The Irish Times reports that most people in the South claim to be able to speak "some Irish", although only 4% of them say they speak it "very well" — proof, if any was necessary, that competence is closely allied to use, since a similar figure has been ascertained with regard to daily usage outside the education system. Some 58% of people would like to see Irish used more widely, but only 24% were in favour of its being revived as the main language of communication. Still, given the fact that policy on Irish has had such mixed results for for so long, with Irish identity — once closely linked to Catholicism and the Gaelic revival — now beginning to follow the Scottish model of stressing institutional independence, that figure may not be so low after all.
Meanwhile, the Newry Times spoke to Dominic Bradley about the SDLP's response to the consultation on the Irish language strategy.
"Ample opportunities exist within the history of the Irish language and its links to Scotland for old attitudes to be changed enough for the language to be perceived in a more positive light across the community — this work should be an important part of the strategy."
Given the veto arrangements of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements, this is only common sense. It is also the right thing to do, since Unionists, many of whom have Goidelic names and Gaelic-speaking ancestors, have a right to get to know about their home and heritage too.