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Affirmative action on Irish language would be a disaster for the Civil Service and society at large

Letter of the day: legislation controversy

Mairtin O Muilleoir may describe the proposal that 10% of new entrants to Civil Service jobs must be Irish-speaking as "bunkum", but the fact is it was contained in a document from Conradh na Gaeilge, which Sinn Fein was actively promoting.

Furthermore, Sinn Fein's 2015 draft Irish Language Bill included the line, "Provision for affirmative action in favour of Irish speakers in recruitment to the Civil Service and other public bodies". In other words, Sinn Fein do support positive discrimination.

I have the utmost respect for the Irish language, but it has been used and abused by Sinn Fein. I have experience of this in my council area.

If anything, it is Sinn Fein who have shown massive disrespect to the language, using it as a battering-ram to try and advance their political agenda.

Just as the proposal for 10% of new entrants to the Civil Service being Irish-speaking is unacceptable, so, too, are the proposals for the creation of an Irish language commissioner with the powers of a High Court judge.

In Sinn Fein's 2015 draft Irish Language Bill, they proposed that the Irish language commissioner would have the power to "initiate prosecutions for a new... summary offence of refusing, or failing, to co-operate with the work of an Irish language commissioner".

Is this the type of society we want to create, where non-Irish speakers will live in fear of being hauled before the court, because they choose to conduct their everyday lives using English? I dread to think where this could end up.

cllr david taylor

Ulster Unionist Party group leader

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

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