Lá: lost jobs due to Unionist pressure

Lá have lost two posts in the last week. Editor of Ireland’s only daily Irish newspaper Ciarán Ó Pronntaigh believes that the shutting down of European funding was as a direct consequence of pressure from senior Ulster Unionist politicians:

“Unionists, including Lord Laird of Artigarvan and Lady Sylvia Hermon, have managed to block vital grant-aid for Lá from Europe and the cross-border body Foras na Gaeilge.”

“The Andersonstown News Group has kept Lá afloat by investing over £150,000 in the paper since it went daily in April ’03. However, with funding from INTERREG and Foras na Gaeilge being blocked at the instigation of Lord Laird and Lady Hermon, jobs have to go.

“Although our office in the Donegal Gaeltacht has been open since June, and a contract signed with INTERREG, not one penny of our grant has been paid. Similarly, Foras na Gaeilge have now delayed an application for grant aid from Lá”.

  • idunnomeself

    Mick,

    Is this a scoop or did you get it from somewhere?

  • Davros

    Was Lá political ?

  • Davros
  • willowfield

    Is it too much to ask how exactly Hermon and Laird succeeded in stopping this funding?

  • fair_deal

    Willowfield

    There is an EU regulation against the funding of newspapers. Laird and Hermon raised this and asked why La was being supported in a claimed breach of this regulation.

  • Mick Fealty

    Scoopish… got it directly from La… will endevour to follow up…

  • idunnomeself

    fair deal:

    There isn’t EU regulation against funding newspapers. There are anti-competition rules, which Hermon raised. I have no doubt that funding *the only* daily Irish paper is not in breach of competition rules, if there is any delay it will be while the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

    Anyway Hermon was only aiming to stop funds to set up ‘Daily Ireland’, I don’t think she was interested in Lá?

    Either that or Lá are trying to whip up some support with Nationalist politicians to influence any debate they assume is going on inthe funding bodies.

  • maca

    IDM
    “Anyway Hermon was only aiming to stop funds to set up ‘Daily Ireland’, I don’t think she was interested in Lá?”

    However…
    “This funding is dangerous for the freedom of the press,² said Lord Laird, who has been conducting a high-profile campaign against the paper¹s funding in recent months. Along with the Ulster Unionist MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, Lord Laird again targeted the Foras na Gaeilge and Interreg funding that are the lifeblood of the Irish language daily”

    “I¹ve nothing against Lá getting funding, but unless it’s matched on the other side [Ulster Scots] it could be regarded as a threat to press freedom,” Lord Laird, a leading figure in the Ulster Scots movement, told the Andersonstown News yesterday. “If that [the closure of Lá] is the natural consequence of the pressure then that¹s regrettable, but we have to bring pressure to bear. This is ‘realpolitik’.”

    Nice attitude there.
    This is from the previous discussion we had on the matter.

  • willowfield

    I’ll ask the question a different way. On what basis were the funds to La stopped?

  • Davros

    Is Lá “political” ?

  • Young Fogey

    I¹ve nothing against Lá getting funding, but unless it’s matched on the other side [Ulster Scots] it could be regarded as a threat to press freedom

    I don’t this is a logical construct – why is funding Lá but not funding an Ulster-Scots equivalent dangerous for press freedom?

  • Davros

    Is there an Ulster-Scots equivalent ?

  • maca

    Davros
    “Is Lá “political” ?”

    Not in my opinion Davros but I only read bits & pieces of it…

  • Young Fogey

    There is nae an Oolseter-Scawtch eeksi-peekis, nae, Davros.

  • peteb

    YF

    Because the initial, and main, thrust of the campaign (despite the subsequent reports by.. let me see.. Lá and the Andersonstown News) is against the public funding being given to the Andersonstown News Group.

  • Young Fogey

    peteb

    I’m generally against state subsidies of this sort of thing (would it not make sense for Lá to go weekly?), but at the same time I think Laird is motivated by jealousy of Taigs for having a ‘secret language’ that people take seriously, unlike Ulster-Scots.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    The problem with this business of European Regulations being quoted by Hermon and Laird is that it’s entirely up the left.
    After all the British Government signed up to Part 3 of the European Charter for Minority Languages and the specific provision therein that they would support an Irish language newspaper.
    When the EU committee of experts evaluated how this had been implemented, they specifically said that supporting a daily Irish language newspaper in Northern Ireland – Lá – was essential.
    hermon and laird’s aim is to put a spanner in the works of the Daily Ireland, due for publication on 1 February – and they believe by attacking Lá they’ll do that. The Andersonstown News Group has supported Lá to the tune of £200,000 over the past two years and cannot sustain this level of support.
    Public support for minority language newspapers is normal in Europe – there’s not one member of the Midas network (Minority Language Daily Association) which doesn’t get state support. It’s regarded as essential to European diversity.

