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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 11 Nov 1965

Vol. 60 No. 5

Páipéar Bán um Athbheochan na Gaeilge.

D'athógadh an dhíospóireacht ar an dtairiscint seo a leanas:
Go dtugann Seanad Éireann an Páipéar Bán um Athbheochan na Gaeilge dá n-aire. —(An Seanadóir Dónal Ó Conalláin, An Seanadóir Pádraig Ó Caoinleáin.)

When Senator Ó Conalláin proposed this motion, he emphasised that it dealt with the means and not the desirability of restoring the language. He emphasised also that the policy of restoration is an accepted one and that the point of the motion was to discuss the wisdom or otherwise of the Government's proposal as outlined in the White Paper on the Restoration of the Language. Before going into that point, I should like to remind the Seanad of the terms of reference of the Commission on whose recommendations the proposals in the White Paper are based. The terms of reference were:

Having regard to the position at present reached in the endeavour to secure the restoration of the Irish language, to consider and to advise as to the steps that should now be taken by the community and the State to hasten progress towards that end.

The Government have accepted practically all the major recommendations submitted by the Commission in this report, and the White Paper suggests that:

The Government, for their part, propose to work for the achievement of these aims in a systematic way. For each phase of effort there will be a practical plan of action. Objectives will be set which are reasonable and realisable but which fix no boundary to progress.

It goes on to say that during the next ten years Government policy will be directed towards strengthening the social and economic life of the Gaeltacht, extending the use of Irish as a living language, oral and written, and providing a thorough knowledge of the language and its literature, wider access to Ireland's cultural heritage. There is an old biblical proverb from the Book of that name, the Book of Proverbs: "Where there is no vision the people perish." What was needed to instil something more than toleration of the Irish language into the minds of our people was something such as has been produced in this White Paper, a plan. Plans in European countries for many years have been a common feature of their development. We had here in our own country in 1958 the first plan for economic expansion.

That was a programme, not a plan.

If Senator McQuillan cannot conduct himself, he should leave the House.

I am pointing out that that was a programme, not a plan.

I did not interrupt Senator McQuillan when he was speaking. I intend to make my speech and I will not reply to any interruptions by the Senator. When the first economic plan was published, it was received with scepticism by quite a number of people who thought that the targets, modest enough, were unattainable, but the plan proved by and large to be an underestimation of the possibilities in our economic advance and revival. So, too, with this plan.

This White Paper outlines a ten-year programme for the restoration of the language. As the introduction says, the targets set in this plan are realistic and practicable and there should be no reason why within the ten years they could not be achieved. These recommendations were made by a commission consisting of a very devoted and dedicated body of men and women, and I would like at this stage to pay my tribute to the splendid work which they did over five or six years in the hard endeavour to produce the magnificent report they have produced. Some people say that this plan based on the commission's recommendations does not go far enough. Others think that some of the targets mentioned in it cannot be achieved, that they are too ambitious, but the main thing is that there is now a plan. There is now a series of objectives set out in black and white and the course has been charted for the nation for the next ten years. We have to do the best we can to ensure that the programme is fulfilled. The White Paper proposals, if implemented in full, will undoubtedly bring a revolutionary change in the position with regard to the Irish language at the end of ten years.

The plans include education, the Gaeltacht, schools, the general public, private organisations, voluntary organisations and every section of the community. However, I have the feeling, and I have had it for quite a long time, and I gave expression to it on a previous occasion here in the Seanad and would like to give expression to it again, that the commission, with all due respect to their magnificent series of recommendations, and the Government in accepting the recommendations, failed to touch the kernel of the weakness of the Irish language and the failure to make progress in developing it as a spoken language during the past 40 years.

People have been asking why is it that, after all those years and when everybody under 40 in this country should have a little or great knowledge of the Irish language, it is not more widely spoken. Why is it that we do not see more evidence in the ordinary life of the people and in the everyday life of business of this great campaign that has gone on in the schools and by organisations and by the Government during the past 40 years? I think that the answer is that while we are turning out Irish speakers in the schools, we are not turning out Irishmen and Irishwomen in the real sense of that term. In other words, while the policy in the schools has been to teach the Irish language so that every child leaving school will have a knowledge of it, the reasons why it is being taught, the reasons why it must be taught, the necessity for teaching it, have never been instilled into the minds of the children, and altogether they are leaving school—and that goes for all schools, primary, secondary and university—many of them competent Irish speakers, but with no conception of why this thing was done, why they had to learn it, why they should use it and why they should be proud of it.

The basic weakness in the whole thing, in my opinion, is that allied with the teaching of the Irish language from the infant classes upwards there should have been, and there should be in the future, a systematic instilling into the children of pride in their country, respect for their flag, love for their freedom, and because of these things, a desire to speak the language which indicates that they are a separate nation and a separate people. Until the children in the schools get that conception, I am afraid that all the efforts we make will not be successful in making Irish the spoken language of the people. One of the great leaders of the British people, the late Sir Winston Churchill, said one time that the longer you can look back, the further you can see forward. There is no doubt that part of the greatness of the United States and part of the pride which its citizens have in their own country and in its future is due to the instillation from the time they go to school first into their minds of the attitude that this is their country, this is their flag, this is their constitution, and they grow up—and we have met thousands of them in this country— filled with the idea that they are proud of America, willing to go anywhere and do anything for it. The same thing applies in Britain.

I do not know why it is that school programmes over all these years have failed in the matter of Irish history. I do not mean dates, and the reigns of English Kings and Queens. I mean that the children should be told from the word "go" that this is their country, that amongst the nations of the world it is a great country, that it had a great culture, a great civilisation and a great tradition and that above all it had a language which was the oldest in Europe and that the mark of freedom which has been achieved, the mark of independent nationhood for which these generations fought, was the Irish language.

I see no difficulty in introducing a graduated course of genuine history into our schools and I feel that is the big weakness in the commission's deliberations and in the implementation of the White Paper presented to us here. I am glad that at long last the subject loosely called civics is being introduced into school programmes. I hope that when it is done, an effort will be made to meet the need I have outlined. Civics, in my opinion, should include the history about which I have been speaking. Civics in the later classes should include graduated lessons in the fundamental law under which we live—Bunreacht na hÉireann. Civics should also include training in respect for the flag, training in respect for the institutions of Government, local and national, and above all, training in respect for public property.

I feel that if the Government and the Minister for Education give thought to this matter, they will first come to the conclusion that there must be some reason why thousands of people in this country who know Irish do not use it. They will then come back to the idea I have often expressed— that it is because our people are not told the reasons why they should use it that they are not using it. I know the school programme is overcrowded. I know that will be given as an excuse. There will be technical difficulties advanced as a reason—that the child's mind is too immature to imbibe this subject. That is all moonshine and nonsense.

Next year we celebrate the golden jubilee of the Rising of 1916 and among the proposals made by the national committee, I understand, is that a copy of the Proclamation should be given to every school. That should have been done long ago. There is no reason in the world why it should not have been exhibited in every school in the country, primary, secondary and university. There is something equally important about which no action has been or is being taken and this also has a bearing on my theory about the reasons for the failure to speak Irish. I see no reason why next year a direction should not be given by the Government to every school manager that in every school there should be provided a flag-pole and that the national flag should be exhibited during school hours. Remember, that is all part of the idea that we are a distinct people and if our children grow up without respect for the flag and for the fundamental law under which they live, and if they leave school using a language for which they see no necessity, how can you expect them either to continue to speak it or to have any time for it?

The awful situation exists in this country that children leaving school know more about the FBI than they do about the IRA or the IRB. That is so because of radio and television. They know more about Harlem and the streets of Chicago than they do about Vinegar Hill or other places they should know about in the history of their own country. A few years ago during the debate on the Broadcasting Authority Bill, I suggested that one of the things the new television system should do was to organise and arrange for schools a graduated course in Irish history. I suggested that not alone should they do it during school hours but in programmes at night—a course based on that excellent American documentary "You Were There," presented by the Columbia network. This is one of the finest pieces of historical documentary material produced by any television or radio network.

Our history is undoubtedly easily adaptable to that type of programme. But nothing has been done. It was left to the British Broadcasting Corporation and to Independent Television to produce the two finest documentary programmes on Irish history in modern times that have been seen in this country. The BBC produced a film about nine months ago entitled "I was a Stranger Here Myself." The script was by Patrick O'Donovan, the noted columnist of The Observer. Ulster Television produced “Republic,” the script by an Englishman. They were two programmes of a type which should have been produced by our national television service. They were not produced and no effort whatever is being made to do anything in that direction.

Having said that, I should like to refer to Recommendations 286 and 288 in the White Paper. They deal with the co-ordination of effort by the various Departments and sections of the public and the setting up of a consultative council to deal with the implementation of the recommendations in the White Paper. The consultative council were set up about nine months ago. There has been a general election and a lot of things have happened since the White Paper was circulated. However, the council have been in operation since and it is time the public were made aware of what has been going on, of what steps the council have recommended and what steps the Government have taken to implement some of the recommendations in the White Paper.

No doubt, many of the recommendations have already been implemented in whole or in part and that is a good sign of the earnest of the Government to take the matter seriously and to do their best to get these things organised as rapidly as possible. However, unless the value of these recommendations is to be lost it is advisable at this stage to have some summary published of the work of the consultative council. I think it would keep interest in the White Paper alive and would enable the people to see what is happening and would enable organisations which have so far been lax in their attitude to the recommendations to make up their minds to get cracking as fast as possible in regard to them.

Recommendations 227 to 232 deal with publishing. I must confess that, although the Government Publications branch, known, as the Gúm, performed a tremendous amount of very valuable work and got out a tremendous number of books which were needed in the formative years for the restoration of the language drive, I have very little faith that any type of institution on the same lines will produce, in the time needed, the various texts and other books which are required if these plans are to go ahead and result in some advantage to the community.

I feel that more consideration should be given by the Government to the possibilities of allocating some of the money which will have to be spent on these Government-sponsored books and texts, and a good portion of it, too, to private firms who are prepared to go into this business of providing, rapidly, the text books, fiction and poetry which will be required if the Irish language is to have reading material for the thousands of people who have learned it and will continue to learn it in the future. In that connection, I should like to express my personal regret at the impending disappearence of one private firm which went into the publication of Irish books, magnificent books, at their own risk and at their own expense to a great extent. They find it uneconomic to continue this work and they have done a tremendous job. I feel that, if a firm like that, which has put its heart and soul into the publication of modern Irish literature, gives up the practice of publishing books of that type it will be a poor incentive to any other firm to engage in similar activities. In connection with that series of recommendations, Nos. 227 to 232, I should like the Government to have another look at the possibility of giving more substantial aid to private publishers who are prepared to publish quickly and efficiently books which are required in the Irish language.

Recommendations Nos. 266 to 271 deal with the role of the churches in this plan for the restoration of the language. There is no doubt that, in the past, one of the greatest obstacles to progress in the revival of the language was the attitude of the churches. No cognisance was given to any of the efforts made and, in fact, in many cases, there was obvious and direct hostility to the efforts made for the revival of the language. I myself have had experience of going to Masses on Saint Patrick's Day in churches where the clergy were Irish speakers and where, even at children's Masses, neither a hymn nor a prayer was ever heard in the Irish language. It was difficult to convince children, particularly, who went to school in the morning and who learned Irish for a great part of the day, when it came to Sunday, that there was anything at all in the Irish language, that it was not an imposition and a hoax because, having got it all the week in the school, they went to church on Sunday to discover that God was an English speaker. There is no doubt in the world that that had a psychological handicap effect in regard to their attitude to the revival of Irish as a spoken language. However, thanks to the late beloved Pope John——

A native speaker.

——and to the Ecumenical Council, the introduction of the Vernacular Mass has been a great step forward in aid of the Irish language. We now have the position where it is recognised by the Church as a language which may be used at Mass and we hope that, as a consequence, the church authorities will go further and will see to it that, wherever possible, hymns in Irish and other ceremonies, such as sodality lectures, will be in Irish where there are sufficient Irish speakers and where there is a sufficient knowledge of Irish in the congregation to warrant it. The main thing is that this handicap should now be removed and that it should have a beneficial effect on the efforts to restore the language.

In this connection, I think a special tribute is due to the rapidity with which the Archbishop of Dublin, His Grace, Most Reverend Dr. McQuaid, gave effect to the authority to introduce the Vernacular Mass in his Diocese. We have the very satisfactory position that here, in this part of his Diocese, there were 30 Masses on Sunday in Irish. There is no reason now, in the city of Dublin, why an Irish speaker who wants to comply with his religious duties cannot hear Mass in Irish on every Sunday of the year. This is a great step forward and this will be a great help but, unfortunately, simultaneously with this, it has come to my observation that a new syllabus has been issued to teachers of infant classes in relation to the teaching of Catechism. Looking at the syllabus, one would imagine that there was never such a thing as an Irish hymn, that there was never such a man as Saint Patrick and that there was no need in the world to do anything except to get an English hymn book and teach the children these lovely English hymns.

I cannot see, for the life of me, how the people who compiled that syllabus could have been so forgetful of the fact that there is an Irish language, that there are beautiful hymns in Irish, that there are collections of them that have been used in the primary schools and infant classes down the years. How they could have produced a document of that type and have issued it for catechetical instruction in our primary schools is beyond my comprehension. I sincerely hope that, before it becomes a permanent fixture, His Grace, or whoever he gives authority to deal with it, will have another look at it and reorient the instructions in it in the light of the fact that the Irish language is the national language of this country, that the children are being taught it in the schools and that, if there are hymns in Irish which are suitable, there is no reason why they should be ignored and hymns out of an English hymn book, in the English language, used instead. There is a new manual in course of preparation, I understand, and I sincerely hope that this mistake will be rectified in it.

There is also satisfactory progress to relate in connection with the preparation of the new Church of Ireland Prayer Book. This was a long-felt want in the Church of Ireland. It has now been produced and is a sign that the authorities of the Church of Ireland are in sympathy with the movement to restore the language and are prepared to co-operate to the greatest extent possible. I should like to see, however, some more evidence of the practical application of these recommendations in the matter of more frequent church service in the Irish language in the churches under the control of the Church of Ireland. There is no doubt that quite a big number of the young people who attend services in these churches are well equipped to take part in them in the Irish language. We know that His Grace the Archbishop, Dr. Simms, is most sympathetic towards the language and I am sure it only has to be brought to his notice that this requirement should be met to have action taken on it.

In connection, incidentally, with the reference I made to that syllabus, I am reminded of a beautiful hymn book in the Irish language got out by a priest in Greystones some years ago. It contains some of the most beautiful hymns in the language, wedded to old Irish airs, and amongst them was the Breastplate of St. Patrick. This was wedded to an old Irish air, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever heard anywhere, but, sad to say, the only place I have ever heard it was in the broadcast on St. Patrick's Day from Christ Church Cathedral. There is no reason why a hymn book such as Fr. Fennelly's should not be used in the schools during catechetical instruction, if there is not another hymn book of equal merit.

The White Paper offers hope and encouragement to everybody who believes in the restoration of the Irish language. It will, when implemented, be a great step forward. Undoubtedly, there may be slips or falls-down. Everything in it may not proceed exactly according to plan. Nevertheless, there is there now a plan, a target to aim at, and an effort to co-ordinate all the activities of those who are working for the restoration of the language. It is one of the most momentous happenings in this country since 1921.

Senator Stanford last night gave expression to some extraordinary theories, including one that nationalism is a declining ideal in the world today, and to link Irish with it he thought was madness. As I have already said, if we do not link the history of the past, which is nationalism, with the Irish language, I do not see much prospect for its success. Senator Stanford gave a number of reasons why the Irish language was in decline over the years: British policy, the influence of Daniel O'Connell, the lack of liturgical use, and the presence of two great English-speaking nations on both our flanks. There is no doubt that these were contributory factors, but our own people became so imbued with the idea that Irish was of little use to them, whereas English was the way in which they could make their living that that was the greatest factor. In other words, it must be admitted that our people were not prepared to fight for their language, not prepared to defend its survival, not prepared, as is happening in Belgium today, to get excited about it. If we could get the people excited about the language in the same way as the Flemings and the Walloons get excited about their language, it would be a great thing, but we have not been able to do it.

Senator Stanford was right, but he omitted the fact that for many years Irish has been associated in the minds of people with fanaticism and nothing else. That phase has passed. It is now recognised that if the language is to survive, it must be used by the great majority of the people, and the plan which has been evolved as a result of the recommendations of the Commission will lead to that end. However, we must remember that this plan is only phase No. 1. This is the first phase of the ten-year period. The Government in the White Paper have undertaken, before the end of that time, to review the progress made and to decide on what further steps must be taken in the light of the position then reached. It is also a defect in the plan as published that we must await the report of the Commission on Higher Education before getting the definite propositions for the implementation of the recommendations. I take it we shall be able to debate that at a later stage and that it is unnecessary to go into it now.

Both Senator Stanford and Senator Quinlan seemed to be very upset over the disappearance of this so-called Gaelic script. Neither Senator Quinlan nor Senator Stanford had any use for the Roman script. Roman script is in line with modern development. Languages such as German, Turkish, even Chinese and Russian, have been adapted to the Roman script. It is the modern method of printing. It means that newspaper space and book space is saved because quite a lot more Roman type can be got into a page or a column than Gaelic script. There is no reason why anyone should be upset because of the introduction of the Roman script. It is not new here, incidentally. I remember immediately after the Treaty one of the first publications that came out was a very fine monthly review called An Branar which was edited by Aodh de Blacam, and for many years before that there were in the national newspaper pieces and selections in Roman script. I know there are difficulties in its application in the schools. One example was pointed out to me, that in the teaching of English and Irish, teachers using the Roman script come across this sort of thing: where they are using the English word “teach” and then go over to the Irish language and have the very same word “teach”, this can cause difficulty. However, these are problems which will iron themselves out in due course.

Senator Stanford also spoke of the fact that his university was living down the stupid things which had been said about the language many years ago. I should like to see Senator Stanford's university, for which I have a great respect, doing something more than merely living down the stupid things that were said. I should like to see Trinity going into the vanguard, taking the lead in showing its sister university what can be done in regard to the development and propagation of the Irish language. There is in Trinity at the present moment a very fine spirit of nationality and of acceptance of the Irish nation and its objectives. That spirit should be exploited by the authorities in Trinity in taking the lead in the campaign for the restoration of the Irish language.

Senator Quinlan spoke of the recommendations regarding the constituent colleges of the National University, and said he did not think it advisable to have courses in Irish, particularly in science. He seemed to think that we should use Irish by all means in ordinary contact with the students but that we should not waste time in translating texts into Irish because, for example, in Finland, the students use Swedish textbooks and that we should do the same. In other words, we would be wiser to use the Irish language for the things which the peasants dealt with but the things which the daoine uaisle, the aristocracy and the scientific people dealt with should be in the English language. He also made the extraordinary statement that all the young scientists, if you got their frank opinion, felt that they did far more for Irish by playing their full part in Irish week but not doing anything about the Irish language, just doing their work in English. I cannot see how Senator Quinlan could come to that extraordinary view.

He seems to think also that it is impossible to get out scientific or engineering textbooks in the Irish language. I am sure that he is aware of the revival of other languages in Europe which had even greater difficulties than we had and in which at the present moment there is a thriving literature and a thriving book publishing industry in all types of texts for all types of science. He has only to remember the amazing success of the Jews in reviving Hebrew, which was, to all intents and purposes, a dead language, except for its religious connections, and the fact that in the universities of Israel today, there are thousands of students using textbooks in Hebrew, and using them so efficiently and effectively that Jewish scientists are speaking now of experimenting with nuclear power. Those are scientists who have been turned out in the Hebrew university in Jerusalem.

I do not see any difficulty at all in regard to that matter, and I think that Senator Quinlan shows an extraordinary lack of confidence in the ability of our people to adjust themselves to modern needs in regard to textbooks and to words and phrases and new names. If he gives it some consideration, he will agree that it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we can do these things as well as any other country. I was astonished to find that for some years now there has been a lecturer in the National University who came all the way from Japan, where he learned English in the schools and who got his scientific training in the university in Tokyo. Surely the Japanese language is a pretty difficult language in which to get modern texts and scientific terms, and yet they are able to do it, and to do it without undue difficulty, and so well that a science graduate from the university of Tokyo is able to come to Ireland to lecture our students in a most intricate and difficult subject. If they can do that sort of thing, there is no reason why we cannot do it, too.

I am afraid I have taken longer than I intended, but I would like to say that this debate has been most useful in showing that the House approves of the recommendations in the White Paper. We have had no destructive criticism of them so far. I am certain that the country also approves of them, and it is well to have them ventilated so that anyone who has any doubts will see that there is no longer any need for the dog in the manger attitude in this country, that we are in earnest about the language and that it is not going to be put aside when it suits. It will show everybody that the people, the Government, the churches and organisations of public and private people are in earnest, that we intend to restore this language, and that it is in the interests of everybody that cooperation should be the watchword of the future instead of obstruction on the part of a small section of people.

