Irish in court case only one in ten years

There is currently a case before Belfast magistrates court in which there has been application for use of the Irish language. It is currently subject to legal submission. It also seems to have piqued the interest of Iris Robinson in the Commons:

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many requests for court cases in Northern Ireland to be heard in the Irish language there have been in each of the last 10 years. [89257]

Bridget Prentice: Between the years 1996 to 2005 there is no record of any request for a court case in Northern Ireland to be heard in the Irish Language.

,

  • Ulick

    Obviously northern Gaels are a law abiding people.

  • Martin

    I can’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be introduced an equivalent of the Welsh Language Scheme which is run by HMCS in Wales (and Cheshire strangely)

    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/5246.htm

    Section 22(1) of the Welsh Language Act 1993 provides that:

    “In any legal proceedings in Wales the Welsh language may be spoken by any party, witness or other person who desires to use it, subject in the case of proceedings in a court other than a Magistrates’ Court to such prior notice as may be required by rules of court; and any necessary provision for interpretation shall be made accordingly.”

    It may not be practicable for the whole of the proceedings to be conducted in Irish but certainly necessary provision for translation should be provided.

  • fair_deal

    “Considering the European Charter, considering the Good Friday Agreement and considering the Criminal Justice Review she should now be able to get her papers from the prosecution service in the Irish language,”

    As I said before either Bairbre de Brun doesn’t know what she is talking about or she is making deliberately false claims.

    Info

    The agreement contains no specific commitment either:

    4. In the context of active consideration currently being given to the UK signing the Council of Europe Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it:

    take resolute action to promote the language;

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

    seek to remove, where possible, restrictions which would discourage or work against the maintenance or development of the language;

    make provision for liaising with the Irish language community, representing their views to public authorities and investigating complaints;

    place a statutory duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate Irish medium education in line with current provision for integrated education;

    explore urgently with the relevant British authorities, and in co-operation with the Irish broadcasting authorities, the scope for achieving more widespread availability of Teilifis na Gaeilige in Northern Ireland;

    seek more effective ways to encourage and provide financial support for Irish language film and television production in Northern Ireland; and

    encourage the parties to secure agreement that this commitment will be sustained by a new Assembly in a way which takes account of the desires and sensitivities of the community.

  • Crataegus

    How do you select the Jury?

  • Rory

    This reminds me of an interesting case in the 1960’s when a small Falls Road manufacturer of motor vehicle exhaust systems applied for exemption from excise duty on exports of his products to the Republic citing a then recent announcement by Sean Lemass, in his detente mode, that such exemption would apply to any goods manufactured anywhere on the island of Ireland.

    He was frustrated however by the usual protective reluctance of Irish Customs civil servants, ever zealous to safeguard their revenue, and all sorts of bureaucratic hurdles were placed in his way.

    He eventually got a hearing to plead his case before the Customs commissioners and this is when his true genius manifested itself. The Irish language is as we know enshrined in the constitution as the first language of Ireland and all citizens have an absolute right to have their case conducted in Irish. So it was that our bold fellow, an ardent Falls Road fainne sporting gaeltacht man insisted on conducting his appeal, according to his constitutional right as an Irish citizen, in the first language of his country.

    The commissioners however were not such ardent practitioners of their own first language and begged with him to desist which he would not. Rather than go public with their embarrassment they simply capitulated and he was from then on able to export to the Republic without the burden of the then 33 and 1/3% duty that was levied on his British mainly competitors.

  • Alan

    “She should be able to use Irish in the proceedings and that is what we want.”

    Quite right, too!

  • Dec

    “Considering the European Charter, considering the Good Friday Agreement and considering the Criminal Justice Review she should now be able to get her papers from the prosecution service in the Irish language”

    As I said before either Bairbre de Brun doesn’t know what she is talking about or she is making deliberately false claims.

    And you’re refuting her claims solely on the contents of the GFA.

    From the recommendations of the Criminal Justice Review (pdf):

    We recommend that consideration of the use of the Irish language in courts be taken forward
    in the wider context of the development of policy on the use of Irish in public life generally.

    As for the European Charter:

    Article 9 – Judicial authorities

    1 The Parties undertake, in respect of those judicial districts in which the number of residents using the regional or minority languages justifies the measures specified below, according to the situation of each of these languages and on condition that the use of the facilities afforded by the present paragraph is not considered by the judge to hamper the proper administration of justice:

    a in criminal proceedings:

    i to provide that the courts, at the request of one of the parties, shall conduct the proceedings in the regional or minority languages; and/or

    ii to guarantee the accused the right to use his/her regional or minority language; and/or

    iii to provide that requests and evidence, whether written or oral, shall not be considered inadmissible solely because they are formulated in a regional or minority language; and/or

    iv to produce, on request, documents connected with legal proceedings in the relevant regional or minority language,

    if necessary by the use of interpreters and translations involving no extra expense for the persons concerned;

  • idunnomeself

    Martin
    ‘I can’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be introduced an equivalent of the Welsh Language Scheme which is run by HMCS in Wales (and Cheshire strangely)’

    it is illlegal to use any language other than English in court in Northern Irish under the 1737 (Admin of Justice) Act

    that’s a pretty good reason!

    Dec the UK Government hasn’t signed up to Article 9 of the Charter, it doesn’t apply, and Fair_Deal is right- BdB doesn’t know what she is talking about

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´it is illlegal to use any language other than English in court in Northern Irish under the 1737 (Admin of Justice) Act ´´

    If that´s true the law should be changed.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    “you’re refuting her claims solely on the contents of the GFA.”

    Wrong I provided the link in my post for a reason Dec. Follow it and you get the full explanation about the CRJ and Charter

  • Martin

    ´´it is illlegal to use any language other than English in court in Northern Irish under the 1737 (Admin of Justice) Act ´´

    That was probably true of Wales before the Welsh Language Act. From a practical perepective a scheme similar to that in Wales can be said up, from a political perspective it should be set up and if the 1737 Act is the only thing standing in the way then it should, as have most other Parliamentary Acts from the 18th century, be repealed. It’s a sensible way forward which no-one in Wales has any problems with, be they Tory English Immigrant or Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru voter.

  • fair_deal

    Martin

    What is being demanded is not the right to speak the language as is provided for in your Welsh example but but “to have all court proceedings in Irish.”

    Also there is no need for legislation, if the government wants they just sign up to the relevant paragraph of the Charter.

  • idunnomeself

    fair_deal

    The 1737 Act would have to be repealed, probably also replaced, a scheme set up and then (bits of) Article 9 signed to reflect the new situation

  • fair_deal

    idm

    Was that not repealed, there have been trials were other langueages and translators have been used in NI courts?

  • páid

    I find the vast majority of contemporary Ulster, and indeed Irish Unionists, spend a lot of time defending the suppression of the Irish language.

    It is a mistake not made to the same degree by their political ancestors, or their Unionist cousins in Scotland and Wales.

    union, nation, country, language. Worth thinking through carefully.

