Kevin Myers agus an Ghaeilge


Madam, - Mere days after his disingenuous apology, Kevin Myers returns to one of the many favourite targets of his personal spleen and invective - the Irish language (An Irishman's Diary, February 15th).

As ever, Mr Myers chooses language that is quite deliberately designed to hurt and offend. So the promotion of Irish is "socially dysfunctional", an "expensive fantasy" and a "national myth" - and responsible for all manners of social ills from illiteracy and "educational handicap" to the dire state of the health system. At no stage are we given cogent intellectual arguments to support his numerous ridiculous assertions. Instead of debate, we are given abuse.

Why Mr Myers hates the Irish language, its speakers, and those who value the language and believe it should be cherished and promoted is quite beyond me. I am just one of many people involved in promoting the Irish language and its literature as best I can. I do this not out of any wish to promulgate "anything misty, insular and ancient" - but rather to celebrate the joys of a "mellifluous", highly flexible, engaged and adaptable language.

If Mr Myers doubts this, he should read the wonderful work of modern Irish writers such as Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Gearóid MacLochlainn, Seán MacMathúna, Alan Titley, Micheál Ó Conghaile and many others.

The truth of the matter is that Mr Myers is infected by the petty and petulant self-hatred typical of post-colonial societies. Hence the Irish language is denounced in terms evoking peasantry and poverty ("Gaelic gruel, cruibeens, and dulse"; "goats that butt in Irish are entitled to headage payments", and so on).

Winston Churchill once declared that people are "not entitled to their opinions, but they are entitled to an informed opinion". Mr Myers clearly knows little of the Irish language, the communities who speak Irish, and those who write the language.

His opinions on Irish are merely uninformed and ignorant. - Yours, etc.,

LIAM CARSON, Director, Irish Language Literature Festival, Raheny, Dublin 5.

Madam, - Last week Kevin Myers apologised to his readers. How sincere was this apology? How capable is your diarist of remorse? He is back to his old offensive ways again.

Having wounded a vulnerable section of society, your predator apologises but, as he is still bloodthirsty, all he can do is yield to his baser instincts and search for another vulnerable target. Why, of course! The Irish language. Let's get the boot in again.

And you actually pay him to incite anti-Irish feeling? - Yours, etc.,

GABRIEL ROSENSTOCK, Gleann na gCaorach, Co Átha Cliath.