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Stormont must move beyond the Irish language issue—and start a more difficult conversation

Fraught as language debates are, there are bigger, more difficult subjects that need tackling. We musn't let a solvable problem become a roadblock to progress

By Sarah Creighton  

Irish language act campaigners outside Stormont. Photo: PA

When I was in University I volunteered with a youth group working on a mural project in West Belfast. In one of the rooms we worked in there was a banner on the wall saying, ‘Free Róisín.’ At some point I repeated the phrase out loud, mispronounced the name and said ‘Free Rose-in.’ When somebody pointed this out I cringed—but we made a joke about it later on.

Mispronouncing an Irish name in Northern Ireland is embarrassing, but it’s pretty trivial.…

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