Éire Ghaelach – Éire Shaor
Earlier I talked about the hostility of many in the Irish civil service to the Irish language, and in particular the wilful misinterpretations or disregarding of the law in relation to the Official Languages Act of 2003 that has been commonplace over the last ten years. With a culture of institutional discrimination towards Irish speaking citizens the anglophone core of officials at the heart of the Irish state have now found a ready ally in the Fine Gael-Labour coalition which is clearly set upon a path of gutting the Languages Act of any meaning (beginning with the removal of the office of the Language Commissioner).
How differently they do things in Wales. From a BBC report:
“Wrexham has become the first location in Wales chosen to be a “bilingual town” in a scheme to promote the use of the Welsh language.
The project, drawn up by the Welsh government and Welsh Language Board, hopes to encourage more people to use Welsh in everyday life in the town.
Project consultant Cefin Campbell said it was a fantastic chance for the town.
“People want to see more Welsh-medium education in Wrexham, more opportunities for Welsh learners to use the language,” he insisted.
“It’s a chance to create a focus for the Welsh language and hopefully it will draw young people in as well to use the language – and that has to be one of the main challenges.””
In Wales they are working to defend their native language and culture in their major towns and cities. More than defending, they are actively working to change whole areas from being English speaking to Welsh speaking. Meanwhile in Ireland a small, bigoted minority of English speakers are doing the complete opposite. Just ask the people of the town formerly known as Daingean Uí Chúis.