Hain waves a shillelagh

The government is to publish the draft legislation for the Irish Language Act, only a week after the consultation closed.

  • confused

    The Shinners are out in force. You would think this battle for the language is akin to the Alamo.Perhaps it is their last stand and there will be a similar result.
    The language is on terminal decline in the South and should not be resuscitated.
    All those west Brits in Dublin 4 have turned their back on this great heritage. Amen

  • me

    “The language is on terminal decline in the South and should not be resuscitated.” wishful thinking-to paraphrase mark twain “rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated”
    “All those west Brits in Dublin 4 have turned their back on this great heritage”-you obviously know nothing about D4.irish language schools are trendier than ross ocarroll kelly,day spas or 4 wheel drives as david mcwillaims keeps reminding us.
    im no shinner by the way-:)

  • Ondine

    Just to provide some perspective Рthese arguments for and against Irish are exactly the arguments you hear for and against Maori in New Zealand Рor French in (the English-speaking parts of) Qu̩bec. In every country, the current world predominance of English gives those whose cultural identity is bound up with English a sense of entitlement Рthat they should have the right to not only use English but never be bothered with any other (and hence lesser) language. And that those whose cultural identities are bound up with another language are some kind of threat to them.

    Funnily enough, if these people moved to Paris, they would be the first people screaming about the lack of interpreters or signage in English, and would have no tolerance with people telling them to learn to speak la belle français just like everyone else. The argument is framed as “speak the language of the majority”, but the real content is “English is the superior language and its place should never be threatened, even symbolically”.

  • “if these people moved to Paris, they would be the first people screaming about the lack of interpreters or signage in English,”

    That’s frankly rubbish. When I’ve been abroad I’ve always had a phrase-book to hand and even at that felt a great shame at not finding more time to learn the local language first. While I’m happy to see English signs when abroad I never expect them.

    “these arguments for and against Irish are exactly the arguments you hear for and against Maori in New Zealand – or French in (the English-speaking parts of) Québec”

    Replace Quebec with Canada and you might be getting close. I presume you agree with the hypocrisy of the language fascists in Canada who decree that the rest of Canada should be bilingual but Quebec is French-only?

    I don’t know enough to comment about NZ.

  • Beano

    beano

    oh for a bargan bucket from Poulet Frit Kentucky!

  • páid

    “So Unionism wanting symbolry it identifies with is all about insecurity/or desire for hegemony but Nationalism seeking symbolry they identify is all about equality. Hmmmm. ”

    Hmmmmm, my arse Fair Deal(sic).

    The symbols of the PSNI which upset you much were arrived at by nationalists and unionists sitting down together, with no shinners in sight.

    Justice on top, with harp and crown equal at either side.

    Too much to stomach? Hmmmm?

  • The World’s Gone Mad:

    I reacted to intense provocation from people who were being wilfully ignorant to the point of racism regarding the Irish language. I make no apology for that as it was akin to striking out at a gang of bullies. I might add, also, that the ‘abuse’ as you term it wasn’t written in code, it was written in the Irish language so there was no intention to do it covertly. I merely commented in Irish that’s all as a reaction to people who wanted to deny me the right to speak and post in that langauge. In particular my posts were responses to taunts that the Irish langauge was dead – which it isn’t and nothing makes that more evident than to post in Irish here.

    The same bullying attitude is evident on this thread from most of the same posters. They tend to gang up on people who have a different view of the world, one that doesn’t conform to their narrow monoglot ways.

  • Cú Chulainn (Ancient Defender of Ulster from Iris

    I’m with Beano on this one.

    You can’t compare the situation of Irish with Welsh and Scottish Gaelic. There were native speakers of those languages when they secured official status in legisltion.

    NI is a different case entirely. Although there were still thousands of (ageing) native speakers of Ulster Irish at the time of the 1901 census, luckily they had all died out by the mid-twentieth century. Thus we British were spared the affront to our identity of their very existence.

    God forbid that this shillelagh stick of a language could take hold again and that we should have to make official allowances for anybody who spoke it! I feel like we would be failing in our British duties if we let such a dreadful thing happen.

    Shillelagh sticks?

    No thankyou!

    I much prefer to toss my caber!

  • BonarLaw

    paid

    the Royal Arms were removed from some court rooms despite the emperical evidence taken by the Criminal Justice Review Commission that court users did not take offence to the symbol. Yet political nationalism demanded removal.

    Fair Deal has a point.

  • Yoda

    I presume you agree with the hypocrisy of the language fascists in Canada who decree that the rest of Canada should be bilingual but Quebec is French-only?

    Ah, it’d be lovely if people would take the time to find out what the wittering on about before they started wittering.

    Jaysus wept.

    CC: no to foreign games, eh?

