Monday, February 04, 2008

Living through Irish

Over the last few months there have been increasing demands for improved services through Irish. Ever since we got Irish adopted as an official EU language it seems people are finding new ways to complain that services provided to them are not available in Irish. Some are slightly dodgy, for example I heard last week of people appealing speeding tickets given to them in English on the grounds that they want the process to be dealt with through Irish. Some actually sound dangerous, such as people claiming that they want health care delivered to them through Irish.

Leaving aside the fact that Irish is our national language and every effort should be made to preserve it, are there really people in the Ireland of 2008 who don't understand English well enough to explain their symptoms to a doctor? Surely if nurses and doctors have to be able to speak Irish then that excludes many professionals currently working in the health care service who come from abroad?

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