Síle Seoige: “Pushing away your language is to push away your Irishness”

It seems like we have this conversation every couple of months, at this point.

But once again the Irish language has been drawn into controversy.

Earlier this week Síle Seoige appeared on The Six O’Clock Show alongside Ivan Yates. During the chat, the Newstalk presenter decided to announce that he “couldn’t be ar**d to learn Irish”, our national language.

When Síle spoke Irish he requested subtitles as Brian Dowling stood up and shook his hand in a display of solidarity.

Síle Seoige Pic: Lili Forberg for VIP Magazine

The clip was shared on social media which quickly received backlash from hundreds of people defending Gaeilge and Síle.

However, Ivan choose to double down on his radio show: “Anytime this issue is raised about Irish, from my ten years of full-time broadcasting, you can be absolutely guaranteed that the roof will fall in with a lot of hateful people who are absolute zealots – and I am absolutely not afraid to confront them because they are bullies.”

Síle took to social media to share her own opinions on the topic: “I appreciate that many people have a difficult relationship with the Irish language due to our history, how it is taught in schools, etc.

Pic: Instagram/Síle Seoige

“But pushing away your language is to push away your Irishness. It is our language, it belongs to us all. Whether you are a native speaker or only have a few words.”

She went on to say: “My phone is hopping with messages due to the controversy over a chat regarding the Irish language on TV last week and what happened when the reel went online on Monday (which was quickly removed when there was backlash) along with a non-apology apology (which was in fact gaslighting) on TV yesterday and on radio today.

Pic: Instagram/Síle Seoige

She went on to share beautiful messages from fellow Gaeilgoirí as well as people who only have cúpla focal writing that they are “not ‘zealots’ or ‘bullies'” in response to Ivan’s words.

As Padraig Pearse said: “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam. A country without a language is a country without a soul.”

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