    Sylvia Hermon has often been portrayed as the acceptable face of unionism – but here she’s firmly in the camp of old traditional ‘no’ unionism.

    Lá provides a platform for unionist and nationalist commentators – we’re open to all comers. Its only political bias is towards the Irish language.

  • Keith M

    I’d also like to ask this another way, why does the taxpayer (as EU funding doesn’t come from thin air) have to fund a commercial entreprise like a newspaper?

  • willowfield

    But, if IDM is correct, her issue was not with the funding of La, but with the state subsidy of other papers in the ANG stable: Andersonstown News, North Belfast News, etc., and their attempt to launch “Daily Ireland” to compete with unsubsidised papers such as the Irish News.

  • idunnomeself

    Davros: No more political than any other Newspaper- its columnists are a varied bunch (IE there is a unionist!). Careful analysis would probably show a green tinge to the news, but a lot is cribbed from wire services I am told.

    Maca: Laird has stuck his oar in (and his statement is almost totally incoherant to me), but I’ve never seen any evidence that Hermon cares at all about Lá, or that she is working with Laird. She is after Daily Ireland, and this is her campaign, not Laird’s.

    The subsidy of Lá comes from a cross border body as part of their all- Ireland publishing strategy. It is a cultural intervention aimed at helping the Irish speaking community.

    In any case I very much doubt that Laird has much influence with Foras na Gaeilge..

  • peteb

    I think the difficulty for Lá is that it isn’t, by itself, financially viable. In those circumstances I have no problem with it seeking funding wherever appropriate.

    And I have no doubt that Laird Laird comments are motivated by something along the lines of your argument.. but, and it’s an important but, the deliberate attempt (by Lá and the ATN Group) to focus the discussion of the public funding to only that part which affects Lá is, IMO, disingenuous.

  • maca

    Willow
    “But, if IDM is correct, her issue was not with the funding of La”

    Why then target the Foras na Gaeilge and Interreg funding?

  • Davros

    Thanks for the feedback on the political content chaps 🙂

  • idunnomeself

    maca,

    I don’t think there is any evidence that she did.

    I have looked at her PQs, and read about this in the papers, never seen her mention it- although it came up when she asked about funding for teh ATN group.

    maybe you have something I have missed though- happy to admit I’m wrong!

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Is Lá campaigning for more public subsidy to make up for the funds that ATN can no longer afford? that is a completely different issue..

    Keith M

    The tax payer funds Lá to help the Irish language. The paper is far from profit making. Foras na G decided to support Lá- presumably because it uses Irish in a current, day-to-day way and is good for learning/ keeping up fluency

  • maca

    Thanks for the comments IDM, I haven’t looked closely at this subject at all so am just copying & pasting what i’ve read 😉

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    As someone with a personal insight into the workings of Lá, I can tell you that there is very little use made of wire services, cribbing or otherwise. The paper has broken several news stories over the years, many of which have been featured here on these pages.
    Wire services are used for photos etc – but then again the paper does subscribe to these services.
    Silencing Lá would leave Irish speakers and the media the poorer.

  • fair_deal

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    “The problem with this business of European Regulations being quoted by Hermon and Laird is that it’s entirely up the left.
    After all the British Government signed up to Part 3 of the European Charter for Minority Languages and the specific provision therein that they would support an Irish language newspaper.
    When the EU committee of experts evaluated how this had been implemented, they specifically said that supporting a daily Irish language newspaper in Northern Ireland – Lá – was essential.”

    This is plain wrong. The Charter for Regional and minority languages is nothing to do with the European Union. It is an instrument of the Council of Europe and it was them that sent the panel of experts.

  • Keith M

    “Public support for minority language newspapers is normal in Europe – there’s not one member of the Midas network (Minority Language Daily Association) which doesn’t get state support. It’s regarded as essential to European diversity.”

    This doesn’t make it right, especially at a time when we should be working to bring Europe together this is counter-pructive at best. One man’s “diversity” is another man’s division. I have less problem with funding broadcasters like TG4 and RnG as these remain within the state sector and the state can excercise some form of control, but what control is the state exercising in La and other (at least notionally) commercial ventures? “He who pays the piper….”

  • willowfield

    maca

    Why then target the Foras na Gaeilge and Interreg funding?

    Did she target this funding?

  • George

    Keithm,
    over half of all EU funding goes to farmers. I think you should start there if you are looking for savings rather than the few bob given to minority languages.

    You’ll be looking to end European Capital of Culture funding for Cork next.

  • unionist_observer

    This is somewhat pathetic and reeks of unionist insecurity and pettiness. Whats next, are we going to start banning papers like Le Monde because it might dilute our britishness?!?

  • Young Fogey

    Tune: Daisy, Daisy

    Murphy, Murphy, give us a language do,
    The Fenians have one, so we have to have one too.
    Oh it might be invented, but our confidence is not dented,
    That parity of esteem and equality schemes mean that we can get cash for poo!