Dhá bhliain is caogadh ó shoin tháinig m'athair agus mo mháthair ó Shasana chun cónaí i gCiarraí thiar. I Lonndoin a rugadh m'athair—mac d'eisimirceach ó Chiarraí a chuaigh go dtí Lonndoin tar éis an Ghorta Mhóir. Cén fáth go dtáinig m'athair thar n-ais go dtí contae a shinsir? Tháinig sé thar n-ais go hÉirinn le mo mháthair toisc gur chreid siad nárbh fhada go mbeadh gluaiseacht mhór náisiúnta in Éirinn. Thug siad iarthar Ciarraí orthu féin de bhrí gur mhaith leo bheith páirteach sa ghluaiseacht seo i ndúiche Ghaelach— ceantar ina raibh an Gaeilge—teanga d'fhoghlaim m'athair i gConnradh na Gaeilge i Lonndoin—mar ghnáththeanga ag na daoine. Níor chaill m'athair an grá a bhí aige don Ghaeilge uaidh sin amach ach ina bhlianta deireanacha chaill sé a chuid dóchais i leith na teanga. Bhí sé bréan den dóigh inar úsáideadh an teanga mar chomhartha barrchéimíochta agus bhí lagmhisneach air faoin easpa díograis a chonnaic sé i leith na teanga i measc an chuid is mó dena daoine.

Cad a tharla idir 1913 agus na blianta tar éis an choghaidh dheireanaigh? Cén fá gur cailleadh fuinneamh ghluaiseacht na teanga i rith na mblianta sin? Deirtear uaireanta— dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Conalláin é inné —gur leis an gCogadh Cathardha a thosnaigh an laghdú sa díogras úd ar son na teanga ach ní chreidim gurab í sin an phríomhchúis. Is é mo thuairim féin go gcaithfimid admháil anois go raibh polasaí na teanga a ghlac an chéad Rialtas, agus an Rialtas a tháinig ina dhiadh, earráideach ina mhór-chuid —go háirithe ó thaobh na síceolaíochta dhe. Muna nglacaimid leis an bhfírinne sin is dóigh liomsa nach bhfuil dóchas ar bith ann an teanga a shábháil.

Sé donas na h-argóinte i dtuarascáil Choimisiún um Athbheochan na Gaeilge nach bhfuil údair na tuarascála seo sásta an fhírinne seo a fheiscint agus a admháil ná fiú glacadh le h-iarmarta an fhírinne seo. Agus sé donas an scéil go bhfuil an Rialtas lántsásta glacadh leis an dtuarascáil bhacach mhí-shásúil seo — nó glacadh le h-oiread dí gur féidir leo a chur i gcrích gan baol ó naimhdeas an phobail. Caithfimid dearmad a dhéanamh ar chuid mhór den tuarascáil seo agus ar chuid mhór den Pháipéar Bán agus tosnú nua a dhéanamh maidir leis an gcruacheist seo má táimid dáiríre mar gheall ar athbheochan na Gaeilge. Caithfimid dúil a chothú imeasc na ndaoine nó i measc an chuid is mó acu ar aon nós an Ghaeilge a úsáid ach, thar gach ní eile, caithfimid scrios a dhéanamh ar na polasaí láithreacha a chuireann fearg ar dhaoine agus a ghríosann iad in aghaidh na teanga.

Sin é an rud nár dhein an coimisiún. Sin é an rud nár bhac an Rialtas leis sa Pháipéar Bán. Sé an chéad ghnó atá le déanamh againn stáidéar eolaíoch nea-chlaonta a dhéanamh ar ghnéithe na bpolasaí láithreacha a chuireann daoine macánta tírghrácha amuigh. Is í sin an cheist is ceart don tSeanad, dar liomsa, a phlé. Níor dhéin lucht polaithíochta iarracht ar bith go dtí seo polasaí na teanga a phlé ar an módh sin, gan tocht agus gan íde béil. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil a leithéid sin d'iarracht mór déanta againne sa dhíospóireacht seo.

It is easy to document the thesis that the language revival efforts have not succeeded and indeed the report before us gives two clear examples. The census figures between 1936 and 1946 show that there was a decline in that decade of between 80,000 and 90,000 in the number of people speaking Irish. If we take a simple calculation, if the people who had learned Irish and had had four or five years in school during the previous 16 years had retained their ability to speak the language, then, in the census of 1936, there would have been 500,000 more people speaking Irish. Here, the commission show appalling complacency and I quote from page 14 of the English version of their report:

We feel that its constancy around 20 per cent in three successive censuses, taken at 10 year intervals, justifies us in assuming that a minimum of one-fifth of the population may be classed as Irish speakers today.

If the commission are right, then 1½ million people who learned Irish have lost it or, through their hostility to the language, have claimed they lost it even if they did not. That is all the commission have to say about it.

A second example is that only eight out of 385 qualified persons appointed to professional and technical positions in the Civil Service in the year ended 31st March, 1962, had a competent knowledge of Irish. Let us see what the Government have to say about this. At paragraph 42 of the White Paper, they refer to the recommendation of the commission in this respect and say:

As, however, considerable difficulty has been experienced in the recruitment of professional and technical staff, it may be some time before a standard of Irish at entry could be required which would ensure that persons appointed to these posts would be competent to do all their work through Irish.

A simple calculation shows that at this rate it will be 2,112 years before all in the public service are able to do their work competently in Irish. What is the reaction of the commission to the picture they found in the limited examination they carried out? Did they attempt to probe the reasons why public attitudes have changed in regard to the language during the past 40 years? No; instead of attempting to discover what the public mind was, they set about listing new ways of making the language unpopular. I shall give ten of them:

1. They suggest the withholding of increments from future entrants to professional and technical grades who do not secure certificates of competence in Irish.

2. They recommend the raising of the standard of Irish for barristers.

3. They suggest written and oral examinations be introduced for clerical entrants to State bodies.

4. Directives by the Department of Education to secure that some subjects other than Irish be taught through Irish in all primary schools within a short period.

5. Tightening up of the standard of Irish in entrance examinations to secondary schools. This is expressed in terms derogatory to private schools, which is quite unnecessary. 6. They recommend that Irish be essential for entrance to Trinity College.

7. That Leaving Certificate Irish be required of entrants to professional courses in technological colleges and institutes of commerce.

8. Reasonable competence in Irish should be required by all entrants to professional bodies, the leaving certificate being mentioned.

9. Competent knowledge of Irish for professional posts in An Foras Talúntais.

10. That a high standard especially in oral Irish be demanded in entrance examinations for general grades of the Civil Service.

These are ten recommendations to tighten the screw, not to make people want to speak Irish, to spread a favourable image of the language. The idea is, apparently, that the Irish people have not behaved in the way the commission think they should have behaved, so the screw is being tightened. Why, instead, did the commission not try to find out the reasons for the people's apathy? Without having gone into any sociological study, they give four reasons and I shall not give the English translation because it summarises them too briefly. The reasons given on pages 138 to 245 are: patuaire an phobail; brú an Bheárla; an eisimirce; agus easpa treóir agus dea-shampla.

There is no adequate reference here to the cause to which most people in ordinary conversation attribute the apathy, attribute the measure of hostility to the language. The commission referred to this elsewhere but do not follow it up. On page 14 of the English version, the commission say:

It is scarcely surprising, therefore, that a large section of the population should be apathetic towards the Irish language...

That is the most surprising thing in the whole report.

We have met very few signs of active hostility, however...

The commission, therefore, realise that the methods used have had a bad effect in some cases but they still do not dream of investigating the causes or what things make the people hostile to the language. The truth of the matter is that the commission failed to do the job they should have done. Their first and main task was to investigate the causes of apathy and dislike of the language, with a view to recommending those changes in policy that would get rid of the apathy and the hostility. Why? Is it not because the members, very carefully selected, had their minds made up in advance that they did not want any answers to the question because they did not want any change of policy, any departure from traditional policies which they wish to intensify?

Another example of their attitude is in what they said about the Army situation. What they say is contrary to what is public knowledge, which was confirmed by an Army commandant in a letter to the Irish Times. He said he had never yet heard any student officer speak favourably of the transition to Irish in the military college. This was also true of the majority of instructors. He also said he had not heard a conversation in Irish in his station in four years. Yet the commission described the efforts in the Army as “worthy of the highest praise”. They said that the success there “points to what can be accomplished in a few years by proper direction from the top level”. They said it might well be taken as a model by other branches of the public service. Presumably what the commission did in this respect was to speak to one or two civil servants who told them everything in the garden was lovely and the commission simply described the situation, irresponsibly, as being worthy of the highest praise, If that were the position, would there not have been a conversation in Irish heard in one Army station in a period of four years? This sort of thing is irresponsible on the part of people who claim to have a strong duty towards the Irish language.

We in Fine Gael believe this is an indefensible attitude. We believe that apathetic or adverse public attitudes to the language should not have been disregarded because they carry with them a threat of the early disappearance of the language as a means of communication used by a significant number of Irish people. We are most disturbed by the failure of the commission to probe the causes of this with a view to finding out just which methods "displeased people", to use their words, and what has led to the spread of the feeling that they record that "revival is now impossible or in present circumstances impracticable."

There are modern sociological research methods available which are used in this country by people who want to sell goods. Large sums of money are spent on them. They are used throughout the world. There is no difficulty about finding out the reasons for people's reactions and for modifying the selling policy, because that is what it is, for the language accordingly. Every intelligent commercial interest in the country does it all the time. Yet the commission, faced with this matter of fundamental national importance, ignored the existence of such methods and simply laid down its own prejudices and whatever bits and pieces it was told by people who were anxious to cover up and justify the present situation.

I think that we in Fine Gael are entitled to make this point. This Party have always honoured the Irish language as the embodiment of the national tradition. It is a vital link in the history of our country and a unique element in our national life, which, unlike many other cultural elements in our society, is specifically and conclusively our own. It is worth recording that when the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, as it was then, in the 1920s came into office, they took the first steps—some of them, perhaps, in retrospect, misplaced but certainly well-intentioned—to secure a wider knowledge of the language and an extension of its use among our people. It introduced the language as an official tongue. It fostered its use in public life. It introduced it into the primary schools and extended its use in the secondary schools making it a necessary subject for the Intermediate Certificate, if my memory serves me correctly, in 1928.

Despite the divisions caused by the Civil War, the language made progress in the 1920s. We have evidence in the census of 1936 of this limited progress, perhaps, but progress certainly in contrast to what we have had since. The Census of 1936 showed that the proportion of people in the Irish Free State, as it then was, over three years of age who stated they could speak Irish had grown by almost one quarter since the preceding census and by 30 per cent since 1911. The contrast between this and what has happened since is something to which we should give our attention.

The Fine Gael Party regret that the Government were content to accept the unsound and unscientific approach of the commission and that in preparing a White Paper on the language, they concentrated exclusively on evading the spirit of those recommendations of the commission which in their view would be likely to prove unpopular or difficult to implement. If time were available, I could go right through this report, recommendation by recommendation, pointing out how the Government avoided the difficult ones, and pushed off responsibility for others, and the cynical attitude they took. I shall confine myself, as time is limited, to going back over the ten recommendations the commission made, in tightening the screw in certain areas, and let us see how the Government treated them — a fair sample. These are (1) Withholding of increments from future entrants to professional and technical grades who do not secure Certificate of Competence in Irish—Not feasible; alternative — will consider marks for Irish; (2) Raising of standard of Irish for barristers—that is somebody else's responsibility but support, encourage and co-operate.

You could not invade that field.

Then follow: (3) Written and oral examinations to be introduced for clerical entrants to State bodies—Urged to comply: (4) Directives by the Department of Education to secure that some subjects other than Irish be taught through Irish in all primary schools within a short period—Not to be done until further examination of general effects of teaching through language other than the home language — by whom?

That gets out of that for the time being. There is no indication of who is to carry out this. There is nothing more about it. (5) Tightening up of standard of Irish in entrance examinations to secondary schools—Accepted; (6) Irish to be essential for Trinity College, Dublin, entrance—That we cannot touch; leave it to the Report of the Commission on Higher Education; (7) Leaving Certificate Irish to be required of entrants to professional courses in technological colleges and institutes of commerce—Will consider; (8) Reasonable competence in Irish to be required by all entrants to professional bodies— That is somebody else's job; commended and encouraged; (9) Competent knowledge of Irish for professional posts in Foras Talúntais—You can get out of that one easily; Honours Irish Leaving Certificate is already required by An Foras Talúntais; and (10) High standard, especially in oral Irish, to be demanded in entrance examination for general grades of Civil Service—Vague recommendation, not saying what the high standard is. Proof of knowledge of Irish will continue to be required.

That pattern is followed the whole way through the report—all cases of difficulty or unpopularity are met by pushing responsibility elsewhere, where that can be done, while saying "Yes" where there is not any commitment that anybody can check up on afterwards.

We, in Fine Gael, condemn in the strongest terms the open cynicism of this attitude, which has further undermined confidence in the language policy, and has strengthened still further in the public mind the association of hypocrisy with Government policies on the language. If the Government believed, as is evident from their treatment of many recommendations of the Commission, that the Commission's proposals were in many respects unrealistic, impracticable or unpalatable to public opinion, they should either have stated this conviction openly, or, if they were uncertain as to the appropriateness of those recommendations to the needs of the situation, should have instituted the kind of study and research which the commission was guilty of failing to undertake. There can be no excuse for the policy adopted in the White Paper, which has created disillusionment in many enthusiastic supporters of the language and has intensified the apathy of many others.

Senator Mrs. Ahern suggested there was no need to discuss the recommendations and that anybody who had seen them would agree with them. I enjoyed Senator Mrs. Ahern's contribution. It is a pleasure to hear Irish from the part of the country with which I have some association but I could not agree with her on this particular point. Our situation is not simply that we have a blueprint for the language, Senator Ó Maoláin's famous plan, and that all we have to do is send in suggestions for amendment or changes. Something more fundamental is involved here. There is something to debate, too, although, apart from Senator Stanford's contribution, so far, the language has not been adequately discussed in this House.

Accordingly, we, in Fine Gael, propose that a scientific sample study be made of public reactions by an independent research team of people qualified in social research, organised in such a way that no suspicions of partisanship, bias or pressure can be entertained with regard to its results. This study should be designed to test in detail the reactions of Irish people to the language and to the policies hitherto adopted in connection with its attempted revival. The aim of the study should be to identify all the factors which are encouraging apathy or hostility, with a view to providing a firm basis for a positive policy designed not to make people learn or speak Irish but to induce them to want to learn and speak it. This study should not be confined to the area of the State but should extend to the whole island of Ireland as the views and reactions of Irish people living in all parts of Ireland are relevant to this matter and should be taken into account in the formulation of such a policy.

We, in Fine Gael, also believe that public recognition must be made of the fact that this island is a pluralist society, multi-racial and multilingual, comprising people of a number of different traditions, of which the Gaelic tradition is the principal and the most unique. The Constitution, in recognition of this fact of pluralism, authorises the exclusive use of either Irish or English for any one or more official purposes, either throughout the State or in a part thereof. However, this formal recognition of the pluralist character of our society has not hitherto been applied in practice in the implementation of national policies in connection with the Irish language, and failure to accord this recognition has, in our view, been responsible for some, although only some, of the apathy and even hostility towards the language among our people.

Thus in a pluralist society, comprising people of different traditions, some of whom have no direct links with the Gaelic past of the country, while others are exclusively Gaelic in their background, the imposition of either language as an essential requirement for public purposes may inhibit the development of positive attitudes by people of either tradition towards the other tradition. It is clearly undesirable that people whose home language is Irish and who, in some cases at least, are not as familiar with English, should be required to carry on their business with the State in English as has happened in some Gaeltacht areas in the past. Similarly it may be questioned whether people who belong to a non-Gaelic tradition should be required to have a knowledge of the Irish language, which forms no part of their cultural background, in order to serve the State.

The practical application of this pluralist principle gives rise to difficulties which, in the view of the Fine Gael Party, should be studied, with the aim of securing that no Irishman, whichever of the national traditions forms his background, should be required to accept a different tradition or a different language in order to qualify educationally, or to secure the opportunity of serving his country. It may not be easy to achieve that aim but it ought to be the aim in a pluralist society.

Pending such a study of the practical problems of a pluralist society, Fine Gael favour certain changes in the educational system, designed to meet difficulties that have arisen through the application of the language policy in this area. Thus, while the Government have recognised the inequity of withholding the Leaving Certificate from a child who fails to pass in a single subject—Irish being the only such subject—they have failed to face up squarely to the necessary solution to this inequity. The provision of a second chance is a dishonest evasion of the problem, which can be met only by eliminating this penal provision, which serves no educational purpose and which has aroused hostility to the language out of all proportion to the practical importance of the issue. It is not at all evident what benefit the community can obtain from the withholding of Leaving Certificates from about 100 children each year on these grounds, nor is it clear what damage could be done by eliminating this penal requirement, which was introduced in 1934 by a Fianna Fáil Government at a time when 95 per cent of Irish children— I am not taking this figure out of the air; it was actually 94 per cent of girls and 96 per cent of boys—were already taking Irish in the Leaving Certificate examination.

The other problem which we in Fine Gael feel should have attention is that of teaching children through the Irish language in primary schools. We welcome the improvements introduced in this matter in recent years which have reduced the harm previously done by imposing this teaching method on children whose command of the Irish language was not sufficient to enable them to be taught in this way without educational loss. We are not satisfied, however, that adequate regard is even now being had to the wishes of parents in this matter, and we propose accordingly that children should be taught in their home language and that outside the Gaeltacht Irish should normally be used as a teaching language only where classes are large enough to have two classes, through Irish and through English, leaving the parents a free choice in this matter.

The policy we propose for the Irish language may be summed up as follows. First of all, there should be a scientific study of public attitudes to the Irish language in both parts of Ireland, with a view to providing the factual basis required for the formulation of a language policy that will secure the maximum enthusiasm for the language, and that will minimise the present apathy and hostility. Secondly, there should be a study of the practical implications for language policy of the fact that Ireland is a pluralist society, in which people of different traditions have equal rights as citizens, or in the case of Northern Ireland, as potential citizens. Thirdly, in the meantime, we seek the elimination of Irish as a compulsory subject in the Leaving Certificate and the cessation of teaching through Irish in primary schools outside the Gaeltacht where the schools are too small to afford parents a choice in this matter.

We believe this would represent the start of a sane policy towards Irish, giving some prospect that it will not be killed in our time by apathy and resentment. Those who insist on extending the old policy of making Irish essential for more and more purposes, ignoring the evidence of the effects of this policy and refusing to institute a study of these effects, are not serving the cause of the language but are pursuing a private war of their own, a campaign against suspected "seoiníns" and anyone who deviates from the "Gaelic" path. They ignore the multi-racial character of our nation, the diversity of its traditions, and the native cussedness of the average Irishman, who has never responded well to pressures of this kind, whether from British Governments, German employers or misguided Gaelic enthusiasts. Mistake not the temper of our people—even those who share the Gaelic tradition will put any threat to independence and freedom, even freedom to speak English, above their weakened attachment to the Gaelic tradition. Those who ignore this do so at peril to the Irish language. If they really care for the language, rather than seeking to dominate people who do not agree with them, they will join with us in studying what features of present policies are having the bad effects graphically described by the commission, and in devising policies based on such studies to maintain the Irish language in the hearts of our people.

Is maith agus is tráthúil an dhíospóireacht seo atá ar siúl sa tSeanad. Is maith é mar go dtugann sé caoi dona Seanadóirí a dtuairimí a nochtadh agus is tráthúil é os rud é go bhfuil sé in am arís féachaint eile a bheith againn go léir ar an dul chun cinn nó a mhalairt atá déanta againn. Chuir mé an-shuim sa mhéid a bhí le rá ag na Seanadóirí i dtaobh na tairiscinte seo. D'ainneoin roinnt gearán a chualathas anseo agus ansiúd, is léir gur chuir formhór mór an phobail fáilte roimh an bPáipéar Bán. Is é seo an chéad uair riamh ar leagadh amach go soiléir in aon leabhrán amháin dearcadh an Rialtais i leith na Gaeilge agus a n-aidhmeanna ginearálta maidir le forbairt na teanga. Creidim go n-aontaíonn muintir na hÉireann i gcoitinne leis na haidhmeanna sin agus go bhfuil siad sásta a gcion féin a dhéanamh chun iad a bhaint amach.

Deirtear sa Pháipéar Bán go dtógfaidh sé achar fada aimsire agus go gcaithfear tréaniarracht a dhéanamh chun an aidhm náisiúnta i leith na Gaeilge a thabhairt i gcríoch. Ní féidir leis an Rialtas amháin an cúram seo a chomhlíonadh, cé go bhfuil sé fíor-riachtanach go mbeadh tacaíocht le fáil ón Rialtas. Is clár deich mbliana atá i gceist sa Pháipéar Bán agus ní féidir bheith ag súil leis go mbeadh an obair go léir déanta in aon bhliain amháin.

