The Irish language is not part of us – it has to be learned

Opinion: No amount of campaigning can transform the situation of a weak language

Campaigning outside the Dáil: but what does the poster mean? Photograph: Collins

Campaigning outside the Dáil: but what does the poster mean? Photograph: Collins

According to an old joke circulating in the Department of Foreign Affairs, if somebody spoke French well they were sure to be posted to China, while Chinese speakers would probably end up in Turkey.

The same spirit seems to have informed Enda Kenny’s decision to appoint Heather Humphreys and Joe McHugh, neither of whom speak Irish well, to ministerial posts in the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs.

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