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Language no barrier when visiting Cork

I fully support the practical and common-sense views expressed by Maurice Fitzgerald and the other contributor in their letters about Irish Language Act issues (Write Back, September 12).

In principle, I am prepared to consider the merits of the introduction of a culturally based Irish Language Act, but before accepting such legislation, I seek clarification from the promoters and supporters of such provision as to their ambitions and expectations in regard to the nationalistic, economic and business, civil and community cohesion benefits that might arise and a comment on their assessment of the costs arising.

The above comments are offered in the context of just returning from a short holiday break in west Cork.

While the motorway and street directional signs were bilingual, it was interesting to note that all the other signage was in English.

This related to the naming and ownership of business premises, the nature of work undertaken (ie solicitor, printer), menus in restaurants and signage on vans, taxis and lorries. All were in English and none in Irish. A visit to the busy English Market in Cork revealed a photograph of the Queen displayed by a stallholder in recognition of the visit she made to the city several years ago.

There were many tourists around and the only occasion I heard Irish spoken was in the splendid Titanic exhibition in Cobh.

However, the Irish speaker had to revert to English to ensure that the staff member in the cafe understood his request.

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