Tá tús maith curtha leis an obair cheana féin, áfach. Tá gach Aire i mbun an chuid sin den ghnó a bhaineann leis féin. B'fhéidir nár mhiste dom cur-síos gairid a dhéanamh ar na príomhbhearta atá idir lámha ag mo Roinn féin.

Ar an gcéad dul-síos, tugadh treoracha ginearálta do gach Roinn agus Oifig Stáit tús a chur gan mhoill leis na bearta is gá do gach Roinn faoi leith a dhéanamh d'fhonn clár oibre an Pháipéir Bháin a chur i gcrích. Dúradh leo ráiteas a chur isteach roimh Lá 'le Bríde, 1966, a léireoidh go cruinn an méid a déanadh le linn na bliana 1965 maidir le feidhmiú gach breith sa Pháipéar Bán a bhaineann leo féin nó le haon oifig nó foras Stát-urraithe atá faoina gcúram. Nuair a bheidh na ráitis sin go léir ar fáil, beidh sé ar mo chumas tuarascáil ghinearálta a leagadh faoi bhráid an Rialtais a léireoidh an dul chun cinn atá déanta. Trí thuarascála den sort sin a bhreithniú go rialta, beidh an Rialtas in ann súil ghéar a choimeád ar an slí ina bhfuil clár oibre an Pháipéir Bháin á chur i gcrích, agus breitheanna a dhéanamh i dtaobh na slite ina bhféadfaí an obair a bhrostú, Foilseofar tuarascála don bpobal ó am go ham a léireoidh an obair atá á déanamh.

Maidir le leathnú na Gaeilge i ngnóthaí oifigiúla, tá mionthreoracha i dtaobh cúrsaí riaracháin agus teaghlachais curtha go ceann gach Roinne. Bunaíodh coiste neamh-fhoirmiúil idirrannach chun breithniú agus comhordú a dhéanamh i leith na bhfadhbanna praiticiúla atá le réiteach maidir le leathnú na Gaeilge sa tseirbhís phoiblí. Tá gach iarracht á dhéanamh d'fhonn spéis na foirne uile a mhúscailt i leathnú na Gaeilge i ngnóthaí oifigiúla agus iad a spreagadh chun teacht ar shlíte ina mbainfí feidhm níos mó as an teanga. Mar shampla, ceadaíodh do Chinn Ranna duaiseanna beaga airgid a bhronnadh ar oifigigh a dhéanann moltaí fiúntacha mar gheall ar shlíte ina mbainfí feidhm éifeachtúil as an nGaeilge in obair na Roinne. Tabharfar gach áis réasúnta d'aon iarracht a bheidh á dhéanamh i measc na foirne d'fhonn daoine a spreagadh chun an Ghaeilge a úsáid ar gach ócáid is féidir, mar shampla, trí scaipeadh an Fháinne Nua. Cuirfear áiseanna teagaisc agus úsáide ar fáil do Shátseirbhísigh trí ranganna Gaeilge, lámhleabhair agus rudaí den sort sin a sholáthar dóibh.

Aithníonn an Rialtas go bhfuil tábhacht faoi leith ag baint le cúrsaí caidrimh phoiblí i ngnó seo na Gaeilge. An fear a bhí romham mar Aire Airgeadais, an Dr. Ó Riain, scríobh sé go dtí na h-institiúid phroifisiúnta atá ag lucht fógraíochta agus caidrimh phoiblí á iarraidh orthu féachaint an bhféadfaidís cabhair a thabhairt chun aidhmeanna an Pháipéir Bháin a chur i gcrích i measc an ghnáth-phobail. Tá a fhios agam chomh maith go raibh comráití ann idir an Roinn Tionscail agus Tráchtála agus an Federation of Irish Industries maidir le cúrsaí caidrimh phoiblí. Ní miste a rá freisin gur chuir Aire na Gaeltachta deontas ar fáil le déanaí do chaomhnóirí an Fháinne Nua i leith feachtais phoiblíochta ar Thelefís Éireann. Is mó obair den tsaghas sin atá déanta agus atá le déanamh go fóill.

Ba cheart dom a rá anseo freisin go bhfuil buíochas an Rialtais ag dul do Chomhlacht Comhairleach na Gaeilge —deineadh tagairt don Chomhlacht seo cheana féin sa dhíospóireaict—agus go deimhin do ghluaiseacht dheonach na Gaeilge i gcoitionne as ucht an méid atá á dhéanamh acu. Mar is eol do Sheanadóirí, cheap an Rialtais Comhlacht Comhairleach na Gaeilge chun cabhrú leis an mbeartas i leith na Gaeilge a athbhreithniú agus chun comhairle a thabhairt i dtaobh a churtha chun cinn feasta, go háirithe maidir le leathnú úsáid na Gaeilge i ngnóthaí lasmuigh den riarachán phoiblí. Bíonn cruinnithe go minic ag an gComhlacht agus tá roinnt mhaith moltaí déanta acu cheana féin i dtaobh gnéithe áirithe d'obair na Gaeilge. Is féidir liom a rá go bhfuil glactha le cuid mhór de mholtaí an Chomhlachta.

Molaim, leis, an méid adúirt an Seanadóir Mrs. Ahern do Sheanadóirí agus do na daoine uile. Má tá aon mholadh acu féin ba chóir dóibh iad a chur isteach agus iad a chur fé bhráid an chomhairle seo chun iad a scrúdú.

Do chuir an Seanadóir Quinlan ceisteanna áirithe orm chun a fháil amach cad a bhí déanta i slíte áirithe. Do rinne sé tagairt fé leith do Ghaeltarra Éireann. Tá moltaí fé leith sa Pháipéar Bán ar imeachtaí an chomlachta sin. Sé an príomh-ghnó atá ag Gaeltarra Éireann tionscail a fhorbairt i ngach limistéir Ghaeltachta. Is chuige sin a ritheadh an tAcht úd—Tionscail na Gaeltachta, 1965—Acht a chuir feabhas ar chúrsaí airgid Ghaeltarra Éireann. Go dtí gur ritheadh an tAcht úd bhí ar Ghaeltarra Éireann gníomhú ina aonar nó as a stuaim féin. Tá Gaeltarra Éireann i ndán dul i gcomhairle le tionsclaithe a bhfuil eolas teicniciúil acu agus páirt gníomhach a ghlacadh i reachtáil na dtionscal ar mhaithe leis an nGaeltacht. Ní féidir liom a rá go bhfuil aon dul chun cinn fónta déanta sa tslí sin nó de thairbhe an Achta úd ach measaim go bhfuil seans acu anois tionscail mhaithe, tionscail mhóra a chur isteach sna Gaeltachtaí ar fud an tíre.

Maidir le téacsleabhair tá socrú idir lámhaibh chun bord fhoilsitheoireacht Gaeilge a bhunú. Tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh rud éigin as an fhoilsitheoireacht sin chun breis téacsleabhar a chur ar fáil.

Rinne an Seanadóir Ó Maoláin tagairt do chomlacht foilsitheoireachta tamall ó shoin a bhí ar tí dul as gnó. Tá ceisteanna áirithe i dtaobh na comhlachta sin agus ní ceart a rá nach bhfuaireadar cabhair ón Rialtas. Fuaireadar cabhair agus breis cabhrach ar feadh na mblianta. Ba mhór an trua go n-imeodh an comhlacht sin as gnó ach, mar sin féin, tá an scéal go léir fé scrúdú ag an Aire Oideachais agus ar ball b'fhéidir beidh seans aige siúd an comhlacht sin a choiméad beo nó comhlacht eile a chur ar bun chun an obair thábhachtach seo a chur i gcrích.

In a debate such as this, it behoves those of us who are actively interested in the restoration of the Irish language not to permit sentiment to outweigh our objectivity. Every one of us should be not only reasonable but realistic. I think we can claim that the great majority of the people are favourably disposed to the restoration of the language, and we can say, too, that perhaps not so great a majority would wish to see the Irish language revived as a spoken language, whether as the only language, which I think is obviously not possible, or as one language in a bilingual country. The trouble is that if we take these two majorities, the great majority who would like to see Irish revived and the smaller majority who would like to see Irish used as a spoken language, there are not enough people among them prepared to do anything positive.

Many of us who would like to see the language revived are too passive: we rest content to leave the work to the few. Often we even criticise the few because the few, being isolated, must be more positive, and perhaps even more aggressive, than they would otherwise be. Sometimes the few might appear to be into lerant of the others but we must not forget that there are many people who work and live among us, many people who have made a worthwhile contribution to the economic and cultural life of the country, who are not in favour of the language revival, as well as many who are not particularly opposed to its revival.

Many of us are critical of the language fanatics and contemptuous at the same time of opponents of the language. There are too many people sitting on the fence and while this White Paper is not intended to be the cure for all time, it is reasonable and comprehensive and may entice some of us to come down off the fence in support of the recommendations we think are worthwhile. There are suggestions and worthwhile recommendations which, if implemented where implementation is necessary, would go a long way, as a start, to restoring the position the language had 20 or 30 years ago.

I, for one, shall not deny that the same spirit is not there now in regard to the language as there was 20 or 30 years ago, even though far more of our people can at least speak some Irish than in the 1930s or the 1920s. The Government realise this report of the commission is not a panacea. They have faced the recommendations of the commission, they have examined them in detail and made decisions and observations on them, singly, individually. Senator FitzGerald said this treatment of the White Paper by the Government amounted to hypocrisy. In fact I do not think he made any qualification——

——and then proceeded to read for us what appeared to be the official Fine Gael policy on the language. I do not know whether it was his own work or that of the committee of experts, of which he was one before the last general election. Certainly he appeared to have a well-documented policy statement in front of him. I accept entirely that it is not easy, from a non-scientific examination of the problem, to assess the attitude of the people but neither am I committed to the efficacy of scientific studies of this kind. I do not think you can reduce to terms of science, terms of data, what the people really think, what is in their hearts.

The Senator said that in many cases he suspected that when people were asked questions in relation to their attitude to the language, people who could speak the language answered that they could not. I do not believe there is a possibility, either scientifically or from a casual examination, of getting a positive indication of what percentage favour the language, what percentage are apathetic and what percentage are opposed to it. I agree with Senator Mullins that we must get back to fundamentals, we must do something like the Americans do in their country—start by inculcating in our children a pride in their country, in their flag. Those of us who have had the opportunity of visiting American schools have seen the ceremony of hoisting the flag in the mornings and the obvious respect American children give to their flag. That must engender for future years a love and respect for their own country, all its tenets and characteristics.

That is certainly lacking here at present. It is something not easily made up. When it comes to suggesting that one political Party is hypocritical, one must at least concede that Fianna Fáil have been consistent in their efforts for the restoration of the language. Perhaps the methods, inherited from the Cumann na nGaedheal Government have not been successful. It is not very often that we get people who criticise methods who can suggest alternative methods that will be equally effective or, to put it another way, less ineffective. Let Senator FitzGerald not forget that it was Fine Gael who brought this into the humdrum of a political election when in 1961 they created the impression that Fine Gael would abolish compulsory Irish, the necessity to learn Irish at school.

That was never mentioned.

That impression was created in order to attract votes from those of the electorate who were apathetic to the language. It was then and only then that the language was brought into the Party political arena.

Was it not sufficiently important?

I admired the objective approach of Senator FitzGerald in his speech today, his appraisal of what he thought should be done in order to ascertain the attitudes of the people towards the language. As I said earlier when speaking in Irish, this is not something the Government alone can do and I do not think anybody has ever suggested that only the Government have responsibility in this field. Everybody has a responsibility. Every one of us who learned Irish in school, who left school with a reasonable knowledge of the language, has an individual responsibility to which far too many of us do not face up. There is a moral responsibility on everybody who speaks Irish to use it as often as he can.

I for one have to plead guilty in this respect. I can speak Irish reasonably well; I can make myself understood and I can understand all Irish dialeots. Nevertheless, I do not make sufficient use of the language. There are times when I take great pride in using it. On the few occasions when I go to a foreign conference and hear people of different nationalities using their language, I take great pride in being able to speak to my own people in my own language. I should like here to address a few remarks to those who say Irish is a burden because it represents an extra subject. Senator FitzGerald said we are a pluralistic society, a multilingual society. To my mind we are one of the worst countries in the world in this respect. I do not think five per cent of Irish people have a working knowledge of any language other than English.

When one travels on the Continent and hears the Dutch, Belgians and Germans speaking four or five languages besides their own, one wonders why Irishmen and Irishwomen cannot speak any language other than English. They cannot speak their own. Therefore, there should be no problem in so far as school curricula are concerned. As well as Irish, I should like to see at least one other continental language taught in our schools. It should not be any more difficult than adding say, algebra, for instance. The question has been raised of having Irish compulsory in the intermediate and leaving certificate examinations. Other subjects are compulsory in these examinations.

Not in the leaving certificate.

(Longford): Mathematics is compulsory for boys in the leaving certificate.

I do not think that is correct. Irish is the only compulsory subject.

Irish is a failing subject. Speaking of the facility with which those Europeans learn a language, one must have regard to the fact that they are at the crossroads of a really multilingual society in Europe and that for sheer survival many of them have to learn languages other than their own. I do not agree with Senator Mullins that Israel is a reasonable example for us. We should learn from their example, certainly, but the same problems do not face us as faced the people of Israel. We must remember that Israel attracted Jews with different languages from all over the world. It was reasonable that they should establish Hebrew as the common language. Therefore, I suggest that, while we can look to and admire what was done in Israel, it is not something we should hold up as the perfect example for us Irish to follow.

I should like to go back to what I suggested originally, namely that the first thing we have to do is to renew in young people an interest in and love for their country and all that goes with the country, its language, its flag, its traditions. I know this is a kind of vague generalisation in the eyes of Senator Garret FitzGerald who wants a scientific approach to everything but there are certain activities in which we cannot reduce people to fractions, decimals and equations. We have to live with our traditions, to keep those we want and try to revive those that have died out and that we feel are essential to our survival as a nation.

To come back to the White Paper, I am not suggesting that this White Paper is the be-all and end-all of the revival movement. I do not think the charge made by Senator Garret FitzGerald that those who formed this commission were prejudiced or unsound or unscientific or irresponsible can be sustained. I believe that, over the four or five years that the commission sat, those dedicated people— many of them, of course, committed to the restoration of the language, most of them perhaps—were reasonably objective in their approach to this subject. I believe they regarded the recommendations they put forward, not only as realistic but as likely to solve some of the complex problems with which they were faced.

The Government, having examined the recommendations, have made their observations on them and their decisions. I suggest that, instead of describing the report as irresponsible and the Government's observations and decisions as hypocritical, it should be accepted that the White Paper at least forms a base on which anybody who professes to have an interest in and love for the Irish language, and a desire to have it restored or at least retained as a spoken language, will find sufficient to work on if he or she is really sincere in the promotion of the language.

I must confess to feeling like toning down my remarks somewhat, having listened to the very reasonable contribution of the Minister for Finance. But I must open by saying that of all the subjects to which I have given consideration and listened to discussed in this House and elsewhere, the one to which the greatest amount of humbug and hypocrisy attaches is the Irish language. The Minister accused Senator FitzGerald of saying that he, in his speech, condemned Fianna Fáil for being hypocritical in this matter. I think Fine Gael are equally as guilty and I will say I believe the Labour Party are not far behind. One thing the Minister did say which I think deserves consideration is that it is time for people to get down off the fence on this issue. I could not agree more.

I am of that generation who had, shall we say, the opportunity of learning the Irish language and passing it in the leaving certificate. I say that, not to start a confession with regard to my background or anything like that but to point out that I should have a good knowledge of the Irish language today and that if I were imbued with the spirit of the people who sat on this commission, to which reference has been made, I should be utilising that language as the spoken medium. The Minister has stated he feels morally guilty that he is a man who has a good knowledge of the language but he does not use it. He feels he is lacking in something—I think moral courage were the words he used. I want to make it quite clear that I have no intention of using the language as a spoken medium. I must say that I think I can be described fairly as being prejudiced so I want everybody who is listening to know that I am prejudiced and I will give my reasons for that.

No matter what I do to look upon this matter in an unprejudiced fashion, I have to admit that my experiences of the attitudes and actions of those who have tried to revive the language have instilled into me a prejudice and I think that prejudice is there in many of my generation and is even more instilled in the present-day generation. Having said that, I propose to make some comments on the commission's report and on what has been said here already by other speakers.

First of all, let me say that, irrespective of the general view on the language, I think we have our order of priorities all mixed up. To me, a human being is of far greater importance than the language he speaks. Our fundamental priority should be a livelihood in this State for the people who wish to live in it and I do not accept from anybody or from any source that language is the major badge of nationalism.

I do not accept it and I think the people who set themselves up as authorities on this deserve to be treated with contempt for arrogating or taking unto themselves the power to pontificate along those lines. I ask Members of this House if they think that Jim Larkin is no patriot because he had not a knowledge of the Irish language or that some Member of this House here, with a fáinne, the new or the old, is a better patriot than Jim Larkin because he happens to have the fáinne.

Who said he did not have a knowledge of the Irish language?

I say it, and I will say that his interest in the revival of the Irish language was nil. This is supposed to be a democracy and we have the view expressed that the people in a democracy are entitled to decide for themselves. What have we as far as the language is concerned? We have an attempt by a limited section of the community to get across their own particular ideas in the form of legislation to control, if you like, even the very thought-processes of the remainder of the community. It has been said here already by the Minister and others that the great majority of the people are in favour of the revival of the language. The Minister then proceeds to tell us that there is no accurate machinery by which the people's wishes can be measured. He cannot have it both ways. The people who sat on this commission have said the very same thing, that the great majority of the people are in favour of the revival.

Is there anything as dangerous as listening to a group of people who are prepared only to see one side of the picture and who are prepared only to present what they in their own minds think should be done? That is what this commission is composed of. If you searched Ireland to get a group of people absolutely committed in their own little minds to a certain line of approach, you could not get a more appropriate group than were selected for this commission. There was not one person on that group who had a different idea in his head. The best results are always achieved when there is discussion, argument and a free flow of thought. Where was the free flow of thought in that commission? What fertilisation of the mind took place in that gathering? Now we have this big green book presented to us and because it is printed and because it looks respectable in this form, the rest of the community are supposed to accept this as the new gospel of the 1960s on the Irish language.

The best way of testing how solid are the findings of this group is by examining the names. I do not intend to discuss them here but I am prepared to discuss them outside. I mix with the people and I think I have as good a knowledge of them as anybody else here. What we have in the public mind is apathy, and that apathy is being misconstrued as a general feeling of goodwill towards the language. Possibly the people will say: "We have nothing against the language, provided we are not asked to speak it," and that is the best summing up I can give as far as my knowledge is concerned, and I am as much entitled to express my view as to what the people think as the Minister or the commission, and I have as much reason to come to that view as they have to come to their findings.

It has been suggested here that the badge of nationality is language. Is it true? Senator Ó Maoláin gave us a lecture this morning on America and on the American system, on how proud the Americans were of their flag and how wonderful it was to see the school children every morning of the year looking up at their flag. If ever one searched for a more unbalanced society than one finds in America, one would have a long way to go before one would get it, when 40,000,000 underprivileged people in America, because of the colour of their skin, are looked on as pariahs, and this is trotted out by Senator Ó Maoláin as one of the reasons why we should revive the Irish language.

Having dealt with the American flag and the respect they have for civics in America, Senator Ó Maoláin then told us that Telefís Éireann, because of the programmes they present, gave Irish youth a better knowledge of the FBI and cowboys than they did about the IRA and other groups in Ireland. If the Senator and the Minister are so fond of telling us all about America and how good society is there, they can hardly crib if their brain-child Telefís Éireann follows the example they set.

The Senator completely missed the point.

I shall go a little further in connection with the complaints from Senator Ó Maoláin in regard to history. He does not agree with the type of history the children are being taught in the schools, and he went so far as to say that the pupils are not being turned out as Irish men and Irish women. Who has been responsible for the educational system in this country for the greatest part of the past 40 years? Senator Ó Maoláin and his comrades in the Fianna Fáil Party. We are told that the type of history being taught is not suitable. I do not buy the Sunday Press, although I am a shareholder, believe it or not.

That is why the Senator's knowledge is so limited.

But I do read it because relatives of mine who are a little more innocent than I am buy it. Again and again I have gone from the middle page back to the end and what do I find? Violence in every shape and form is praised. Violence gets full glorification in that paper which is associated with Senator Ó Maoláin and his Party. Every Sunday that paper gives its own biased version of Irish history. Senator Ó Maoláin says children are not being taught the proper type of Irish history in the schools. Is that what the Sunday Press is trying to do, brainwash them and improve the situation? I do not know what Senator Ó Maoláin is after in that regard.

I do not think the Seanad should be used for an attack on a private business concern.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The remarks of Senator McQuillan were not directly on the motion but they were just as relevant as the remarks that have been made during the debate on the general question of the language and society.

