Ó m’anamse!

Richard Waghorne got a rocket from someone on work experience in Údarás na Gaeltachta, after he blogged against the retention of compulsory Irish in schools in the Republic. So, just be careful before you send that angry email, what address it has on the bottom!!

  • Rory

    First time I’ve encountered this Wagthorne fellow.Insufferably arrogant. Twice the pomposity of Bernard Levin and very little of the talent. Is he a sort of Richard Littlejohn for the Dublin County set?

    I did feel for the poor guy on work experience and I hope Udaras are more understanding than Wagthorne’s ungracious acceptance of his apology would seem to wish for.

    I am continually amazed as I surf around at the volume of traffic from people happily chatting away while they are at work. I don’t know how any work gets done in offices these days and it tends to erode my former sympathy for the victims of downsizing.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Sáigh suas do thóin é’

    Any translation for this?

    Anyway, compulsory Irish is so last Millennium.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory.. ball, man? Why the confusion?? After all this time???

  • Animus

    I’ve noticed the times on these posts and my, some of you are up early in the morning!

    This young fella will have learned a valuable lesson from his work experience. Everyone should save a draft of flaming emails and let it sit for an hour before firing it off.

    But really, who hasn’t committed a similar offence at some point or another? A friend of mine was forwarding an email to a colleague from a contact who was really doing her head in. And in her haste she hit reply, instead of forward She’s farily diplomatic even when enraged, so I’m sure it wasn’t hateful. Fortunately the contact saw the funny side.

  • Stephen Copeland


    ’Sáigh suas do thóin é’

    You do know what it means, don’t you?

    But for our less linguistically endowed, it means ‘stick it up your arse’ …

  • Rory


    I was only attempting to express the impression that the content of the blog site left upon me and particularly with reference to it’s reception of the apology and it’s possible effects on one of its contributors, who struck me as a bit of an innocent. And given that the blog expresses the personality of the blogger it seemed to be fair to comment upon that.

    However if a narrow interpretation of the rule is to apply I shall avoid mention of Wagthorne in future.

  • Animus

    Rory – it’s not a narrow interpretation. If you want to express your impression why not set up your own blog? The post was not about the innocence (I would call it rashness and naivite, it’s not exactly innocent to tell another person to stick it up their arse) of the poster. It was about what happens when you fire off a nasty email with your workplace address on the bottom.

    Has anyone seen the episode of the Thick of It where a nasty email is fired off using an admin person’s email address and she has to make the formal (televised) apology rather than gormless politician who is actually at fault? Hilarious.

  • smcgiff

    Of course, Stephen,

    I was, er, subtly pointing out to Mick that he left out the most interesting info for the more linguistically challenged!

  • Miss Fitz

    Sorry, but can I ask you to repeat that? If a contributor wants to ‘express an impression’, they have to set up their own blog?

    So, Slugger is then fuelled by non-expressionist posters? Aye right.

    To be fair to Rory, it struck me that he was commenting on the substance of the thread, and it fairly natural for any of us to do that. I think that we all can get a little lazy about the ad hominem rule from time to time, and it does all of us good to be reminded, gently, about it.

  • Rubicon

    Waghorne’s article goes well beyond criticising the retention of compulsory Irish.

    His reasons are a pejorative judgement of the language’s value that he postulates can inhibit the understanding of Irish history and culture. As to Irish culture, his view is one disdain as seen in his statements regarding Irish music where he writes it cannot, “be taken as much of a contribution to Western arts … is characterised by the primitive harmonic and melodic structures characteristic of peasant music from here to India” and then concludes it to be “artistically barren”.

    Waghorne’s view brings the arguments against compulsory Irish in to disrepute and was bound to cause offence. Having said that, Ultan’s response is typical of many southerners whose concept of Irish identity is the singular celtic one that affords no room in Ireland for an ethnically diverse population.

    Ultan was a fool to use his work email and it was most certainly an abuse of his employer. I’d be more concerned that he reflected on his exclusive definition of Irishness than how he decides to express it in future.

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    An interesting question would be why Richard got in contact with Udaras. Seeing as Ultan is a part time worker there and must presumably have just signed his name, I’m guessing Richard figured it was from Udaras purely from the address. In that context he should have figured what it was. A personal contribution from someone who just happened to work there. I thought it was a bit petty to drop the guy in it like that. On the other hand the two E-mails are pretty funny.

