The Irish language has been given official status in Europe, taking its place as the 23rd language of the European Union. The move received curiously little attention in the Republic of Ireland, given that the language has at times been regarded as a semi-mystical part of the national identity.
This may, however, have been due to the fact that, both in Ireland and throughout Europe, the move had little or no opposition, so that no controversy arose over the enhanced status of the language.
It is very much in line with the EU philosophy of encouraging linguistic diversity which, in addition to the adoption of major languages, has led to the granting of semi-official status to tongues such as Basque, Catalan and Galician. Irish, also referred to as Gaelic, will not, however, be on a par with languages such as English, French and German. Europe’s institutions will not, for example…
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