Is the language the badge of nationality? Let me take up Senator Ó Maoláin in regard to his own nation, America. Does he think that because Americans speak the English language they are any less to be loved or respected in his mind? Is Switzerland any less of a nation because of their language situation? If we could offer to our citizens as good a living as the Swiss people have today, we could talk about language then.

The economic issue has been dealt with to some extent but I should like to make some comments on it. This is an issue on which I feel very strongly. What comes first, the people or the language? Let us judge the revivalists on what they have done in a practical way over the past 40 years to revive a language and to provide a livelihood for the people who are in the Gaeltacht areas. It will be said by people here that the past 40 years were a mistake as far as the language was concerned, but that that is dead now and we are turning over a new leaf. I do not accept that. If it is a fact that fanatics had the sway in the past 40 years, then we must accept that they did tremendous damage which cannot be repaired by producing a new green book.

On the economic issue, I think it could be accepted by all Members of the House that unless a man is able to work and rear his family in this country, there is no point in talking about the language for him. He must be, first of all, in an economic position to have a decent living in Ireland. If the Gaeltacht is looked on as the fountain of the language to which we must go if we want to get the language restored in other parts of the country and if we allow that fountain to dry up as has been the case in the past 40 years, what can we hope for the future in that regard? I remember in the other House—I did not go down to the Library because I do not want to spend too long, to get the quotations— when I asked the former Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, who shall be nameless, of course, about setting up an industrial centre in Galway as far back as 1956 and even further back, in 1952 after the general election of 1951—would he take steps to create an industrial centre in Galway so that it could be used as the basis for providing work for the people in the Gaeltacht areas and stabilise the position as far as the population was concerned. He reared up in the House and said that we would anglicise the Gaeltacht by the type of industrial development I referred to in Galway. We did not want to make another Manchester or Liverpool out of Galway was the follow-up of his spokesman and henchman.

What happened? The people of Galway and the other Gaeltacht areas had to go to Manchester and Liverpool to work in the factories, and now 20 years afterwards, we have Germans taking over in Galway, so that it is not being anglicised but Germanised. In the meantime what did we allow to happen in the Gaeltacht? We allowed any foreigner who liked to come in. I do not want to be looked upon as against outsiders coming into this country when I take this line, but I want to show the Government's hypocrisy in so far as the economic survival of the people of the Gaeltacht is concerned. The fishing rights in the Gaeltacht have been bought; the shooting rights have been bought up; the best bit of land left in it is gone. If you go to Connemara tomorrow taking the road from beyond Spiddal and do a tour of some of the fine fishing areas in the west, you will find for miles along the notices are up "Private Fishing", "Private Shooting". It is all private. Naturally they need the services of the few remaining Gaels, if we can describe them as such, to act as ghillies and that is their future. They are to be hewers of wood and drawers of water at home.

It cannot be challenged that the major raw resources in the Gaeltacht areas are now in the hands of people who have no regard whatever for the language and the people in those areas are as fast as could be following their customers. Outside of that, we have the Forestry Division asked for years to do something in Connemara and places like it. They did a little but they did not do sufficient in so far as the land was available, labour was available to give first-class employment and a first-class crop that could be reaped in the next 15 or 20 years in the form of good timber. The people now talking about protecting the Gaeltacht and reviving it have destroyed the morale of the people in the Gaeltacht areas. I remember on a Sunday morning speaking at a meeting in Connemara about the advantages of big forestry schemes there. When I had finished a man said "What are you talking about trees for? What good are trees? Why do not you tell us we will increase the dole?" That was said to me after I had spent half an hour trying to convince those people that afforestation would be good for them. They were demoralised.

What happens with the young girls in the Gaeltacht? They cannot get out of the Gaeltacht areas fast enough to get into Galway city, working as maids in the Central Hospital or the private houses for the purpose of improving their knowledge of English. Their whole aim is to pretend that they do not know Irish if they can get away with it, and to learn as much English as will enable them to get on the train at Galway and get over to England and get a job there. That is the spirit and the mentality of the so-called Gaeltacht of the present time. I would like to hear somebody challenge me on that. I am talking from personal knowledge of the position to-day.

That is one aspect of how the economic issue comes to be tied in with the language. There is another very important one, and reference has been made to it in the report of this commission, the question of appointments. Antagonism has been aroused among the general public on the issue of appointments made, especially in the Gaeltacht areas. In order to be appointed to any technical position or any professional post in the Gaeltacht areas or the west generally, a first-class knowledge of the Irish language is essential. The result is that a man with second-class qualifications in his profession and first-class qualifications in Irish will get the post over the man who is most highly qualified in medicine or engineering or whatever else it may be. What we are doing is condemning the people in the Gaeltacht areas to the second best in so far as the professions or skilled training are concerned. Is that not an unfair way to treat the people there? That cannot be denied, because, before the Local Appointments Commission, the man with the highest possible qualifications has not a chance against a man less well qualified in his profession but with a better knowledge of the language. That is known particularly in the field of medicine today. I do not think it is fair to put the second-best into the Gaeltacht areas if we think so highly of them. Apart from anything else, that type of attitude does not improve the love of the language among the people when that type of compulsion is used.

I do not want to get into detailing too specifically particular items which have aroused antagonism among parents, but I would refer to one in the secondary schools. We have a number of secondary schools teaching all subjects through Irish. Others have not adopted the idea at all. We have the position that there are many people who are in the State service or otherwise and who find themselves transferred from one part of the country to another. Their children may have gone to a school where all subjects are done through English and they go to another where they are done through the medium of Irish. Look at the worry that this is for those children, and the disturbance in their education, to have to change from one to the other. It is doing a great harm to the language as far as those people are concerned.

There is another aspect of this question of education that should be thought over seriously, that is, the question of the right of people under the Constitution. What was said in 1916? "Cherish all the children of the nation equally". We have special secondary schools today where a number of parents with money and means have got together and their children are getting special coaching in Irish because their parents, the new snobocracy, can afford it, not for love of the language but because they know that the greatest fruits can be reached by those who have a knowledge of the language. We cannot blame the parents if they can utilise their money in that regard to get special consideration for their own children. But today they are the privileged and the wealthy who ensure that their children are going to get priority over the ordinary men and women of this country. That is not cherishing all the children of the nation equally, apart altogether from the fact that we are missing out again in the order of priorities. We are talking about compulsion in one form or another in a society where we do not afford one-third of our children the opportunity of post-primary education. We talk about compulsion in the revival of the language in a society where one-third of our children have to leave school at the age of 14 years.

A Government who, in all sincerity, accepted a motion in the Dáil to raise the school leaving age to 16 years, in the past week have admitted that we cannot afford to raise the age even to 15. Yet here we have discussion on the revival of the language and on the means of its revival while one-third of our children must go without post-primary education. What is the future of those children? It has been said by others, and I repeat it, that most of those children have no education worth talking about. They have nothing to fit them to meet the competition of life.

If Ministers and Deputies who are fond of travelling abroad would stop off at London and look at Donnelly's Hole near Hyde Park Corner, they would see all the young Irishmen, the produce of our education system, who finished school at 14 years. That is where they are needed and I would go so far as to say there would be crisis in the building trade in Britain tomorrow if Irish navvies were not available to do the tough work for them. What people who talk about the revival of the language do not realise is that all those young people have to leave this country and that we send them out ill-equipped to meet competition in the various walks of life.

It will be said we send out more than those. Of course we do. We send out the so-called educated men, people with university degrees and so on, but that does not take away from the fact that one-third of the youth of this country are deprived of their right to an education to which the Constitution says they are entitled. In the country today the feeling is becoming more and more noticeable that businessmen and leaders in the various economic groups are preaching the need for education because they believe it is an economic waste not to educate our young people. The Christian ideal is left out. From the material point of view, these people want to see our children educated. Whatever their motives, so long as they get educated I am satisfied.

Senator Ó Maoláin dragged in religion. He blamed the Church and said it was one of the culprits in the past for helping to destroy the language and leaving it in such a position that it will be hard for him and others like him to revive it. He appealed to Trinity College to give a lead. He seems clearly to be a crazy mixed-up kid because the Fianna Fáil Party down the country bless themselves every time one mentions Trinity and the majority of the local authorities will not give a scholarship to Trinity. Catholics are forbidden under pain of sin to enter Trinity. The Mullins wants Trinity to set an example. What kind of humbug is he preaching? What kind of hypocrisy is this? I could go back a lot further than 40 years on this issue and describe what the leaders of Irish society thought of the language a few hundred years ago. What stage of Irish history do we have to return to to find that the language as such was not spoken in a dominant way by the leaders of society? From my limited knowledge, I can say that centuries ago the educated classes in this country spoke Latin and looked upon that language as a snob language. Irish was left to the mere bogmen. I mention that because the people who today wish to revive the Irish language are not clear in their minds as to what they want. Would the people who sat on the commission honestly like to have a society here in which Irish was the predominant language? At this time we are talking about admission to EEC.

Many other countries are speaking their own languages.

I could not agree more with the Minister when he pointed out that we are not a multilingual society. We cannot hope to gain full admission to EEC and I do not agree that we should enter that organisation in any circumstances as we stand because we are undeveloped and not fitted for this competition. We are unequipped for such participation, even where languages are concerned. During the past two or three years when this talk of EEC membership was going on, there was a rush in the towns to get vocational committees to start classes in French, German and what-have-you. That would have given us a window into Europe. It would have given us an insight into the culture of Europe. When I went abroad, I was lost when it came to communicating with people of other nationalities. That is what we lack in our education—the facilities to learn languages. Why, then, at this stage, do we turn inwards and give pride of place to the Irish language at a time when we need so urgently to meet the peoples of other European countries. We should be trying to equip ourselves in schools with other languages instead of taking up time reviving the Irish language.

It is admitted that the goodwill of the people is necessary if this green book is to get anywhere. Let us not mix up goodwill with antipathy. Let us forget about compulsion. I shall give an example of trying persuasion instead of compulsion. This is something that Senator Ó Maoláin should think over when he mentions television. Not very long ago, Telefís Éireann had the bright idea that they would broadcast Gaelic matches through Irish. The first time this was attempted in a very big match, which was of nation-wide interest, these two commentators started off in the Irish language—and, in any language, they were a pain in the neck. What happened, as far as the public were concerned? I think many Senators here know what happened. The majority of people who had a transistor set or an ordinary wireless set turned it on because the match was broadcast on the radio in English and looked at the television screen. That was done in our house and I thought it was a brilliant idea. I discovered, however, that it was not so brilliant an idea at all because, when I compared experiences, I found that it was the case all over the country. That was the answer given by the ordinary man and woman to the attempt of this misguided group to ram their version down the people's necks. We had the same thing with the news item that comes on television the last thing at night. Up to recently, we had Nuacht and Thought for the Day—and I must say my thought for the day was always on the use of the language.

Business suspended at 1.5 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.

I do not intend to delay the House much longer. I should like to sum up on a few items. First of all, it would be wrong to keep silent when a motion such as this is being discussed because silence might be taken for consent by the general public to the idea of being dictated to by a group like the group which composed this commission and the group which wishes to see some or all of the commission's recommendations put into effect.

Senator Ó Maoláin stated that the language in the past was associated with fanatics. I do not deny that; in fact I accept his statement on it. However, he went on to say that that is all past. There I differ with him. There is no change for the better. We have the very same fanatics today in a different guise. Some of them are even more fanatical than they were in the years past. I will go further and say that if ever measures were devised to kill the language, they are in this report of the commission set up by the Government.

The real enemies of the language are those people who take it upon themselves to act as the advisers of the nation and to pretend that Irish patriotism and Irish nationalism is in their safekeeping and theirs alone. Those of us who disagree with this Nazi mentality or Fascist outlook are described as West Britons. I do not feel hurt at any time by criticism but there are many people who, if they are criticised and described as West Britons, shoneens, and so forth, by these self-appointed directors of the Irish race, develop an inferiority complex about it and feel they must be wrong themselves. At any rate, people tend to shy away from drawing upon themselves the wrath of these groups like those who composed this commission. Those people who are so vocal in their condemnation of the Irish people for being so lackadaisical about the language should realise that nothing is as dangerous as to attempt to drive or compel the Irish people, or in fact any race, to do something that they do not want to do. Senator FitzGerald said that the Irish race were a special example in that regard. I believe that driving people, no matter what their nationality, or trying to drive them, is the wrong way to go about achieving your ends. Inducements, yes; persuasion, yes; but this type of compulsion and browbeating that we have advocated or seen advocated in the past and which is still advocated for the future is something that will not be tolerated.

To me as I see it at the moment a choice is posed. We are told by many of those who are in favour of this report that the language is the only thing that will show a difference between us and the rest of the world, the way we will show that we have a separate nationality. That would appear to me to be a defeatist attitude, that those people who are already prepared to sign away our economic freedom, our right to control our own destiny in the economic and social spheres, and have sold the birthright of the people, are saying that we must have a different language in order to show that there is a difference between us and other peoples. Would you prefer to see a serf tipping his cap to a European or British master in the economic sense and speaking in Irish, or an Irishman who has control of his own livelihood and who is in a country where control over finance and economic affairs are exercised by the Irish people for the Irish people and in their interest with the English language spoken? I would prefer the latter.

I believe that the hypocrisy that is apparent in the commission has seeped down into the State and semi-State bodies. Look, for example, at CIE which announced within the past week that the intermediate bus stops will in future carry the names of the halts in Irish only and the final destination of the particular bus will be in English only. That is one of the measures being utilised to restore the language. While that is going on, we have Bord Fáilte abroad pointing out that one of the great advantages for foreigners in Ireland is the fact that the English language is the language spoken in this country and they need have no fears of being met with a foreign language of any description when they come to Ireland. The Americans and the Canadians and all the rest will find that English is the language spoken in Ireland. There is this conflicting view between the two different State bodies.

This idea of browbeating is seeping into the armed forces and into the Garda Síochána. Reference to this was made earlier by Senator FitzGerald. I am well aware, and I am sure other Senators are also, that this idea of compulsion as far as the use of the language in the Army is concerned was brought in by a former Minister for Defence who has been transferred since to a different Cabinet department. He had a bee in his bonnet about the language and he decided that he would insist on his views being put into operation in the Army. The people in the Army are subject to discipline and have to obey. They put a good front on it and on the face of it accepted the new brush that was sweeping out the old ideas. I can assure the House that there is no such thing as a conversion to the beliefs of that particular Minister or to the group with which he is associated, namely, the people of this particular commission.

The same applies to the Garda Síochána. Pressure is exercised, a form of blackmail, on members of the Garda Síochána to put up these pins to show that they are in favour of the language. The majority of the members of the Garda Síochána do so for their own personal reasons of ambition or to keep in with authority. There is nothing as disgusting as to see a parade of young men in the Army or the Garda Síochána in front of a group of pseudo-fascists sticking pins in their lapels on the basis that these young men are prepared to stand for the views of those people who formed this commission and others who want to see the views of the commission implemented. There is unquestionably a fascist mentality attached to this "we and we alone are right; we and we alone know what is good for the Irish people."

The Senator is a good example of that. He knows everything.

I do not know everything but I shall not tolerate the idea of Senator Ó Maoláin or of the commission that they are the be-all and end-all as far as the good of the Irish people is concerned. Let us deal with the Gaeltacht areas for a moment. I said earlier that if ever there is to be a restoration of the language we must at once protect, restore and look after the people in these areas, raise the morale of the people in these areas so that they can enjoy a decent living within these areas instead of being dependent on State assistance and various types of dole. They must be given a chance to earn a decent living within their own neighbourhoods. If that is not done it is stupid to try to implement a report such as this.

The White Paper was produced by the Government and though Senator Ó Maoláin may not be familiar with the Government's viewpoint he knows that the Government have their ear to the ground in spite of what some of them say publicly and that they are not prepared to fly in the face of public opinion. The most that can be expected from them at this stage is that they will have the decency to hold in check those elements in the country who insist on having their own crackpot ideas implemented. If the Government are prepared to hold these people in check and if the next Government are prepared to follow in their footsteps it is the best approach that can be made on a matter of this character. Their aim at this stage should be directed towards the economy of the people so that the people of the country will be given a chance. Having done that for this generation, the Government can leave it to the next generation to decide what the future will be.

Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis an rún seo. Is fearr beart ná focal, agus tá orainn, mar bhaill den Oireachtas, an cheist seo a phlé agus í a chur os cóir an phobail. Ní aontáim in aon chor leis an Seanadór McQuillan gur ceart dúinn dearmad a dheanamh ar an Pháipéar Bán. Aon Ghaeilge atá agamsa is ar scoil a d'fhoghlamaíos í agus muna bhfuil líofacht cheart chainte agam sé is ciontach leis ná an méid scríbhneoireachta agus staidéir scríofa a bhí le déanamh agam agus mé ar scoil. Is i lámha an aosa óg atá an teanga anois.

I welcome this opportunity, in common with the other Members, to review dispassionately and objectively the position of the Irish language now that we have the recommendations of the commission before us. At the outset, I should like to say that Senator McQuillan's attitude to the question is one that can be largely ignored because in his opening remarks he admitted he was prejudiced against the language. He went even further and said he would never speak the language. We who may not be fluent in the language but who at least have the interest of the language at heart are perfectly entitled to ignore the violent prejudices of people like Senator McQuillan.

Before going on to what I hope will be a reasonably short and constructive analysis of some of the points at issue, I think it is a pity that the Irish language should be subjected to abuse on every occasion an important measure comes before the House. Senator McQuillan dragged in every aspect of our economic and social ills and appeared to lay the blame on our policy towards the Irish language. He associated it with what he described as the hypocrisy of the Government on this matter. While we cannot very well isolate or divorce the language from the lives and environments of any of us, we must agree at the same time that it has to be reviewed largely in its own context.

I welcome largely what I would regard as the reasonably critical and positive tone of the recommendations of the commission. I am rather agreeably surprised at some of the recommendations, particularly in relation to the shedding of the privileges which have hitherto been associated with what has been called here the fanatical section of Irish speakers. I feel, in showing willingness at least to rid the Irish language of the element of compulsion, that the commission has given us an earnest of their sincerity in the matter.

I propose to review briefly some of the blind prejudices, and, I think, the elements of compulsion that attach to the language, elements that have certainly antagonised a large proportion of the Irish people and, I think, justifiably so. First of all, my experience of the language—I suppose we must confine ourselves to our own experience—has been gained largely from the educational system. Anybody who, like myself, has had that experience must regret that there has most times been a bias towards the written language and, if I might say so, not the written language as a living tongue but as an exercise for teacher correction. This applies not only in the spheres of grammar and poetry but also in the sphere of composition. I feel if we were honest enough to admit it, in relation to the curriculum in the Irish secondary schools, the attitude of the Department of Education has largely been that of a Department towards a foreign language.

I can recall quite clearly that we were encouraged—I have no reason to doubt that students nowadays are not so encouraged—to introduce into our Irish composition sean-fhocail and corraí-chainte. These latter were idioms. The employment of such expressions apparently earned extra marks for Irish composition in the intermediate and leaving certificate examinations. We must be honest with ourselves and admit that in any other language these would be called what they actually are, clichés, habits of speech, which, in fact, reflect no intelligent approach on the part of those who use them but which might have been suitable as happy expressions for a particular occasion. That was the standard in my time. It was an attitude towards the expression of Irish. Most young men in the schools nowadays are mature and will not accept that kind of nonsense.

This comes very close to home for me because a very close associate of mine won a gold medal for Irish composition in the leaving certificate. I know from a review of his composition that he had a happy facility for using these corraí-chainte and sean-fhocail in the right place. He did not overdo it and he appreciated what they meant. He had no understanding or appreciation of the idiom of the language itself. This was proved by the fact that some months after leaving school, after already winning the school medal for first place in Irish, he took no further interest because no enthusiasm had been aroused in him for the language. I might appear to have dwelt rather long on this aspect of the matter but we must always look at the facts and ensure that in our educational curriculum the language is taught as a living tongue and not used merely for examination purposes which has been the case up to now.

Secondly, I welcome the recommendations of the commission because they rather surprisingly reveal that the attitude up to now has been one of entrenching old attitudes towards the language. I am not like Senator McQuillan with regard to this. I also honestly felt a strong prejudice against those people who feel it is only their prerogative to speak the language. They gave no encouragement to those of my generation who might not have had close association with the language by reason of their environment. Unlike Senator McQuillan, I do not condemn the language because I happen to find those people may be a little too enthusiastic and possibly sometimes blindly so for me.

The Government, in paragraph 16, now realise that the study of Irish as a living language can be supplemented in conjunction with modern continental languages about which we hear so much nowadays. I think, at this stage, I might air a notion I have myself. I wonder what justification there may be for it but from my own limited experience there may be some. Even though there may be a small percentage of the people in this country who are bilingual, I am quite satisfied that a higher percentage of those people speak a third language, namely, a continental language, that is they are multilinguistic. It is quite easy to sit there and say: "Let us have just one language". This is an attitude common not only in Ireland but also throughout Europe. People forget that language is a vehicle of expression, that we express ourselves differently and for that reason restrictions cannot be imposed on the development of any language.