  • darth rumsfeld

    pid
    we’re not remotely bothered in suppressing the Irish language- but we’re not stupid enough to see the squillions wasted in trying to self-ghettoise the nationalist community by some of the loonier language protagonists. Who seriously believes the nonsensical basis of this application? This woman can speak and understand English perfectly well- even in the darkest recesses of the Gaeltacht of..er, Dunmurry she has to buy her lotto tickets in the corner shop, watch a substantial part of TG4’s output in English, talk to the parents of her class in English at parents’ nights, negotiate road traffic signs on the Westlink in English. She’s not a Latvian immigrant who can only say about 3 words in English

    and many cases are consucted in English with the language of the defendant or witness being translated by an interpretor, with no need whatever for all papers being translated into the defedants’ language.

    Go to any court, and in the piles of customer service leaflets there are 2 bundles always completely untouched- that’s right, the guides to courts in Irish and Ulster Scots.

  • Dec

    F-D

    Apologies, missed the link.

    However, claiming that … Bairbre de Brun doesn’t know what she is talking about or she is making deliberately false claims. is way over the top. She is clearly making a general point about the rights of Irish speakers regarding legal proceedings in regards to the European Charter and the recommendations of the Criminal review Board and not a legal judgement.

  • páid

    Darth,

    it isn’t a nationalist self-ghettoising issue. The vast majority of nationalists can’t speak Irish. It’s a language issue.

    And understanding English shouldn’t mean you have to use it. Not in Wales, not in Canada, not in South Africa, not in Stornoway, not in Northern Ireland.

    And bundles of guides for courts or any other public service should be printed as per expected demand. But printing logistics and leaflet management isn’t the problem really, is it?

  • POL

    Lets see if the justice system has changed an iota.
    Looking forward to this test case.

  • foreign correspondent

    I agree with PID.
    This is a question of language rights.
    It´s the same process all over again, and not just in English dominated areas.
    First you make sure everyone who speaks the minority language is forced to speak the majority language. Then, when to all practical intents and purposes the language is dead or dying you decrease the pressure, but now you use the argument: Ah but they speak English, French, Spanish etc anyway, so what´s the point of catering to them anyway? Ma ta daoine ag iarraidh Gaeilge a usaid i dTuaisceart EIREANN ba choir go mbeadh cead acu sin a dheanamh.

  • Hmm…

    Nothing wrong with wanting to speak Irish, nor with expecting the state to provide some support for a minority cultural pursuit, but this sort of thing puzzles me: language enthusiasts aren’t in the same boat as Irish speakers in 1737, who really would have been at a disadvantage by having to deal with the courts in English, so what’s the basis of the complaint? Is it really deeply humiliating to have to conduct this sort of business through English? If it were, then it could be argued that there’s a serious question of equal respect here, but if not doesn’t it just look like an expensive taste?

  • darth rumsfeld

    nah, you’re all deliberately stampeding to miss the point and you know it.
    She can conduct her own case in Swahili if she wants to, and even have it translated at the taxpayer’s expense. But she wants all the court papers translated into Irish, even though her lawyers can speak English, and so can she. She seems to want the entire case conducted in Irish, even though none of the prosecution witnesses are fluent- so PC Plod will have a question asked in Irish translated into English for him to answer and then his reply translated back into Irish.The defendant will of course understand every word of the English answer and question.Farcical.

    What language did she use when being processed in the custody suite, asking for her solicitor, or during police interviews? This isn’t a hapless Portugese in Dungannon copshop who needs every assistance, and who could not properly defend himself in a foreign language . This is someone who is at worst bilingual with a political agenda that some of you agree with-as , amazingly enough, does a Sinn Fein MEP-or at least that’s what 99% of people will think

  • suil eile

    Ma ta daoine ag iarraidh Gaeilge a usaid i dTuaisceart EIREANN ba choir go mbeadh cead acu sin a dheanamh.

    cead ó na Sasanaigh i dTuaisceart na hÉireann! Ní dóigh liom é. Tá sé ceart agus cóir an fód a sheasamh sa chás seo. Nach dtuigeann daoine an dóigh ar tháinig an cás seo os comhair na cúirte – mura dtuigeann na peas cad é a bhí sí ag rá cá bhfuil an faisneis go raibh sí ag magadh futhu? Tá mé ag súil go mór leis an chás seo

  • idunnomeself

    fair_deal

    It wasn’t repealed in NI, but was int ehROI and elsewhere in the UK, it is on the statute book, if you want to go and check, i know because i checked it once.

    If someone doesn’t speak English a translator will interpret for them, but if they speak English tehy have to

    Incidentally the 1737 act doesn’t repeal Irish, it says that English is the language of the courts, and its purpose was to stop the use of court-hand and Norman French in courts, and therefore to increase access to justice. Thats why it was brought in in England, its a moot point what the Irish Parliment was up to when they also adopted it.

    Incidentally there are many ‘levels’ of provision that could be made for Irish in courts- from allowing submissions to conducting the whole proceedings in Irish, it’s not a case of one or the other

    And demanding the fullest possible provision may well harm the language revival- which (Foreign Correspondent) is ONLY SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE IT IS BILINGUAL

  • páid

    So.

    The radiators remain off.

    Fine, but don’t complain about disloyalty to the house then.

  • gaelgannáire

    Dear all,

    On a point of information, it is generally understood that the defendant spoke only Irish in the custody suite. The reason for this is simply a matter of courage in my view although the cases of Ó Fiaich and Ó Canainn (both in the eighties) probably would put the average Gael off seeking their linguistic rights especially if you are really trying to avoid the publicity. That will not be as easy from now on if one is to keep face in the community.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    Fair enough. As to the interpretation of de Brun we will agree to differ. I think she was deliberately playing on the ignorance of the average joe journalist and joe public about the detail of language issues. Why refer to documents to back an argument up when they say no such thing?

    IDM

    Thanks for the update.

  • Crataegus

    This is not a request due to need if it were fair enough, it is a self indulgent waste of money. There are more needy causes.

  • Rory on Oct 11, 2006 @ 12:39 PM wrote ” This reminds me of an interesting case in the 1960’s …”

    Excellent story, one of the best reads on this site in a while. Can you please tell me more or is there a link etc?

    Much appreciated.

  • Rory

    I should be happy to tell you more, Anonymous. If you would like to e-mail me at:

    carr_rory@yahoo.co.uk (why this is not immediately available when one clicks on my signature defeats me. It had been previously.)

    It might also be good if you care to identify yourself.

  • Rory

    Justice, for all its elusiveness, is best served by clarity of understanding of all that is said and, more importantly, heard and clearly understood within any judicial forum.

    Our best efforts might currently be addressed towards ensuring that those who do not have a full understanding of the everyday language of wherever we all happen to live are given every help to benefit from that ideal.

    Republican as I am, I cannot help but think that a demand to have cases conducted in Irish in the NI courts is an exercise in capricious dilettantism and I share for the most part the feelings expressed by Darth Rumsfield on this question.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    I can understand the womans’ anger (taking that it is true) for being arrested for speaking Irish. That is what started the case.

