Irish Republican News · September 10, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Barman quits over policy of ‘no Irish allowed’


There have been calls for new measures to protect the rights of Irish speakers after an employee of a well-known Cork city pub was told that he was not allowed to speak Irish on the premises.

Cormac O Bruic, from an Fheothanach in Corca Dhuibhne, said he left his job at The Flying Enterprise after being told told he could not speak Irish in the bar.

The owner allegedly told Mr O Bruic he had received complaints from customers and his pub was an “an English speaking business” and he had no permission to speak Irish in the pub.

Mr O Bruic, whose first language is Irish, said he had supervised up to 12 staff while working there, but that he was asked by the owner’s wife on August the 4th to stop speaking Irish while working.

The following day, Mr O Bruic said he met the owner and “I thought he was going to apologise. Instead he said ‘it is forbidden to speak Irish in my establishment’”.

According to Mr O Bruic, he was too upset to work that night and asked for a week to think about whether he should be included in the following week’s roster. He said he was subsequently informed in a letter from Mr O’Shea on August 11th that he was being given his P45.

This letter stated that the The Flying Enterprise was “an English speaking business” and that there had been complaints from customers who felt “uncomfortable” with him speaking Irish, Mr O Bruic said.

He said he was unaware of a language policy in the pub. “If there was a language code, I would not have signed it. If there was a section that said I could not speak Irish, I would never have signed,” he said.

A protest, organised by language activist group Misneach, subsequently took place outside the bar.

Misneach Cork’s spokesperson Lar O Tuama said “Irish is the national language of Ireland and it is the right of every citizen to use it if and when they please.”

In response, the management said they employ 70 staff and of them there are six different nationalities.

“They [staff] respect that while at work the most sensible and practical language to speak is English.

“Cormac fully understands that this is a HR matter which has been dealt with by our external HR Company and him. We wish to clarify that Cormac was not fired or dismissed nor did we intend to fire or dismiss Cormac in this regard.”

Speaking to Irish language radio on Thursday, Mr O Bruic said that his manager was angry because he stood up to him.

“He was shouting at me and banging on the table, because I stood up to him and told him I wasn’t going to stop. He told me then to go back to work, but I told him that I couldn’t.”

Mr O Bruic said that Irish was mainly spoken among staff but that they would speak Irish to customers if they had it.

“Lots of customers would tell us that it was lovely to hear the language spoken, especially to hear young people using it in Cork,” he said.

“I always spoke English to every single customer but kept the option to speak Irish open if they wanted to. I would even speak a few words in Spanish to Spanish speakers who came in and they were delighted, so I don’t see why anyone would have a problem.”

Mr O Bruic decided to leave the job because he had a principled objection to being told not to speak Irish. “The thing I’m most proud of is where I come from and my native language.”

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2016 Irish Republican News