  • Mick Fealty

    Cutting Cork would be a legitimate move, either to refocus on social exlucsion (argument of the left) or to role back the state (rightist view). But it should also be considered that not all events will be publicly funded.

    There are plenty of sceptics who believe the state should not fund anything developmental, but the truth is that there are powerful arguments both ways.

    This debate of public funding is set to intensify. May Blood and Bronagh Hinds were on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour this morning, pitching strongly the idea that HMG should begin to shoulder some of the European funding of Community Groups .

  • IJP

    I agree entirely that if you are looking to save public money, you would start somewhere other than minority languages.

    But yet again, has anyone thought that the more money you spend on something, the more damage it does?

    Irish is seen by most as existing on the life-support machine of state funding. It’s half-heartedness all the way.

    The aim must surely be to remove Irish from that life-support machine and make it (like ALL other official EU languages, by the way!) genuinely self-sufficient and in regular daily use.

    That is my concern: time spent on campaigns such as this, which merely place money in the pockets of translatocrats but achieve little or nothing on the ground, are using up time and resources which should be spent helping the language become self-sufficient.

    There is no such campaign for Welsh. That should tell you something. But again I put the disclaimer that many people whom I respect do support this campaign, so it clearly has its merits.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Fair point IDM – I didn’t mean to confuse the two – EU and Council of Europe – but the point is that the British Government have the charter and the response of the experts was as stated above.
    They have an obligation under the charter and under the GFA – an internationally recognised agreement — ie
    promote the Irish language
    facilitate and encourage the use of Irish in speech and writing and in public and private life
    remove restrictions which would discourage or work against the maintenance or development of the Irish language and
    make provision for liaison with the Irish language community, representing their views to public authorities and investigating complaints.

    What better way to do this than to support an I rish language newspaper?

    As for Keith M – his point about diversity = division is ironic given the fact that what is meant by celebrating diversity is in fact giving respect to all cultures so that there is no sense that some are treated more equally than others. The reality is that if linguistic diversity is replaced by a monoglot culture, how long can we maintain any sense of sovereignty and independence. Some people value these – not as a way of keeping people out – but because they are valuable in themselves.

  • Davros

    Oh dear me OC 🙂 Naughty Naughty !

    The GFA states :
    facilitate and encourage the use of the language in speech and writing in public and private life where there is appropriate demand;

    If Lá isn’t selling enough copies to be viable, then there isn’t appropriate demand …

  • Young Fogey

    This debate of public funding is set to intensify. May Blood and Bronagh Hinds were on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour this morning

    In a pretty obnoxious soft-focus piece, so fawning that I’ve written to Jenny Murray personally to complain.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    “Where there is appropriate demand” – the ultimate get out clause but no nationalist thought that the British would resort to this in such a case. It would indicate petty mindedness beyond belief that they would draw back on supporting ventures such as Lá, TG4 and other Irish language efforts throughout the north. I’m disappointed that you bring it up Davros as I thought more of you.
    There’s no one saying that there shouldn’t be space for British culture in the north – but there should be space for Irish culture too. Like it or not, that includes Lá.
    Or are we a little short on inclusiveness Davros?

  • slackjaw

    Would anyone argue that the English language is best advanced by The Sun? This is not to say that La is an Irish equivalent, but it is surely illusory to think that what a daily language newspaper is fundamental to the advancement of the Irish language.

    150 years ago it would have made a difference, but no more.

    I don’t know exactly why no-one buys the thing, but I sense its potential readership (inquisitive, language-loving types) may feel have better things to read in their spare time.

    I can see the attraction, as YF suggests, of La going weekly (presumably it would then be called Seachtain). Quality of content, rather than translated items from the wire as described above, is what would attract more readers.

  • slackjaw

    may feel have better= may feel it has

  • Mick Fealty

    Lord Laird’s initial response is here.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Here’s a suggestion: a newspaper that cannot survive in the open market should not be recieving taxpayers money!

    I know, I know, what a crazy idea!

  • willowfield

    I’m still waiting for someone to offer some evidence that Hermon targeted Interreg and FnG funding of La.

  • Young Fogey

    I can see the attraction, as YF suggests, of La going weekly (presumably it would then be called Seachtain).

    😉 – well, obviously.

  • Mick Fealty

    This is an important argument. What instruments are required for a politician, civil servant, otr even Joe Public to quantify appropriate demand?

  • Davros

    OC, why did you edit out those words ?

    “no nationalist thought that the British would resort to this in such a case.”

    No unionist who voted for the GFA thought that SF would play word games over their responsibilities in delivering decommissioning ….

    But if you play these games, don’t whinge when the favour is returned.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris, are you proposing that all public funding to private entreprise should cease? If so, what future of Invest Northern Ireland? If not, why newspapers, and not other private entreprises?