  • Mick Fealty

    Mas cuimhne liom go fírinne, nar dhuirt tú rud eigean cosuil le “Teir agus dein tú féin a focáil” le duine eile nach raibh aon focal amhainn Gaeilge acu?

    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde, mar a deareann siad…

  • Agus cén masla a bhí ansin, Mick? Agus cén deacracht a bhí ann sin a thuigmheail? Shamhlófa go raibh sé éasca go leor.

  • páid

    Ná téigh thar fóir ar Ollie a Mhicí.

    Táimid uilig ag fanacht ar seans a scríobh..

    Fillean an feall ar an Fealltaí……. 😉

  • Yoda

    Mick, that’s surely not a threat?

    Who’s patience is wearing?

  • Kiss me I’m Irish

    BonarLaw

    “Fair Deal has a point”

    Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that you and fair deal won’t object to the irish language act if we don’t object to the re-introduction of Royal Arms in courtrooms.

    If so, is the implication here that identity conflict could now a thing of the past?

    In other words, if I’m cool with your identity and whatever it consists of, you’ll be cool with mine? In more other words, if we all mind our own business and let other people get on with it there’ll be no problem?

    OK, maybe there needs to be choreography here. Like the Irish language act gets the royal assent on the same day the Royal Arms get stuck back up on the wall.

    I like the sound of this. Is there any chance that we can get this all sorted out by saturday so that I can go down to the St. Patricks day celebrations in Belfast this Saturday waving my big tricolour in celebration of the feast day of our nation’s patron saint? (they’re banned because political unionism objects to any such display of irishness)

  • It boils down to this. Decide if the language is about communication or culture.

    If it’s communication then its use should be purely practical, and the numbers just aren’t there to support government departments being forced to use it.

    If it’s culture, then it should be funded like other cultural initiatives, from the DCAL budget for such.

    Talk of comparisons or equivocating with English are nonsense; apples and oranges.

  • mac

    I think we should have a big bonfire this saturday – right in the middle of Customs House square.

    Everyone could bring an old sofa or an old matress and we could all sit round the traditional fire singing sectarian songs excitedly, as we wait for the paramilitary show of strength.

    The stewards could hand out russell’s cellar bags so the happy punters could hide their buckfast and cheap vodka from the prying eyes of the assembled media, who could do a highlights show that evening.

    Don’t you just love culture!!

  • BP1078

    I like the sound of this. Is there any chance that we can get this all sorted out by saturday so that I can go down to the St. Patricks day celebrations in Belfast this Saturday waving my big tricolour in celebration of the feast day of our nation’s patron saint? (they’re banned because political unionism objects to any such display of irishness)

    Wave *your flag*. if that’s how you want to celebrate *your* saint,I really don’t think you’ll have any problem. You can even put your Celtic shirt on if that makes you feel more Irish.

  • DK

    OK – what exactly is in the Irish Language Act?

    Does it mean that public servants have to know Irish? Or does it mean that there will be a quota that must know Irish (to provide communication to those who want to communicate in Irish)?

    Does it mean that all documents need to be translated into Irish, or simply that Irish documents can be made available if requested?

    Does it mean Irish will be compulsory in schools, or just extra funding for Irish schools?

    Does it mean that all public signage will become bilingual?

    Anyone got a summary for those of us who don’t have the act to hand?

  • bigrab

    “Wave *your flag*. if that’s how you want to celebrate *your* saint,I really don’t think you’ll have any problem. You can even put your Celtic shirt on if that makes you feel more Irish.”

    bp

    Sure don’t you fly ‘your’ flag and sing ‘your’ anthem and sing ‘your’ songs and wear rangers shirts at ‘your’ n.i football games to make you feel as British as possible.

  • The anti Irish language b1got5 are out in force. Take a bow, Cú Chulainn. The Ancient Defender of Ulster from Iris – Iris Robinson perhaps?

  • eranu

    i wish people could put down their tribal headdresses for a while and give their eyes a good rub so they can see whats actually important.

    first of all, we dont have the money to spend to support another language aswell as english. we have big problems with the NHS, roads that need building and improving, and schools that need a major sorting out. all these things need even more money than they are getting at the min. the last thing we should be doing is blowing millions on reprinting forms and pamphlets in irish. its madness. a bit like someone on the dole blowing all their money on a fur coat in july while their kids run around in rags with no food.
    think about whats important in real life !
    its also interesting to hear people who are slagging off NIs economy every other day, and then proposing we spend loads of money on this pointless exercise. last time i listen to your economic views ! 🙂

    secondly, there is no one in NI who speaks irish as their first language. yes thats right, not a single person. can you imagine a country legislating for a second language to be used when no one actually speaks it. more madness. any party proposing it would be laughed out of parliament. not in NI though. here the second largest party actually has it as one of their main policies. thats quite frightening when you think about it. they’re incharge of your money!

    why cant we just accept irish as a cultural interest? it can be funded and nurtured as much as people want. theres no need to pretend its necessary for communication.

