“I therefore find her guilty of disorderly behaviour.”

When Slugger noted this case, I pointed to the Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun’s comment – “Regardless of the details of this case the deciding factor in whether or not this young woman found herself before the courts appears to be that she is an Irish speaker.” [added emphasis] Today the magistrate in the case ruled against the defendant, and fined her £100, but an appeal – “If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights I will go there.” – is on the cards.. natch..From the PA report

But in her ruling Magistrate Fiona Bagnall said the defendant had taken a substantial amount of alcohol on the night.

She accepted that Nic An Bharid shouting in Irish was not a reason in itself to be arrested for disorderly behaviour.

And even though the magistrate said defence witnesses appeared to have given truthful accounts she added that the accuracy of their recollection may have been distorted because of their distance from the defendant.

All police witnesses have been consistent in their accounts of what happened, Ms Bagnall told the court.

She said: “I`m satisfied that the defendant continued to address police officers in a loud and aggressive manner.

“I therefore find her guilty of disorderly behaviour.”

Lawyers for Nic An Bhaird, from west Belfast where she teaches, confirmed that their client planned to appeal the ruling.

Outside court Nic An Bhaird added : “The way I was treated in the police station was like something from the dark ages.

“If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights I will go there.

“I don`t care how many years it takes until justice is done. I have no confidence in the British justice system.”

And Bairbre de Brun’s comments..

Ms de Brun who taught the defendant during her Irish schooling, said: “I`m both astonished and angry at the judgment.

“The feeling right across this island is that this case has become a symbol of official hostility to the Irish language and to Irish speakers by the authorities here in the North.”

Not quite “right across this island”, actually..

, ,

  • RG Cuan

    Hmm –

    The official status granted to Irish Gaelic in the south is far from fully implemented and many public services are still only available in English.

    Though hearing Irish conversations on Dominic Street in Galway is at least better (for the native language) than hearing none on Royal Avenue in Belfast.

    And I would hope that Irish Language legislation in the north would be implemently more promptly and efficiently than south of the border.

    Gael Gan Náire –

    Tá an ceart ar fad agat gur féidir liom a bheith chomh beacht céanna inár dteanga féin, go raibh maith agat as an mholadh.

    Nach mór an trua nach bhfuil tuilleadh dár leithéid thart anseo chun teanga chruinn fhileata a scríobh?

  • gaelgannaire

    Cromwell,

    I would like any Irish language Act providing this protection.

    The wording you have suggested is interesting but may be open to a very wide interpretation! and misinterpretation, which is something I would seek to avoid.

    Oilibhear has provided the explanation as to why Irish speakers have to experience this difficulty in the work-place.

    Again, if it were a case of people deliberatly excluding people, the stance of the Equality Commision would have some validity, but only if it applied to all languages and not just Irish.

    I would also like the Irish language Act to guarantee people the right to use their names unaltered, again peoples’ surnames are anglisiced in the work-place resonably frequently and many Irish speakers, I believe from experience, feel pressurised to use an anglicised form.

    On that point, I would never describe Ian Paisley Junior as Ian Óg.

    I find changing others’ name to be an abuse of power and humiliating.

  • Cromwell

    The protection of this minority language to a certain extent is probably okay, its more the amount of taxpayers money wasted I’m concerned with.
    Lets be honest here, this girl got drunk, abused people, got lifted, got fined & couldnt accept it.
    Now she’s trying to make herself a martyr for the republican cause by saying she’s no faith in british justice. She got fined £100 for christs sake.
    She asked for interpreters to be brought in to court, when her & her defence could speak English perfectly well.
    I sincerely hope she didnt get legal aid, & if she’s taking it to Europe who’s paying?
    Can I please have a reality check before my blood completely boils over.

  • OIlibhear Chromaill

    Is fear an chliste tú ar ndoigh El Matador ach ní thuigim cén fath go bhfuil tú ag iarraidh an Ghaeilge a bhrú faoi chois. Mura bhfuil cead ag duine, fiú is é olta, bheith ag labhairt i nGaeilge lena chairde ar shraideanna na cathrach seo, ní feidir a rá go bhfuil saoirse cainte aige nó aici i dteanga ar bith.

