Perhaps if I lived out in the leafy suburbs of Dublin or out in the country with a couple of kids and a Red Setter I would be a fan of Saint Patrick’s Day. I don’t. I live in Dublin’s inner city and I am not a fan of the feast of Ireland’s patronal saint. Watching the ruling establishment of this little Republic during the nationalistic charade that is Seachtain na Gaeilge we are reminded of the affected superiority complex that penetrates deep into the fabric of a cultural consciousness working hard to ignore its real inferiority complex. More than once during my sojourn in Ireland I have been excluded from conversations by the use of the ‘national language’ which is spoken by less than one percent of the population. I sympathise with how Mick Wallace TD was treated by the Irish Prime Minister in the parliament to which he was elected. We can bet our bottom Euro that Enda Kenny never pulled a stunt like that when he was speaking to Barack O’Bama. We know which national language he used then.

In Ireland there are more Polish speakers than there are Irish speakers. Such facts may upset people, and maybe it is a sad thing, but it is the truth. Irish is a minority language, and one which is used too often to reinforce social and class divisions. This is the real vandalism done to the beauty of the Irish language. Most working people in Dublin and over the island of Ireland have one language – English. Ah sure, that may be because the English soldiers came and stole all our potatoes, but it is also a reality. Rather than this nonsense over a language, more could be done in this country to celebrate Irishness – especially around Saint Patrick’s Day – by giving people genuine reasons for national pride. This is the first year in the Liberties that there hasn’t been a street party at the flats close to where I live.

Working class people in Dublin have nothing to celebrate. They won’t be at Irish language poetry events tonight or culturally elitist traditional music events. No. They are sitting at home wondering how they are going to feed the kids and cover the water charges, and no doubt when someone wishes Mick Wallace, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit, he’ll tell them to take an effing run and jump.

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