Speaking Irish in the Dáil


A chara, – I am a fan of Miriam Lord. I enjoy her colour pieces and admire her writing skills. I do take issue with her, however, on the matter of Irish in the Dáil (Dáil Sketch, October 10th).

For the record I did not ask her to encourage me. I put it to her in a perfectly reasonable way that she should be encouraging the use of Irish in the Dáil. I think all of us should do that. And not only in the Dáil. And not only during Seachtain na Gaeilge.

It is a matter of puzzlement to me that Oireachtas members with much more Irish than me do not speak the language more often in the chamber. Of course the English language media generally does not use the Irish language contributions. So maybe that is the reason why many TDs, including Ministers, use only English.

The Taoiseach is the exception. He will respond to questions in Irish though his answers are no clearer or informative than his responses in English. Ach sin scéal eile.

For my part in my modest way I use Irish whenever I can. With my Sinn Féin colleagues and other Oireachtas members. In my everyday life. With my family and friends. That is what language is for.

So, I will continue in my humble way to put questions in Irish to our Taoiseach. I encourage other TDs and Seanadóirí to do likewise. This is not a competition. Everyone who has Irish should use it. Everywhere. – Yours, etc,


Sinn Féin President,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.