GAEILGE ++++ by Lambert Simnel

Regarding Gaeilge, COMPULSORY Gaeilge would involve a situation where we would NOT, repeat NOT, repeat NOT hear Síle & Seán in Conamara asking what the point of speaking Gaeilge to the children is.

We would hear Deirdre and Steve in Dublin asking what the point of speaking ENGLISH to the children is.

In a PRACTICAL way COMPULSORY Gaeilge would mean that Cóilín from Conamara would have NO NEED to learn English.

I have no doubt but you will find these remarks by David Ben Gurion to Liam Ó Murchú some 40 years ago now of great and enthralling interest.

“In Haifa, we met up with former Israeli Prime Minister, Ben Gurion. He was a native Jew by all means but at a time when Hebrew was not the vernacular. But he spoke English reasonably well. He told us that the Irish were a meally mouthed lot who spouted a lot of vacant talk about their native language, but unlike them, did little or nothing to revive it. He mentioned De Valera, whom he had met in the League of Nations in Geneva thirty odd years before. He was constantly talking about the revival of Irish in Ireland and the methodology being used to revive it. Meanwhile, they in Israel got on with their Kibbutz methods. Leaving us, the old man came out with a farewell that truly stunned me: ‘Go n-éirí an bothar leat’ he said as De Valera used to say! And true to form I replied ‘Go n-éirí an bóthar leat féin’.”

Hebrew was a non-spoken language since 200BC and yet the Jews needed two generations, 1880 – 1930 to revive Hebrew.
Now that the great & glorious Celtic Tiger is well & truly dead, we should know that the most efficient economy in the World is Finland. In Finnish-speaking Finland, it is quite common for people to speak two and three foreign languages competently. According to the ERSI, IR£1billion Punt leaves Ireland every year because people speak English. People here support ENGLISH teams NOT French, German, Italian or Spanish teams, buy ENGLISH papers NOT French, German, Italian or Spanish papers mar gur Béarla atá anois ag na hÉireannaigh.

There is a famous educational research project that was done in Bradford & Marseilles some forty years ago now. Both Bradford & Marseilles sent a monoglot English/French speaking teacher to the other’s school system. In Bradford the English children could understand the monoglot French teacher within a fortnight. Within two months, they could ‘think’ in French and at the end of the school year, they all spoke French fluently with their best Marseilles accent. 

When I worked in Spain teaching English some 35 years ago now, I met a Spanish chap who spoke Gaeilge with a Tyrone accent who was NEVER tired proclaiming ‘Tá Gaeilge aisteach agatsa’ when he encountered a Connacht accent. The HARSH FACT of the matter is that most people in Rural/Small Town Ireland speak with the accent with which their ancestors once spoke Irish.

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