Bilinguists have the experience of expressing themselves in a second medium. I can definitely say that is a very decided advantage when it comes to acquiring fluency in a third language. You have broken down barriers against expression in a second medium. This is something English people readily admit. The study of Irish could help to supplement the study of continental languages which, of course, must be advocated. I feel this would be a more realistic approach to the matter. The commission have, for the first time, shown a certain realism in connection with this particular project.

Before I leave that matter, I think people have mentioned Switzerland during the course of the debate, though possibly not in this context. As we all know, Switzerland is a multilingual society. I may have referred to this on another occasion also, but, in relation to young children, I can say from my own experience that to acquire a second, third or fourth language presents no real difficulty, provided they are given the appropriate environment in which to do so. If the young Swiss, or indeed the young American or the young English pupils who are educated in Switzerland, have fluency by the time they are 15 or 16, it is because they are allowed to develop their fluency in an environment natural to young people, on playing fields, in the diningroom, as they go into shops, villages, and so on, and there is no element whatever of privilege or compulsion attached to it. It is a very spontaneous thing and I feel that this is what it must be in the young children of Ireland: it must be spontaneous.

If we may differ in some respects, I feel that the Irish Christian Brothers deserve great commendation from us in that, though they may sometimes appear to be over-enthusiastic to some of their pupils, they do give them an opportunity and encourage them to enjoy themselves, if one might put it so, through the medium of Irish. I am quite confident that they enjoy themselves quite spontaneously through the medium of Irish. Quite recently, I have heard them in the Phoenix Park as well as in other places and I do not see that it imposes any restriction. I feel that, at least nowadays, men who happen to be gifted with fluency in Irish have come from some such cradle where they have had an opportunity of speaking Irish in a reasonable environment for a young man.

There have been and are still many occasions on which the language is being brought into disrepute by being used as a restriction on various examinations—entrance to universities, leaving certificate, and so on, and there is one particular recommendation here, No. 43, in connection with the courts of justice, which draws attention to that point. I think it is to the effect that the standard of the qualifying examination in Irish for barristers should be raised and that foreign students who do not intend to practise permanently in Irish courts should be exempt. I must agree with that recommendation in so far as the second part of it, particularly, goes— that foreign students who do not intend to practise in Ireland should be exempt. I have seen the comedy—and comedy it is and nothing else—of foreign students, Africans, Nigerians, Ghanaians and other foreign students, being subjected to a so-called examination in Irish when, in fact, what was merely involved was the paying of a fee: there was an examination, I must say, in fairness, but the foreign candidate knew, before he went in, that he would not fail it. He was asked certain questions and assisted in the answers.

Let us face the fact that it would be absolutely unfair to impose such a restriction on a foreign student as to have to study the Irish language. The only foreign student, to my knowledge, who ever did fail the examination in Irish was a man the initial of whose surname was the letter "O". It was unfortunate for him that the examiner or somebody else must have thought that the first letter of his surname, O, was the Irish "O" rather than having some association with an African name. Irish people have failed their examination in the Irish language for entrance to some professional bodies but foreigners never. What, then, is the point of retaining this examination? It brings it into disrepute not only among ourselves but among those people from other countries who come here to study. Therefore, I heartily commend this recommendation by the commission.

Now I come to consider what can be done, to a certain extent—and this is a very brief consideration on my part—to foster and arouse the interest of young people and, after all, it is the young people who will continue to ensure the survival and indeed the furtherance of Irish. I think the first thing is that we must have teachers properly qualified and properly informed and devoted to their subject. To this extent, I think this House will agree with me as, significantly, the major problem in "compulsory Irish", as it is called, arises chiefly in and around the city of Dublin.

I often feel that one of the reasons for this is that a substantial number of students in and around the city of Dublin have not had the benefit of education in the ordinary national school; that many of them attend a private school or a school where a teacher may (a) have little or no knowledge of the Irish language or (b) what is even worse, have a strong antagonism towards the Irish language and he may be justified in his antagonism, for that matter. Any teacher who is forced to teach a subject, which is what is involved in this case, which he himself actively dislikes, will certainly not pass on any enthusiasm for or love of that subject to his pupils. So far as any of us has a love of and enthusiasm for our language, we must all admit that a lot of this stems from an enthusiasm for and a loyalty we had to those who, we felt, had that fervour and indeed interest in their language. They could arouse the imagination of young people. They could introduce them to various aspects of Irish literature and history most conducive towards a further interest in the language. This, I feel, is the kernel of the problem here in the city, particularly. If they are really serious about their attitude towards the language, I feel that teachers who find themselves in private schools and otherwise should endeavour—and endeavour probably it must be for them, maybe more difficult than for those of us who have had reasonable tuition—(1) to make themselves sufficiently informed about the language they teach and (2) to make themselves fluent if at all possible because it is not all that difficult in the language they are teaching and (3) above all, should try to arouse not antagonism but a certain enthusiasm and a certain love—and I say that without any apologies to anybody— for the language they teach because while the language may not be the only mark, it certainly is a very important factor and the man to tell you this is the multilingual Frenchman or German, as the case may be. I do not see why we ourselves should have the attitude towards it that we feel we are being insular when we come to encouraging study or indeed a love for the Irish language.

Senator FitzGerald did review, as is his custom, in a reasonably detailed fashion what he regarded as their policy towards the language but I am afraid he did not offer any hope to those of us who would like to be a little more than 50-50 sure that the language might survive the research and social study he has talked about. The enthusiasts themselves, in their own everyday language, have preserved the tongue which might long since have been lost. I am not sure that they are not as entitled to the representation on the commission which they have, in fact, got, and much more so, as those of us who are either too apathetic about or opposed to the language. I feel, at the same time, that they should be in a position to judge and to have regard to the views of others who may not have the same active interest. By and large, they are from amongst ourselves and I do not see why we should regard them as a race apart. There are certain people enthusiastic about the language. There are many of us who are not. I suppose I belong to the many in so far as I do not take positive steps to increase my fluency and to promulgate the spirit of the language.

For that reason I do not think that a research such as Senator Fitzgerald suggests can provide all the answers. It might be the answer to other problems but surely not to the language problem. The language is bound up in a very real way with our whole mental attitude. Any student of languages when listening to an Irishman speak will notice immediately the difference of idiom, the difference of expression which the Irishman has as distinct from his counterpart in England. If we can use ten words where one would suffice, we use the ten words. This is characteristic of the Irish. The attitude must be one of strong sympathy and this can be tempered with a keen analysis. That is what I hope the Government will do with these recommendations that are before us today.

I have a note here about pubs and playing fields as a heading for myself. It occurs to me that many of us have the impression, myself included, that it is very hard to enjoy yourself through the medium of Irish, that it is very hard to relax through the medium of Irish because we always associate it with those whose only interest is in drumming Irish into us. This attitude is not wholly our fault. Those who are most enthusiastic about the language and who have an opportunity of promulgating it should examine their consciences and inquire whether they parade this aspect of their national fervour just a little too much for the general public.

I should like to think that I could enjoy myself either in a pub or on the playing field just as readily and as spontaneously through Irish as I could through English. I will go further: if I cannot enjoy myself as spontaneously through Irish, then I have no intention of speaking it. Nobody can be expected to restrict or inhibit his normal life or enjoyment because certain attitudes towards the Irish language are being pushed at him, and I hope this occasion does not arise. The language should be brought outside the desks of the Civil Service and outside the schoolhouse and those who are enthusiastic—and rather strangely, many of them are teachers—should realise that many of us who are not teachers are interested and they should approach the language in a more casual way. I am not saying there is an entrenched approach, but in so far as prejudice has been aroused in many minds, there must be a certain justification for it.

I am happy to see that the commission has made a recommendation on a matter on which I have always felt something should be done. Senator Stanford referred to this last night in his very worthy assessment of the situation, that we cannot sacrifice efficiency or professionalism at any level in the name of the language, and it is not fair to the language that this should be so. In one of the recommendations dealing with vocational education, it is suggested, and has been accepted by the Government, that where a teacher qualifies in Irish only by virtue of having the Teastas Timire Gaeilge, such a teacher, not being a graduate of a university, will be required to do a two-year preliminary course. What this course is is not indicated but I have always thought it one of the scandals of our educational system, and particularly of our vocational education system, that there are headmasters—and I say this without any personal vindictiveness towards the gentlemen themselves— who have no other qualification but that they spend one month possibly in the Connemara Gaeltacht and having been fluent in Irish before they went there, had little difficulty in obtaining their Teastas Timire Gaeilge.

Some of those got jobs as trained teachers in the technical schools and some of them went further and became principals in the various schools. Although they have no training in subjects like Irish, English, mathematics, woodwork, metalwork, and so on, they would direct the teachers of these subjects as to how best they should be taught. I am happy to say the commission have now recommended that such a scandal in our educational system should not be allowed to continue.

I am further happy to see that the Government have refused to agree to or certainly have shown no enthusiasm for this roll of honour which is one of the recommendations of the commission and which would apply to the teachers in Irish-speaking national schools who have proved themselves fluent in Irish over a period of years. How any mature man would recognise himself as being entitled to be on a roll of honour by virtue of the fact that he spoke Irish is something I cannot comprehend. How any body such as this commission could make such a recommendation surprises me more than a little. If it were implemented, it would be another one of those influences that would antagonise many people. That trend of things must not be allowed to continue.

There is not much more I can say except to repeat that any language, if it is to survive, must be treated as a living language. The hope lies particularly in the Gaeltacht. New opportunities whereby young people would be allowed to live and work in the Gaeltacht would be rather difficult to realise, but at least they could spend a holiday period in the Gaeltacht areas because here and only here, apart from some isolated homes, is the language a living vehicle of expression. I might say in this context that we should not go too far in our standardising of language. Language is a medium of expression which will differ with each person who uses it. Divisions and dialects have occurred purely because of the attitudes and the habits of life of people who use the same language. If we have various dialects in the Irish language, we are not alone in this problem. In fact a matter which is very much overlooked is that in Italy, for instance, Italians will tell you that the only part of Italy where pure Italian is spoken is in the neighbourhood of Siena or possibly Florence and every other part speaks dialects, though, granted, most educated Italians, in fact almost all of them, can speak what is called pure Italian.

The same thing applies to France, and we have Swiss French, Belgian French and other French spoken in various places. It also applies to German and all the other European languages. Indeed, we appear to have less dialect than most countries. We have simply two dialects recognised— the Munster dialect and what is called the Connacht and Ulster dialects. May be I am simplifying things too much there but I believe that there are two main dialects. For that reason I do not think we should be over-perturbed about standardising Irish because when you endeavour to standardise a language usage—and this is what we hope for—will de-standardise it just as quickly. If it is not used it will stay standardised and in fact morbid and as little used as it has been in recent times.

I hope that the Government will give full study to the Commission's report and that the problem will be tackled not as an academic one and that certainly as a result of it Irish may be more widely spoken and more widely loved.

Tá sé oiriúnach go bhfuil an tAire Airgeadais anso inniu le haghaidh na díospóireachta mar bé sin faoi ndear bunú an Choimisiúin ar an gcéad dul síos, nuair a bhí sé ina Aire Oideachais. Is dó atá an chreidiúint ag dul, go bhfuil an Páipéar Bán ann in aon chor.

Is é an poinnte is tábhachtaí a thagann as an bPáipéar Bán ná go bhfuil dualgas ar gach dream den phobal in athbheochan na Gaeilge. Go dtí seo is ar na scoileanna amháin a bhí an cheist ag brath, agus le linn an ama bhí an pobal i gcoitinn ar an gclaí. Tá a fhois ag cách ón méid a tharla i dtíortha eile nach bhfuil na scoileanna leo féin ábalta an teanga d'athbheochaint. Nuair a fhágann na daltaí na scoileanna tugann siad faoi ndeara nach bhfuil morán suime ag an gnáth duine sa teanga.

Tar éis tamaill cailleann na daoine óga suim sa Ghaeilge toisc nach bhfuil caoi acu labhairt na teangan a chleachtadh. Ní mór do gach dream den phobal a gcion a dhéanamh chun athbheochan na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn. Is féidir leis na hEaglaisí, le comhlachtaí ionadaíochta, le céardchumainn agus le cumainn eile, agus le gnólachtaí phríobháideacha a lán a dhéanamh chun suim sa teanga a spreagadh.

I do not intend to waste the time of the House traversing the many points which have been made during the course of a long and interesting debate but I shall endeavour to break some new ground. It has always struck me that there is a great similarity between the language position here in Ireland and that which existed in Alsace-Lorraine after the Treaty of Versailles. After the Franco-Prussian war Alsace-Lorraine became a German province, the people spoke a German dialect but their political ideals were based on those of France. After the Treaty of Versailles, however, over 1,500 teachers who did not know a single word of German were recruited from the heart of France and were sent into the schools of Alsace-Lorraine. They were forbidden to use German during the course of their teaching and the direct method of teaching through French was universally used. Years afterwards inspectors were sent in to examine the position, and they found that the standard in oral and written French was as high as it was in any part of France. The one gap or lacuna in the whole process of furthering the French language was that when the children left the schools they reverted to their native dialect as a medium of conversation. It was also observed that when those children were subsequently conscripted in the French army they wrote home in their dialect. They were French politically but in speaking they preferred to use the German dialect.

The analogy is this, that in Ireland children have been taught to a considerably high standard of Irish and could speak Irish fluently but in the majority of cases when they went out among the public they found no support for the language and in a very short time fluency disappeared and the children lost interest in speaking the language. The greatest single factor which has militated against the revival of Irish has been the lack of public support. Until that public support is forthcoming one must be of opinion that the future for the revival of the language is not bright. Certainly there is a bright future for the survival of the language and all people should be interested in that survival because every time a language becomes extinct a cultural lamp is extinguished. One feels a sense of loss when an old culture or language disappears.

The task of restoring the Irish language is a gigantic one and it has not had sufficient public support. The task in the main has been left to the schools and experience in other countries has shown that the schools alone cannot succeed in restoring a language. The efforts at restoration have not been brought to fruition and for the majority of people the use of the language ceased the day they left school. Unless the language receives support from parents, Government Departments and agencies, the churches, businesses and the man in the street generally, then all efforts to restore it will be frustrated. Many people are passively sympathetic towards the restoration of Irish but unless active support for a more widespread use of the language is given the efforts of the school will again in another forty years be a failure.

Even within the schools the Department of Education has employed very unsound methods for creating enthusiasm for the language. At the outset too much was attempted—too great an emphasis was placed on formal grammar and the writing of the language rather than the natural function of a language, namely oral expression.

It is of interest to note that as far back as 1456 an eminent Renaissance scholar, Erasmus, expressed an appropriate opinion on language teaching.

I must make my conviction clear that while a knowledge of the rules of grammar is most necessary to every student, still they should be as few, as simple and as carefully framed as possible. I have no patience with the stupidity of the average teacher of grammar who wastes precious years in hammering rules into children's heads. It is not by learning rules that we acquire the power of speaking a language but by the daily intercourse with those accustomed to express themselves with exactness and refinement and by a copious reading of the best authors.

Many of us are inclined to over-simplify the whole problem of the revival of Irish. In this we make a very grave mistake, because one must take into account the course of history if one wishes to appreciate the size of the problem. Senator Stanford was inclined to over-simplify yesterday when he asked what Irish writer could reach the international standard of Racine or Cervantes. He forgot to point out that Cervantes lived in a free Spain and Racine in a free France, where education and the native tongues were not outlawed. For them there was a different milieu, a different situation from that which existed in Ireland over the years. There is at least one man whose work has been translated into many leading languages and he is Muiris Ó Súilleabháin who wrote Fiche Bliain ag Fás. However, I am not pursuing that point.

One must go back centuries to trace the origin of the problem which confronted the Irish people. One must go back even as far as 1537 to find the first statement on policy in the abolition of the Irish language. The policy is set out in Statute 28—Henry VIII in the year mentioned. The Act was "For the English order habite and language". It sought the linguistic and racial unification of Ireland and England and it dictated that "any person seeking major orders should take an oath to learn, instruct and teach the English tongue, to preach in English and to keep or cause to be kept in each parish a school to teach English and so bring about a conformity, concordance and familiarity in language, tongue, manners and apparel, with them that be civil people".

Again, in 1570 a further link was forged by the passing of Statute 12 of Elizabeth I. This Act decreed that a free grammar school be established in every diocese and that the schoolmaster should be an Englishman or of English birth so that "children from their craddles be inured with a pure English tongue, habite, fashion and discipline, with a due and humble obedience to their prince and rulers". State policy against the Irish language continued relentlessly over the centuries: teachers and schools were outlawed and the Irish people had to have recourse to hedge schools. It is of interest to note that prior to the establishment of the Board of Education in 1831 there were as many as 9,000 of these schools, that is twice as many as there are national schools at the present time. Those schools were conducted, as one authority states "in a forge, in a farmer's house, in a scholar's house, in a building provided by neighbours, in a hut built by a master or in an unroofed stable". It is difficult to see how a Racine or Cervantes could emerge from such an atmosphere. The Irish language was driven out and no opportunity was given to people to develop themselves through a normal system of education. In 1913, writing on the educational system which existed over the centuries Padraic Pearse described the situation as follows—

I have spent the greater part of my life in contemplation of the most grotesque or horrible of English inventions for the debasement of Ireland. I mean the educational system. The schools and colleges are the broad arrow upon the back of Ireland. The Minister of Education in a free Ireland will have to breathe the breath of life to a dead thing. His work will be a work of creation. The English thing that is called education in Ireland is founded on a denial of the Irish nation. A new educational system has to do more than restore national culture; it has to restore manhood to a race that has been deprived of it.

When Independence came a new National Programme for Education was produced. The Minister for Education said it was the intention of the Government "to strengthen the national fibre by giving the national language, history, music and tradition, their national place in the life of the Irish school". The Government of that time set about that task with great vigour. The first National Programme for national schools was adopted but now we realise that the change was too sudden and too violent and the direction to have subjects like history, geography and music taught through the medium of Irish was shortsighted and ill-timed, when we realise that only 10 per cent of the teaching personnel had the bi-lingual certificate and only 25 per cent had the ordinary certificate in Irish. Prior to the Treaty, Irish was regarded as an extra subject on the curriculum and the teacher received a fee for teaching it as such. The task undertaken in 1922 was an impossible one and the decisions made have led to much of the frustration which has been experienced, subsequently. The target aimed at, following the Treaty, was not a realisable one, in all the circumstances, but one must appreciate the high degree of idealism and enthusiasm which existed at that time. The White Paper sets a more reasonable and a more attainable target and above all the Paper spreads the obligation on all sections in the matter of the Irish language revival. Hitherto the schools alone bore the brunt of the campaign but now it is clearly enunciated that there is a duty on all groups to play their part.

Maidir leis an méid a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Conalláin i dtaobh oiliúnt na múinteoirí bheith lochtach toisc nach raibh an fheallsúnacht cheart acu ó thaobh na Gaeilge, ba mhaith liom a rá: mura mbeadh na múinteoirí náisiúnta do bheadh beagán Gaeilge ann. B'iad na múinteoirí náisiúnta na daoine a choimeád an Ghaeilge beo leis na blianta fada anuas.

I dtaobh an scrúdú béil atá molta le haghaidh an Teastais Bunscoile, ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfuil múinteoirí go láidir ina choinne. Táid go daingean i gcoinne an Teastais féin agus ní chuirfidh an moladh feabhas ar bith ar an scéal.

Focal scoir. Ba mhaith liom a rá arís go bhfuil dualgas speisialta ar gach dream den phobal faoi athbheochan na teangan agus gur mhaith an rud é go bhfuil an t-am tagaithe gur cuireadh é sin ina luí ar an Rialtas.

I should like to state my sense of indebtedness to Senator Ó Conalláin for having brought forward this motion and for having given us the opportunity to have this fascinating debate on the language. I do not propose to examine the provisions and recommendations made in the White Paper about it. That has been done exhaustively by other speakers. I would agree with Senator Ó Maoláin in his suggestion that what we really need, at this stage, is a replacement of antagonism by enthusiasm for the language and not only for the language but for the whole background of living in this country. I think we have got to see the problem, really, as has been said before, as the problem of making this a better country for people to live in. If we can do that at the same time as fostering the things that are characteristic of the country, well and good, but we have to decide which is the cart and which is the horse. I quite firmly believe that the prime objective should be to improve the country in every possible way but that we should not neglect the other things at the same time.

Mention was made of the desirability of displaying the flag in schools. I wonder if the Senator who raised the matter has ever tried to find out how many schools recite the National Anthem in Irish. I cannot do it myself. I can recite two lines of it. We are criticised for that. Colleagues of mine in Trinity College, who come to us from Wales, for example, can sing the Welsh National Anthem in Welsh Gaelic. They criticise us because when we stand up to sing our National Anthem we do not attempt to sing it in Irish. That is another extension along the same lines.

