Will Polish be the 3rd official language of Ireland?
Some advice - it's a beautiful but tough language to tackle
Poles are certainly making their mark in Ireland. The masses have integrated very well into Irish culture and daily life especially since the colossal exodus after May 1st 2004, the day Poland acceeded to the E.U.
In addition, independent Polish newspapers and magazines have sprouted alongside Irish newspapers' supplements to attract the growing Polish market; shops and restaurants provide an abundance of pierogi and bigos; Catholic masses in Polish keep immigrants adhering to their traditional faith; government agencies, banks and most other major economic institutions have literature, website pages translated into Polish; cultural centres provide spaces for people to touch base and source useful information on work and entertainment.
Now it seems like the next step is to make Polish an official language in Ireland.
“We are the most numerous ethnic group, hence we should be granted more rights, like, for instance, the right to use our mother tongue in offices”, says Marcin Wrona, publisher of a Polish community magazine “Sowa” (“Owl”). Marcin is one of the new class of Polish-Hibernos spearheading the campaign for Polish to be considered an official language in Ireland. But he's wrong, Poles are not the largest ethnic minority in Ireland - the British are.
It's difficult to assess the amount of Poles who reside in Ireland - officially it is accounted as around 200,000, though the Polish media would have us believe it is half a million. The latter have come under criticism for misleading many potential Polish emigrants that Ireland is a land of milk and honey. The reality for those who arrive with poor language and work skills can be very different. All in all those who travelled to Ireland are satisfied with the monthly salaries, which can work out the equivalent to what they would earn in 3/4 months back home.
This situation however leaves this Paddy in a somewhat embarrassing and ironic situation - I am way better at Polish than my own 'native' language.
And to answer the question posed in the title - well, I doubt it.
Indeed, Irish itself only became recognised as an official E.U. language (23rd) on January 1st this year. This is in spite of the fact that Irish is actually the first official language in Ireland under Article 8 of the Constitution. According to the national census carried out in 2002, 42% of the population have the ability to speak Irish, though only 3% of the population speak it on a daily basis.
Polish workers defending their rights in Dublin
The Polish population in Ireland have little or no lobbying power in Irish politics and are not unified in the sense of even fighting for each others worker rights. Marcin's quest is far-fetched and unlikely. If he wants to do something worthwhile, invest energy in exposing bastard Irish employers exploiting his hard-working countrymen and women.