    Mas amhlaidh nach dtuigeann an PSNI Gaeilge – agus tá go leor samplaí a léiríonn seo – nach dtugann sé léargas don bpobal chomh míeifeachtach is a bhí an SDLP aran mBord Poilíneachta gan a chur in iul go bhfuil sé riachtanach go mbeadh péas níos tuisceanaí i leith úsáid na Gaeilge go poiblí, fiú amháín nuair nach dtuigeann siad an teanga iad féin. Go deimhin, cuireadh in iul tamall ó shin go raibh oiliúint feasachta chultúir le cur ar bhaill an PSNI ach d’fhagadh an Ghaeilge as an aireamh. Cén fath? Agus an raibh baill an SDLP ar an mBord Poilíneachta ina ndúiseacht nuair a deineadh an cinneadh sin?

    Maidir led chaint maslach, bíodh sé agat. Ní bheinn ag súil le tada eile ód leitheid. An t-aon rud a bhí á rá agam ó thús ná nach mbeadh Máire Nic an Bhaird os comhair na cúirte ach gur labhair sí Gaeilge. Má tá daoine le lochtú as airgead an stait a chur amú ar an gcás seo, is iad na péas agus an Ionchúisitheoir poiblí atá le lochtú. Iad san a chuir an cas ina coinnibh. Ná tóg uirthí mar sin má dheineann sí iarracht í féin a chosaint trí mhean na Gaeilge, go h-áírithe os rud é gurb é an teanga sin a chur sa phriacal í sa chéad dul síos.

  • The Dubliner

    Thanks, David & Spelling Bee, for clarifying which act Maire Nic An Bhaird was convicted under. It seems the wording of the NI act is even more draconian than the UK version, in that it excludes two of the principles of jurisprudence, actus reus and mens rea. Effectively, NI citizens have inferior civil rights to their “mainland” counterparts.

  • Without giving it too much thought right at the moment, my initial reaction would be that I can understand the Equality Commission’s advice, however there is a difference between speaking to colleagues and a private phone conversation.

    Still doesn’t change the fact that the Gaelic is being used as a smokescreen for the defendant’s own prejudices in the Nic An Bharid case.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Article :

    Outside court Nic An Bhaird added : “The way I was treated in the police station was like something from the dark ages.

    “If I have to go to the European Court of Human Rights I will go there.

    “I don`t care how many years it takes until justice is done. I have no confidence in the British justice system.”

    This woman really is a lunatic. If the police are confronted by a drunk, unco-operative woman shouting, they are entitled, and indeed duty-bound, to make an arrest. This would happen anywhere in the Western world and is perfectly normal. Does anyone want to bet that if I got pissed in Dublin, and went up and shouted at the Gardai and refused to shut up, I’d get arrested and prosecuted for being disorderly ? I have seen people arrested in Dublin for far less. I would wager that, like anywhere else, my refusal to speak English even though I clearly speak it natively, in order to antagonize them, would lead to the officers arresting me just to make a point. The police do this kind of thing everywhere. It is the police’s job to arrest people who are disturbing the peace.

    Sinn Fein have been saying for years that they want a proper police service and that the nationalist people want to be policed. I hope they really were speaking for the majority of the nationalist community because if they were, then it would mean that most nationalists would agree with the arrest of this noisy, drunk person for being a noisy, drunk person. People who want to be properly policed surely must recognize the need to behave in a civilized fashion in public. Should they ?

    I respect the Irish language, I did it in school for three years, and I have no problems with public money being spent on promoting it. I don’t even mind Irish language street signs. But it is ridiculous and unreasonable for a person who speaks English perfectly well to refuse to speak it in court, when she probably goes home and speaks English at her mum’s house when she goes round for Sunday dinner. That is reminiscent of a temper tantrum I would expect from my four year old neice. If I’d been the judge I’d have stuck the silly bint in the slammer for six weeks for contempt of court.

    All this blowhard crap about the European court is just that; she’ll never find a lawyer willing to do this probono, if it ever makes it to the ECJ they’ll throw the case out the window. Who wants to bet the case will be quietly dropped and she’ll go off and have a quiet life ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    OIlibhear Chromaill,

    What did you post that whole paragraph in Irish for ? Likely 90% of Slugger’s readers do not understand a word of it. What is the point of posting in a public forum if not to make a point to the other readers ?

    I wouldn’t want to stop you posting in the language of your choosing. I just think you’re prozelytizing and showing off what a great gaelgoir you are, rather than trying to contribute anything meaningful. It’s a sad day when the only remaining useful purpose for the Irish language amongst those who can write in it is to show off.