    Outside of that, I would not be in favour of the method being used, as an Language Act for the North will happen soon.

    It comes back to the anger of why she was arrested though.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Having her case through Irish is the main thing she is looking for. Like opponents of much of the translation element of the Official Languages Act in the 26 Counties, opponents of this womans rights sometimes think the tranlsation of documents is, symoblically, the main thing being sought. It ain’t!!!

  • Rory

    Does it not, Darren mac an Phrora, remain that this woman, as any other, not only has a right to address the court in the language of her choosing, whether it be Irish, Polish, the dulcet sweetness of Cullybeckey English or the absence of consonants in most of modern English everyday speech (apart from ‘foreigners’ who tend to manage very well in this regard), but that if she so chooses the court is faced with a fait accompli and that a trustworthy translator must then be supplied in order that the court might best determine the issue.

    I understand the anger and I do feel for her and, if she were my Donegal granny or my bolshie “fuck-you I’m a Paddy” daughter, I might be emotionally moved to take the course of ‘come hell or high water’. But in a forum such as this I am obliged to consider other than emotional indulgence.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    She should have the right to speak to the court in both Irish or English. I’n not really open to the other languages as they aren’t offical languages of the state. Other nationalities who don’t speak good Irish or English of course have a translator, but the whole cases of such people are not through that language.

    General legal documents should of course be supplied in other languages also.

  • POL

    Arrested for speaking Irish,then fair play to her for wanting the case heard and conducted in Irish.If you really want to lay blame then lay it with the psni.Bout time these neandethals were brought to book.Another perfect example of why the Shinners need to get it right on policing.

  • idunnomeself

    me arse she was arrested for speaking Irish..

    she was drunk and disorderly

    The PSNI all get Irish langauge training nowadays, they’re not going to arrest someone for using it..

  • Sammy

    idunnomeself
    You witnessed the incident in question?
    Please supply us with more information about the arrest.

  • idunnomeself

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/5194744.stm

    can no one look anything up themselves any more?

    Odd offence to make a stand on principle on?

    If you want me to move into rumour, i hear that one of the arresting policeofficers was an Irish speaker, but I can’t substantiate that

  • POL

    If you want me to move into rumour, i hear that one of the arresting policeofficers was an Irish speaker, but I can’t substantiate that.

    Guess its her word against a sectarian police officer.I cant substantiate on that,but its what i heard.LOL 🙂

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I can understand the womans’ anger (taking that it is true) for being arrested for speaking Irish. That is what started the case.”

    If that is correct then she certainly may have a case- and she would also be entitled to complain if she was not accorded the courtesy of her proper name being used (se David McClarty’s crass “Barbara Brown” comments on other threads).

    But she can still make that case in Irish without forcing it on everyone else in the proceedings- Rory is spot in, and incidentally will achieve greater acceptance of the Irish language than the strident protests outside the RCJ from the would be martyrs on Tuesday

  • darth rumsfeld

    Incidentally, if I were in Paris, and the polis pulled me over for whatever reason, and I could speak fluent French, but insisted in speaking in English in answer to every question, might I not be accused of displaying a certain recklessness, if not bad manners? I could hardly complain if i had to kick my heels in a cell as a translator was found, in spite of me knowing the French language perfectly well.

    If this lady was indeed linguistically handicapped as many Poles etc over here are, might she not have been able to stumble out a few words of Anglo-Saxon along the lines of “me no speaka da English” and our sensitivity trained PSNI could then have pointed to her the Irish language notices in the copshop , and arranged a translator, as they are obliged to do?

  • POL

    Darth

    wasnt aware there was Irish language signs in police stations.Seen all types of language greetings but not Irish.

  • Davy McFaul

    “Me arse she was arrested for speaking Irish, she was drunk and disorderly”

    Perhaps you were there IDM, where does it say in the report that she was drunk?

  • m

    Maybe the nitpickers on this thread, especially those involved in the website, should remove the false allegations about the charges?

    This error is being repeated on many discussion sites. Is it a deliberate attempt to slur the defendant? Or are people coincidently making the same mistake and firing about false allegations on multiple websites?

    Regardless it is the publication of lies about ongoing legal proceedings.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “wasnt aware there was Irish language signs in police stations.Seen all types of language greetings but not Irish. ”

    In every single foyer, and in every single custody suite- alongside the Polish, Urdu, and (sigh) Ulster Scots greetings. perhaps the next Friday night I have a few too many Arthurs I’ll insist on a Ulster Scot interpretor to hold me hand when I’m being processed by the custody sergeant “Naw Ah hae nae need o’ the polis dawctor”

  • barnshee

    Pissed arsehole arrested for D&D – tries to muddy water and avoid court case,fine etc by whinging in Irish. Provide tranlations interpreters etc as required- add all to court costs proceed with case –sit back and smile

    You could not make it up

  • OIlibhear Chromaill

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, that such intolerance is displayed by the British towards a language which, if they wanted to be inclusive about it, is a ‘British’ language. It’s after all an idigenous language in the north, which is part of the UK. So why the resistance to it?

    I think, also, that there have been other applications for cases to be heard as Gaeilge but not one has been able to use the ECRML or the GFA till now.

    It’s an acid test for the tolerance of the System of Justice in the north – can it accomodate diversity or not? If not, then it’s a lesser justice system than the one which obtains in other parts of the world… or the UK for that matter.

    Why the patent opposition from Fair Deal to the application? Will it dilute the “Britishness” of the justice system here to have a case in Irish any more than it has been diluted by the removal of the royal crest?

    A fundamental precept of any justice system is that all are equal before it – Irish speakers included. If we’re prepared to use the justice system, which we suspect to be biased against us incidentally, and as Irish is recognised as an official language in the north, given its inclusion in the Good Friday Agreement, where the commitment is made along these lines;

    the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it:

    take resolute action to promote the language;

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

    seek to remove, where possible, restrictions which would discourage or work against the maintenance or development of the language;

    It’s not complicated, Fair Deal, there it is in English; Facilitate the use of Irish in public, where there is appropriate demand, remove restrictions etc.

    Do you have a problem understanding English now as well as Irish?

    Or is just that you don’t understand the concepts of diversity and mutual respect?

  • idunnomeself

    OC
    It is a continual disappointment to me that you insist in viewing the Irish language as belonging to the Nationalist tradition and assuming that anyone who argues with you over its promotion is motivated by spiteful ethnic concerns

    The key part of the GFA that you quoted is ‘where there is appropriate demand’

    The Parliamentary Question at the start of the thread may shed some light on this- is one requet in ten years really ‘appropriate demand’

    And will it do the promotion of Irish harm or good to put in place systems in our court service costing tens of thousands of pounds when they will hardly be used?

    Would you not rather the money was spent on, say, training Irish medium secondary school teachers?