    On a kind of a pointless note although smcgiff is right in saying that “saigh suas do thoin e” means what he says it means. But it is interesting to note that saigh directly translates as “stab”…..

  • smcgiff

    ‘although smcgiff is right in saying that’

    Thanks. Stephen kinda helped too! 🙂

  • Hurler on the Ditch


    not sure if it was “an abuse of his employer” I think you’re closer to the mark when you say Ultan was a fool to do it.

    Good points on the Waghorns views on Gaelic culture though. You’re also right about the Southern attitude but I’d say there are two camps. Those who see only Gaelic culture as being Irish and those who take waghorns view. About time both sides opened their minds a bit and realised that “Irish culture” covers everything from Trad music to the lambeg!

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    Ha! sorry bout that smcgiff (and Stephen). It was just me being anal anyway (corny I know).

  • Animus

    Miss Fitz

    Rory offered an opinion of the man, not the opinion of his comments. If you want to post snipey remarks of a personal nature, Slugger is not the place, that’s all I’m saying. Personally, I disagree with the tone of Wagthorne’s piece but stick to attacking the opinion, not the person. I’m not saying that Slugger is fuelled by non-expressionist posters, but we all know it’s bad form to make personal attacks, rather than the substance of the opinion. And for Rory to feign ignorance or see that as a narrow interpretation is a bit disingenous.

  • Mick Fealty


    “I was only attempting to express the impression that the content of the blog site left upon me and particularly with reference to it’s reception of the apology and it’s possible effects on one of its contributors, who struck me as a bit of an innocent. And given that the blog expresses the personality of the blogger it seemed to be fair to comment upon that”.

    Maybe. Though if you actually had said half of this I might have let it pass unremarked upon. WRather it was a flagrant tackle of the man and a breach of the commenting guides. If you can’t separate content from the person making the remarks, then you may have a great career ahead of you (or behind you?) in politics. 😉

    But not on Slugger!

  • Rory

    I did not offer an opinion of the man, Animus. I have never met the man. Know nothing of him and, as I have said, had never encountered his work before this blog. In any case it is not an opinion of the man it is my opinion of the stylistic content of his blog site and the persona of the virtual character is indistinguishable from that style and content.

    If I make a wry comment on “Miss Fitz” on her blog, as I have done, she has the good grace to recognise that I am not commenting on her private self, but rather on a virtual persona that is a creation of her blog.

    I sure trust that readers of my contributions do not mistake my relationship with my lovely wife with the character of Herself who often crops up, otherwise I most surely would feel the rap of the wooden spoon round me lugs.

  • Animus

    “Insufferably arrogant. Twice the pomposity of Bernard Levin and very little of the talent.”

    Pardon me if that sounds personal but if you said it about me, I would take it personally, not think you were talking about the content of my contribution. One rarely talks about a contribution having talent, but a person. This is pedantic, and since I don’t moderate Slugger, I should probably keep my gob shut. We may have to agree to disagree Rory.

  • páid

    Údarás – Tabhair post-bhuan don fear sin. Tá creideamh aige, is níl sé ite leis an ciniceas – go fóill ar aon chaoi.

  • Waghorne’s piece is completely ignorant; it’s obvious he doesn’t like the language and has decided that no one else does either… take for example his statement that there is no good literary works in Irish; as a fellow blogger pointed out he can only make that assumption when he has read every book, and even at that point the assersion is a matter of opinion.

    His blog does not allow comments, and he has failed to respond to a number of other bloggers posts (including my own) which criticise him; I wonder how many well thought out emails he got that he’s not willing to publish alongside the two that are a bit childish?

    He wishes he was Kevin Myers and like that particular troll it’s best not to pay attention.

  • Miss Fitz

    Cén fear an bhfuil tú ag caint faoi? An céad duine, Wagthorne, nó duine eile?

  • Stephen Copeland


    Problem is that Údarás is just a local authority, not really a ‘campaigning’ organisation. I think ár gcara Ultan would be better suited to Foras na Gaeilge or one of the more specialised bodies: gaelscioleanna b’fhéidir?

