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The Irish Language and the Irish Government

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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,302 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    When people raise the issue about government services being accessible in Ireland, I often wonder to myself, how many Irish speakers know "rheumatoid arthritis" in Irish (as opposed to the more common "osteo arthritis") and how many of them can also explain the concept of "interlocutory injunction" in Irish.

    Tens of people maybe?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    TDs don't understand Irish and there aren't any translaters in the Dail - not the Government's fault.

    There are a number of TD's who speak Irish, and there are more than enough qualified translators in the country who could provide an effective translation service if the proper system was put in place.
    Not enough translaters of labels because not enough people study Irish - not the Government's fault.

    Again, there are more than enough qualified translators available to translate labels, that is not the issue, the issue is that the government did not bother to include bilingual labeling in the legislation in the first place and the amendment to fix this would have delayed the bill so it was withdrawn. The minister, in an attempt to deflect responsibility made up bogus claims that bilingual labels would cause confusion despite no having no basis to make that claim.
    D/PER can't hire enough Irish speakers because there aren't enough qualified - not the Government's fault.

    Not sure what D/Per refers to, but there is a systemic problem in training people to take up professional roles through Irish.

    The state has only just started to implement a Gaeltacht education policy, for the first time since the foundation of the state, to take the needs of native Irish speakers into account. Prior to this native Irish speakers were subjected to an entirely unsuitable syllabus that was designed to teach Irish as a second language outside the Gaeltacht. The state has not invested sufficiently in providing the opportunities to get people from the Gaeltacht, and fluent Irish speakers from else where trained and qualified in sufficient numbers to take fill the roles needed to ensure that the state can function bilingually.

    This means that the eco-system of education opportunities and employment needed to support the language has been eroded and this feeds into a lack of qualified people to take up those roles. Like any skill, it takes investment and planning to ensure that you have enough suitably qualified people coming through, and the employment opportunities available for them when they have come through the system to keep them in the sector. Relying on a "Grá" for the language for people to get themselves qualified when the education and employment opportunities are not there wont work, it would not work for anything else either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    When people raise the issue about government services being accessible in Ireland, I often wonder to myself, how many Irish speakers know "rheumatoid arthritis" in Irish (as opposed to the more common "osteo arthritis") and how many of them can also explain the concept of "interlocutory injunction" in Irish.

    Tens of people maybe?

    How many people could do it in English?


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    blanch152 wrote: »
    When people raise the issue about government services being accessible in Ireland, I often wonder to myself, how many Irish speakers know "rheumatoid arthritis" in Irish (as opposed to the more common "osteo arthritis") and how many of them can also explain the concept of "interlocutory injunction" in Irish.

    Tens of people maybe?

    You belittled your own point with having to explain that both ailments that you were talking about were different.

    Osteo is a Greek word, rheumatiod is derived from Latin. I bet you can't say restaurant, sushi or karaoke in English either right? Languages borrow from each other all of the time, particularly when it comes to medical stuff derived mainly from Latin and Greek (in a European language context. Obviously the European languages were the main colonising languages so their influence is skewed).

    Literally nobody knows all of the words in any language. If you told me I had arthritis or airtríteas I would have no problem understanding you but if you went beyond that in either language using medical terms I wouldnt have a clue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    This has always been the problem, dating back from DeV's vision of a Catholic, self-sufficient, Irish speaking 32-county Republic. The teaching of Irish has been so wholly captured by special interests that it now exists as a way to funnel taxpayers' money in their direction via sinecures, cushy deals for publishers, grants and the like. I doubt that it is possible to save it at this stage to be honest.

    I don't see how the teaching of Irish has been "captured" by special interests, any more than any other subject has been.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    I don't see how the teaching of Irish has been "captured" by special interests, any more than any other subject has been.

    Can you elaborate please? English is widely spoken and teaching of other subjects is nowhere near as dysfunctional as Irish while whole groups of individuals profit from the language's demise. People might be ok with it but it's an approach that has failed dismally save for enriching the vested interests.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    When you also include the fact that Irish is more widely spoken among older people.

    Where did you get that stat from? Just did a quick check and if you compare Daily Irish Speakers to the population as a whole, then for 45-64 year old's, Daily Irish speakers comes in at 23.0%, population as a whole is 23.8%.

    15 - 24 year old's, population as a whole is 12.1%, daily Irish speakers is 12.3%

    More or less the same, not biased significantly to Irish speakers being older in general than the population as a whole. Perhaps you should recognize your biases for what they are rather than passing them off as facts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    Can you elaborate please? English is widely spoken and teaching of other subjects is nowhere near as dysfunctional as Irish while whole groups of individuals profit from the language's demise. People might be ok with it but it's an approach that has failed dismally save for enriching the vested interests.

