be more careful with anti-Gaelic posts in future in the interest of fairness, or 'cothrom na féinne' as Irish speakers would say.
First - Colm is more than entitled to his opinion and I welcome his response to my post. Free speech and all that!
But I have responded as follows:
"for the sake of controversy" - gimme a break!
"anti-Gaelic posts" - gimme another break!
According to Google Translate, "cothrom na féinne" means "fair play" - I had to look it up. I am 52 years old and I do not recall ever hearing this. I cannot hold a conversation in Irish - and do you know what? I do not feel less Irish, or "anti-Gaelic" for that matter.
"unrehearsed"? - FFS I have had 52 years of this.
"ill-researched" - FFS I do not claim to have researched this. This is a Blog, not a peer reviewed journal. This is an opinion piece in a personal blog - I'll say what I want. Last time I looked - we live in a democracy.
Eoin Ó Lochlainn
That last bit is my name in Irish - I have not used it since 1972 when I was in Scoil na nÓg in Trabolgan, Co Cork. I have just to walk from my office for 10 minutes to hear Polish and Chinese being spoken, I bet I would have to walk for hours before I would hear Irish being spoken on the street.
Thank goodness we have Irish to help us get around!
Is a person "anti-Gaelic" just because he cannot speak Irish? Or doesn't want it rammed down his throat?