  • mick de dublin anarchist

    It’s ridiculously low behaviour to write provocative blog posts and when you receive the predictable enraged responses to go running to their employers.

    I mean the email from the dude in Udaras was nothing out of the ordinary and since waghorne does not allow comments on his blog (too many people were making fun of him), sending him emails is to be expected (indeed he solicits emails).

    Whatever you think about Irish, a polemicist blogger who deals with criticism by running to the critic’s boss is exhibiting an appallingly double standard. Waghorne has a job which allows him to blog away, some people don’t. Exploiting this to deal with responses that he doesn’t like is simply appalling.

  • Rory

    But if I said that about the content and style of a blog titled ‘Animus’ I would not be saying it about ‘you’ personally, would I, Animus. I know no other of ‘Richard Wagthorne’ than that it is a blogging site that offers opinions in an arrogant and pompous manner. Indeed the ball was, ‘Richard Wagthorne’, the subject matter of a personally signed piece by Mick Fealty – the man. I have no idea if ‘Richard Wagthorne’ even exists as a real human being and even if the author of the site that holds that name has chosen to name it after himself, no attack on the content of the site named after him can be deemed an attack on him personally. If I had offered similar criticism of the ‘man’ – Mick Fealty in this case, or on any of the contributors thereafter then the application of the rule is valid, including a contribution signed ‘Animus’, ‘Miss Fitz’ or ‘Rory’.

    If I did indeed follow your suggestion and open my own blog site entitled ‘Rory’ am I to expect only contributions in the following vein:

    “Although I have observed Rory waddling around Rory Park and quacking and occassionally swimming in Rory Park and diving for morsels of bread thrown by kind old ladies and gentlemen, I am at pains to pont out that in no way is this to suggest that in any way Rory should ever be mistaken for a duck” ?

  • Animus

    I see your point, Rory, but I still disagree. Presumably you wouldn’t consider it kosher to make comments about a journo. Blogging isn’t the same as journalism per se, but it isn’t about a fictional persona either. I always think that someone is writing as themselves first, unless I have evidence to the contrary. I don’t assume that it’s a person first and wait to be corrected.

    If you say that Animus writes fatuous, pedantic and faintly ludicrous posts, I think that’s above board. If you say I am pompous and have no talent, it’s a different story. Quack, quack.

  • páid


    Tagraím do Ultan, ach é sin ráite, is léir go bhfuil creideamh áirithe ag An tUasal Wagthorne feasta!


    glacaim do phointe, and it goes to the heart of the question “What is the Údarás for?”
    It’s role overlaps with that of a Development Agency, Local Authority and the IDA.

    Oh, and it’s board is (mostly) elected to boot.

    While it has been in existence (it’s forerunners were Gaeltarra Éireann (don’t ask) and, creid nó nar chreid, the British “Congested Districts Board” the usage of the Irish language in the Gaeltacht has declined. Money has been spent on providing jobs in factories where virtually every activity was done in English.

    Grand and all, but the IDA could have done that, and probably more efficiently.

    There is new leadership in the Údarás though, and things are improving IMHO; though there are still elected members who, in their own private words, don’t give a foc about the Irish language.

    I feel Ultan was a bit “ein reich, ein volk” in his comments, but I’m prepared to give the lad a chance, having dealt with a minority of cynical, small-minded but an-fhlúirseach Údarás employees in the past.

    Agus duine ar bith nar scríobh e-phost feargach agus aiféal ort in a dhiadh, caith cloch anois.

  • In ainm Dé na bhflaitheas. Cad a tharlódh d’Ultan n’fheadar dá mba fostai buan é don Údarás. The implications of this nonsense are crazy. The gloating of a Belfield pseudo in his victory which secured the sacking of a passionate young man who may have overstepped in his enthusiasm is nauseating. The objections to compulsory Irish are based on precious little evidence-show me the country which abolished a language as compulsory and succeeded in reviving it as a result!
    Súil le Dia agam go ndéanann Ultan achainni don Údarás chun a phost agus a dhea-ainm a fháil ar ais. Don Uasal Waghorne, má tá rud éigin agat le shá isteach i do bhéal, tabhair sos dúinn ar fad-maith an fear.