    I didn't make the claim, you did, It's up to you to back it up. You mention special, or vested interests, who exactly are you talking about?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    I didn't make the claim, you did, It's up to you to back it up. You mention special, or vested interests, who exactly are you talking about?

    Not really sure how I would prove a negative so feel free to believe that all is fine with Irish if you'd prefer.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Where did you get that stat from? Just did a quick check and if you compare Daily Irish Speakers to the population as a whole, then for 45-64 year old's, Daily Irish speakers comes in at 23.0%, population as a whole is 23.8%.

    15 - 24 year old's, population as a whole is 12.1%, daily Irish speakers is 12.3%

    More or less the same, not biased significantly to Irish speakers being older in general than the population as a whole. Perhaps you should recognize your biases for what they are rather than passing them off as facts.

    Where are those figures from?

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭An Ciarraioch


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Where did you get that stat from? Just did a quick check and if you compare Daily Irish Speakers to the population as a whole, then for 45-64 year old's, Daily Irish speakers comes in at 23.0%, population as a whole is 23.8%.

    15 - 24 year old's, population as a whole is 12.1%, daily Irish speakers is 12.3%

    More or less the same, not biased significantly to Irish speakers being older in general than the population as a whole. Perhaps you should recognize your biases for what they are rather than passing them off as facts.

    Where are those figures from?

    Census 2016, presumably - generally have interactive tables for each section.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Census 2016, presumably - generally have interactive tables for each section.

    Those are effectively worthless though. They're just a collection of anecdotes.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,302 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Where did you get that stat from? Just did a quick check and if you compare Daily Irish Speakers to the population as a whole, then for 45-64 year old's, Daily Irish speakers comes in at 23.0%, population as a whole is 23.8%.

    15 - 24 year old's, population as a whole is 12.1%, daily Irish speakers is 12.3%

    More or less the same, not biased significantly to Irish speakers being older in general than the population as a whole. Perhaps you should recognize your biases for what they are rather than passing them off as facts.


    Fair enough, and I will check the census stats, but I am correct about the other stats.

    I assume you accept the Census results that show Irish in decline?


    Edit: Of course, the young are in education, allow for that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,302 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    I didn't make the claim, you did, It's up to you to back it up. You mention special, or vested interests, who exactly are you talking about?


    The Irish language industry, led by Conradh Na Gaeile, Udaras Na Gaeltachta and countless other similar wastes of money.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 796 ✭✭✭Sycamore Tree


    The artificial promotion of the Irish language is a massive pointless waste of money. Seeing 2 referendum booklets coming in the door just typifies how wastedul it is.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,302 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    There are a number of TD's who speak Irish, and there are more than enough qualified translators in the country who could provide an effective translation service if the proper system was put in place.



    Again, there are more than enough qualified translators available to translate labels, that is not the issue, the issue is that the government did not bother to include bilingual labeling in the legislation in the first place and the amendment to fix this would have delayed the bill so it was withdrawn. The minister, in an attempt to deflect responsibility made up bogus claims that bilingual labels would cause confusion despite no having no basis to make that claim.



    Not sure what D/Per refers to, but there is a systemic problem in training people to take up professional roles through Irish.


    Edit: D/PER stands for Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

    The state has only just started to implement a Gaeltacht education policy, for the first time since the foundation of the state, to take the needs of native Irish speakers into account. Prior to this native Irish speakers were subjected to an entirely unsuitable syllabus that was designed to teach Irish as a second language outside the Gaeltacht. The state has not invested sufficiently in providing the opportunities to get people from the Gaeltacht, and fluent Irish speakers from else where trained and qualified in sufficient numbers to take fill the roles needed to ensure that the state can function bilingually.

    This means that the eco-system of education opportunities and employment needed to support the language has been eroded and this feeds into a lack of qualified people to take up those roles. Like any skill, it takes investment and planning to ensure that you have enough suitably qualified people coming through, and the employment opportunities available for them when they have come through the system to keep them in the sector. Relying on a "Grá" for the language for people to get themselves qualified when the education and employment opportunities are not there wont work, it would not work for anything else either.


    There aren't enough people interested, nay bothered, in studying Irish to the extent needed to be a translator or an interpreter.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    The artificial promotion of the Irish language is a massive pointless waste of money. Seeing 2 referendum booklets coming in the door just typifies how wastedul it is.

    There is one referendum booklet from the referendum commission, not two.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 796 ✭✭✭Sycamore Tree


    madbeanman wrote: »
    The artificial promotion of the Irish language is a massive pointless waste of money. Seeing 2 referendum booklets coming in the door just typifies how wastedul it is.

    There is one referendum booklet from the referendum commission, not two.

    True. We got 2 booklets.