  • Mick Fealty

    Remember all, ball, not man! Otherwise we risk losing a fascinating argument here!

  • Christopher Stalford

    “There’s no one saying that there shouldn’t be space for British culture in the north”

    I can assure you that the European funding bodies are festooned with people who believe just that!

  • fair_deal

    Mick

    The usual tool used is precedent – what has someone else done elsewhere.

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    “”Where there is appropriate demand” – the ultimate get out clause but no nationalist thought that the British would resort to this in such a case. “

    That phraseology is lifted directly from the Charter. You can’t demand the Charter to be implemented then try and ignore the bits of it you dont like.

  • Davros

    Mick-that’s the problem when people start playing with the small print 🙂

    It could be argued that under it’s duty to promote, the British Goverment should ensure that a free copy of Lá is delivered to every home …

    If there isn’t sufficient demand for Lá, why should it be subsidised ? People who want to buy the Irish Times up here have to pay full whack. I pay full whack for my Irish News. if Lá was bi-lingual it would be a different ball game entirely. I would argue that an inclusive paper like that SHOULD be subsidised. But I suspect that the fear is that most people buying it, even those with fluent Irish, would probably read it in English …

  • Christopher Stalford

    “Chris, are you proposing that all public funding to private entreprise should cease? If so, what future of Invest Northern Ireland? If not, why newspapers, and not other private entreprises?”

    No. What you are talking about is “provable sustainability”, that is to say, can it be proven that after the funding from Europe stops the project will continue. It is clear that after more than 18 months this is not a sustainable project.

    I have no objection to European money being used as a primer to get businesses up and going. What I do object to is millions being p*ssed away on nonsenical schemes.

  • Davros

    I’m disappointed that you bring it up Davros as I thought more of you.

    You are disappointed that I caught you out 🙂
    But don’t retreat into MOPEry OC – I’m a nit-picker and I would have pointed out such chicanery if it had been tried by someone arguing against you.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Did Christopher object when the Belfast Telegraph was bailed out to the tune of £4.5m a few years ago?
    And the Irish News already got money from the state – £250,000 back when that was a lot of money.

    This is not whataboutery but if those newspapers can get money despite their massive share of the market, why shouldn’t a minority language newspaper get funding when all the cant by the governments is that they want to protect minorities. That’s what the GFA means – nobody from the Irish language community wants to deprive British cultural projects of money but there’s no way we’ll sit still and allow the Irish language be pushed back into the ha’penny place again.

    Lá’s business plan said it would break even within 5 years – that’s still on target. So when Foras na Gaeilge supported Lá initially they knew that. If after five years Lá is not breaking even, then ask questions and re-evaluate. But 18months is too short a time to allow the paper gets its feet.

    If this were an Ulster Scots daily paper would Chris Stalford be similarly disposed?

    Funding from Europe hasn’t come on stream yet – that’s the whole problem. This is extra money for the north and they’re holding it back – it will cost jobs in the north. Is the DUP in favour of this? Why doesn’t Jim Allister confound nationalists and take up the case for Lá in the European Parliament?

  • Davros

    there’s no way we’ll sit still and allow the Irish language be pushed back into the ha’penny place again.

    but you are not prepared to dig into your own pockets ? How much does Lá cost ? If you (pl) are so keen , would you be prepared to pay double or treble that? If not, why not ?

  • willowfield

    Davros

    If there isn’t sufficient demand for Lá, why should it be subsidised ? People who want to buy the Irish Times up here have to pay full whack. I pay full whack for my Irish News.

    I guess because government has a policy (resulting from an obligation) to promote the Gaelic language, and it considers this to be a good instrument for doing so?

  • Christopher Stalford

    “Did Christopher object when the Belfast Telegraph was bailed out to the tune of £4.5m a few years ago?”

    No I did not – for exactly the reasons outlined above. It was a sustainable project with sufficient evidence of provable sustainability well into the future.

    Although I am uncomfortable with the idea of state funding of the media in general…

    Scrap the licence fee!

  • Christopher Stalford

    Willow

    “I guess because government has a policy (resulting from an obligation) to promote the Gaelic language, and it considers this to be a good instrument for doing so?”

    Correct. Another great victory delivered from the Purple Turtle!

  • fair_deal

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    “Irish language community wants to deprive British cultural projects”

    Have you read the Andytown News? Have you read some of the attacks against non-Irish Gaelic culture?

    Or will you ignore this point like the previous two?

  • Davros

    I’m all for promoting the Gaelic language WF.

  • willowfield

    Stalford

    Correct. Another great victory delivered from the Purple Turtle!

    Are you referring to another “unfair” part of the GFA that the DUP will have failed to overturn?!

