Smokin’!

“Court to hear tobacco warning case

The High Court will hear a case today brought by schoolteacher against the Minister for Health and Children for failing to give a commitment that health warnings on tobacco products be shown in Irish and English.” more from ireland.com

(I’m writing this in English because my non-Irish speaking readers need to read about it too.)I get where’s she’s coming from (it’s the principal of the thing) but sometimes this kind of thing just gives the naysayers more ammunition. How is changing the language of a government warning on a packet of cigarettes going to do anything for the language? It could do a number of things (please bear in mind I have no clue when it comes to the legal system and would welcome clarification PLEASE!):

  1. It might force the court to declare that even though the constitution states that Irish is the official language, English is de facto the lingua franca and printing warnings in Irish could be dangerous. This will create a precedent for all the naysayers who think the Official Languages Act is needlessly wasting resources to lep up on to their trusty bandwagons and contest the publication of anything in Irish
  2. The court might say that yes Bean Uí Riain is correct and we’ll be seeing warnings in Irish on our cigarettes soon too. Then all the non-Irish speaking naysayers will die from smoking because they won’t be able to understand the warnings but not before they take the government to court claiming they were not given sufficient warning about the dangers of smoking. Then they can leave all their money to anti-Irish Language lobby groups and Kevin Myers. (I’m not going to gratify him with a link!)

I wish Bean Uí Riain well and hope that she is made of money. I wonder who’s paying for the court case?

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