Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Caid mille failte

What's Irish for 'politically correct'?
Now I’m as big a fan of the Emerald Isle as anyone. They were one of, if not the, first countries in Europe to ban smoking in public places, my mother was Irish, and I was married there. I’ve even kissed the Blarney Stone, twice, without having to pay. (The first time I was too young – ten - and the second time I was a pensioner.) So it can't be all bad. But they’ve gone too far this time.
They have managed to persuade the European Parliament that the Gaelic should be recognised as an official language. As of next year, members will be allowed to address the EU assembly in a language that only five MEPs claim to be able to understand. In addition, all documents and legal papers will have to be translated into Irish, adding a million Euros to a translation budget which already exceeds a billion.
To recognise a minority language of a country that has (albeit wisely) not yet ratified the European Constitution seems to be the start of a slippery slope. I don’t know what criteria they use in making such decisions, but many languages that are much more widely used: Welsh, Catalan, Scouse… are not yet recognised. Do I smell a deal to persuade the Irish to ratify the Constitution?

21 comments:

Cliff said...

One millions euros? Just how many Gaelic speakers are there?
Pogue mahon.

riviera writer said...

One million. There are seven million Catalans - but they can't vote on the Conctitution.

Ed R said...

I have nothing witty to offer here.
I don't speak Irish or Catalan.
Cliff, why would I wanna kiss THAT?!

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