Ireland’s Language Divide Needs a Solution. Fast.

This is the English version of an earlier blog post in Irish: Líonfaimis an Bhearna idir Gaeltacht is Galltacht.

I’ll try to avoid every typical phrase used about the Irish language or the Gaeltacht that you might see from school essays to the comments section on certain news sites. The matter is far too serious to use such platitudes. Instead, I’ll try to tackle the issue head-on to find a potential solution.

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Collaborating Celts: The Need for a New Celtic Union

When I went to university, I was in a very lucky and privileged position. I had been encouraged by my parents to choose a degree course that I would enjoy, and not just one which may contribute to my career (which, at the time, I was certain would be in broadcasting). My first choice on my CAO form was Business through Irish, a course which I thought would combine my passion for the Irish language with a supposedly practical business degree. When I got my Leaving Cert results, however, I didn’t pass the minimum requirement in maths to get a place on that course, so I went with my second option of Arts at University College Dublin.

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A Cynical View on Irish Politics?

Most of us have, at some point in our lives, heard the advice: The three things you should never discuss with people are politics, religion, and money. I’ve often thought that the Irish never got the memo on such a rule, because for a country which almost makes a national sport out of referenda and elections, we often discuss the actions, statements, and flaws of our politicians. We’ve seen debate on whether or not certain manifestations of local or national government should even exist; in Ireland, those debates have recently ranged from having directly-elected city mayors to whether or not we abolish our Seanad. We so often hear dismissive statements in the pub or on the street that politicans are “all the same”; they’re “only interested in lining their pockets” or “getting their cushy pension” and they’re “all a shower of wasters”. The same lines have been exclaimed by frustrated citizens for generations, yet rarely is an alternative to the situation proposed, let alone one agreed upon.

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A Polticial Declaration

There’s no doubt that the last few weeks have been difficult for everyone, but as I’ve written recently, while there are still major challenges and issues to be dealt with in Ireland, we have also seen a boost in community awareness. We’ve made a conscious effort to care for others again, whether that means checking in on our neighbours, calling our friends, or minding our family.

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After This, Let’s Remember How We United

Just before the crisis of COVID-19 hit Ireland, we had been preparing for (and many of us complaining about) a general election to form the next Dáil Éireann.

Many people were unimpressed with the poor state of affairs in different parts of society, and wanted things to change. Housing, homelessness, healthcare, direct provision, and more all needed to be dealt with urgently. Although the feeling on the ground was that the Fine Gael minority government hadn’t acted quickly or sufficiently enough, what voters considered an allowable timeline to implement changes could never be rationally defined.

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