I am not an Irish speaker, I am afraid. It was taught in our school by the headmaster who was very enthusiastic about it but I was very bad at all languages and he did not dare to bring me into his class. However, various members of my family are closely connected with the day to day promotion of the language and I have always supported the language as a subject to be taught in our schools. As a school governor, I have always resisted the view put forward by headmasters that because a student failed in Irish therefore a lesser and a more lenient view should be taken of the situation. As governors of our school, we have always decided that this was not a situation we wanted to encourage.

I do not believe that learning Irish in schools is a deterrent or impediment to progress in other subjects. I have known my own children to develop a sincere appreciation of the language as a subject in school and to do very well in their other subjects at the same time. In saying that, I have the same reservations as Senator Garret FitzGerald about teaching the other subjects through the medium of Irish. I believe firmly that the language in which the child learns his subjects at school should be the language of the child's home. If you can encourage Irish to be spoken at home then by all means use it in school. But do not have a kind of split personality situation where the child must switch from one language to another when he leaves home, goes to school and then comes back home again.

I have been impressed by the fact that, in my department, I have I suppose 10 or 12 technicians of various ages from 17 or 18 up to 24 or 25. I frequently get circulars from the Department, some of which are substantially in Irish. I can never get them translated in my department although all of these technicians have only recently left school where they were taught all subjects through the medium of Irish. I can bring the circulars home to my children, who learned Irish as a language, but liked it in learning it, and who did not have to be beaten into learning it, as some Senator mentioned, and they can translate the circulars for me without any difficulty. Therefore, I think the attitude towards the language which you must foster is the one which matters and not the actual mechanics.

In saying this, I should like, in the absence of my colleague, Senator Stanford, to refer to Senator Brosnahan's and other Senators' remarks about the reference he made to the absence of an author in Irish of European reputation. I think he has been misunderstood. I am quite certain he knows why there is no such author, that he knows all the impediments that have been placed in the way of creative work in this language over the centuries and that he accepts this and regrets it, as we all do. But this is the situation and this is one of the things that make it more difficult for us now. Whatever the reason for the situation, that is another matter. It is not an excuse.

In fostering an interest in any language, the presence of a great, universally recognised work or works in that language is of very considerable help. The works of the authors Senator Stanford quoted, Cervantes, Racine, Goethe, are, in themselves, a stimulus to people to learn something about the Spanish, French and German languages whereas this stimulus is not present in the case of Irish. I think that is probably what he meant.

That is what he said, not merely what he meant.

That is where we are in order again. I agree with Senator Quinlan about the difficulty in using the language in teaching subjects which have got a high technical content such as science, engineering and so on, but not because it is impossible to translate the words into our language. We can find equivalents for almost anything. The Council of the Dublin Zoo had the problem of doing this. We can find equivalents in the Irish language for the names of those various animals. You can find an equivalent for any term, whether new or old, on the technical side. This goes deeper and I do not think Senator Ó Maoláin should underestimate it.

Science is an international activity, particularly creative science. Creative science embraces the whole world. It is one of the facts of life in this day that English is an international language. It is the international language of scientists. This has come about since the war. German was a very important language for scientists up to the beginning of the First War. Since the end of the Second War, with the enormous amount of scientific work being done in America and Great Britain, all the scientific journals are published in English. The language at international meetings is English. There may be other simultaneous translations but I do not remember having heard of them. Scientists must work, think, write and communicate in English. It does not matter what country the scientist comes from. We must not underestimate the effect of that in this particular area of activity.

I disagree with Senator Quinlan in a point he made about suggesting that pressure should be brought to bear to influence the games played by our young people. I would take the view, and I hope he would agree with me, that games, more than anything else, should be free from restrictions. It is in their games that our boys and girls and our young men and women meet with people of all classes and get to know one another. If they play games in which they compete with schools from other parts of the country and indeed from other countries, it is all to the good. If we restrict, so that like is always met with like, we lose a certain amount of the broadening effects this kind of activity should be fostering. I would hope that we would not have any kind of restriction put on the encouragement of particular games. The Minister for Finance is a well-known exponent of our games here. I played Gaelic football and hurling before I played rugby but, from whatever point of view you look at it, games should be fostered by all means, Let us not put any restriction on the encouragement of any one game above another.

There is another point I should like to make. It has been made by Senator Ó Maoláin, that is, that if you want to promote any language, this promotion should go hand in hand with the production of good publications in this language. He mentioned a private publishing venture. I presume he was talking about the one of which I have a brochure here, Sáirséal agus Dill. This is a private venture which was started some 20 years ago. He says the people concerned put their hearts and souls into this in the production of excellent books in the Irish language. They put more than their hearts and souls into it. They put £11,000 into it out of their own private fortune during that time. They cannot go on doing this indefinitely.

I should like to join with him, first of all, in praising the excellence with which this little brochure is got out. This is sufficient evidence of their good work and I join with the Senator in hoping that the Government may be able to extend to this group sufficient support to allow them to carry on. They do not need very much. I understand they get about £3,000 a year as a subsidy in respect of schoolbooks they publish in Irish in the ordinary way. This is provided for already but it is not sufficient for a full scale venture such as theirs. They want about £1,000 more a year. The Government spend many times more than that in supporting publications by the recognised channels. This is only a small fraction of what is spent and I cannot see that it is impossible to find such a small sum of money. I think it is a good thing to have some competition from private resources with Government-supported institutions. This, particularly when it costs so little, should not be discouraged and, if possible, should be actively encouraged.

At this stage of the debate, I just want to add a very few remarks to what has already been said. We have had a very interesting debate. I was very new to this House when the debate on the setting up of this commission took place. It has been said here that the policy of restoration is an accepted one, I presume, by political Parties. This has been said by a great majority of the people in this country.

With regard to the remarks which have been made by Senators, I feel I am one of the odd men out. I think I possibly reflect the views of a considerable number of people when, to put it shortly, I say that I personally would like to see, if you can understand the differentiation, the Irish language preserved but not restored. I should like to see it possibly as a subject in higher classes in schools. I should like to see it encouraged as a cultural medium and I should like to encourage those people who voluntarily learn, speak and study it in their more adult life. A great deal of the debate here today has given the idea to me that we were looking in towards this little island of ours and we want a language they can speak, and possibly even at the loss of something else that might, in my opinion, be more important to us, not alone materially, but culturally, too. Perhaps I am in a dilemma when considering this, in my own mind, but every aspect of it has been discussed very fully here. I feel we are looking inwards whereas I feel there is another aspect of it. There are two or three languages which must be taught in schools today and this is a matter we should not neglect to look at.

I should like to refer to what Senator Ó Maoláin said with regard to what he called the systematic inculcation in the children of certain aspects of life. He went on to refer to what was done in the USA in this respect, particularly with regard to respect for the flag and certain things like that. We are a completely different country from the United States in that respect. The United States is composed of a collection of Italians, Germans, Irish, English, Scottish, Yugoslavs, and so on, all coming in in numbers every year, even still. We have nothing like that in Ireland and I am not quite sure that what he suggests, a flag over every playground, would not have the opposite effect of bringing the flag into disrepute. I should much prefer to see it flown in important places and on important occasions where greater respect would be gained for it. I do not think there is any lack of respect for it and Senator Ó Maoláin is rather underestimating the respect most children and, I think, all Irish people have for Irish culture and the Irish flag.

The things that encourage the child to have respect for its country are the system of Government and such things as the Irish contingent that are keeping peace in the Congo, in Cyprus, or elsewhere. If these things are brought to the notice of children in the national schools, it will bring far more love for and knowledge of their country than trying to teach them patriotism or whatever one likes to call it.

If it is desired to restore the language in the terms envisaged in this summary, which I have read, then I would make one criticism which has been the criticism of a great many people all down the years in relation to the Irish language, that it is still full of the financial inducements and other inducements such as promotion. Could far more of that not have been abolished by this commission?

Getting away from that and considering the question from a wider viewpoint, I think the Irish nation has had considerable influence in European affairs down through the ages and we are now having considerable influence in international affairs, a far greater influence than our numbers would indicate. It is probably the Christian influence and the cultural influence we can spread in the world and are spreading to a great extent in international committees. If we are to continue that, we must be able to send men to these meetings, let it be in Europe or elsewhere, who will have considerable knowledge of and be able to speak a language that is common to the people there. If Irish is to be a compulsory subject in our schools where English and French are also taught, sooner or later some schools will say: "We cannot do it. We cannot have three languages. We must sacrifice one." On the basis of the debate here today, Irish will not be sacrificed. Therefore, a continental language must be sacrificed.

The idea that we should be able to express ourselves in the language of other people is very important if we want to put over what we think we have to give the world. I heard a speech delivered by Mr. Philip Mason, Secretary of the Institute of Racial Relations in England. The venue of his address is not important but I want to quote a paragraph of that address which expresses what I am trying to say and what we in Ireland have to say and should say to the world at large. It is desirable that we should be able to express our views to the people of the world in a language understood by them so that they will not have to wait to get a translation and, perhaps, a wrong translation of it at a later date. Mr. Mason had this to say:

Looking at the constant regrouping of nations shifting, wriggling, and the stress of terror and grief, three facts seem to me outstanding: first, that total war has now become so terrible that no one wants it. Secondly, therefore, the battle is no longer physical. It is a battle for the minds of men in which the Church as well as the nations are engaged. No one can win by means of material means only. Indeed we have the techniques. We could build power stations instead of rockets. We could grow food and we could plan the families. All we need is the will to do it. Thirdly, everything points to the need to surrender, step by step, the national sovereignty we have for so long fought to defend and win.

That is an aspect that is worth considering, whether in the future we want to have each little section of our people fostering and speaking their own language to the detriment of their understanding of the language of others throughout the world.

If it were a question of making the whole of this country Irish-speaking or of having the whole of Europe speaking the one language, I wonder what would this country decide to do? If we had every three million or five million people in Europe who originally were of one race and who wanted to get together and spend a great deal of time and money in their schools learning and fostering and preserving the language they used in the past when geographically they were one unit, or they could spend that time, influence and money teaching children a language they could speak intimately, precisely and in detail in the whole of Europe or for that matter perhaps in the whole of Europe and Africa, which would be the best to have? That is an aspect that sometimes worries me. Senator Ó Maoláin started off his speech with a text and quoted somewhere from Proverbs that if there is no nation the people perish. I think there is another one from the same Book, that we should look forward to all the world being one people. I wonder which is the better one?

The Minister said that he was proud at some function in Europe to be able to say a few words or to speak in Irish. I wonder to what end? We have various speakers going from this country and preliminary remarks at international meetings at Montreal, Paris and elsewhere are made in Irish. I do not think the people there want to be reminded, or need to be reminded, that there is an Irish nation which has quite a considerable influence in Europe and the world. Those few remarks wherever they may be made are completely unintelligible to any of the delegates there.

I think the Senator misunderstood the Minister. What he said was that when he was asked to conferences or functions abroad where there were other Irish people, it was pleasant for him to be able to speak in the Irish language so that they would know that we were different people from the others who spoke in English or in any other language.

If that is what he meant I completely misunderstood him. I do not think that these countries even at English-speaking gatherings abroad need to be reminded that there is an Irish nation. If you go to Canada or the United States or any place where Irish emigrants have gone in the past, they have not lost their Irish culture or love of Ireland in two or three generations, and I do not think the people who are leaving Ireland at present will do so either. I feel a little embarrassed when I see people addressing completely foreign audiences in Irish. This is not peculiar to Irish delegates. You have other delegates, too, from nations that are perhaps nearly as well known as we are doing it also. I wonder what end is it achieving, except to show the delegates that there is such a place as Ireland. I am sorry that these things upset me but I cannot see what ends they are achieving.

This demonstrates effectively that we are not just a constituency or province of England.

There are very few educated people in the world today in any case who have any doubt about what the Irish nation is, what the Irish nation has done and the example it has given in a lot of ways to the whole world. It does not need the Irish language to emphasise that nowadays, whatever might have been the case 40 years ago.

Other nations get mixed up between the North and South.

This is perhaps an aspect of the question which is very much outside what we are debating today but it is an important aspect. As I said at the start, I should like to see the Irish language preserved but not restored to anything like the extent that is envisaged in this report or in the main part of the debate today.

Maidir leis an dtairiscint seo, tá rud nó dhó le rá agam. Is maith an rud an tairiscint seo a chur fé bháid an tSeanaid mar tugann sé deis dúinn ceist thábhachtach athbheochan na Gaeilge a phlé.

One point that is, I think, over-emphasised in this debate is that when we are aiming at the spoken language, we should not trouble too much about grammar. That is a suggestion that troubles me a bit because if we are to have a largely Irish-speaking country here, we do not want to be an illiterate country. Grammar will have to get due attention in particular because my own experience has been that grammar in Irish is not a difficult problem. You have of course a few irregular verbs and nouns as in any other language but there are no more anomalies in Irish than in any other language. I would say also that as regards phonetics, Irish is the simplest language of all, because if you once know how each letter or diphthong or group of letters should be pronounced, it never varies in any circumstances, so that if phonetics are learned from the beginning, then the learner has no difficulty with regard to pronunciation. You have no such difficulty as you have in English where a person, to take a very good example, who has learned that "l-a-u-g-h-t-e-r" spells "laughter" finds that if you put an "s" before it, it is "slaughter". There is no such thing as that in Irish at all. You also have in English cases where you pronounce individual letters differently at times. There is no rule about it and you have to learn the individual words.

My own experience is that in my secondary course a long, long time ago, we did a lot of subjects. We had Latin, Greek, Irish, French, as well as English, geography, history and mathematics and also physics and chemistry. I remember in the middle grade doing eleven subjects. Anyway, going back to the four languages, I must say that I cannot read Greek now. I suppose that if my life depended upon it and if I had to read a passage in French or Latin if I had access to dictionaries, I might make a hand of it eventually; but as far as Irish is concerned, I have no great difficulty in reading it. In fact I read nearly every book published in Irish and some of the periodicals every week. I find it quite easy and indeed I may have more difficulty with some of these English books one gets lately where I do not know the meaning of certain passages and even scholars have a controversy as to what the passages mean. My own experience, therefore, is that Irish is not a difficult language and certainly is no more difficult than languages generally.

The big principle and the big decision in this White Paper by the Government was when they said that they did not consider that a boy or a girl taking a secondary course was being properly educated unless he or she knew Irish. Everything follows from that. If we had decided, for instance, on Senator Cole's advice, that Irish be regarded as a literary subject, taken or not taken as the case might be, the whole White Paper would be different, but we came to the conclusion that it was a necessary subject for the proper education of an Irish boy or Irish girl and it was therefore decided that Irish should be made essential in the Leaving Certificate.

That is the central point in the White Paper. Everything follows from it. As it happens, we are not creating any extensive hardship by making that decision. The percentage of failures in the Leaving Certificate Irish is very small, lower, I am told—I have not got the figures—than the percentage of failures in the other major subjects such as English, mathematics, or history. As well as that, in order to make the thing as attractive as possible, students are now being given a second chance with the Irish paper. If they should fail the second attempt, they will be given their marks in the other subjects and it is possible that many employers will be satisfied with their performance in those other subjects.

Senator Stanford spoke about what he called the incentives for Irish, with which he agreed, and some of the disincentives, with which he disagreed. In the White Paper the Government remove some of the disincentives. The question of absolute preference for Irish, to which the Senator referred, was dealt with in the White Paper and it was also stated as the intention of the Government that in many of the conditions arranged in future by the Civil Service Commission and the Local Appointments Commission, a preference for Irish would be given, but only a preference. It would not mean, for instance, that the first-class man would be automatically put out by the very lowest candidate on the list because the lowest man had a knowledge of Irish. The intention is to give a certain percentage for Irish and to add it to the total.

I have been looking at some results which were supplied to us, without names, and it seems to me that in many cases the person who had the best qualifications, apart from Irish, would be appointed because the person who had Irish was not sufficiently near to him to reach his total marks, even with the added percentage for Irish. It must be argued that there is a case to be made for a certain percentage of extra marks in respect of Irish. If a man enters for a competition where the duties of the successful candidate involve meeting people in the country who prefer to talk in Irish—I do not suppose there are many people in the country nowadays who can speak Irish and not English—there is something to be said surely for trying to facilitate those people by appointing a man who knows Irish as well as English. For that reason also there is a very good case for a preference being given to Irish by awarding a certain percentage of extra marks to the candidate who knows Irish.

A point was made indirectly that there is a certain loss of time involved in compelling students to learn Irish and that this time could be devoted to some other subject that would be more useful to them. It is very hard to be definite about this. There have been educational systems for centuries in which subjects have been prescribed as compulsory for secondary school students and it is hard to see what use such subjects were from the purely materialistic viewpoint. I refer to subjects such as Greek and Latin. Still, nobody would say it was a great mistake to prescribe such subjects. No knowledge, they say, is a great burden. Even though these subjects may have been forgotten by those who learned them—as time goes on, they become a kind of ephemeral knowledge—they are not superfluous. We cannot say a subject should not be prescribed because it will not be useful to the pupil in his avocation. Senator Stanford spoke of his experience in examining a candidate in Greek. His implication was—I do not think I am misquoting him—that if the person were taught Greek through the medium of Irish he suffered a disadvantage when he came to be examined.

My point was that the candidate knew English as well as I did but he had to have the question translated into Irish and I had to have the answer translated into English. It was the medium that worried me.

If one is taught any subject through a certain language, it may be difficult to discuss that subject afterwards through another language. I was about to say that I know people in many walks of life, commercial, academic and otherwise, quite a number of whom got their early education through the medium of Irish. They certainly did not suffer any disadvantage. When I look at the university studentships, I cannot help noticing how often Galway students get student-ships, though Galway is the smallest college of the three. The total number there would not amount to 15 per cent of the National University student-body. As we all know, many of the courses in UCG are taken through the medium of Irish. Again, they are evidently not impeded in any way by doing subjects through Irish.

Senator Cole suggested that the teaching of subjects through Irish was indiscriminate—that children from homes where the parents did not speak a word of Irish were at a disadvantage in being taught through Irish instead of English. That is also dealt with in the White Paper. The Minister has decided that the teacher must have a proficient knowledge of Irish and must be quite capable of teaching a subject through Irish and that the pupils must be capable of receiving that instruction and of profiting by it. If that rule is enforced in the future, there can be no possible objection to classes being taught through Irish.

I should like, also, to refer to the point made by Senator Stanford, and we know what his meaning was, that no great Irish writer had earned a reputation in Europe. I know, of course, that Senator Stanford was not including the Middle Ages in that statement because we all know that in the museums and libraries of Europe, there are manuscripts of Irish origin which are highly treasured by scholars, and used by scholars too, in their researches in various ways. But, as has been pointed out, from the 15th or 16th century on, it was very difficult for any child in this country to learn Irish properly. It was a penal offence for the teacher, for the parents, and for everybody else and therefore they could not ensure that the child would be taught Irish properly. It was too much to expect then, that any literary genius would emerge who could write in the Irish language and earn for himself a European reputation.

We must recognise, however, that, in the past 70 or 80 years, since the revival has come along and there has been no penalty, as it were, on learning or teaching Irish, we have done fairly well. The case was mentioned here of An Doctúir Pádraig de Brún who translated Dante. Now, I have spoken myself to people who are regarded as very good scholars in both Irish and continental languages and who know Italian, and they were unanimous and emphatic in their verdict that this is one of the best translations ever made of Dante. Of course, Europe cannot know about that because Europe does not know Irish and therefore cannot appraise a work of this kind. It is very difficult to make a translation of verse into verse but it must be more difficult still to make a translation from the second to a third version so that if any Frenchman, let us say, came along, learned Irish, knew Irish, and made an attempt to translate this again into French, well, it possibly would lose a lot in the various translations.

However, leaving that aside, in that time, we have had books written in Irish which have been translated into many languages and that would show at least an interest by people in the various countries concerned. One of the first of these books I remember reading was An tOileánach by Tomás Ó Criomhthan, about life on the Blasket Islands. I thought it one of the best books I ever read about the life of rather a poor country area, of fishermen and so on. It describes very vividly the hardships, and, at the same time, the great enjoyment, if you like, of the life in many ways. He was followed by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin who wrote about the same area in Fiche Bliain ag Fás, also translated into many languages. They were regarded by the countries which adopted these translations as very good literary products. We had another author in this country, Liam Ó Flaitheartaigh, from the Aran Islands. He did his first writing in Irish and he afterwards turned to English. He explained he thought he could not make a living by writing in the Irish language which, of course, is perfectly true. He earned a very good reputation as a writer.

In recent times we have had, first of all, the first play written by Brendan Behan, An Giall, which was afterwards translated into English under the title The Quare Fellow. That play was looked upon as a good play and I must say I thought it was. I have had a fairly good experience of prison life and I thought it very well done from that point of view. That play was translated into other languages. At the second-last Dublin Theatre Festival, I think seven or eight plays were produced in English, maybe more, and one play was produced in Irish, An Triail, by Mairéad Ní Ghráda and all the critics, I think agreed that it was the best of the lot. That play has been translated into Northern European languages and I believe, by now, has been played in some of these countries.