    The booklet contains 16 pages - 8 pages in each booklet is a pointless waste of money.

    16 pages of Irish in total i.e. a full booklet worth.

    for a 1 word change in the constitution...

    We need to face up to this utter pointless vain waste


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    True. We got 2 booklets.

    The booklet contains 16 pages - 8 pages in each booklet is a pointless waste of money.

    16 pages of Irish in total i.e. a full booklet worth.

    for a 1 word change in the constitution...

    We need to face up to this utter pointless vain waste

    The vain waste of giving a household two booklets where one would suffice or the vain waste of printing the booklets in the first and second official languages of the country?

    If you wish for Irish to be removed from the constitution that’s a fair position to take but as it stands I can’t see how a person could take issue with the referendum commissions interpretation of the constitution as currently written leading them to provide bilingual information in their leaflets.

    Also remember that the Irish language version of the constitution takes precedent over the English language version in law therefore (imo) a very compelling argument could be made that it would be civically and ethically irresponsible of the referendum commisssion to not send you the Irish version as the English change is legally meaningless.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    Not really sure how I would prove a negative so feel free to believe that all is fine with Irish if you'd prefer.

    What are you talking about, you are making the claim that these special interests exist and have somehow captured the teacking of Irish. Asking you to back up these claims is not asking you to prove a negative.
    Where are those figures from?

    A very quick look at the 2016 census returns, quite possible that I got it wrong as I it was only idle curiosity that spurred me to check it.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    The Irish language industry, led by Conradh Na Gaeile, Udaras Na Gaeltachta and countless other similar wastes of money.

    Right, how exactly has Conradh na Gaeilge, or Údarás na Gaeltachta for that matter, "captured" the teaching of Irish, and what benefit do those organisations derive from it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    blanch152 wrote: »
    There aren't enough people interested, nay bothered, in studying Irish to the extent needed to be a translator or an interpreter.

    Enough for what? As I said there are more than enough qualified translaters in the country to provide an effective translation services in the houses of the Oireachtas, or to translate the labels on alcohol products which was mentioned previously.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    madbeanman wrote: »
    Also remember that the Irish language version of the constitution takes precedent over the English language version in law therefore (imo) a very compelling argument could be made that it would be civically and ethically irresponsible of the referendum commisssion to not send you the Irish version as the English change is legally meaningless.

    Thats not strictly true, while the Irish version is autorative where there is a conflict between both texts, when there is not a conflict then one version can be used to explain and further clafify the meaning of the other.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    What are you talking about, you are making the claim that these special interests exist and have somehow captured the teacking of Irish. Asking you to back up these claims is not asking you to prove a negative.

    Blanch152 listed some of them above.
    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    A very quick look at the 2016 census returns, quite possible that I got it wrong as I it was only idle curiosity that spurred me to check it.

    I wouldn't hold the census figures in much regard since they're self-reported.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    Blanch152 listed some of them above.

    Do you agree with that list? Can you explain how exactly those organisations have "captured", as you said, the teaching of Irish and what benefit they derive from this? You mentioned cushy deals, and grants. What cushy deals do those organisations have, for example?
    I wouldn't hold the census figures in much regard since they're self-reported.

    People tend to know how old they are.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Do you agree with that list? Can you explain how exactly those organisations have "captured", as you said, the teaching of Irish and what benefit they derive from this? You mentioned cushy deals, and grants. What cushy deals do those organisations have, for example?

    Getting lavish funding from the taxpayer with nothing to show for it seems like a good example.
    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    People tend to know how old they are.

    Right. I'm talking about actual utility of the language which is a lot more nebulous as opposed to age.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭madbeanman


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Thats not strictly true, while the Irish version is autorative where there is a conflict between both texts, when there is not a conflict then one version can be used to explain and further clafify the meaning of the other.

    I don’t understand how a version of something in one language can be used to clarify the meaning of the other when in a conflict one takes precedence over the other.
    I’m just asking for clarification here to better understand the point, I don’t quarrel with you knowing what you are talking about.

    Either way the point is that it is important is that it is important for voters to have the changes to the text in Irish if there is a case where a conflict would arise and precedence would be needed to be given to the Irish language version.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    Getting lavish funding from the taxpayer with nothing to show for it seems like a good example.

    Not really seeing the link between these organisations and the teaching of Irish to be honest, Conradh na Gaeilge has opposed making Irish optional in the past, but is not involved in the teaching of Irish (other than a few Irish classes for adults they run in Dublin). You might clarify how the supposidly lavish funding they receive relates to those organisations having "captured" in some way the teaching of Irish? I would also ask you to clarify what you mean by lavish, Conradh na Gaeilge is not particularly well funded as far as I am aware, though you are entitled to think that any funding they receive is wasted.