    Do you not think it would help make more friends for the Irish language among the 90% of the taxpayers who do not speak Irish if your demands seemed to them sensible and proportionate?

    After all you want them to pay for all this, don’t you?
    ________________________
    M
    Where are the false allegations about the charges? there are no allegations about the charges charges on this thread at all. There are charges, surely that is indisputable. No one has suggested what they relate to (do you know? can you tell us?)

  • m

    idunnomyself,

    The false allegations related to being charged with drunkenness and being a ‘Pissed arsehole’. Both lies.

    The people making them are known as liars.

    The people hosting the comments could be known as the accused.

    I hope Marie gets a copy of the slurs as they may be useful in jury selection and ascertaining if she can have a fair trial when malicious lies are being circulated about her. She could even make a few quid.

  • Richard James

    A nice little mope you had there Oilibhear but you are more likely to find that Irish isn’t used in the courts as it would be expensive and serve no practical purpose.

    Of course there is the small possibility you are right and that “intolerant” Brits find Irish intolerably grating on the ear and resist having it in courts lest it spark a revival of that language.

    If you are worried that you won’t recieve equal justice in a court, let me put your mind at ease, there are no harsher sentences for being able to speak Irish.

    As for the justice system in other parts of the UK or the world, you will find that are as equally unaccomodating of dead languages as our ‘lesser’ one. If you were tried in Scotland then proceedings wouldn’t be carried out in Pict, Cornish in Cornwall or Gaulish in France.

  • idunnoemself

    M
    Will she get a jury trial for being charged with disorderly behaviour?

    I thought she’d be up in front of a magistrate at most? perhaps I am wrong

    You do know that a defence team don’t get to question potential jurors here anyway? You also must know that your posturing on this thread serves little purpose- the lady in question will be tried on whether or not she was disorderly and if she is found guilty she’ll get some sort of minor punishment or discharge.

    If you want to pursue this, do you know she wasn’t pissed? Do you know this is a lie? Where you there? Do you even know where ‘there’ was?

  • Darren Mac an Phríora
  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    On second thoughts, I shouldn’t have bothered.

  • m

    Idunnomyself,

    I know those who accuse her of being charged with drunkenness are telling lies.

    I have no interest in getting involved in a debate on the substance when the poster starts their arguments with deceit.

    Have a nice day.

  • idunnomeself

    M
    does repeatition make it true?

    Darren
    Good point, Richard it isn’t dead and if you’ve never heard Irish being spoken it’s because you have a limited exposure to what is going on in NI society. Rather Irish is alive and kicking here, with a healthy and vibrant group of bi-lingual speakers.

    OC
    Richard’s post (written at the same time as mine) shows what happens if Irish language enthusiasts demand expensive measures which will hardly be used- they create opposition from people who might otherwise be passively supportive of Irish

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    OC
    Richard’s post (written at the same time as mine) shows what happens if Irish language enthusiasts demand expensive measures which will hardly be used- they create opposition from people who might otherwise be passively supportive of Irish

    I don’t believe you for a minute, IDM, as the track record of those with an antipathy to Irish is that they are normally ignorant of the language or just plain ignorant. It’s down to this, the British justice system guarantees equality or it doesn’t. it respects diversity, to the point of accomodating a living language, with 161,000 speakers according to the UK census, or it doesn’t.

    On top of that, this is the outworking of the commitments freely entered into by the British while negotiating the Good Friday Agreement. Now if they want to resile from that agreement, and not ‘actively promote Irish’, and not ‘remove obstructions’, then they should say so and they will expose their lack of good faith regarding the negotiation of an internationally binding agreement.

    It’s nothing to do with bolshie Irish speakers putting the system to expense for ‘frivolous’ reasons but everything to do with demanding rights as Irish speakers which we would be entitled to in other parts of Ireland, and rights as indigenous language spakers to which we would also be entitled in other parts of the UK.

    Strangely the UK authorities have a blind spot in relation to Irish in this part of Ireland/the UK.

    One wonders why….

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    ,you are more likely to find that Irish isn’t used in the courts as it would be expensive and serve no practical purpose.

    Shudder the thought that the UK justice system would be put to expense so as people could assert their rights as UK citizens, as is done in Wales with Welsh speakers…..

    Perhaps all future assertions of rights should be put to the same test?

    And, by the way, what evidence do you have that it would be expensive? Has it been costed? Unless you can provide me with a costing, you should not make assertions which you can’t sustain with verifiable evidence.

  • OC: I think you’re wrong in attributing motives to those who think it’s a waste of effort and money for a court to operate in a language it does not understand, rather than one that everyone involved knows.

    I’ve spent a little time picking up a couple of words of the auld gaeilge myself, and I think that the accused is simply trying it on. There are far better things to spend money on – like maybe paying for our water supply or health service.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    It would be wrong to look at this issue, similar to the issue of Irish being required for the L. Cert in the South, of one of Irish speakers versus the British establishment/West Brits. The support is there for the Irish language in every sector in Ireland, including a large number of the Unionist (if only UUP Alliance voters) community.

    I would have disagreed with the method being used, as I said, but it has to be taken in the context of the anger of being arrested for speaking Irish.

    I don’t think any of us should comment on whether the allegation is genuine or not. Anyone with any evidence, both for and against, should supply them here. I’d particularly like to hear about one of the PSNI officers who arrested her, and who was an Irish speaker!!!

  • willowfield

    MARTIN

    I can’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be introduced an equivalent of the Welsh Language Scheme which is run by HMCS in Wales (and Cheshire strangely)

    How about the fact that in Wales there are many genuine Welsh-speakers, whereas in NI there are no genuine Gaelic-speakers?

    IDUNNOMESELF

    it is illlegal to use any language other than English in court in Northern Irish under the 1737 (Admin of Justice) Act

    How come people use Polish, Portuguese, etc., then?

  • Interesting. The rights of citizens of NI to employ an officially recognised language in legal proceedings should be forfeit on the basis of cost.

    I assume this new found respect for fiscal responsibility will likewise apply to the rights of unionists to coat trail through nationalist areas and the concomitant waste of money on security force operations.

    We all know what the real argument here is. If irish speakers successfully exercise their rights to conduct their legal defence through irish then that will be one more step towards harmonisation with Ireland’s legal system. One more step away from unionist hegemony in the occupied counties. One less barrier to re-unification. It’s the same process that brought us from the Free State to the Republic.

    Watch this case closely unionists. The british legal system in the north WILL uphold the rights of irish speakers and you know why? Because the british government has already decided that re-unification is the right way to go. It has said as much to the Irish govt and every action it’s taken in NI since the GFA bears that process out. Although unionists cannot face it, they know it and are howling in useless frustration. Unionism is finished in Ireland. The only open question is when they will acknowledge that reality.

  • willowfield

    RPBERT KEOGH

    The rights of citizens of NI to employ an officially recognised language in legal proceedings should be forfeit on the basis of cost.

    A nonsensical statement. Gaelic is not “an officially recognised language in legal proceedings”, therefore how could it be “forfeit”?