These are some instances of recent literature, if you like, and, more than that, I am sure these are only what I recollect myself: I am sure that list could be added to. They are all writings that were noted by European countries, translated, and thought very highly of. Work was done here also by Seán Ó Riada who took old Irish poems and set them to music. That work has earned very favourable comment in this and in many other countries. Lastly, I should like to mention Micheál Mac Liammóir who started as an Irish actor, who spent a good part of his time as an Irish actor, who took over the Taidhbhearch in Galway and made it a success and, as he said himself, returned to English acting in order to make a living. He has now become world famous, as we all know, in his great production of The Importance of being Oscar.

So, seeing that we were building on a very small base—the Gaeltacht is a small area with maybe 140,000 people, not a very big percentage of the population—these people whom I mention came along. Not all of them came from the Gaeltacht but most of them did, the others spent a lot of their time there. We have got quite a big number of people of whom we can be proud. If the language spreads as we hope it will, there will be a much bigger pool to draw from and it should be possible, we could hope, to have many more people to write in Irish and to earn a reputation for themselves. I do not think we should be too despondent about this. We know from Senator Brosnahan and others that it took the British a long time to kill the language in the greater part of this country. The assessment is that it took four to five centuries to do it. I do not think it will take that long to get it back but if it takes us two or three generations, we should not be discouraged and we should be glad if we get results within that time.

Another point which I should like to mention is that the position is rather more hopeful for Irish writers at the present time. I saw somewhere not so long ago—I do not recollect where I saw it but I think it is true—that the circulation of Irish books in this country is as high as the circulation of English books written by Irish authors. Even so, the people writing in English have the advantage of getting some circulation for those books in Britain and in America and, in that way, are able to earn back more money than those writing in Irish. If the Irish reading public in Ireland should increase, there would be better circulation for those Irish books and it should be possible for future Irish writers to make a fairly good living in this country.

The last point I want to make is this. With regard to the use of Irish in this country, what the Minister said is true, that most of us, even with the amount of Irish we know, do not do all we could to try to have Irish spoken more generally. I would like any Senator here to try this. I know it is true from my own experience. If he went into a shop, a hotel, or on to a bus or any other place where he may have business and spoke Irish to all those under 40 years of age, he would be surprised to find the very big response he would get. I can assure Senators that it would be well over 50 per cent.

There is a great advantage now in that children coming back from school can at least consult their parents who know some Irish. When Irish becomes more general, as we hope it will, it will be possible for people to do their business in shops, hotels, buses and so on practically all the time in the Irish language. As I say, I know that is true and I would ask Senators to test it for themselves.

I should like to propose at this stage that we fix 5 p.m. as the time for reply by Senator Ó Conalláin

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Might I ask those Senators who wish to speak to rise so that we will have some indication?

Senators Sheehy Skeffington, McGlinchey and P. O'Reilly (Longford) rose.

May I suggest that half an hour would not be long enough for three speakers.

What does the Seanad suggest?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The most important thing for the House to do is to come to a firm decision. There are three speakers offering. The proposer has the right to reply. This morning, at the commencement of business, the Seanad decided to sit to conclude. Does it now wish to vary that order?

I suggest a reasonable time to conclude would be 5 o'clock.

That means the mover of the motion would get in at 5.30.

I do not propose to reply at any great length. Actually most of the points have been made by other speakers in support of the White Paper. As a matter of fact, a quarter of an hour would be sufficient for me.

I propose, in that case, that the mover of the motion be allowed to begin his reply at 5.45 p.m.

(Longford): Nuair a bhi mé ag dul ar scoil, bhí Gaeilge agam ach níl ach cúpla focal agam anois. On that account I feel I must continue in English. I do so because I feel that it is important that as many people as possible express views on this matter. Therefore, I propose to express my views and my feelings about this question of the restoration of the Irish language. What we are aiming at is one thing and the means of achieving our aim is another thing. I am afraid in the debate the two things have been fairly well mixed up by some Senators at any rate. If I were asked what my view is, either here or outside, I would say that our aim should be to restore the Gaelic tongue as a spoken language, as far as it is possible, with a view to having as many of our people as possible able to speak two languages.

It is not a question of war or it should not be a question of war between people who feel strongly on one side or the other. It should not be a question of violent prejudices at all. It is my experience that people who hold violent and strong views on matters such as this are generally people who fail to achieve an ultimate aim. There must be balance, tolerance and respect for other people's views on politics, on religion and on the question of the restoration of the Irish language. We can only progress along that line.

I would say our aim should be to restore Irish as a spoken language and, if we could agree on that common aim, then we should sit ourselves down and have a continual view as regards the means. The question of means may have to change from time to time. Our aim should be not so much to restore our written language but to restore the spoken language. I disagree with Senator Dr. Ryan when he said there will be fairly strong emphasis on grammar. There is a difference between the spoken language and the written language. The spoken language seems to me to be a God-given right, whereas the written language is an invention of man. There is a wide difference between the two.

One of the reasons I could argue for the restoration of the second language is, whether we know it or not, we, together with the British people, are, I am afraid, the only people in Europe who do not speak two languages. A large number of citizens on the continent can speak at least two languages. We are in this with the British in that many of our people speak one language and speak it badly. We can say the Irish, even though they speak English badly, speak it at least as well as the British speak it. It would be better for both the British and the Irish people if they had a second language. I was intrigued by the fact that Senator Dr. Ryan mentioned the well-known actor, Micheál Mac Liammoir, who is probably one of the best speakers of English in this country in that he speaks many accents. He does not seem to have been attached to any particular university or any particular school of English. He just speaks English.

Although he is a Corkman.

(Longford): He must have outlived it. I can also remember another well-known actress who began her acting career in Galway, and it was my privilege to see her first performance in one of George Bernard Shaw's best plays. I was enthralled, and I am prepared to argue that the fact that these two people had a fluency in two languages was responsible for their being such good speakers of English. The same would hold in the case of Britain. If it were not for the tragedy of the bubonic plague that broke out in England some centuries ago, England would be French-speaking, because the Anglo-Normans spoke French, and French was the language spoken in England prior to that period.

People who have not given a lot of thought to this matter might conclude that if the language is not of commercial value, it should be abolished. I am not one of those people. There are other values besides commercial values. Our aim should be to restore Irish as a spoken language and if we do that, the reading, the writing and the grammar will follow, just as the reading, writing and grammer followed in England. It was when English became the common language in England that it produced men like Shakespeare and Chaucer.

While I am in favour of the restoration of Irish as the spoken tongue, I do not favour compulsion. I do not like the word "compulsion" because people who use that word in regard to education in schools use it wrongly. When I was at school, every subject was compulsory. I learned mathematics, catechism and many other subjects compulsorily. This aspect should be closely studied by our educationists in order to ensure that Irish is not even regarded as compulsory. The greatest progress in the revival of the Irish language was made when it was not compulsory, when the founders of the Gaelic League, Dr. Hyde and other great men, showed enthusiasm for the language. It was the pride and the spirit of the people that enabled them to succeed against odds.

As far as it is practicable, the spoken tongue should be encouraged in the schools. The aim should be to speak even bad Irish. There are many people who complain to me that although they have some knowledge of Irish, they are afraid to speak it because people who know more are inclined to correct them in conversation. People who are over-enthusiastic, even with the best intentions, can do harm. Even if Irish is to be spoken badly and interspersed with English words, it should be encouraged. In many parts of Ireland, people speak English in that way, so why not speak Irish with English in between? Then it would be only a short time, much shorter than some people might think, until many people would converse in Irish without any inhibition.

I have no sympathy at all with people who say that children in Ireland cannot learn through Irish. It is my experience that if children get the right direction, they can learn any subject as easily through Irish as through English. I do not think that geometry is any harder in Irish than in English or in Greek, in which it was first written. It may be that children who are not so bright cannot assimilate the language and, therefore, may not be able to grasp a subject being taught through Irish. In that way there might be a wide difference in the standard of the brighter children and that of the not so bright children. I am not an educationist and I am not advancing any arguments as to how such a situation might be met. There is that problem even where subjects are taught in the home language in any school.

There are many other points I should like to make but I understand that the arrangement is that the proposer of the motion should get in by a certain time. It is desirable to give a reasonable chance to as many speakers as possible to express their views honestly and sincerely on this matter. I do say, however, that some people who are speaking from prejudice can speak rather loudly. I have an open mind on this matter. I believe the Irish language should be restored but I often wonder whether the means adopted to bring that about should not be more closely examined. That would be my principal point.

I have not a lot of sympathy, neither do I agree with some people who, I think, are a minority but who speak rather loudly, saying that the majority of our people in rural Ireland—the farmers, small shopkeepers and others, both in the towns and villages and in the countryside—want the abolition of the Irish language. I do not think so. It may be that for one reason or another—our methods and our apathy to this matter—we have not made the progress we would have liked to have made, but I am satisfied that the majority of our people of reasonably mature age, of parent age, the parents of the next generation which will be taking over and will be the next Irish generation, if they had an unbiased and unagitated decision to make, would like to see the Irish language restored as a spoken tongue. It may be that many of them, like myself, would question the method and the means to attain that, but I do feel that the majority of our people would be very annoyed if some Government were to say that the language cannot be restored.

This is a matter that must be achieved at people level; it cannot be achieved by Parties. It is a pity that this Party or that Party should be mentioned in this debate. It is a matter for the people and it is the people who will restore the language ultimately or fail to restore it. I believe they will restore it if given a reasonable chance because I am satisfied that the majority do want to see it restored but because of our educational system and because of the fact that many things have militated against it, it is a difficult task.

One thing one could mention which has militated against it is the fact that changes were made in the spelling and in the alphabet. That is rather frustrating to people who learned the Irish language in the original Gaelic alphabet, when they are not able to give as much help to their children as they would like to give. I am inclined to agree thoroughly with Senator Stanford when he said that there was some individuality in the Gaelic language when it was written and printed in the type used when I was going to school. It is a pity the change was made. I do not know why it was made. It has been suggested that the real reason was that printers did not want to have two sets of type. If that were even one of the reasons, it was a poor reason.

Things like that have militated against it and have rather frustrated the ordinary people who normally do not come down very heavily on any one side or another, but in the overall picture, I am satisfied that the majority of our people are anxious to maintain and restore the language as a spoken language. It is a good thing that that should be so because I cannot believe that any people can speak English well unless they know a second language.

Tá brón orm nach féidir liom labhairt sa dhíospóireacht seo as Gaeilge. Bhí eolas cuíosach mhaith agam uirthi agus mé ar scoil ach toisc gan taithí ar labhairt na teanga a bheith agam níl mé chomh líofa agus ba mhaith liom a bheith.

As regards my attitude towards Irish, Senator Ryan mentioned Mairéad Ní Ghráda, and my first Irish lessons were from her when I was a small boy of nine. I went earlier on to the Cúig Cuigi branch in Ely Place and attended classes there. I learned Irish at school from a magnificent teacher, the late Frank Stephens, and I went to evening classes to supplement that for two years to Rathmines Technical School where an aunt of mine who was a brilliant teacher, the late Mrs. Cruise O'Brien, whose First Book of Irish published by Dent is, alas, long since out of print, taught, and where the teacher in the advanced classes, also a quite outstanding teacher, was Mrs. MacEntee. I can say that I had a fair amount of Irish at that time, and that the fact that today it is fast disappearing is not because I have any hostility towards it, or that I did not work quite hard at it. It is not that I did not appreciate what it could mean, because I was brought by one of those teachers, Frank Stephens, to Inis Mean and spent an unforgettable period there in 1925 among the island people who in the deepest sense are amongest the most civilised and cultured people in this country. It is by reason of what I remember from my own experience there that I have encouraged my own children to learn Irish. My two eldest children have not only learned it reasonably well but each of my sons in turn has gone to Inis Mean and spent a time there in the Gaeltacht; and I look forward to the time when my daughter, who is younger, will do the same.

I preface my remarks in this way to indicate that although (a) I learned quite a bit of Irish in my time (b) I would appear to have forgotten quite a lot of it and (c) I am not in any sense hostile to the language. On the contrary, I appreciate very much what it can bring, but I am afraid that I am going to strike rather a more pessimistic note than some of those who have spoken about the possibilities of restoration. Senator Ó Maoláin, in a balanced and moderate speech, mentioned that this White Paper indicates only the first phase of a ten year period. I respect his attitude towards Irish, and I know him to be entirely sincere, but I am afraid that when we hear that after 40 years we are now entering the first phase of a ten year period, if we face the facts really we must recognise that the battle in fact has already been lost. If what we want to do is to re-establish Irish as the "general means of communication" I do not believe that this is any longer possible.

I do think that the point he made about the Roman script is a valid point. The old script in which most of the Gaelic manuscripts are written is aesthetically far more pleasing and more beautiful, though incidentally it is not confined to Irish; it is used also in quite a number of old English texts. Paleographers will tell you that this is an old script that you will find in many manuscripts, but it suffers, of course, from the practical disadvantages that the modern typographical devices such as linotypes and so on do not make it easy for type setting. It seems to me quite justifiable to say that the Roman script, though less beautiful, is a more convenient and a better vehicle for printing. I would say that, apart from the aesthetic aspect, the only disadvantage about the Roman script is the way it deals with aspiration. You cannot in the ordinary Roman script put a dot over a letter so you have to put in "h" which sometimes makes the word look very silly. It might be worth while seeing whether a new diacritical mark might not be brought in to enable the aspiration mark to be put over any consonant, where necessary, without the necessity for inserting this rather intrusive "h" which makes some Irish words look faintly absurd.

Senator Ó Maoláin, in a sympathetic reference to Trinity, said he thought it might be the vanguard of the Irish revival movement in some senses. I am thinking, back over the years, of the man who was Provost in 1927 when I first went there, the late Professor E.J. Gwynn, who was an outstanding Gaelic scholar and who added greatly to the prestige of the School of Celtic Studies which flourished then and flourishes even more now. Trinity's efforts have not been negligible in the field of Celtic Studies, and the language, as it is taught by a very active professor and staff, is being taught in a modern way. One of the outstanding modern writers of Irish, Máirtin Ó Cadhain, is one of our lecturers, and it is he who is principally occupied with the teaching of Irish through the new language laboratory, which is taking care not only of Irish but of five other languages as well. Trinity, within the means at its disposal, is not doing badly by the Irish language.

There is just one other point of Senator Ó Maoláin which I should like to mention, though it was gently and adequately dealt with by the Minister. It is his analogy with Hebrew. The compulsions existing in the new State of Israel were of a type that do not exist here—the Jewish people were coming from all over Europe and had a large fund of knowledge in several languages but no common tongue. It became very necessary, therefore, for them to modernise and refurbish the Hebrew tongue. This is not the case in Ireland. The pressures are not the same and consequently the analogy is imperfect, though not altogether irrelevant.

I notice that the White Paper, in discussing the heritage of the language, makes a distinction, rightly, between the "ancestral language" and the "mother tongue", the definition of which is the tongue one learns at one's mother's knee, the first language in which one demands attention, food and drink. That is the mother tongue, and in the case of the majority of Irish people, it is English. The ancestral tongue is Irish except for those of us who can go back to the Fir Bolg as they were rather rudely called by the successful Gaelic invaders. The distinction is not always made between the mother tongue and the ancestral tongue, and I hail the fact that the White Paper makes it.

There is no question that Irish, both today and in the past, provides a rich heritage. It is rich in ancient literature, and possesses a splendid pagan mythology. All the tales of Irish heroes and heroines have the full splendour of the pagan mythology of Greece and Rome. Senator Stanford placed the Irish language historically beside those two. Though it is true we can recognise modern Irish as being less rich than ancient Irish, it is still rich not so much in literature—though Senator Ryan has rightly referred to some works which should not be forgotten—Pádraig Ó Conaire should not be overlooked either—as in colour, in phrase, in image and in idiom. Page 8, paragraph 10 of the White Paper says:

The forms, idiom and vocabulary of Irish in themselves give the language a unique interest. Knowledge of the language provides access to its great literature which with the exception of that of Greek and Latin, is older than the literature of any other European people and which maintains a continuity from the early mythological and heroic cycles, through the poetry of the schools and of the people, to the folklore and literature of today.

This, I think, is true except for one thing. I believe this "access," which is important, and which has been recognised rightly as being important, can in present circumstances be made even more readily through translations into English than through the study of the early Irish texts or their re-translation into Irish. The fact is that the number of people willing and able to read a lot of Irish is very small—Irish as a language taught in schools, that is.

Personally, one hesitates to say this learning of Irish ought to be voluntary. I am afraid a lot of hostility has been built up to it, and if we were now to say we will no longer make it compulsory, more people would drop it than ought to drop it. The original mistake was to make it seem to be arduous and necessitating compulsion. The heritage it represents can have a value in its own right.

The teaching of Irish in the schools can have three main advantages. The first and very obvious advantage is the wealth of idiom and image and phrase which is inherent in the Irish language and which many of us use in English to the great improvement of that instrument of communication. This wealth is there in English as part of the heritage of the language.

The second advantage, and it is perhaps more practical—I speak as a language teacher, because teaching French is my job—is the technique, if the language is learned early, of throwing oneself into a second language, becoming used mentally to the process of phrasing one's ideas orally in a second language. This is associated always with acquiring another language apart from a first tongue. It is a barrier crossed on the way to future learning of languages. The learning of Irish can be a useful first step to the learning of a third, fourth or fifth language, provided children are encouraged very early to project themselves into Irish orally. I would lay emphasis on oral Irish.

Now in the Primary School Certificate, there is no test in oral Irish. Neither is there a test in oral Irish in the Intermediate Certificate examination. This is a scandalous state of affairs, because it is treating Irish in practice as a dead language. I made this point in the Seanad several years ago in the presence of the then Minister for Education, General Mulcahy. At that time there was no oral Irish examination even in the Leaving Certificate. The Minister then said that if we insisted on such a test in the Leaving Certificate, it might be the last straw that would break down the whole system. That was because they could not find enough examiners. That was either unfounded or a terrible admission of a situation of failure. The third value I see in Irish is that it provides a means of contact with people in the Gaeltacht—the people I knew when in Aran.

Then I turn, I am afraid, having mentioned the value I see in the language as a school subject, and a continuing school subject, to state my opinion, my somewhat melancholy opinion, that the language is dying. It would be easy to say it is all the fault of the first Irish Government or of the second Irish Government. If we look at it objectively, we have to recognise that, on all sides, there was a great deal of goodwill. There may have been mistakes, but I feel the truth is that the language had already gone too far towards death to be ever brought back as the vernacular in this country, or even as a general medium of communication.

Senator McQuillan has made the point, and we have to face it, that economic conditions have driven a lot of the Irish speakers away and that sometimes one can hear more Irish spoken in the pubs of Camden Town, Birmingham or Nottingham than one can in some of the towns of Ireland. There has also been a dilution of the Gaeltacht by certain visitors, not all of whom have been all that keen on learning Irish.

It was a tragedy for England that, somewhere in the 1780s, Dolly Pentreath, I think her name was, the last native speaker of Cornish, an old woman, died and with her died the Cornish language. There have been efforts to bring it back. I feel that, when Welsh dies, and Welsh is less moribund than Irish today—they have their daily newspapers and quite a lot more activity than we have but it is lamented there that the language is on the wane and its death may be quite a while after the death of Irish—Wales, Britain and the world will lose something.

Another factor in relation to Irish is this artificial hostility built up by some mistakes in past policies. I do not believe that, even 40 years ago, it was possible to do more to retard the death of Irish, and this is a point upon which I think concentrated effort should now be made.

I welcome consequently in this White Paper, the elements which seem to me directed towards the conserving and preserving of Irish where it is still spoken, by establishing economic and social conditions within the Gaeltacht which will enable Irish speakers to remain there and earn a living at a decent standard.

It is also true, and the White Paper mentions it, that through publications, the theatre, and so on, much can still be done in Irish. But are the Government sincere when—it is on page 144; I do not want to delay the House— talking about publications, and so on, there is no reference to the remarkable work of the firm Sairséal agus Dill? This was mentioned by Senator Jessop. It seems astonishing to me that the Government could really consider allowing this firm, which has been run by dedicated people who have put large amounts of their own money into the publication of Irish texts, to die. I am familiar with several of these texts, not only the original texts in Irish; I am thinking particularly of an edition with notes of Caesar's Gallic War. It is not only beautiful but most carefully done and, from the scholarly point of view, a better text than most of the texts with notes in English placed in the hands of our children. These productions, almost 100 of them, by this private firm, run by a handful of dedicated people, are typographically, aesthetically, and from the scholarly point of view, beautiful pieces of work. I cannot believe that people such as Senator Ó Maoláin, the Minister for Education, Deputy Colley, and Senator Dr. James Ryan are content to allow this firm to die for lack of £1,000 or £2,000 through subsidy. The Government attitude on this must surely change. I do not understand it, I must confess, because I think the Government are sincere in their desire to have the standard of publications improved. But, to go back to something like the old Gúm, I am afraid——

I made a very strong plea for that very thing this morning.