  • Mick Fealty

    Actually a good argument for giving government money to La and other similar cultural entreprises is that it provides a ‘public good’. If this were agreed on, then the question becomes: were government to provide the same service, would the taxpayer get better or worse value for money?

    This thesis on the concept of ‘public goods’ and ‘free riders’ is reasonable background. This last section on the value of government support of public goods is worth a puruse:

    “…a society of people with rational and moderately virtuous dispositions will provide significant amounts of public goods, but not at optimal levels. How should a society respond to this failure? We may divide possible responses into four broad categories: i) do nothing, ii) convert the good into a private commodity (e.g., parcel out land held in common) iii) regulate people’s behavior (e.g., require pollution control devices on automobiles) iv) tax and provide (e.g. tax incomes to pay for national defense)”.

    For good measure, this blogger provides an argument against the whole concept of ‘public goods’ in the first place.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Are you referring to another “unfair” part of the GFA that the DUP will have failed to overturn?!

    You must tell me: have you a plant in the talks? How do you know what will or wont be changed?

    Answer to both question: no!

    Then again the DUP could come out an say – we have achieved a promise from Sinn Fein to abandon republican politics and become Unionists and it still wouldn’t be good enough for the likes of you.

    Face it, you’re just a Trimble groupie!

  • Christopher Stalford

    delete How

  • Mick Fealty

    Ball please Chris!

  • willowfield

    Stalford

    Answer to both question: no!

    So what are you saying? The DUP didn’t consider the Gaelic language provisions to be unfair – in which case why are you complaining about Trimble agreeing to them!!

    Or are you saying that the DUP is going to have them removed from the Agreement?

  • stephen nicholl

    From seupb website

    “This project will initiate an ‘extension’ of the Irish-language Daily paper Lá. Currently, this paper is sold throughout Ireland but it is felt that there is a large potential market, which could be tapped through the proposed elements of this project. These include:

    * Production of a further 4 pages in an edition format (to bring the paper up to 16 pages), three days per week. The edition will be tailored to the ICBAN region and other parts of Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland. This will provide the paper with more product creditability and ensure broader appeal to the public.
    * Opening of Staffed Offices in Gweedore, Co. Donegal;
    * Creating 5 jobs (4.5 full-time job equivalents) in Gweedore, Co. Donegal; and
    * Production of an electronic daily version of the paper (for web distribution);

    Project Postcode BT17 0LT
    Implementing Body Irish Central Border Area INTERREG IIIA Partnership
    The INTEC Centre
    36 Bridge Street
    Enniskillen
    Co Fermanagh
    BT74 7BT
    Phone :- +44 (0) 28 6634 0711
    Measure 1.1 Business and Economic Development
    Total Cost of Project €661408
    Other Sources of Funding No
    Total Amount Approved €330704 “

  • peteb

    Could you provide a link for that info, Stephen?

    The seupb website seems to have skimped on its navigational design.

  • maca

    “I don’t know exactly why no-one buys the thing”

    People do buy it. Just not enough 😉
    I often have trouble finding it so supply is also a problem (although a small one really.)

    Fair deal
    “Have you read the Andytown News? Have you read some of the attacks against non-Irish Gaelic culture?”

    I believe he said “Irish language community”, or does the Andytown News fall into this category?

  • stephen nicholl

    http://www.seupbsuccessfulprojects.org/

    you need to go to this page and search through the successful projects la is in measure 1.1

  • peteb

    Thanks stephen.

    That’s one messy interface 🙁

    No date associated with the application or project though.

  • idunnomeself

    can I (again) reiterate that Foras na Gaeilge decided to fund Lá, not anyone else??

    can someone take this point on board.. please…

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It is amazing that some unionists are using the market place argument re the newspaper. Cheistopher Stafford and his party before him were damned by their silence while hundreds of millions were poured into the soup kitchen at Queens Island. After all their ships weren’t very competitive.
    But then again the people in the Yard were the right religion.

  • Davros

    Can I ask again – what is the selling price of Lá ?

  • IJP

    Very interesting debate.

    Broadly, all such projects should be funded on the proviso that in due course they will cease to be reliant on state funding and that a strategy for achieving this is clearly laid out.

    , and indeed the Irish language generally, must be seen to be moving towards a time where it is reliant on users, not on state funding. In both jurisdictions there is some evidence that they are, and some evidence that they’re not.

    The same applies for Ulster Scots. It must be given an equal opportunity. But that is not the same as saying precisely the same actions should be taken and funding given, because they would not be appropriate.

    In both cases a strategic approach (i.e. really ‘Strategic’, not civil-servantly!) is required – I see scant evidence of one on the Irish side and none at all on the Ulster-Scots side. (Lest I be accused of just quibbling from the sidelines, I have twice provided the Ulster-Scots Agency with a fully-costed ‘SMART’ strategy for the tongue, and twice been told to go away. Third time lucky anyone?)

