Kissed the Blarney Stone? Then hop on the EU <i>sruth</i>

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The Independent Online

It may be incomprehensible in English, but help is at hand for those who want to translate "Eurospeak" - arguably some of the continent's worst jargon - into Irish.

With the EU preparing for the advent of Irish as an official language - and failing to fill vacancies for interpreters - one Irish MEP has launched a translation website which incorporates EU terminology.

Those who, from 1 January 2007, wish to exercise their right to converse in the EU's corridors of power in Irish will be able to get the correct terminology for "subsidiarity" ("coimhdeacht"), "intervention" ("idirghabháil") and "derogation" ("maolú"). Translated into English, "subsidiarity" means devolving decisions to the most local level; "intervention" is the mechanism the EU uses to support the price of some agricultural products; and a "derogation" is an opt-out - usually time-limited - from a piece of EU legislation.

Sean O Neachtain, the MEP who launched the website ( www.focal.ie), said: "We have a policy of reviving the Irish language. That would make no sense unless it were carried through to the European stage." But the EU is struggling to recruit staff sufficiently well-versed in Irish to act as simultaneous translators.

According Irish full status will cost the European Parliament more than €677,000 (£459,000) next year. That's more than €100,000 each for the six or so MEPs likely to use the facility.

Mr O Neachtain argued that the problems were similar to those confronted by other languages when they won official status, adding: "Young people are becoming aware that there are now excellent job possibilities flowing from the Irish language." Meanwhile, his website even offers something for Eurosceptics; there may not be an Irish equivalent for "wine lake", but the word for "gravy train" is "sruth".

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