I came here in the middle of the Senator's speech. I am very glad to hear this. It does not surprise me. This attitude is what one would expect from Senator Ó Maoláin. I hope it will bear fruit.

I feel, therefore, that there are certain valuable things to be done. I regard them as things which will conserve and preserve a language which is valuable from the points of view I have mentioned, but I am afraid I remain convinced that the aim of re-establishing it as a general medium of communication is impossible of realisation. I cannot even see, and perhaps this is heresy that, at this juncture, this state of history, it is even desirable.

In 1933, I spent a month in Riga, Latvia, which was a free country in those days. It is a country of less than 3,000,000 people. In order to converse with their neighbours in the north, the Estonians, they had to speak broken Swedish or broken Russian. In order to speak with their neighbours in the south, the Lithuanians, also about 4,000,000 strong, they had to speak not Lithuanian—a different language completely—broken German. Most Latvians spoke three or four tongues. I wonder if any of us here could mention, offhand, three or four Latvian writers of European stature? I am afraid not—yet Latvia, with Riga, is a very fine country. They did succeed in preserving their language far more than we did but they might, perhaps, have been better off if some other language had been thrust down their throats, as English was thrust down ours.

I notice, turning from that to certain recommendations, that some recommendations do not seem singularly realistic. I am thinking of the recommendation that newspapers should be asked to have Irish-speaking reporters and that in the Dáil and in the Seanad a simultaneous interpretation should be installed. I have done this kind of work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and also with the Council of Europe. I know what it means both in the way of installation and cost. If there were this installation in the Dáil and in the Seanad, two things would become apparent—(1) that the number of people listening to the Irish interpretation of English speeches would be very small; that would be most revealing, and (2) our administrators might discover that the rate of pay which they now give to bilingual stenographers is miserly if you compare it with the £15 or £16 a day that can be commanded by the simultaneous interpreters in the Council of Europe, the United Nations. This is a point that is indirectly relevant.

I feel that English, when it was thrust down our throats, was, in fact, is now, and has become a blessing in disguise. I would ask the House to recognise the fact that English is an instrument which we can use both in defence and attack. The English language is even one of our greatest weapons of defence and this has been seen in the British House of Commons, in literature, in the theatre. I would contrast this with the actual amount of Irish that is that used in such contexts. I have suggested that not very many might listen to the Irish interpretation of speeches in English if we had a simultaneous translation system. How many? Would 10 per cent listen? I doubt that very much. Have a look at today's Irish Press. It is a paper sincerely run, and with a certain amount of Irish material. I counted the columns today. There are over 100 columns of news of all kinds. How many columns of Irish are there in today's Irish Press? There are only 2½ columns of Irish, a little bit more than ten years ago, but only 2½ per cent. Does this represent the amount of reader interest, of public interest, in Irish, or is such interest stronger? How many Senators, out of 60, regularly use Irish? Six? Could we say it is about 10 per cent? Also, I would suggest that something like that figure represents the spirit of desire in the people for expression and communication in Irish.

I have said that English has proved to us a language, a magnificient weapon, our greatest weapon of defence and attack. English—the language of Swift, Lecky, Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Shaw, Connolly and Larkin. I would ask the Seanad to consider what would be the effect supposing all the Irish in this country suddenly lost the power to speak and write English. How much of our importance in this world would disappear? I suggest this. When the Irish cut ice—and they do—when they exert influence—and they do—they exert their power in literature, in the mission fields, or in international politics, through the fluent, flexible, imaginative and effective use of English, both spoken and written. This is partly recognised, I am glad to say, on page 10 of this White Paper. We owe a debt to our command of English, however distasteful it may have been, when it was first thrust on us. We have made English, to some extent, our own. We have moulded it to our own cast of mind, and when we speak English, we are Irish. We are not American, British, Welsh or Scots. We have indeed thrust some of this at times, with success, on the English themselves.

I welcome the expressed intention in this White Paper which makes it more possible for people to live in the Gaeltacht. I feel, on the other hand, that Senator McQuillan is dead right when he says it is the living condition of the people there that is of prime importance. I felt in sympathy, indeed, with almost everything he said in a very hard-hitting speech excepting one thing. I would chide him on that. He said that certain private people with money founded all-Irish schools for the purpose of getting special advantages and good jobs for their children. This simply is not true. Most people who have founded Irish-speaking schools put their own money into them, and put plenty of hard work into them as well. Those people are a small band of dedicated people for whom it is true to say that the Irish language is almost a religion. It is not a question of getting good jobs for their children and Senator McQuillan was quite wrong in so interpreting their motives. This is one of the attractive things about the Irish language movement. We find small groups of deeply dedicated and devoted people who devote far more than money to their cause. They devote their entire lives to fostering the Irish language.

However, if it is the hope that Irish will ever again become a general medium of communication again, in my opinion, this is a forlorn hope. I believe it is one which will never be realised and which, if it could be realised in this period in our history, would only have a sadly stultifying effect. Senator FitzGerald, in my opinion, is right when he suggests that the temper of our people in general is no longer in favour of the revival of Irish as the main means of communication. Instead, it ought to be shown that it has subsidiary advantages. I would suggest, as has been said by many Senators, that people realise that the time has passed for the ideal of restoring Irish as a general medium of communication. The idea is sincerely held and believed by some people that the restoration of the Irish language is no longer capable of achievement. In my opinion I do not believe it ever will be.

There are, in my opinion, three schools of thought on this Irish language question. Firstly, there are those who believe that Irish should become the spoken language of this country. This group could be divided into two subsections. The first is that band of dedicated and sincere men who feel that their object will ultimately be achieved and, secondly, that band of sanctimonious hypocrites who have done more, in my opinion, to kill the language revival movement than anybody else. Those people walk around with a holier-than-thou expression on their faces and believe that the only good Irishmen are those who speak the Irish language from morning till night.

The second school of thought are those who feel the Irish language should become the second language of this country and that as many people as possible should be encouraged to have a working knowledge of it. This group, too, could be divided into two subsections, those who agree with the present method of achieving that objective and secondly, those who would like to see Irish spoken by as many people as possible but who disagree with the methods up to now to attain that object. I must, at this stage, declare that I am included in that particular group.

The third school of thought consists of those people who want nothing to do with Irish. They want it thrown out altogether and never want to hear it mentioned. This group could also be divided into two subsections. The first group are those people who feel that we have more important work to do and that the Irish language can play no part in the development of our country. Secondly, there are those people whose loyalties lie across the Irish sea and who consider it uncouth and infra dig. to speak the Irish language. This particular section of the people should, of course, be treated with the contempt they deserve.

I would like to see the Irish language used as a working language that people would be able to speak when the opportunity permitted but I do not agree with the methods used up to now to encourage the Irish people to do so. Tá beagán Gaeilge agam agus tá brón orm nach feidir liom é a labhairt chomh maith agus bá mhaith liom. It is unfortunate that I cannot speak in Irish today. I decided to speak only a few hours ago and I did not have time to prepare a speech in Irish. It is unfortunate I could not stand here and make a speech in Irish without preparing one beforehand. I am one of the younger members of this House and it is not so long since I left school. I attended the Presentation Brothers, where the Irish language was spoken freely, and from there I went to an A school where every subject was taught through the medium of the Irish language. I was taught Latin and Greek through Irish and today I know neither Latin nor Greek, and, I am afraid, I will have to brush up my Irish. I might add it is my intention to do so. I feel I represent a crosssection of the pupils who, on leaving A schools, forget all about Irish.

Despite what people might say there is no doubt that we have compulsory Irish and have Irish rammed down our throats. It is my wish and my desire that my own children will grow up to cherish the Irish language and speak it after they leave school when there is nothing to be gained by speaking it. I feel this is very important and the first thing we should ask ourselves is: why do we want our children to speak the Irish language at a time when there are many economic difficulties to be solved in this country? It is not just the task of the Government. The Irish people must co-operate and display determination to succeed if we are to bring back Senator McQuillan's navvies from London, if we are to reach the stage in our history where emigration will be at an end and our economy will be sounder than ever. The people must display the same spirit as inspired that gallant band of men just 50 years ago in this same city, so that the Irish language can play its part in making us a nation.

I have always disagreed with the approach to the Gaeltacht. For example, the children in the Gaeltacht are paid £5 a year if they speak the Irish language. If there are economic difficulties in the Gaeltacht, they should be solved and subsidies should be given but it is no help to the Irish language to use it as a bait. When a man goes out to fish, he puts bait on his rod. When he catches the fish he throws away the bait if it is still there. That is what is happening to the Irish language. The children in the Gaeltacht are told: "Speak the language and we will give you £5".

The children do not get it. Anyway, it is £10.

The parents do, and when the day comes when they will no longer qualify for it, they will forget about the language. If we want to give a subsidy of £5 or £10 to families in the Gaeltacht, by all means let us do so, but by giving them money to speak the Irish language, we are ultimately succeeding in turning them against the language. As a publican, one of the things that always concerned me is this. When people from the Gaeltacht came into my bar—I do not live in the Gaeltacht—and conversed in the Irish language, certainly it was very nice to hear them speaking the Irish language by a bar counter, but I never could understand them when they asked for whiskey. I would ask them what kind and they would say in English: "Scotch"; then they would revert to the Irish language. Somewhere down the line there is inconsistency.

I am a member of two local authorities in Donegal. One of them, Letter-kenny Urban Council, has a scheme for school meals whereby the children of poor parents get lunches free. The Donegal County Council, on the other hand, has another scheme which is known as the Gaeltacht Meals Scheme whereby children of all parents qualify for free lunches. In the Galltacht in Donegal, no such scheme applies and the child of a professional man earning possibly £2,000 to £3,000 a year living in the Gaeltacht qualifies for a free meal whereas the child of a county council road worker living in the Galltacht does not. That is no help towards the restoration of the Irish language, that it should be used as a bait. I was opposed to this scheme for years. I stated that if it was desired to help children in the Gaeltacht by giving them school meals, it should be done but only in respect of needy children.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not opposed to the Irish language and that it is my intention to take the necessary steps to see to it that I can speak it better in the not too distant future. However, I believe that methods such as these are only acting as a deterrent and that in the long run no progress is being made. We must look back on the past 40 years and ask ourselves what progress has been made to encourage our people to speak the Irish language. We must admit there has been no serious progress. If we admit that, then we must ask ourselves what changes can be made in the future.

Se an rún a bhí á phlé againn ná: "Go dtugann Seanad Éireann an Páipéar Bán um Athbheochan na Gaeilge dá n-aire." Tá sé tugtha dá n-aire. Ní hé amháin é sin ach tá sé cíortha scagtha agus stractha óna chéile, agus is mór an sásamh domsa gur ghlac an oiread sin dena Seanadóirí páirt ins an díospóireacht. Táim sa chaoi anois nach bhfuil aon run agam le cosaint. Ní mar a chéile an rún seo agus tairscintí eile go mbíonn cúis le plé ag an duine a chuireann síos iad. Tá na tuairimí a bhí ag teastáil uaim faighte agam agus níl ann ach go mb'fhéidir go mba cheart trácht a dhéanamh ar chuid des na tuairimí a nochtaíodh.

This motion has received a wonderful airing from Seanad Éireann and a very wide range of opinions have been brought to bear on the subject. I am very gratified that there has been revealed a great volume of not only goodwill but, in many cases, enthusiasm for the language and certainly wholehearted acceptance of the policy of revival. In fact, only one Senator—I do not know how I should interpret Senator Sheehy Skeffington's speech—declared himself as an anti-revivalist. Even Senator McQuillan did not explicitly declare himself as an anti-revivalist although he did attribute most of our social ills to the efforts being made to revive the language.

The former Minister for Finance, who was Minister at the time the White Paper was produced, and his successor, the present Minister for Finance, both spoke in defence of the White Paper. It was their function, of course, to support it because it was their Government who introduced the White Paper. I am not called upon to defend the White Paper. The purpose of this motion was to elicit opinions on it as a highly topical subject. I am grateful to both Ministers for having taken from my shoulders so much of the burden of replying to a number of points to which I should otherwise feel it incumbent on me to reply. By and large I agree with them. I did so originally when I welcomed the White Paper. I agree with what they said and therefore they have relieved me of responsibility for having to reply to the points with which I do not agree.

I could not hope to deal with all the points raised, of course. At the same time, there are certain matters on which I should like to take issue. First of all, there has been criticism, and I think unfair criticism, of the commission. It was criticised by two Senators on the basis of its personnel. They were described as a bunch of fanatics who could not possibly produce anything other than what they did produce. They were described as small-minded people. I am one of the small minds myself. I know all the people who were on the commission and I must say that in the context of the task they were given to do, I do not see how a better type of personnel could have been found. Granted that they were all revivalists, all people one way or another committed to the revival or known to be associated with the language movement or at least on the fringe of it. I myself was not in any organisation and I had nothing to do specifically with the Irish language. As a matter of fact, I do not know on what basis I was appointed to it, but nobody could accuse me of being a fanatic about anything, certainly not about the Irish language. I am just not built that way. I could not be fanatical about anything. The same would be true of the bulk of the people who were on the Commission.

Granted there were a few people on it who felt more strongly than the rest of us about this matter. Only people who were favourable to the Irish cause were suited to be put on that commission because of what they were asked to do, that is, to advise the Government as to the best means of expediting the Irish revival. The very establishment of the commission was, I take it, a recognition by the Government and possibly by the people who were advising the Government from the Irish language movement, that mistakes had been made, that the thing could not be allowed to drift, and that something had to be done. The commission was at all events aware that mistakes had been made and that it was their duty to do something to rectify them. They were aware of the prejudices that were there, which had to be got rid of if the revival was to succeed. It was in the light of this knowledge and knowing that they had to face up to these issues that they met and prepared this volume.

I note that in quotations we have had here in the Seanad and a number of other places, people have referred to the abridged English version of the Report. I doubt if very many people here have read the complete report, but I would suggest to them that it would be worth their while to read it because it contains quite a lot of argumentation that is not in the abridged English version. We did, at the time when we were finishing our deliberations, make a plea to the Minister for Finance to have some money provided for a complete translation of this but evidently the expense was too great and it was not done.

As I say, the commission were fully aware of what their obligations were, and I would also suggest that many of the recommendations indicate that they were so aware and that they were seeking to rectify mistakes that had been made and to make the idea of revival a more popular idea. This is evident in their advising the Department of Education to soft-pedal on the question of teaching through the medium of Irish in all types of schools, in easing the situation regarding appointments to professional jobs and also in their recommendation on the question of Irish in the Leaving Certificate. I think their recommendation on that, giving people who failed the Leaving Certificate a second chance to do it, was a very reasonable thing to do.

A further criticism of the commission by Senator FitzGerald was that they did not measure up to their task, that they did not employ all the facilities available to them in order to take surveys which are popular now but were not so popular then. The commission started in 1958 which, in terms of progress in these matters, is a long time ago. He suggested that they should have taken surveys and been able to produce much more evidence with regard to what the position was, and that they went into it with prejudiced minds. That is what I want to inveigh against because it is not so.

It was Senator FitzGerald also who introduced a Party spirit into this debate and the idea that the means by which the Irish revival would be brought about could become a Party issue. I deplore personally that Party approach to the thing, because with a lot of other Senators who spoke on this, I regard it as a national policy and that therefore while people may disagree as to whether this means or that is the better for the purpose, we should all be united on the objective and that we should have open discussion, but that nobody should establish as a Party line that it should be this way or that way, of having 40 or 50 people in a Party who would decide to go into a division lobby in the Dáil or the Seanad on the basis of whether this or that was the right approach, I think that is deplorable. The matter should never be dragged into politics.

It was because it was dragged into Party politics that this dirty word "compulsory" has got such a vogue in recent years. I consider that the introduction of the word "compulsory" has done a lot of damage to the cause. As a matter of fact, the element of compulsion in the Irish educational system is really very slight. They say and hold that the alternative to compulsion is inducement, and inducement is a word which has loomed very large in the debate on this issue. I do not think I understand the word, in the sense that Senator FitzGerald has said that we are to induce people to want to speak Irish. We are not told how this inducement is to be effected. Would Senator FitzGerald suggest that people should similarly be induced to pay income tax, shall we say, without sanctions, that an appeal should be made to the country that so much money was wanted, and please come along and according to your means give so much, and appoint places of collection? I think it would be very easy to regulate the queues outside such places. This idea of hiding behind facile phrases like inducement is to be regretted. We must be more specific and say how we can induce people.

Inducements were mentioned by Professor Stanford. He divided them into positive inducements and negative inducements and was in agreement with the positive but not with the negative. The negative inducement uppermost in everybody's mind is the denial of a Leaving Certificate to a person who has failed to qualify in Irish. Personally— this has been my attitude all along— I cannot condone a Department of State issuing to an Irish citizen a certificate that he or she has attained a high standard of education—which is what the Leaving Certificate indicates —without a certain standard in Irish. The standard is not really very high. I know that field because I deal with it. As a matter of fact, it is appallingly low and that is so because this regulation is there. The standard might be higher if the regulation were not there.

A standard must be required, and it is highly ridiculous to think that an Irish citizen should be deemed to have attained an education of a certain standard without a knowledge of Irish. I would defend this view against all comers. If a person fails to attain this standard in Irish—a person who has gone through a secondary school and is capable of passing other subjects—that failure in Irish can be due only to prejudice in the school or in the home and I have no sympathy with people actuated by prejudices of that kind.

Much of Senator FitzGerald's conclusions were based on premises with which I do not agree and I do not accept. He described our community here as multiracial, multilingual and pluralistic. I think there is hardly a community as homogeneous as the people of Ireland, from the point of view of race, language, tradition and religion. It is a country that is less beset by pluralism or anything arising from pluralism than any I know. I cannot therefore accept that we have pluralism in tradition particularly, and since the Irish language is at the root of our traditions, I cannot accept the premises Senator FitzGerald posits and for that reason I cannot accept as valid any of his conclusions in that respect.

Senator McQuillan made a notable contribution to the debate and was honest enough to admit that he bore a prejudice, but with characteristic inconsistency, he was not prepared to allow anybody else any prejudices. He preached violently against anybody preaching their prejudice in favour of the language. It was a good thing he made the point he did. He is anti-Irish and it is a good thing that in a debate like this we should have all sides of the picture. It is a good thing we should be made aware of the way others feel in regard to it, though I believe the following Senator McQuillan would have for his biased views would be very small.

I do not share the pessimism of Senator Sheehy Skeffington. He sees no hope at all for success in the revival campaign. Of course if we all went into it with that attitude, there would be no success—bringing a defeatist attitude to bear on one's efforts. It is a wrong attitude because this generation are only the tenants for the time being of the traditions of the Irish people and we have the duty to pass them on as we found them, or better, if possible. I am very encouraged by the great upsurge in Irish literature we have seen in the past 20 years in prose and poetry. We have authors in the Irish language among us now who are comparable with authors in any language. I have been able to keep in touch with them all because I happen to serve on Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge so I am aware not only of the volume but of the quality of the literature coming up from Irish writers.

I can assure the House that from the literary aspect a revival has begun to such an extent that there is now a much wider reading public which in turn will bring about a wider knowledge of the language and wider use of it. I am confident that the emphasis has now been properly placed, as a result of the commission's work and the White Paper on the spoken language and that that aspect of language promotion will be introduced into all phases of the revival movement. I am quite confident that progress will be made and that we will have gained something from the knowledge of our mistakes during the past 40 years, that we will have come to an awareness, through the report of the commission and the White Paper, of the necessity to lay in the schools a foundation for the proper reception of the Irish language. From what many people have said in the debate, that seems to have been a major defect—Irish was being injected into people who, first of all, did not know why they were getting it and who were never given a proper or full reason for making use of it.

If that basic want is supplied, I see no reason why the cause of the language should not go from success to success and why by 1966, when we are celebrating the jubilee of the 1916 Rising, we will not have made such progress that evidence of that success should not be available in the celebration of this big occasion.

I asked the Minister if he would arrange to have the veil of secrecy lifted from the workings of the Comhlacht Comhairlaitheach and I did not get what I regard as a satisfactory reply. I do not think he gave any undertaking that he would do so. I should like to emphasise again how important it is that people should be kept aware of what is going on.

Further, I should like to support what Senator Ó Maoláin, Senator Jessop and Senator Sheehy Skeffington said about Sairséal agus Dill and to add my appeal for some help to keep their company in operation. I know from the experience I gained from being on Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge that they supplied literature in a very attractive form. It was not merely the content of the books but the artistic way in which they produced them. It was a credit to the language, to the authors, and to everybody associated with them, that they produced books of a high artistic quality. I should be very sorry to see them going out of business and I hope something will be done about them. Having said these few words, I should like, in accordance with established precedent, to withdraw the motion and to thank all those who took part in the debate for making it so interesting and throwing such light on this very vexed subject.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
The Seanad adjourned at 6.5 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 24th November, 1965.