    We all know what the real argument here is. If irish speakers successfully exercise their rights to conduct their legal defence through irish then that will be one more step towards harmonisation with Ireland’s legal system.

    What rights?

    Watch this case closely unionists. The british legal system in the north WILL uphold the rights of irish speakers and you know why?

    What rights?

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    “How about the fact that in Wales there are many genuine Welsh-speakers, whereas in NI there are no genuine Gaelic-speakers?”

    Are bilingual Irish speakers not genuine Irish speakers? Also, there are people in NI whose first language is Irish e.g Bríd Rogers.

  • willowfield

    No. The vast majority are English-speakers who have elected to learn Gaelic as a second language.

    Granted, there may literally be a handful of people who speak Gaelic as a first language. In Wales there are thousands who are genuine Welsh-speakers.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Its fair to say that there are thousands of people from the Gaeltacht (of all ages- even if they are mostly adults) living in the 6 counties.

    Also, Marie Nic an Bhairds’ first language is Irish. I have never been on Bóthar Seoighe/the Shaws Road in Belfast, but I believe its a Gaeltacht.

    I also read an article in the book ‘Who Needs Irish?’ from a man who is raising his daughter through Irish there.

    I am sure the organisation Comhluadar are in the North as well.

    http://www.comhluadar.ie

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Unfortunately, most Irish speakers- whether they be in the Gaeltacht or anyone else- are not Irish langauge activists. Must because most are not in Irish language organisations does not mean they do not exist.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    I’m writing this post as I record a programme to be broadcast on Friday night for Raidio Failte 107.1FM, the Belfast based Irish language radio station. Incidentally this station has a community radio licence. It’s interesting isn’t it that Willowfield believes there are no ‘genuine Irish speakers’ in the north – yet, OFCOM, who granted the licence, know the contrary to be true. The same applies to all those officially recognised primary schools and secondary schools in the north, that seems to point up the fact that the educational authorities also believe there are ‘genuine Irish speakers’ in the north – yet Willowfield sticks by his fallacy? – and they’re prepared to spend taxpayers money to maintain them.

    All that’s being asked here is that the legal system keeps pace with the rest of the public service.

    Now we know that the authorities aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart – they’re doing it because there’s an ‘appropiate demand’ or else why would they fund it out of the public purse. They’re also doing it because to refuse would be to undermine the contract that should exist between the public and the public service – to spend public funds on services being sought by the public.

    Poor Willowfield and his similarly unenlightened fellow travellers, they think that because one person asserts the right to use an offiically recognised language in the courts, that that language may in time become compulsory! I say that because that’s the only reason I can think of for this steadfast opposition.

    And his argument about Wales vis a vis the North is so risible. It’s actually self defeating as it points up the enhanced rights enjoyed by citizens of the UK in another part of the UK that are being denied here – which goes to show the North is less a part of the UK than Wales.

    I’m a fully fledged republican but,pending reunification, I will campaign unceasingly in order to get the same rights as other UK citizens in this part of the UK. This includes full rights as a UK language for the Irish language. If Willowfield and his fellow travellers have any sense he will get on this particular unionist bandwagon….but then again that presumes he has sense and understands logic.

  • willowfield

    Poor Willowfield and his similarly unenlightened fellow travellers, they think that because one person asserts the right to use an offiically recognised language in the courts, that that language may in time become compulsory!

    I don’t think that for a minute.

    You’re lying.

    I say that because that’s the only reason I can think of for this steadfast opposition.

    I haven’t expressed opposition. Read what people write. Don’t let your prejudices get the better of you.

    And his argument about Wales vis a vis the North is so risible.

    What “argument”? All I did was point out that, in Wales, there are thousands of genuine Welsh speakers. In NI there are hardly any genuine Gaelic speakers.

    I’m a fully fledged republican but,pending reunification, I will campaign unceasingly in order to get the same rights as other UK citizens in this part of the UK.

    What rights? Why can no-one articulate what these rights are?

  • idunnomeself

    Willowfield
    I understand what you mean by ‘genuine’ Irish speakers, but surely if the language of your home, your grandparent’s home and your school is Irish, then you are a native speaker, whatever way you look at it? I don’t think your argument works

    Re Polish in courts, I don’t know the rationale for a fact, but i can think of two ways round it:
    Where two legal principles contradict the judge has to come to a decision about what to do. The need to have evidence given by a non-english speaker, or their right to a fair trial might outweight the 1737 act
    or
    Their words are translated into English outside the court, and it is these words which are used as evidence

    In any case it is extremely rare, and it wouldn’t apply to a bi-lingual speaker of English and Irish

    OC
    I don’t like your argument that Unionists can’t discuss how to maintian and develop Irish, and how you dismiss thier concerns, unless you think it isn’t for them, and therefore that they aren’t really Irish.. but you’re a republican, so you can’t mean that..

    I think you have to take their concerns at face value and debate with them, rather than attribute totally different reasons to them and attack those- its a straw man argument and a bad way to convince anyone of anything.

    If it helps you I know many Unionists who are not ‘anti-Irish’, even if they don’t speak it, but the use of it for political reasons by Sinn Fein and the more lunatic fringes of the ‘language equality now’ types put them off it. I also know many who are anti-Irish for the rreasons you give, but they’d come out and tell you, they wouldn’t pretend they had other concerns!

    If you want a situation here like in Wales you need the majority of the population to be pro-Irish

    Because thats WHY Welsh is used in courts there- because the majority of the population supports Welsh, not because perfidious albion interpreted an international treaty different in one part of the UK than another

  • willowfield is the unionist equivalent of brer rabbit’s tar baby.

  • gaelgannaire

    Willowfield,

    Mac Giolla Chríost (2000) proposes a figure of “functional Irish speakers” numbering 40, 000 to 45, 000 and of body of people commanding a full fluency in the Language numbering 13,000 to 15,000 based on the 1991 census.
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/language/macgiollachriost00.htm
    In addition the following report …
    Department of Finance and Personnel, Policy Planning and Research Unit (PPRU). (1988), The Irish Language in Northern Ireland 2987 – Preliminary Report of a Survey of Knowledge, Interest and Ability. Belfast: PPRU.
    Indicated that in 1987 of Children aged 3-15 years in N. Ireland, 11% of children surveyed had some knowledge of Irish, 24% of those used Irish at home occasionally. 5% of those with an ability in Irish used the language daily in a home setting. If the 1991 census is used as a reference point the following is inferred. Approx. 36,789 children in Northern Ireland have some Irish Language ability. Approx. 8829 of those use Irish occasionally in a home setting. Approx. 1840 of those with an ability in Irish used the language daily in a home setting.

    This figures are now 18 years out of date and there is no indication that this number has fallen, indeed every there is every indication to the contrary, for example there are approx. 3000 kids in IME, there was a couple of hundred in 1987, also the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht has doubled in size since 1987 with many of the families entering their third generation.

    Of course this is a NI office publication – they could be lying!?