  • Kiss Me I’m Irish

    BP1078

    Why don’t *you* also come along to celebrate the feast day of *our* nation’s patron saint, you can wear *your Rangers* top and wave *your big Union Jack* if that’s what it takes to make you feel better when you me with an irish flag.

    Beano

    “It boils down to this. Decide if the language is about communication or culture.”

    WTF? Its both. Like every other language.

    “Talk of comparisons or equivocating with English are nonsense; apples and oranges.”

    That’s complete bollocks! Of course you can make comparisons between Irish to English. In the name of heaven, how else could you translate from one to the other?

    It all boils down to this. You and the anti-Irish language lobby have to question your own consciences and discover if your own objections are based on sectarian prejudice.

    You have to accept that

    1. Irish has been spoken continuously in Ulster for thousands of years.

    2. Some people genuinely cherish Ulster’s ancient linguistic heritage.

    3. The real questions are whether it is right to spend taxpayers money to facilite or encourage people to use Irish as an everday language in all spheres of life.

    4. No reasonable person is likely to disagree with 3.

    5. That being the case, can Irish be revived to any reasonable extent? Can value be got for the money spent.

  • The Pict

    #
    Posted by Cú Chulainn (Ancient Defender of Ulster from Iris on Mar 13, 2007 @ 10:53 PM
    #

    Excellent contribution from the Louth man.
    How is Daddy?

  • Poor eranu, he thinks the English language needs support.

    first of all, we dont have the money to spend to support another language aswell as english.

    Yet he hits the nail on the head when he says that we don’t need to spend millions on forms and official documents in Irish when what is needed is money for the Gaelscoileanna, an obligation on the BBC to provide as much Irish language programming for broadcast on its own channels or on the likes of TG4 as it does for S4C and in Scotland, rights for Irish speakers to conduct legal proceedings in Irish, bilingual signage and the likes.

    what emerged from DCAL following the recent consultation was a pale imitation, if even that, of what was submitted in terms of quality legislation.

    I know of no Irish speaker who wants to apply for a British passport as Gaeilge. The fact that this is being held out as a possible boon of the enactment of this particular legislation – for example on BBC NI News – underlines how much DCAL and the British Government misunderstand the real demands of the Irish language community.

  • BP1078

    big rab
    Shouldn’t you be composing for your next masterpiece for the Telegraph rather than wasting time on here?

    KMII

    Don’t have a Rangers shirt, apart from that might take you up on your kind offer, after all, as you imply, there’s more than one definition of Irishness and I’m sure me and my big Union Jack would be more welcome on St Pats day in Belfast.

    5. That being the case, can Irish be revived to any reasonable extent? Can value be got for the money spent.

    “Yes it can and should be” to your first question; anything which challenges the stifling over-homgenuity (probably wrong spelling but you know what I mean) of modern western society is welcome.

    I don’t really know that much about the proposed Irish Language Act to gauge how successful it would be achieving your final aim. And throwing money at the project won’t guarantee success either. Like it or not, it is perceived by many to be part of a cultural ghetto and more finance or laws won’t change that fact; what is required is a desire on the part of activists to reduce the politicisation of the language and make it more appealing to all sections of society.

    I suppose the question is whether it would be worth upsetting some of its more “traditional” supporters in order to widen its appeal, but there is a much greater possibility of Unionists taking up Irish than any of the GAA games. And the Irish language needs new supporters much more at present than the GAA does.

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    ‘rights for Irish speakers to conduct legal proceedings in Irish, bilingual signage and the likes’

    When you say bilingual, presumably you mean English and Irish (as opposed to English and Polish). I’m happy to support Irish language programmes but why, in Northern Ireland, do we need bilingual signs? Would they be of any practical use?

  • Kiss Me I’m Irish

    The world’s gone mad.

    “When you say bilingual, presumably you mean English and Irish (as opposed to English and Polish). I’m happy to support Irish language programmes but why, in Northern Ireland, do we need bilingual signs? Would they be of any practical use?

    Of course they would, but not in Poland.

    Take this imaginary scenario – you have a family driving down the M2 towards Belfast. the kids are learning Irish. They see the sign for “Béal Feirste”. They wonder about it. They touch their ears, they touch their nose, they touch their “béal” – is it the same word…there’s no mention of mouth in the “English” version?

    Somebody explains to them about the Farset, winding it’s way under Belfast city centre down to the Lough. OK, “Farset”, “Fearsad” sounds like the same thing.

    But why “Feirste”? How do you start with “Fearsad” and end up with “Feirste”? Well, that’s the hard bit…it’s an inflection caused in the genitive case…see it, get used to it, learn it, that’s what happens. There is a wide variety of inflected form, there’s no easy way to deal with it, you just have to learn it all.

    You have no idea how useful bilingual signs could be.

