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Time for perspective regarding the Irish language

It is long overdue that we in the unionist community stopped allowing ourselves to be wound up about the Irish language by those unionist and republican politicians in search of some easy publicity.

Latin and Irish have both contributed to our current culture and neither is likely to ever replace English as the dominant language on any part of this island.

Councillor Timothy Gaston has gained much publicity (News, March 8) by asking for Ballymena manhole covers to be replaced simply because they bear the Irish word for water.

Yet he must be aware that his actions simply encourage nationalists to learn a few words of Irish just so that they can wind up people like him.

Is it not time that both unionists and nationalists moved away from this negative use of Irish? Surely we in the unionist community can accept and welcome the minor role of Irish in our British way of life?

Would it not be better for all if we taught our children not to be alarmed at the sight of a few ancient words from a language that forms a significant part of the names of our towns?

I am sure even councillor Gaston doesn't want the 'Baile' (town) removed from Ballymena, or Ballymoney.


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