    I would recommend the book ‘Belfast an the Irish Language’ if anyone is generally interested in finding out more.

    If you are still convinced that genuine Irish speakers do not exist – too bad, your missing out on a genuine and interesting contribution to life in Ireland.

    As for rights, to me Language Rights are Human rights. I didn’t come to this state, I was born into it. I understand that every right most of us take for granted had to be fought for, we must fight for our linguistic rights as an indigenous community today so that the Gaels of tomorrow will not have to. I expect nothing less than absolute resistance from those who understand their historic duty as a duty to put down those damn natives – this is good, no cause can exist without a worthy opponent.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    ;Poor Willowfield and his similarly unenlightened fellow travellers, they think that because one person asserts the right to use an offiically recognised language in the courts, that that language may in time become compulsory!

    I don’t think that for a minute.

    You’re lying.

    I say that because that’s the only reason I can think of for this steadfast opposition.

    I haven’t expressed opposition. Read what people write

    Exactly, WILLOWFIELD, read what people right. I’m not lying. That’s the only reason I can think of for your opposition.

    If not opposition, misrepresentation. You say first there are “no genuine Irish (I prefer Irish to gaelic) in the north and, then, when you’re proven wrong, absolutely wrong, you say there are hardly any genuine Irish speakers in the north. You’re speaking from a position of ignorance and, possibly, wilful ignorance.

    You need to inform yourself as to the actual position re Irish speakers in the north rather than allowing, dare I say it, your prejudices get the better of you.

    Fair points IDM, but I think you have to realise that Sinn Féin don’t use Irish to score political points as much as they reflect a demand on the ground from Irish speakers. Do you know how many people attend Irish classes throughout Belfast most nights of the week. You’re talking hundreds if not thousands. This is on top of the many who have already got a good level of Irish. Now this is not a lunatic fringe. This is a language community and it needs to feel part of society. You are naturally going to get tension as these people assert these rights in a system which has shown antipathy to the language and its speakers historically. That sets up a conflict from the start and my argument is that it is up to the system to accomodate the Irish language not the Irish language community to accomodate the system.

    Think about it. Who does the Irish language threaten? No-one. How does the system, which should be big enough to accomodate the Irish language and its speakers, make life for the people who maintain it through their taxes etc, by recognising that there is a fair amount of diversity out there and that needs to be accomodated generously.

    Why generously? Because of the historic record which points to the failure to recognise the language. Does the system (legal etc) want to perpetuate a conflict between it and citizens?

    But if the system keeps on its current tack, and unionists maintain their negative attitude (see Blogging from St Andrews for my comments re David McClarty’s snide references to ‘Barbara Brown”), then they’re making a considerable section of the community feel that there’s no space for their identity, Irish speakers in Ireland which will, naturally, drive them into the arms of whichever political party which accurately and articulately presents their position.

    The failure of the system to live up to its commitments in full and quickly is exacerbating the situation. And that’s not the fault of Irish speakers.

    The case of Máire Nic an Bhaird is an acid test for the system – and up to now it hasn’t been up to it.

  • rob

    “willowfield is the unionist equivalent of brer rabbit’s tar baby.”

    Robert Keogh

    Play his balls!!!

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    “see Blogging from St Andrews for my comments re David McClarty’s snide references to ‘Barbara Brown””

    I also posted on that, but I think it was deleted. I also sent an email to them complaining about it.

  • páid

    Richard James states:

    As for the justice system in other parts of the UK or the world, you will find that are as equally unaccomodating of dead languages as our ‘lesser’ one. If you were tried in Scotland then proceedings wouldn’t be carried out in Pict, Cornish in Cornwall or Gaulish in France.

    Páid replies:

    You will find Richard, if you consult a world atlas, that it encompasses considerably more territory than Scotland, Cornwall and France.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Indicated that in 1987 of Children aged 3-15 years in N. Ireland, 11% of children surveyed had some knowledge of Irish, 24% of those used Irish at home occasionally. 5% of those with an ability in Irish used the language daily in a home setting. If the 1991 census is used as a reference point the following is inferred. Approx. 36,789 children in Northern Ireland have some Irish Language ability. Approx. 8829 of those use Irish occasionally in a home setting. Approx. 1840 of those with an ability in Irish used the language daily in a home setting.”

    Yup a classic case of how to manipulate statistics to advance a cause. Of course the Shinners didn’t tell their supporters to claim fluent Irishness to census takers- though if they had it’s still better than shooting them I suppose.I think you’ll find most of the 36789 who had some language ability actually sat staring through the window of their classroom as they were taught a language that they never used again as soon as they dropped the subject-or else they were packed off for a rainy weekend in Donegal to pick up a few phrases; the 8829 who used Irish occasionally – very occasionally I suspect still conversed in Anglo-Saxon for 95% of the time- but maybe recited a wee poem in irish for the granny at Christmas; and the 1840 who used it daily would be embarassed if the actual percentage of their daily irish versus English speech was assessed.

    You see, Irish language activists are just like Welsh, Scottish or any other language activists- you can’t help overplaying your hand because you think it’s necessary to get the state to spend money on a cause that won’t ever grow if it can’t sustain itself.

    You have to exaggerate the demand , and governments the world over buy you off with enough to shut you up- but the most pampered language in the British isles- Irishin the Republic- still is (sadly) dying on its feet. I have no doubt whatsoever that there are very many genuine language enthusiasts but no matter how hard they try they’re not going to create a Gaeltacht on Shaw’s Road or anywhere else here- and the hysteria relating to this court case is another example of how to turn off the neutral or mildly sympathetic

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    If the 1991 census is used

    Why use the 1991 census when the 2001 census is available? Perhaps because the 2001 census idicates a 10% growth in the use of Irish in the north in the intervening decade. …

    Hardly a sign of a language which is dying on its feet Darth.

    There is a Gaeltacht on the Shaws Road – sorry to disappoint you on that score Darth also;. It’s been there for 35 years.

    The ony people overplaying their hand here are you, Darth, Willowfield, and co. Neutral and midlly sympathetic to the Irish language my arse – you have no argument. Every time the truth is pointed out to you, you run away and hide. Witness what happened to Willowfield…..he was challenged on the facts and the logic of his argument and the poor fellow had to go away and lie down.

  • Martin

    Call me niave but I don’t understand the problem. In Wales, if a Plaintiff (or Claimant as they have been called in E&W since ’99) or a Defendant wants to present and conduct his case in Welsh he is entitled to do so. If the other side wishes to conduct proceedings in English then the Government ensures that court submissions are translated there and then and documents are translated in good time.

    A similar exercise in Lord knows how many languages happens at the European Court of Justice, where Irish is an official language, although I am unaware how many arguments before it have been conducted in that languange, all the time.

    This means that translators have to be on hand in every court house and leaflets and standard docs are translated as a matter of course.

    Demand for these proceedings in NI doesn’t appear to be high but that may or may not be due to low levels of confidence in the system by Irish speakers. Fair enoght. Lets talk on a practical basis.