    Unfortunately the fact is government policy is not to give a damn about the real language users, but rather to use language as a convenient part of the sectarian carve-up. They will be found out in due course, if they haven’t already. Sectarian carve-ups just don’t work, time to move on!

  • Keith M

    George : “over half of all EU funding goes to farmers. I think you should start there if you are looking for savings rather than the few bob given to minority languages.”. Congratulations, you’ve won today’s “whataboutery” award, although I’m not sure there’s room on your mantlepiece for another one.

    “You’ll be looking to end European Capital of Culture funding for Cork next.” One one my favourite phrases is “never kick a sleeping dog”. Do not get me started on this nonsense!

    Oilbhéar Chromaill : “given the fact that what is meant by celebrating diversity is in fact giving respect to all cultures so that there is no sense that some are treated more equally than others.” I’m sorry but this kind of wooly PC nonsense cuts no ice with me. Language has one primary driver and that is to allow people to communicate with one another. If people want to fund minority languages under some notional cultural motivation, then fine, but let’s be honest here. We are funding language as some form of totem pole of perceived national identity, which is effectivly working against Europeans communicating more effectivly with one another.

    And to prove my point you helpfully show your true colours…”The reality is that if linguistic diversity is replaced by a monoglot culture, how long can we maintain any sense of sovereignty and independence. Some people value these – not as a way of keeping people out – but because they are valuable in themselves.”

    So what we are actually funding is some 19th Century idea of nation statehood, where “sovereignty and independence” led to rivalty and constant war in Europe. I fully accept that I am a Europhile. I want to live in a Europe where borders are meaningless, where we all defend one another rather than fight with one another and where we all speak the same language to help us communicate. Instead my money is being used to fund an organ which aids keeping Europe divided.

    Let’s call a spade a spade and try an answer my question as to what influence the taxpayer is having on La after having his money used on funding it.

  • Davros

    So what we are actually funding is some 19th Century idea of nation statehood, where “sovereignty and independence” led to rivalty and constant war in Europe.

    What else could be expected from anything associated with ATN ?

  • willowfield

    Christopher Stalford

    Could you answer my 4.40 please?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Willowfield

    I’m not saying either. What I am saying is that your illustrious leader made such a hash of the negotiations that Irish/Gaelic culture was given precedence over all others, to the point where the government has a legal obligation to promote them.

    I think it’s fair to say that the DUP will be pushing for much more equality of funding and opportunity in the general area of culture/heritage for the Unionist community than Trimble ever did, because he considered these issues to be irrelevant froth.

    I hope that clears things up. Perhaps now you would care to answer a question for me: What is your view on the prospect of Gary McMichael and David Ervine becoming members of the Ulster Unionist Party?

    Thank you.

  • willowfield

    Christopher Stalford

    I’m not saying either. What I am saying is that your illustrious leader made such a hash of the negotiations that Irish/Gaelic culture was given precedence over all others, to the point where the government has a legal obligation to promote them.

    So the DUP, as better negotiators, will be remedying this. Right?

    I think it’s fair to say that the DUP will be pushing for much more equality of funding and opportunity in the general area of culture/heritage for the Unionist community than Trimble ever did, because he considered these issues to be irrelevant froth.

    Yes, but will they be amending the clauses in the Agreement about promoting the Gaelic language?

    Perhaps now you would care to answer a question for me: What is your view on the prospect of Gary McMichael and David Ervine becoming members of the Ulster Unionist Party?

    Unless they renounced violence and disassociated themselves from paramilitarism I would be very unhappy.

    What is your view about that Castlereagh DUP mayor who invited the UDA along to her inauguration while refusing to invite Provos?

  • Christopher Stalford

    Stalford said:I think it’s fair to say that the DUP will be pushing for much more equality of funding and opportunity in the general area of culture/heritage for the Unionist community than Trimble ever did, because he considered these issues to be irrelevant froth.

    Willowfield said: Yes

    I’ll convert you yet!

  • willowfield

    You’re wriggling. Answer the question.

    Will the DUP be negotiating the removal of the provisions in the Agreement that require the government to support the Gaelic language?

  • maca

    “Will the DUP be negotiating the removal of the provisions in the Agreement that require the government to support the Gaelic language?”

    Is this not actually irrelevant considering the COE Charter on Minority Languages?

    Or are you just having a go at Christopher? Carry on.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I don’t care if Ulster Scots gets parity with Irish – though I think it would be more honest of the Unionists to say they want to promote “British” culture rather than a language and culture which they seem to be only using as a flag of inconvenience (the inconvenience of the Irish language). Ulster Scots – as much as Irish – belongs to the entire community and the association with a purely Orange culture sits uncomfortably with this. People who watch hurling matches in the Glens of Antrim are the language’s native speakers – they know more about it than Laird, McCausland and co ever will.

