The Republicans are coming! Chittick on the Irish language

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As many of you know Linda Ervine has been leading efforts for years now to make Protestants more aware of their contribution to the development and maintenance of the Irish language. There have been a variety of events held in places like East Belfast to demonstrate how much of our everyday language is actually linked to Irish.

Well, today the Grand Master of the Belfast Orange Order George Chittick, decided to add his two cents on whether Protestants should be learning the Irish language as he told a protest today

A word of warning to Protestants who go to learn Irish: it’s part of the republican agenda.

Chittick is worried that if the Irish language is given a legal status that it might impact the employment prospects of people here in Northern Ireland, and as any employer will tell you learning another language is a really bad skill to have on your CV.

Twitter has been buzzing all night with those quoting the number of Protestants who helped keep the language alive and indeed the many Orange Order banners and lodges that have some form of Irish in their titles. But, to be honest in this debate with positions like these being articulated responding with factual statements will in all likelihood have very little impact on those making these type arguments.

Irish is an important part of every persons culture here, as is Ulster Scots. No language or way of life exists in isolation from one another but sadly leaders in some organisations still perfer to seek the cheap applause rather than do hard work like those who are trying to promote the huge contribution that Protestants have made to the Irish language.

 

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  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘(…the GAA (can) promote Irishness without being seen as anti-British by a Northern Irish Unionist…) … by leaving politics out of it.’

    What do you mean by ‘leaving politics out of it’?

    You are making the mistake that unionists often make. You assume that because your attitude towards the GAA and Irish language is so politicized, it must logically follow that the GAA is very political.

    The only people who ‘politicize’ the GAA and Irish language are those who cling to their hatred and hostility towards them.

    Perhaps you mean the GAA should rigorously police itself so that no member ever says or does anything that might remind a notional unionist that he’s in ‘mixed company’?

    I think that would be very far from ‘leaving politics out of it’. That would be the height of politicization.

  • Barnshee

    Having accepted that the GAA is “not just a sporting body”
    can the taxpayer have all his/her grant money back?
    (Along with the sums distributed to the OO)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    Why?

    The GAA is “not just a sporting body” and has never claimed to be.

    So what?

  • sitarman

    “In the context of an empire waging ethnocide, seeking to protect indigenous culture cannot be other than ‘political’…”.

    So now you’ve shifted your argument from ‘No, the GAA were not political’ to ‘Yes, they were political but there were reasons for it’.

    At last we have come to an agreement. I’m glad you are finally acknowledging my point. I’ve no doubt there were many reasons for politicising Irish culture, which is a debate for another thread, but it was politicised all the same.

    “By now, you are a far cry from your original assertions about ‘banning unionists’.”

    My original assertion wasn’t about the issue of ‘banning unionists’. My whole argument was to rebut your assertion than Irish culture had not been politicised by republicans and that to claim otherwise was just a cop-out by unionists. While I stated that unionists certainly shared the blame, you claimed unionist were ‘solely’ to blame. I believe I have shown your claim to be untrue.

    “They didn’t say: ‘The soccer club in Glasgow have ‘politicized’ the name Rangers, so we’re changing and repudiating it.’”

    I doubt back in 1887 when Crossmaglen chose its name that the word ‘Rangers’ would have been synonymous with Ulster loyalism. The Glasgow team was but a few years old and probably not thought of as political at all, if even well known in Ireland . The first old firm game hadn’t even taken place at that time.

    “you’re content to unquestioningly accept the prejudices handed down to you, and to accept even the most esoteric bullshit as reason enough to carry on your boycott of Ireland’s greatest and most important cultural institution. I reject the idea that there’s merit in meeting bigotry / ignorance halfway.”

    Heh! So now I’m a bigot for pointing out a few truths in a debate!? Really? In the course of this discussion I have stated; “…I’m glad to see unionists learning Irish. I think all unionists should be proud of their Irish side…”, “…I salute them (the GAA) for removing the rule and moving forward…” and “…I certainly have no problem with young kids from a unionist background getting into GAA games, mixing cultures can only help bring our communities together…”. I stand by those statements. I’m simply adding that these things have been politicised in the past.

    “Fact is, unionism has traditionally been dead wrong, factually and morally, on the GAA and Irish language.”

    No, fact is that the GAA, in the past at least, were a nationalist organisation for a nationalist people. To pretend otherwise is like pretending that the Orange Order is not a unionist organisation, simply a religious one.

    You said before that the GAA was concerned about agents, spies and agent provocateurs. I wonder then how their members would have viewed someone in their midst who had happen to be a pro-British unionist?

    “Perhaps you mean the GAA should rigorously police itself so that no member ever says or does anything that might remind a notional unionist that he’s in ‘mixed company’?”

    Nope, I mean the GAA as a body should never have got involved in politics.

    It’s clear that we are not going to make any further progress in this debate, I’ve made the points I wanted to make and I believe it was a fair assessment and that most history books will back this up. I’ll leave the last word to you Billy, enjoy.

  • Barnshee

    “Barnshee

    Why?

    The GAA is “not just a sporting body” and has never claimed to be.”

    Because public funds cannot be used to support political purposes

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEoQFjAF&url=http%3A%2F%2Flegislationline.org%2Fdownload%2Faction%2Fdownload%2Fid%2F3589%2Ffile%2FBiH_Comments_Law_Polit_Parties_Financing6%2520Dec%25202011_en.pdf&ei=__T5UpGdEYTn7AaMtYCQDA&usg=AFQjCNFO9muwKjXNCwIDK_45BPNMxLqWsQ&bvm=bv.61190604,d.d2k

    (It is clear that the money should never have been given in the first place I look forward to a formal investigation in due course)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    So in your binary universe, if the GAA is not a purely sporting body, it must ipso facto be ‘political’?

    The world is a slightly more complex place than you realise, but thankfully, not everyone’s cognitive instruments are quite so blunt as yours.

    The GAA is ‘political’ only if we apply that term so broadly as to include almost any public institution or area of public spending. It’s ‘political’ in the same sense that the National Trust is political, or the RSPB or the Lyric Theatre. It’s nowhere near as ‘political’ as, for example, the NHS.

    And as for the armed forces….

  • Barnshee

    “‘political’ only if we apply that term so broadly as to include almost any public institution or area of public spending. It’s ‘political’ in the same sense that the National Trust is political, or the RSPB or the Lyric Theatre.”

    Were any of the above to espouse overtly political support for a political philosophy ( eg continued partition in Ireland) then your analogy might hold – It fails

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    From the NHS website:

    ‘Principles and values that guide the NHS’

    The NHS was created out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. When it was launched by the then minister of health, Aneurin Bevan, on July 5 1948, it was based on three core principles:
    * that it meet the needs of everyone
    * that it be free at the point of delivery
    * that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

    These three principles have guided the development of the NHS over more than 60 years and remain at its core.’

    ENDS

    All of the above is textbook socialism, and is far more overtly political than anything to be found in the GAA’s fairly wishy-washy talk of ‘strengthening national identity.’

    Presumably you believe the government should sue the NHS for every penny is has received since the days of Bevan?