SPIDDAL, IRELAND - Can you imagine having to take an exam - or "The Exam," as it's ominously known around here - before you could buy a house? In this vibrant, friendly town on Galway Bay, potential home buyers must submit to a rigorous oral test to see if they're worthy of receiving the keys to a new home. They aren't tested on housekeeping skills, or health-and-safety know-how, or willingness to lend cups of sugar to neighbors in need. Rather, they're tested to see if they can speak Irish Gaelic - because fluent and committed Irish-speakers are welcomed here over others.What is it with white people that they feel the need to exclude?
In order to protect the use of the Irish language - to "preserve the region's cultural identity" - the Galway County Council enforces strict regulations about who can - and can't - move in.
"We're discriminating against the rest of the world," explains Tina Curran, an office worker. "We're closing ourselves off to outside influences by only letting certain people in."
Some supporters of the bill had asked Crafton to soften his original 2006 "English Only" bill, which have required all government communications to be in English.The irony should not be lost on any of us.
Councilman Adam Dread, who opposed the bill, says some of its support came from political maneuvering from council members who had convinced Crafton to tone down the first bill.
"It was backroom dealing, trading out votes for other things," Dread says. "This makes our city look ignorant."