  • gaelgannaire

    THE Worlds gone mad,

    Example – Mullaghbawn meanings nothing in English, nothing at all.

    However the Irish …

    An Mullach Bán = ‘the white summitt’

    Every Irish speaker would recongise this instantly from a bilingual sign, preserving and propagating knowledge, which I think is always a good thing – you may disagree.

    Perhaps some knowledge is dangerous in your view?

    However there is no provision in the proposed legislation for Road/direction signs, which they have throughout Wales and in the Scottish Highlands and a small part of Cornwall.

    The place-names of Ireland are Polish.

    Perhaps you would be in favour of the translation of place-names into English?

  • gaelgannaire

    The placenames of Ireland are NOT Polish!

    I am not infalable.

  • confused

    I am interested in the status of the Irish language in the South. It is the official language of the State and enshrined in the Constitution.
    Despite this, legislation is discussed in the Dail and various committees in English. When a law is about to be passed the legislation is translated into Irish and in this form is put on the Statute Book.
    From time to time there may be a mistake in translation or some ambiguity arises and in that case the Irish version takes preeminence.
    My main concern is the access ordinary people have to the written law—–very few indeed.
    I accept that hundreds of thousands use the language on a daily basis but few of these have the written skills to understand the constitution and all laws flowing from it when written in Irish.
    The ordinary man in the street has no chance of understanding this and yet all are subject to the Law.
    To all intents and purposes it could be written in Latin or Hindi.
    As a last resort reference must made to the English version which by definition is sub ordinate.
    Surely the time has come for the government to review the situation.

  • gaelgannaire

    Confused,

    The English version is the version normally used in the courts but the Irish form is constitutionally prefered.

    Actually, the reality is that having bilingual legislation is useful when the precise intent of the legislation is in question, i.e. the Irish version is consulted and the word(s) in question are brought into consideration.

    All citizens have access to the Law as the English version is co-official.

  • DK

    Has anyone seen “Colin and Cumberland – Bone up on your Irish” – is that BBC or UTV? Also there is a Gelic section on the BBC website and

    Jim Allister, while against it, has a good summary of what the UK government is presently doing under “The European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages”:
    http://www.jimallister.eu/uploads/Irish_Lanaguage_Act_consultation_document_210.doc

    I didn’t know that the PSNI has Irish language officers that visit the Irish language schools.

  • confused

    To gaelgannaire

    Thank you. When legal documents are served what language is used?
    Do native Irish speakers have a right to have their trial in court conducted solely in Irish?
    Do all court officials and members Bar Council and Law Society have any special training in conducting trials in Irish?

  • gaelgannaire

    – When legal documents are served what language is used?

    English, Irish on request normally – if they can’t get the Irish out in time the case is dismissed, this is a regular enough experience.

    – Do native Irish speakers have a right to have their trial in court conducted solely in Irish?

    Yes, and they frequently do. Theres a case at the minute about some fishing quota dispute. But all citizens have the right to have court proceedings in Irish, although the courts have in the past have tried to get round this, it is common enough now because of the Language Act (2003?).

    – Do all court officials and members Bar Council and Law Society have any special training in conducting trials in Irish?

    All barristers are required to pass an oral Irish test, this test however is ridicuosly easy and can be passed with a week or two study. Therefore it does not qualify them to take a case in Irish.

    If you want the case in Irish then you find an Irish speaking lawyer, which isn’t hard and they have their own organisation.

    All judges sitting in Gaeltacht areas are required to be able to speak Irish, outwith the Gaeltacht it is up to the courts service to find an Irish speaking judge if required.

    I apologise for the roughness of this reply as I am eating my lunch.

  • Kidd me I’m Irish

    confused

    “The ordinary man in the street has no chance of understanding this and yet all are subject to the Law.”

    That’s why we have lawyers.

    Legalese in the English language is dense and impenetrable for most people…

    http://www.adler.demon.co.uk/eng.htm

    As there is no tradition of using obsolete legalese in Irish, at least the “ordinary man” who speaks Irish has a chance of understanding legal documents written in plain Irish.

  • George

    Confused,

    “When a law is about to be passed the legislation is translated into Irish and in this form is put on the Statute Book.
    From time to time there may be a mistake in translation or some ambiguity arises and in that case the Irish version takes preeminence.”

    You are completely wrong on that one I’m afraid.

    Irish is the preeminent text in the Constitution. No such rule applies to ordinary legislation.

    Article 24.5 decrees that the President shall sign a bill in the text in which it was passed by the Oireachtas, and that an official translation shall be issued in the other official language.

    The text signed by the President is the authoritative one, save where they are signed in both languages. The vast majority of Acts are passed in English. The exceptions are generally Acts amending the Constitution which are signed in both languages.

    Normally the only acts passed in Irish are those ones affecting the Gaeltacht or the Irish language.