  • fair_deal

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I have raised three points with you that you have ignored. Here they all are again to give you another chance to respond.

    “The problem with this business of European Regulations being quoted by Hermon and Laird is that it’s entirely up the left.
    After all the British Government signed up to Part 3 of the European Charter for Minority Languages and the specific provision therein that they would support an Irish language newspaper.
    When the EU committee of experts evaluated how this had been implemented, they specifically said that supporting a daily Irish language newspaper in Northern Ireland – Lá – was essential.”

    This is plain wrong. The Charter for Regional and minority languages is nothing to do with the European Union. It is an instrument of the Council of Europe and it was them that sent the panel of experts.

    “”Where there is appropriate demand” – the ultimate get out clause but no nationalist thought that the British would resort to this in such a case. “

    That phraseology is lifted directly from the Charter. You can’t demand the Charter to be implemented then try and ignore the bits of it you don’t like.

    “Irish language community wants to deprive British cultural projects”

    Have you read the Andytown News, La’s sister paper? Have you read some of the attacks against non-Irish Gaelic culture? What about Gearoid O’Cairolean’s attacks on Ulster-Scots in past issues of La?

  • maca

    Fair deal
    “nobody from the Irish language community wants to deprive British cultural projects of money” is the full quote.
    What did Gearoid O’Cairolean say about funding Ulster Scots?
    I’ve never read the Andytown News, is it part of the Irish language community?

    p.s. your point about COE vs EU is a common mistake and hardly a big issue. Plus OC already answered that point.

  • fair_deal

    Maca

    The Andytown News has certainly been an advocate for the Irish language community and revival.

    OC was trying to blame the EU as it had supposedly messed up as it had two contradictory rules when it hadn’t. The representation of the Charter is actualy important as I have heard ill-informed people wandering about claiming “You have to do this stuff it’s EU regulations”. Common or not it is still a mistake.

    On GC, he had some discussion with Ulster-Scots groups about developing a multi-lingual play. While these were ongoing (and progressing nicely) he wrote a piece attacking US (I no longer have the exact translation) and if my memory serves me right it was the usual ‘Unionist invention and conspiracy’ ‘Not a language’ etc. The multi-lingual play died a death after that.

    This was not the only circumstance of someone writing in Irish not expecting US groups to find out. Fortunately as the irish language community has little factions and personality clashes US groups got translations from whichever faction disliked the writer of the particular piece.

  • maca

    Fair Deal
    An “advocate for” doesn’t mean “part of”
    Just that if you’re accusing the Irish language movement of trying to deny the ‘British Cultural’ projects of funding then you have to be accurate.

    And OC didn’t mention EU regulations, I think you’re twisting his point there a bit. EU/COE, he obviously meant the creators of the Charter. I’ve made the same mistake, concentrating on the name clouds the issue.

    “This was not the only circumstance of someone writing in Irish not expecting US groups to find out.”

    What are you really trying to say here?

    “US groups got translations”
    Just a point worth noting. In some cases the US movements & Irish language movements overlap. I know a US speaker with fluent Irish.

  • Davros

    The Andytown News has certainly been an advocate for the Irish language community and revival.

    Is it fair to say that it has been an advocate for the discredited politicisation (and linkage to ‘the armed struggle’) of the Irish Language issue?

    for example

    A prominent member of Sinn Féin, who is also an Irish language activist, has been quoted as saying ‘Every word of Irish spoken is like another bullet being fired in the struggle for Irish freedom.’

    An attitude exemplified by the below from an article by Liam O Ruairc on Mairtin O Cadhain.

    His message to the Irish language supporters is that they must become involved in the struggle for national liberation and socialism:
    “Not only should Irish speakers be participant in this war for the Reconquest of Ireland –it is the only thing worth being part of in Ireland- but it is our duty to be its leaders and its guides. If Irish is the steering force of the revolution, in this way, Irish will be one of the most progressive forces in Ireland: that is the same as reviving Irish.”
    Mairtin O Cadhain is one of the few revolutionaries who really understood the value and importance of culture and language in the fight for freedom (or “national liberation as a factor of culture” as Amilcar Cabral would have put it). He illustrates at its best the socialist position on the revival of Irish. That his work has been neglected for so long is simply scandalous.

  • fair_deal

    Maca

    1. I’d prefer if OC had the balls to answer for himself unless you are one and the same.
    2. “What am I trying to say?” Simple some irish language groups and activists were duplicitious in their dealings with US groups. They would say nice things in meetings even in the media but then write vicious attacks in irish language papers or magazines or use pseudonyms.
    3. The Andytown news contains articles in irish. If I remember correctly it is part of Forbairt Feirste an organisation promoting Irish through business. It has editorialised in support of the Irish language. It includes many news artciles about ongoing development in the Irish language community. La is part of the Andersonstown News group. I think this is sufficient to consider it part of the irish language community.
    4. Here is what OC actually said “The problem with this business of European Regulations”, “After all the British Government signed up to Part 3 of the European Charter for Minority Languages” and “When the EU committee of experts evaluated how this [the Charter] had been implemented”. I am twisting nothing. He made a persistent misrepresentation of the situation and when challenged has failed to respond or withdraw.

