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Sinn Fein would use an Irish Language Act to entrench division and bleed taxpayers dry

Letter of the day: legislation debate

Now that Sinn Fein no longer sees 'Irish unity' in terms of a separatist, socialist republic, but in terms of integration into the European Union, which itself must become more politically and economically integrated if it is not to implode under present contradictions in the Eurozone, Sinn Fein needs a new cause to pursue divisiveness in the north.

That cause, after some toying around with the exploitation of the faults in a green energy heating scheme, now seems to be settled on an 'Irish' Language Act, with a preference for the use of English in referring to it, thus giving the impression as though it were once the language spoken in all Ireland.

The real point of it is Gerry Adams has now his eyes not on Stormont, but on the possibility of a government position for Sinn Fein, whether within a Fianna Fail coalition or not, in the Dail.

Demands for an 'Irish' Language Act that would be something more than a preferential treatment in funding the learning of the language, say, in contrast with funding the learning of Anglo-Saxon, or funding the later Old English (the use of which was once banned by the Normans) that we might now read the earlier Anglo-Saxon, or the later Old English of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the original; or even funding the learning of Norman French (that the Normans - having banned the use of the Old English - expected to replace it), so that we might now the better appreciate the inscription on the Royal Coat of Arms, or the language still used in giving the Royal Assent to Bills becoming Acts in the House of Commons.

That something more for 'Irish' would be a demand accompanied by 'rights' that could be exploited: not only money from taxation to fund the translations of public notices and legal documents, but large shops and other businesses required to have staff who can speak and write it in order to facilitate customers who insist on their right to use it, however few they may be.

WA MILLER

Belfast

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