Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

It's time for plain speaking: let's stop trying to trick people into thinking Ulster Scots is a real language

Letter of the day: political football

I came across a couple of perplexed tourists in the Guildhall in Londonderry recently. Pausing to see what was causing them concern, it turned out to be the lady of the couple trying to decipher the sign for the toilet. This was, of course, very helpfully printed in Irish, English and 'guid auld' Ulster Scots.

As I looked at the sign, it was very apparent that, somewhere, someone is sitting coming up with convoluted spellings of words to create the impression of a language - in this case, the elusive Ulster Scots. Let me make clear: I do not speak Irish and I have no desire, nor do I see a need, for an Irish Language Act.

But I do see a need for our politicians to get real. The question of an Ulster Scots language never arose until there was a decision to allot funds to the promotion of Irish.

What we have here are what used to be enjoyed as 'Ulsterisms'. (I remember there used to be a regular column of them in the Belfast Telegraph.)

The attempt to promote a non-existent language only provides cover to those trying to force an unnecessary Acht Gaeilige, with all that entails, on the community. Better that they all be honest and come up with a compromise from one side to promote Irish to those who want it and for the other side to stop using it as a political tool and admit that Acht Gaeilige would be a very costly point to score for very little gain.

As a last point on this subject, while travelling into Dublin on the train I noticed the 'Danger High Voltage' signs were in English with no Irish translation.

raymond hughes

Ballyclare, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph