Language is a an odd thing! There seems to a sheep effect sometimes when someone uses a term that we think we SHOULD use. Years ago it was the term “non-national”. It was used initially in a misguided effort to be more inclusive by avoiding words like “foreigner” or “alien”. Not the term “non-national” made no sense whatsoever because nearly all “non-nationals” were very much nationals, just not nationals of Ireland, but of other countries. Oddly “non-nationals” was usually only used for non-Irish-nationals from outside the EU. So, it seems we had different classes of “non-nationals”. Luckily the term is hardly used anymore, which is a good thing.

But there are many other words that are used in odd circumstances. “Jurisdiction” is one of them!

Last week, the Irish Independent wrote “A slump in Sterling against the euro prompted hordes of shoppers in this jurisdiction to head across the Border for their pre-Christmas shopping.”

And it quoted Ash Ireland chairman Dr Patrick Doorley, who said “[…] There are many examples of jurisdictions where tobacco price has been increased for health reasons and smuggling simultaneously tackled and reduced – such as Australia, New Zealand and Spain.”

Why is the word “jurisdiction” used in this case and not the word “country”. Every country is a different jurisdiction by definition of sovereignty. The only difference is where a big country, e.g. the USA, can have different laws in different parts (states). In Ireland we don’t have different laws in different parts of the country, so the use of “jurisdiction” makes absolutely no sense.

And just in case “jurisdiction” is used by some to avoid having to call Northern Ireland a different country than the Republic of Ireland: No matter what your opinion is about the political divisions on this island in the future, currently the Republic of Ireland is a completely different country than Northern Ireland and until that changes, the hordes of shoppers in this COUNTRY headed across the border (there is a big hint in this word!!).