    Davros

    The bullet quote I believe was by Martin O’Muillieor. Now the head of the Andersonstown News Group.

  • Davros

    Ah, Thanks fair_deal. I’ll make a note of that.

  • maca

    Fair deal

    1. Well I can answer too as it’s a subject I find interesting.
    2. Fair enough. An unfortunate situation that both ‘languages’ are used as weapons in their respective communities thus alienating supporters from the other communities. Belfast Protestant support for Irish is a good example.
    3. Fair enough, as I said I am not familiar with the AN.
    4. Don’t ignore OC’s 02:54 PM where he admits confusion of the two.

  • fair_deal

    Maca

    Fair does didnt see the 2.54 one and it seems he confused me with IDM. He still has the other two to reposnd to though.

  • idunnomeself

    OC:

    ‘..the point is that the British Government have the charter and the response of the experts was as stated above.. They have an obligation under the charter’

    You don’t want to overplay the obligation though. The ComEx assess the UK against what they have undertaken to do- they could rightfully say that the support of Foinse and other periodicals fulfils the obligation, or just de-ratify that paragraph. Nor doe the Charter have any say in domestic law, and the GFA commitments are far far weaker than the Charter ones.

    Having said all that the EU rules DO NOT rule out state (note ROI& NI) support of Lá and cultural interventions such as this one are quite usual and legal. Foras na Gaeilge made the decision to fund Lá and I doubt they are especially concerned with what Lady Sylvia or Lord Laird think.

    So, when all the smoke and mirrors in this thread is cleared, the central unanswered question is why are Lá trying to spin this this way?

  • willowfield

    They’re probably being used by PSF to keep the anti-unionist spin going.

  • D’Oracle

    No time to read the 95 comments above but if this story is as reported, I for one am outraged. If catfarting about with Irish culture-haters is going to mean everthing that Irish people hold dear has to be dumped as part of a pathetic vain effort to get a bit of civility then its time for all good Irish men to join Fine Gael (as in -Ireland =26 counties!)

    Goodnight all!

  • maca

    IDM
    You saw Lairds comments in the other thread. How much spin is needed? 😉

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Fair Deal – are you out there?
    I was away for a few days and only now am seeing your questions:

    I think I”ve adequately answered the point about the Council of Europe and the EU. The fact is that there were commitments made to sign up to Part 3 of the Charter with respect to Irish and this was done. So it should have some standing.

    In terms of the ‘where there’s adequate demand’ there’s no mention of that particular clause in relation to the commitment made on supporting an Irish language newspaper. This is the text of the commitment made and the text of the assessment made by the Committee of Experts of the implementation of that commitment in the context of Lá being supported.

    “e i to encourage and/or facilitate the creation and/or maintenance of at least one newspaper in the regional or minority languages;”

    360. For a number of years, the UK Government funded “Lá”, an Irish-language weekly newspaper published in Northern Ireland. It is now funded by Foras na Gaeilge to a level of £115 000 per year. ‘Lᒠhas since become a daily newspaper (5 times a week), and has applied for increased public support to sustain this expansion. Foras na Gaeilge also funds another weekly newspaper, “Foinse”, published in Ireland. Both newspapers are distributed in both parts of the island of Ireland. At least one English-language newspaper (‘Irish News’) has applied for funding for a weekly supplement in Irish.

    361. The Committee of Experts underlines the necessity of public funding in order to maintain a newspaper in Irish in Northern Ireland and considers the undertaking fulfilled.

    In terms of attacks on the Ulster Scots communities which you allege I think you are missing the point. There have been no attacks on genuine Ulster Scots speakers or those involved in development of the language – in fact Lá has written several articles about the Ulster Scots language community and its travails with government. However there have been attacks on funding by the Ulster Scots Agency of loyalist bands and of this attempt to portray the language as a mere subset of Orange Culture which it’s not. The newspaper once called in an editorial for the resignation of Lord Laird when he echoed comments made by Trimble about the ‘sectarian, monoethnic etc” state. My recollection of the editorial is that it questioned whether or not a chairman of a cross border body could use his position in such a way to undermine the cross border relationship he was supposed to be promoting. Imagine the outcry if the head of Foras na Gaeilge made similar disparaging comments about the north.

    You would have to imagine it as she had maintained a dignified silence, as has the current chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, in sharp contrast to the ravings of Lord Laird when he was in situ (and since). So perhaps Lord Laird has a personal grudge against Lá which he might be pursuing at present…

  • Davros