    As for Údarás na Gaeltachta, they are essentialy the IDA for Gaeltacht areas, again they are not involved in the teaching of Irish. I don't see how either organisation has lavish funding, ÚnaG's funding has been cut 70% since 2008. They support employment and community projects in the Gaeltacht. so suggesting that they have nothing to show for their funding seems to be highly cynical and not a little biased if you ask me. Perhaps you would prefer an imbalanced development policy that targets all investment in a few urban centers, I think investing in rural areas including Gaeltacht areas to provde communities with infastructure and employment is a good thing, though you are welcome to differ of course. I'm not sure how that activity makes Údarás na Gaeltachta a "special interest" when it comes to the teaching of Irish in schools though.
    Right. I'm talking about actual utility of the language which is a lot more nebulous as opposed to age.

    There is'nt any question on the utility of Irish in the census, just a yes/no question on if people can speak Irish and another on the frequency with which they speak the language. The issue was not in relation to peoples use of the language though, but rather the comparative age of the Irish speaking community to the population as a whole. The poster claimed that Irish was more likely to be spoken by older people, the available data suggests that this is not the case. The poster is welcome to their opinion, but should not throw it out as fact as the available evidence does not support it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,769 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    Not really seeing the link between these organisations and the teaching of Irish to be honest, Conradh na Gaeilge has opposed making Irish optional in the past, but is not involved in the teaching of Irish (other than a few Irish classes for adults they run in Dublin). You might clarify how the supposidly lavish funding they receive relates to those organisations having "captured" in some way the teaching of Irish? I would also ask you to clarify what you mean by lavish, Conradh na Gaeilge is not particularly well funded as far as I am aware, though you are entitled to think that any funding they receive is wasted.

    As for Údarás na Gaeltachta, they are essentialy the IDA for Gaeltacht areas, again they are not involved in the teaching of Irish. I don't see how either organisation has lavish funding, ÚnaG's funding has been cut 70% since 2008. They support employment and community projects in the Gaeltacht. so suggesting that they have nothing to show for their funding seems to be highly cynical and not a little biased if you ask me. Perhaps you would prefer an imbalanced development policy that targets all investment in a few urban centers, I think investing in rural areas including Gaeltacht areas to provde communities with infastructure and employment is a good thing, though you are welcome to differ of course. I'm not sure how that activity makes Údarás na Gaeltachta a "special interest" when it comes to the teaching of Irish in schools though.

    There's nothing to show for the money thrown into these organisations, save for the jobs for the boys. This has been going on for decades and has yielded no visible results IMO. Funding for bodies who don't make progress is lavish IMO.
    Imreoir2 wrote: »
    There is'nt any question on the utility of Irish in the census, just a yes/no question on if people can speak Irish and another on the frequency with which they speak the language. The issue was not in relation to peoples use of the language though, but rather the comparative age of the Irish speaking community to the population as a whole. The poster claimed that Irish was more likely to be spoken by older people, the available data suggests that this is not the case. The poster is welcome to their opinion, but should not throw it out as fact as the available evidence does not support it.

    "Can speak Irish" can mean any of a million things from a "Slán" once a week to exclusive use of the language. As I said, it's a very poor metric.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭Imreoir2


    madbeanman wrote: »
    I don’t understand how a version of something in one language can be used to clarify the meaning of the other when in a conflict one takes precedence over the other.
    I’m just asking for clarification here to better understand the point, I don’t quarrel with you knowing what you are talking about.

    Either way the point is that it is important is that it is important for voters to have the changes to the text in Irish if there is a case where a conflict would arise and precedence would be needed to be given to the Irish language version.

    There was a study done some years ago on the texts of the constitution which is quite interesting (in a very dry nerdy way). http://archive.constitution.ie/publications/irish-text.pdf

    The Irish is not merely a direct translation of the English or vice versa, the texts of the constitution were actually co-drafted during the drafting process and there is divergence of meaning to varying degrees in almost every scentance. This is often just a different way of saying the same thing which can result in slightly different emphisis in different areas.

    There are only a small handful of instances of direct conflict between the texts. For example, for someone who wishes to become a candidate in a presidential election, the English version of the constitution mistakenly says that they must be 34, "‘reached his thirty-fifth year of age" which in fact happens on your 34th birthday. The Irish version says that you must be 35 "cúig bliana tríochad slán" literally must have compleated 35 years, which happens on your 35th birthday. These are the only cases where the Irish version takes precidence over the English version.

    For the rest of the time, when the courts consider the exact meaning of a section of the constitution, they can consider both versions of the constitution and use the construction of the section in both Irish and English to clarify the exact meaning of the section, they don't ignore what is said in English and only focus on the Irish wording.


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