Oh please, someone save me from the half-arsed opinions of right-wing Anglophone buffoons.
From Niall O’Dowd’s US-based website Irish Central resident “Irish” correspondent John Spain offers this view on today’s devastating Troika-driven budget in Ireland and what we should be cutting from the state’s spending under the headline “Ordinary Irish suffer yet again…” :
“An example would be the costs associated with the pretence that we are reviving the Irish language.
We go on paying teachers to spend hours every day teaching compulsory Irish in schools even though no European languages (or Chinese, or Russian) are taught in Irish junior schools and companies like Google have to import hundreds of workers here as a result to fill jobs in customer support services.
And we go on paying for not only a full Irish language news service but an Irish TV station, even though research shows that the audience is tiny.
I have nothing against Irish. It is just one example of the many sacred cows in Irish life which cost a fortune and which we can no longer afford. Long may Irish continue, but it has to stand on its own legs and so do all the other sacred cows we have here, instead of being supported by the taxpayer.”
Are the Irish-speaking communities and citizens of Ireland not “ordinary Irish” too?
1,777,437 million people or 41.4% of the population of Ireland self-identified themselves in the 2011 Census as speaking or understanding Irish (a rise from 1.6 million in 2006). 187,827 people identified themselves as weekly speakers of Irish with another 613,236 stating that they spoke Irish less than weekly (another significant jump from the results in 2006). As taxpayers do we not have the same rights as our English-speaking peers?
In the last major survey on the Irish language, 2009’s “The Irish Language and the Irish People” from NUI Maynooth, 93.1% of the population favoured continued support for the Irish language, with 40.2% supporting the restoration of Irish as the main spoken language of the country.
Does that 93.1% of the population not represent “ordinary Irish” too?
TG4 is the only Irish-language television channel serving the Irish-speaking population of Ireland. Contrast that with thirteen English language television channels broadcasting in Ireland. And that is only the ones licensed by the Irish state. There is another twenty-one English language television channels based outside the state that broadcast on or into the island of Ireland, many carrying localised Irish programming or advertising. So with the English language community in Ireland served by 34 television channels the Irish Central advocates taking away the one television channel that serves the Irish language community?
As for the claims that the station’s audience is tiny. Seriously? Over the last eleven months TG4 has achieved consistently high viewing figures, on one occasion becoming the most watched TV channel in Ireland, and on another two occasions coming a close second to the market-dominating RTÉ 1 (and surpassing both RTÉ 2 and TV3, as well as outside broadcasters like the BBC and ITV). But hey, don’t let a little thing like facts and figures get in the way of an ignorant rant.
Irish-speakers are tax-payers too. And they have the same right to the services of the state as their English-speaking peers. And they demand those legal and constitutional rights whether Anglophone supremacists with their anachronistic British colonial views can stomach it or not.
This is Ireland 2012, not 1912 or 1812.
And this is our nation too.