    Adopting something like the Welsh scheme, which I trust all consider to be essentially sound, I estimate means spending about £45k per annum on a translator, and an assistant, plus attendant costs. Lets say £100,000 per annum per court at a generous estimate.

    Put that into the context of the costs of prosecuting one high profile case per year in the criminal courts or the legal fees of one civil claim. Partners in large Belfast Law firms earn twice that – Lord knows what NI QCs are on.

    It is, in the interests of improving cross-community confidence in the judicial system, a small price to pay

  • suil eile

    Nach é an phríomhfhadbh gur gabhadh an bhean óg de bhrí nár mhaith le mo dhuine sna peas an teanga a raibh sí ag labhairt, gur tháinig séisean chuicí sa chéad dul síos. Mura raibh an Ghaeilge aige cad é mar b’eol dó go raibh sí á
    bhaisteachán.
    De réir na nuachtán Irish News agus Daily Ireland:
    Bhí grúpa muinteoirí as a scoil amuigh ar an sráid ag fanacht ar taxi i ndiaidh béile nuair a scairt Máire amach le cara dá cuid a bhí giota suas na sráide. Rith duine de na peas chuici agus dúirt go raibh sí ag ‘calling him names’. D’fhiafraigh sé uirthi an fáth a raibh sí ag caint i ‘leprechaun language’ agus é ag scairteadh amach chun ‘Queens English’ a labhairt. Cuireadh chun stáisiún na bpéas í agus tógadh 12 uaire a chloig í.

    D’inis siad di nach raibh sí i mBÁC agus ba choir gan a bheith ag labhairt ‘ in that Paddy language’. Rud eile, thosaigh duine de na péas ag labhairt i nGaeilge di agus d’iarr sí air bheidh ina aistritheoir, ach dhiúltaigh sé.

    Sin ag tarlú sa bhliain 2006 in Éirinn. Is ceart agus cóir di bogadh ar aghaidh leis agus le gearán chuig an Ombudsman….

  • harlequin

    Hey Suil – I’d get that keyboard fixed looks like its seriously on the blink

    I jest. Still, call that a language? Sure you don’t even have your own word for Ombudsman. What sort of language is that.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Hardly a sign of a language which is dying on its feet Darth.”

    Noone would pretend it was

    “There is a Gaeltacht on the Shaws Road – sorry to disappoint you on that score Darth also;. It’s been there for 35 years.”

    Where? Number 42? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but to pretend there is a little enclave of native speakers on an urban street setting their face against the surrounding culture is just self-delusion. Chinatown it ain’t. Of course there are lot’s of Irish speakers in the area, and for all I know a school, and no doubt the council have been asked to put up Irish street signs.

    But when they walk down the end of the road-out of the “Gaeltacht”, go to the cinema, get a black taxi, watch a match, at Casement,go to Mass, bid on e bay, go to a concert at the Odyssey,for most of the time the inhabitants will happily switch to English as and when required. And there would be none of the standing on one’s dignity for an Irish response as there seems to have been for this young woman when accosted by the police. And that in no way diminishes their entitlement to promote the language

  • idunnomeself

    Darth,

    some good points and some bad ones- on the stats, I don’t see how you can claim that Sinn Fein manipulated the figures when the figures are from a DFP survey? I can’t see how anyone can deny that there is a substantial Irish speaking community now in Belfast, and it is growing

    But I agree that 10% of the population don’t speak Irish fluently, and i think no one would argue with me. If there were 160,000 fluent speakers there would be far greater demand.

    The low demand for use of Irish in courts is probably due to the fact that the Irish revival is a bilingual revival (like the Welsh one), Courts are important, people don’t want to take risks in them, so they will speak English if they can.

    Because of this any provision (which will be expensive Martin) won’t be used much and it will make Irish look bad.

    If the money came from other language budgets it will be removed from programmes which will actually increas the use of Irish, I am sure there are many other things you would rather the money was spent on than a translator sitting staring at a wall in a court service office?

    maybe something more practical?

    Surely?

  • Davy McFaul

    “I jest. Still, call that a language? Sure you don’t even have your own word for Ombudsman. What sort of language is that”

    – Astounding ignorance

    The word “ombudsman” is of Swedish origin. It is the fusion of the word ombud (representative) and man (man). Caio T£lio translated the word as “the one that represents”, but its real meaning is “person with a delegation”. When the function was created in 1809, it received the denomination of “Justitieombudsman” (justice ombudsman).

    By the word’s origin, it would be wrong to form its plural as “ombudsmen”, since it isn’t an English word. The correct form would be “ombudsm„n”. Its feminine form would be “ombudskvinna”, that would be “ombudskvinnor” in the plural form. “Ombudsmen” is used as it is the case in this article. The Folha de S. Paulo makes use of the word “ombudsman” when the function is occupied by a woman.

    http://www.newsombudsmen.org/mendes.html

  • harlequin

    Davy

    “Astounding ignorance”

    You are, of course, correct in pointing to my ignorance.

    Imagine me being so ignorant as to post a flippant comment on a Friday afternoon without expecting someone to actually make the time to google the web in order to discredit my flippant post.

    Actually, maybe your post was meant to be ironic, in which case I take it all back and fair play to you

    Mind you, we all now know the origins of the word Ombudsman (and indeed its plural and femininine forms), and Slugger is a much richer place for that.

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    Darth, your 12.33 post illustrates your lack of information about this topic. There is a well known Gaeltacht on the Shaws Road – comprising 20 or so houses, a school, a preschool, in the vicinity of an Irish language daily newspaper. Your ability to eavesdrop on the conversations of these people once they leave the Shaws Road Gaeltacht and go to places like An Chulturlann (NOT EVERY ONE HAS YOUR LIMITED SOCIAL CIRCLE is questionable to say the least but then again some peoples’ links with GCHQ is not to be underestimated.
    As for your concern for public spending on the Irish language, on programmes which enhance the use of Irish, then don’t worry. If it’s right to use Irish in the courts, expense shouldn’t matter. After all courts are important as you say – therefore if a person should wish to use their native language, an indigenous language in Ireland (and this part of the UK), then it should be no problem. But then again we see that there is a problem – and its fuelled by igorance and cultural opposition. What are people afraid of if Irish is allowed – fancy that someone in Ireland wanting to speak Irish in the courts, what is the world coming to? – in the courts. Surely it illustrates that justice is blind, is prepared to give a fair hearing to someone who is before it, whatever language they use.

    I have advanced arguments here and in previoous posts which run contrary to my republican politics, which acknowledge this part of Ireland as part of the UK, in an effort to frame the debate in terms which Darth and his friends might be able engage with.

    But it seems that ignorance still reigns in some quarters.

  • páid

    Darth says he is neutral or mildly sympathetic to Irish, and I, for one, believe him.

    The problem is, Darth, that the people who study this issue professionally, the sociolinguists, folk who spend their lives tracking language shifts and write PhDs on the difference between a patois and a creole, tell us certain truths.