  • Comrade Stalin, a chara,
    Téir agus dein tú féin a focáil.
    Is mise
    Oilibhear
    cainteoir Gaeilge

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I would also like the Irish language Act to guarantee people the right to use their names unaltered, again peoples’ surnames are anglisiced in the work-place resonably frequently and many Irish speakers, I believe from experience, feel pressurised to use an anglicised form.”

    Really? I am surprised at this. Surely these people have the right to claim discrimination, and should do so. I find it interesting that the Equality Commission seem to make a distinction between people speaking Irish in the workplace and people speaking Polish. Do you think that there’s any aspect of this decision that is based on the fact that all Irish speakers are bi-lingual?

    I agree with you that you should be allowed to use the name of your choice, hence I cringe at Unionists who call our fragrant MEP “Barbara Brown” who are simply being offensive. Equally though, I sometimes wonder why we need to refer to “the gardai” or “taoiseach” when we don’t talk about the “gendarmerie” or the “Bundeskanzler” when referring to our other neighbours. Frankly I cringe every time I hear Blair & co mangling their vowels to get out something like “the teashock” for Bertie’s benefit.

  • RG Cuan

    Comrade Stalin –

    Please calm down. Our fellow poster Oilibhéar Chromaill Uas. wrote his message in Irish as he directed it to El Matador, another Irish speaker.

    If you believe that Irish speakers only use their language to show off you are greatly deluded.

    A Oilibhéir –

    Maith thú, thaitin an teachtaireacht deiridh liom.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “And in a world where many languages are going to the wall, Irish is surviving.

    I hope that’s not bad news for you, Darth.

    Posted by páid on Feb 27, 2007 @ 02:10 PM”

    surprisingly , no. I’m very pleased that the language is being kept alive.It’s an important part of our mutual heritage.To abandon Irish would be as ludicrous as to abandon Latin, which is also a key part of our linguistic heritage. And I’m not using the comparison to make a cheap point about a dead language BTW.

    But how we advance the Irish language by having the European Directive on endangered species of mushrooms in less favoured rural farming areas or whatever – documents which virtually noone reads or needs- translated into Irish at vast expense, is something language activists will have to justify.

  • David

    The Dubliner,

    “It seems the wording of the NI act is even more draconian than the UK version, in that it excludes two of the principles of jurisprudence, actus reus and mens rea.”

    All offences have an actus reus and a mens rea, including disorderly behaviour. Statutes generally do not explicitly say “this is the actus reus” etc.

    I do not agree with your categorisation of the NI offence as being more “draconian”. The NI statutory offence of “disorderly behaviour” covers a wider range of behaviour than the section which you quoted from the Public Order Act 1986 in E+W, but if you look at that Act section 4A is only one of a number of similar public order offences (see for example section 5). In other words NI has a “catch all” offence of disorderly behaviour covering what in England would be categorised as a number of different offences.

    In England the scope of the offences are narrower in some ways (requiring the behaviour to be “within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”) but broader in others (includes private as well as public places, includes “insulting words”).

  • Mick Fealty

    Oilibhear,

    What on earth do you think you are doing? Can you give me one good reason why I should not show you a red for using the language as cover to make clandestine digs at our non Irish speaking readers?

    It is behaviour like that that brings the language into disrepute, and raises question marks over a lot of the good work that is done by a lot of people in helping its propagation.

    CS,

    I’m not going to repeat it in English, but it was a very crude rendition of ‘go to hell’.

  • eranu

    im for irish language metering ! that way you only pay for what you use 🙂

  • Spelling Bee

    David,

    “All offences have an actus reus and a mens rea, including disorderly behaviour. Statutes generally do not explicitly say “this is the actus reus” etc.”

    Sorry, that’s not strictly true. There is no requirement to prove mens rea, or intent, for a number of offences, such as those of strict or absolute liability. Ordinarily these are regulatory offences such as environmental crime but such offences as causing death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence have no mens rea.

  • David

    “Sorry, that’s not strictly true. There is no requirement to prove mens rea, or intent, for a number of offences, such as those of strict or absolute liability. Ordinarily these are regulatory offences such as environmental crime but such offences as causing death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence have no mens rea.”

