Alex Massie

Ireland’s Tipping Point

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Was it Warren Buffett who said investors should be wary of any company that decides it needs to spend huge amounts of cash on swish new corporate headquarters? If it wasn't the Sage of Omaha then it was someone like him arguing that this is often a warning sign of a company behaving recklessly and with little regard to its shareholders' interests. (Hello RBS!)

Anyway, I thought of that when I saw, again, this sign at County Galway Cricket Club. Though there is record of cricket being played in Galway as far back as the 1830s (the original garrison game!) the present club dates from the 1970s.

Recently they received a significant grant from the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. Good for the Ministry I say, even as a small voice suggests that if ACG had sufficient largesse to be supporting cricket clubs in the west of Ireland it just might be that there were other, more significant, areas of government spending - and indeed an entire political and economic culture - that were out of control.

In return for money from the ministry, the club has a policy of promoting the use of Irish as the language of cricket. This, no matter what language you put it in, seems a sticky wicket. Needless to say, in two visits to Galway's pleasant ground I've yet to hear a single word of Irish spoken. Then again, since half their team this year were of Pakistani descent perhaps that's not surprising and further evidence there's a limit to how much the business of the club can be conducted "through the medium of Irish".  What, in the name of the lord, is the Irish for "googly"?

Keen eyes will also notice that the club's Irish language policy is written in English.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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