Nearby pub urges end to dispute after Irish-speaker leaves job
Sober Lane calls for ‘reconciliation and craic’ after protest at neighbouring outlet in Cork
Irish-language speakers and supporters along with members of the Gael-Taca group protest outside The Flying Enterprise pub in Cork after barman Cormac Ó Bruic said he was forbidden from speaking Irish on the premises. Image: Screenshot from Provision video
The owners of the Sober Lane pub in Cork city have called on The Flying Enterprise pub and the Gael-Taca Irish language group to put aside their differences after a protest in support of a man who was ordered not to speak Irish in work.
Some 50 people mounted a picket outside The Flying Enterprise this weekend after a member of staff was reportedly told not to speak Irish while working. Protesters gathered outside the building calling on the pub’s owner to apologise and admit he had made a mistake.
Cormac Ó Bruic (23) from an Fheothanach in Corca Dhuibhne in Co Kerry said last week he had left his job at The Flying Enterprise after he was told he could not speak Irish in the bar.
Pub owner Finbarr O’Shea allegedly told Mr Ó Bruic he had received complaints from customers and his pub was an “an English-speaking business” and he had no permission to speak Irish in the pub.
The Sober Lane pub posted on Facebook on Monday that with two “good neighbours at loggerheards”, the business felt “obliged to give the role of peacemaker a go”.
“The Gaeilgeoir has gotten another job, the Flying Enterprise has certainly felt the wrath of Irish lovers, and I’m sure have learned a lesson, and Gael-Taca have made their point and raised the profile of the great work they do,” said the post. It then proposes a week-long celebration of the Irish language to help connect Irish-speaking people in Cork.
The Facebook post continues: “There’s enough grief out there and headaches, life’s hard enough. What’s done is done, let’s now mend bridges and work on ensuring next time we can talk rather than picket – text rather than press release – we are neighbours – let’s act like it, and include all our friends, supporters and customers in our journey of reconciliation and craic.”
While Mr O’Shea remains unavailable for comment, the pub posted a statement on its Facebook page on Friday which said: “We wish to clarify that Cormac was not fired or dismissed nor did we intend to fire or dismiss Cormac in this regard. However, while Cormac did initially engage with the HR process he decided to leave before the process was concluded.”
The statement said management at the pub were surprised by the comments attributed to its former employee in the media, adding that the matter was “certainly not about the Irish language”.
Gael-Taca chairwoman Cáit Ní Shúilleabháin said on Saturday that members of the Irish language group, which is located near the pub, would boycott it “until they change their stance on the Irish language”.
“If Finbarr O’Shea is happy to come out and apologise and say he has made a mistake, that he should not have discriminated as such against somebody who was speaking one of the official languages of the State, then we would have no problem going back there – everyone can make mistakes,” said Ms Ní Shúilleabháin.