    “Mens rea” simply means the mental element of an offence, it does not mean “intent”. There are varying degrees of mental element: intent, recklessness (of varying types), negligence and as you point out strict liability.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    “Mas amhlaidh nach dtuigeann an PSNI Gaeilge – agus tá go leor samplaí a léiríonn seo – nach dtugann sé léargas don bpobal chomh míeifeachtach is a bhí an SDLP aran mBord Poilíneachta gan a chur in iul go bhfuil sé riachtanach go mbeadh péas níos tuisceanaí i leith úsáid na Gaeilge go poiblí, fiú amháín nuair nach dtuigeann siad an teanga iad féin”

    Oilibhéar, nach ait an rud é go bhfuil a mhalairt d’fhadhb againn anseo sa phoblacht? Ní thuigeann formhór na nGardaí sinne a labhraíonn as Gaelainn. Aon uair a labhair mo chairde leis na Gardaí as Gaelainn, fiú agus an dlí á bhriseadh acu i slí éigin, fuaireadar freagra ar nós “Go away so and stop bothering us”. Tá an dá fhórsa póilíneachta ar an oileán seo chomh ciontach lena chéile i dtaobh na Gaelainne.

    Darth, “But how we advance the Irish language by having the European Directive on endangered species of mushrooms in less favoured rural farming areas or whatever – documents which virtually noone reads or needs- translated into Irish at vast expense, is something language activists will have to justify.”

    Agreed (I think)

    certain aspects of official status, such as the sample you gave above, will do little to further the cause of the language. However, seeing and hearing several of our MEPs using Irish while speaking in the European Parliment could be seen as a great motivation.

    P.S. Oilibhéar: Tá an cheart ag Mick. Abair i gceart leis é: ‘Téir agus dein tú féin a fhocáil’ (shéimhithe) 🙂 🙂

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Is cuma sa foc liom faoi cad a deir Mick. Ní gá dom míniú a thabhairt do dhuine ar bith cén fath a labhraim Gaeilge, go h-áírithe nuair atá an clár plé seo á úsáid ag leitheidí CS, The Devil is a chairde chun an teanga a íonsaí. Nílim chun leithscéal a ghabhail agus chomh fada is a bhaineann sé liom, is léir gur Gaeilgeoir Caisleáin é Mick agus gur clár plé é Slugger chun an Ghaeilge agus an uile ní a bhaineann le h-Éireannachas a íonsaí.

    Slán

  • David

    If you guys want to have a private conversation why not exchange phone numbers.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    This is a public forum, David. Like all public places, one should be allowed to use whichever language he pleases.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Quite true Droch, and your absolute right. But don’t you think that by conducting a conversation in a language most of us can’t understand is just, well, a wee bit rude?

    I well remember as a kid on holiday in Wales going into a shop where the assistant and a customer were happily talking in English and the moment we went in they immediately switched to Welsh -like a teenager cared about there business. But it did make one feel unwelcome. And in that case I think it was meant to.

    I mean for all I know your post could be a private joke at (heaven forfend!) my expense.”Nílim chun leithscéal a ghabhail agus chomh fada is a bhaineann sé liom, is léir gur” for all I know means something like- “See that Darth- he’s a copmplete arse”. But for the fact I know you to be a gentleman years of insecurity from an encounter in a post office near Rhyl could rise up and overwhelm me.

    I’m not arguing that gaelic should be coralled into gaelic only blogs. Some of the BBC coverage – switching from one language to the other ( like I suspect, most active speakers) is quite imaginative. I do quite bit of work with Poles and portuguese, and I think that if they have to learn lots of our language to live and work here, we should try to learn a bit of theirs to try to reach out. Is there anything online by way of irish in easy stages? If not, there should be.

  • Cromwell

    Or she pleases in the case of Maire Nic.
    Except when the user starts abusing people as did Maire Nic, & Oilibhear in post 9.
    Goodness me, this is all a bit self fulfilling isnt it.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Ah Darth, we’d be civil enough to insult you in English 🙂

    You make a very valid point about learning other people’s languages as a way to reach out. I know myself that it make me feel very welcome if someone addresses me in Irish. I was in the Checkpoint Charlie museum in Berlin recently and one of the guides gave his little introduction in Irish. small gesture, but it meant a lot.

    Regarding your question on ‘Irish in easy stages’ try the link http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaeilge/foghlaim/