    As a background, it used to be said, only slightly in jest, that a language was a dialect with an army. Hundreds of the world’s languages are going to die out this century and the linguists tell us that the ones that won’t are those which have legal rights, media, geographical heartlands, an administrative class and a bit more.

    Irish, Scottish and Welsh language enthusiasts are determined to check all the boxes.

    And as no-one wants to stop anyone speaking English, many of us would ask those who are neutral or mildly sympathetic to educate themselves on the issue, and not put obstacles in our way.

  • willowfield

    Idunnomeself

    I understand what you mean by ‘genuine’ Irish speakers, but surely if the language of your home, your grandparent’s home and your school is Irish, then you are a native speaker, whatever way you look at it? I don’t think your argument works

    But the number of people who fit your discription is miniscule.

    In any case it is extremely rare, and it wouldn’t apply to a bi-lingual speaker of English and Irish

    It’s not uncommon to have evidence given in languages other than English, through an interpreter.

  • willowfield

    GAELGANNAIRE

    The figures you quote prove nothing. No doubt there are thousands of people who have “some knowledge of” Gaelic, or who are “functional” Gaelic-speakers, but there are even more thousands with some knowledge of French, or who are functional French-speakers.

    Being able to speak a language (or a few words in it) is not the same as being a genuine speaker of it as one’s first, native language.

    You say “Language Rights are Human rights” – please explain. Please cite which human right you are alluding to. These vague references to “rights” are not helpful.

    OLIBHER CHROMWAILLL

    ;Poor Willowfield and his similarly unenlightened fellow travellers, they think that because one person asserts the right to use an offiically recognised language in the courts, that that language may in time become compulsory!

    I don’t think that for a minute.

    You’re lying.

    I say that because that’s the only reason I can think of for this steadfast opposition.

    I haven’t expressed opposition. Read what people write

    I’m not lying. That’s the only reason I can think of for your opposition.

    I haven’t expressed opposition. You are choosing to infer opposition from what I write, because your prejudices lead you to believe that anyone who is realistic about the extent of Gaelic-language-speaking in NI must therefore be (a) opposed to it; and (b) paranoid that it will “be made compulsory”.

    I am neither.

    You say first there are “no genuine Irish (I prefer Irish to gaelic) in the north and, then, when you’re proven wrong, absolutely wrong, you say there are hardly any genuine Irish speakers in the north.

    FFS catch yourself on. When I said there are “no genuine Gaelic speakers”, I wasn’t being literal. It’s like saying “nobody wears speedos anymore” – everyone knows it is not a literal statement, but the speaker means that “virtually nobody”.

    You need to inform yourself as to the actual position re Irish speakers in the north rather than allowing, dare I say it, your prejudices get the better of you.

    I already know that there is a miniscule number of genuine Gaelic-speakers in NI.

    Thousands of people with “some knowledge”, or even thousands who are fluent do not count as genuine speakers of a language (by which I mean people who speak it naturally as their first language).

  • willowfield

    IDM

    Regarding the 2001 Census, the Provos and Gaelic-language groups campaigned to encourage people to claim knowledge of Gaelic on the Census forms (no matter how poor their knowledge) in a bid to boost the numbers. I understand, for example, that leaflets were distributed in some nationalist areas.

  • suil eile

    I jest. Still, call that a language? Sure you don’t even have your own word for Ombudsman.

    Fear an Phobail, if you must know, is also used for Ombudsman but I preferred to use the original.

    Can I recommend that you take a few classes, you might be surprised to find how much Irish is used in everyday speech up here….
    guerning = gearan = complain
    geansaí = geansaí = jumper
    galore = go leor = enough
    smashing! – is maith sin – thats good!
    I could go on but I’m ready to bog (move) off for my pionta beoire!

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Glad to see the British Govt. commiting itself to an Language Act for the Nort.

    gub-gob
    clábar-clabbar
    slog-slug
    loch-loch
    bog-bog
    go leor-galore
    bodhair-bother
    bróg-brogue
    bairín breac- barmbrack
    síbín- shebeen
    fríd a chéile-throughother
    gleann-glen
    clann- clannish/klan

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiberno-English
    gleann- glen
    brídeach- bride
    na toraí- the Tory Party
    Triubhas – Trousers
    Shanty – Seantigh
    Whiskey – Uisce Beatha
    Smithereens – Smidiríní
    breeches – brishti
    scatter – Scata

  • harlequin

    suil

    Thanks for your response. Don’t know your language, but I’m hoping that pointa beoire means what I think it means – in which case I’ll have one meself!

    My personal view is that languages are a marvelous thing, and to be cherished. In my time, I’ve learned (to variying degrees of ability – mainly poor) French, German, Spanish and Italian. I’ve had great experiences embarrassing myself attempting to speak each of those languages to native speakers.

    I think it is great that people are trying to keep the Gaelic language going, but unfortunately it seems to be that some of the people trying to keep it going are actually your worst enemies.

    Going back to the main point of this very long thread, is this woman’s actions really going to do anything to help gaelic become more popular? I would say not.

    OC’s contributions have been very interesting in terms of outlining the mindset of the woman at the centre of this.

    However, I would have to say that actually that sort of mindset is exactly what will destroy Gaelic once and for all.

    This woman can speak English fluently. Ultimately, She is making some sort of political/cultural/whatever point. That is what this is all about, and all that it does is make people (particularly protestant people) less sympathetic to her views. The unnecessary connection between Gaelic and Republicanism grows as a result.

    I grew up in a protestant family. My father, having spent a lot of his youth in Donegal, knew a fair bit of Gaelic.

    However, as the republican movement did their best to make anything Irish mean Republican Irish, it became a subject that even a keen linguist as myself would not contemplate studying.

    Good luck to you with your enjoyment of your language, and any related cultural studies. However, don’t expect me or any other protestant to take part.

    Republicans – and their sad little stunts like the one that inspired this thread – have put paid to anything like that.

    Such a shame.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    “Good luck to you with your enjoyment of your language, and any related cultural studies. However, don’t expect me or any other protestant to take part.”

    In reality many Unionists have gone to Irish classes. A/the problem is that-as discussed in a chapter of the book mentioned above- is that many of them equate the drive for Irish language legislation in 6 Counties with a SF republican agenda. A language act for the North is supported by the two main Nationalist parties there, and the former head of the NI civil service Sen. Maurice Hayes.

    The two govts. have also committed themselves to brining in an act in the St Andrews Agreement.

    I accept that some of my biggest enemies politically also promote Irish, like I do, but I wont let anyone get in my way.

  • harlequin

    Darren – I’m pleased by the quick response – but I’m not really sure what your point is. But then again one or another of us has a few pints in us. Time to go to bed.

    night night

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    My point is that it doesn’t reflect well on people- whether they be Unionists or nationalists- to let a perception (whether true or not) that SF are using the Irish language stop them from learning the language.

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Sad to see the UUP has a welcome page in eight different languages on their site, but not in Irish.

    http://www.uup.org