4,000 responses to Irish Language legislation…

The Newsletter reports up to 4,000 responses from the public to proposed legislation on the Irish langauge. In a previous round of consultation, most of it favourable, and very little from unionist objectors.

In a previous round of consultation, the department received 688 letters, 1,376 postcards and a petition signed by 2,500 people. It found 93 per cent of respondents in favour of the legislation – as unionists failed to voice opposition in any significant number.

They later report that that pattern is expected to remain the same for this latest consultation.

In the meantime, Francie Brolly has complained that although he can put oral questions to ministers within the chamber of the Assembly in Irish, the same does not apply to written questions. According to the Newsletter, “there are also not the resources to embark on such translation”.

, , , ,

  • iain

    its quite interesting to read some of the other letters in the Newsletter regarding the Irish language. The attitude seems to be that Britishness by definition excludes Irishness!

  • Maggot

    I thought it was disgusting that very young children were dragged into this as a stunt when Francie Brolly and Primary school children from Turf Lodge picketted the BBC

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6723049.stm

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Any time ”The Newsletter reports” precedes an item on the Irish language, it should be taken with a measure of caution. It’s little wonder that unionists have a negative attitude to the Irish language given the misinformation peddled by the Unionst press and politicians, particularly the Newsletter.

    For instance, in a report carried following the publication of the first consultation document on 13 December, the Newsletter ran a big headline over a story about the purported cost of Irish language translation in the north.
    According to the Newsletter report, this was £18m!
    This figure was taken from the consultation document by the reporter and relied on by the editor, Darwin Templeton, in his leader decrying the Irish Language Act campaign as too costly etc etc.
    This was a deliberate misrepresentation by the Newsletter of the figures because the £18m referred to actually covered all the costs down to the Irish language in the Government estimates over the past three years.
    It included, for instance, £12m spent by the Department of Education on educating schoolchildren, a sum which would have to be paid anyhow whether the children were being taught in English or in Irish.
    It double counted £3m which is being provided by the UK government Exchequer directly to the Irish Language Broadcast Fund.
    There were other discrepancies also in the account given by the Newsletter I never saw a correction or an attempt to balance this misreportage with a view from the Irish language community, from an organisation such as POBAL, in the Newsletter. If you want balanced reporting about the Irish Language Act campaign, with views from all sides, including Irish speakers who are against the Act, you need to get your copy of Lá Nua.

    Now as then, the Newsletter has a vague grasp of the figures.
    The second consultation, which was organised as an effort to give those against a second bite at the cherry, ended on Tuesday. The first consultation ended and there were over 600 detailed responses and of these, 93% were in favour. Lá Nua has reported that there were two significant lodgements of responses on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon.
    On Monday night approximately 1,200 negative responses were lodged while the following day, 5,000+ positive responses were delivered to DCAL. The first figure may have been included in the Newsletter tally but the second definitely wasn’t.

    This is the numbers game without a doubt but this is the avenue which has been forced upon the Irish language community in the north due to the negative soundings being emitted by the Unionist controlled media and the Unionist Parties.

    David McNarry’s contribution – his allegation that this is all part of a SF plot to ‘green’ the province is risible. Should the Irish language not be part of Irish culture in this part of Ireland? Should it not be supported by the state given that Irish speakers, through their taxes, provide financial support for the state even if they don’t give it full political allegiance? This is of course the same David McNarry who during the height of Drumcree in the late 90s said that the Orange Order could bring the ‘province’ to a standstill if they wouldn’t be allowed down the Garvaghy Road. I wonder how much that intervention and what followed cost the tax payer? As far as I know, the protest at Broadcasting House didn’t stop traffic and we’re still living in a state purporting to have democratic values.
    The participation of schoolchildren in the protest is commendable. Practical civics I’d call it. The Unionist/loyalist equivalent? Look no further than the pipe bombers of children at Holycross…

  • páid

    Got this story on Google News, quoting Slugger as the source. Address for Slugger is given as “Wimborne, Dorset, Ireland”. Now I might just have persuaded phil that he will lose Cornwall in the final shake-up, but Dorset is pushing it.

  • Maggot

    Oilibhear – should Anna Lo be able to table questions and expect answers in Chinese ? Chinese taxpayers etc etc etc

    “The participation of schoolchildren in the protest is commendable. Practical civics I’d call it.”

    Politicising very young children is commendable ? I’m not sure what you mean about Holy cross – are you saying that the plan is for these Turf Lodge Children to throw pipe bombs if they don’t get their way ?

  • Ulster McNulty

    Maggot

    “Oilibhear – should Anna Lo be able to table questions and expect answers in Chinese ?”

    Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands of years, much longer than English or Scots or Polish or Chinese.

    It is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t, and Chinese isn’t in any danger of disappearing off the face of the earth as a spoken language (though Ms Lo’s particular dialect potentially could).

    “Chinese taxpayers etc etc etc”

    That’s already happening in a small way – Chinese ratepayers – I’ve seen Chinese and Arabic on RCA leaflets, I’ve never seen Irish. Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?

  • iain

    Maggot, Chinese isn’t an indegeous language of Ulster. I’m not aware that the Gaels are demanding that China implement an Irish language. They want one in their own country were the language has been neglected for so long. And i suspect the cost of implementing the Act is only an excuse for many people objecting to it!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Maggot

    “Oilibhear – should Anna Lo be able to table questions and expect answers in Chinese ? Chinese taxpayers etc etc etc”

    That’s a matter for Anna Lo. As far as I know, this isn’t an issue she has picked up, so let’s not waste time on this meaningless hypothetical – especially when there’s an actual, live issue at hand. (Or would you be trying to detract from that live issue by some classic passive-aggressive mendacity?)

    “Politicising very young children is commendable?”

    The young children are directly affected by this issue. They may not have chosen to become a political football, but that’s the situation they find themselves in. I think it’s commendable that they would take part in promotion of the Irish language. I would want my children to grow up with a love and attachment to the Irish language. It’s an unambiguously positive thing. For Irish language enthusiasts (including the children in our naoiscoils and bunscoils) it’s about love. It’s not about hate.

    What’s unionist opposition about? Is it about love?

  • iain

    obviously that should be where not were

  • Maggot

    Longevity of use and non-use isn’t mentioned Ulster McNulty. The point was however made about taxpayers having rights.

    “Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands of years”

    so the call isn’t for standardised Irish but Uladh Irish or one of the ancient Irish dialects ? That will so lease comhaltas Uladh members – if there are any still alive 😉

  • Unionist

    BP

    “What’s unionist opposition about? Is it about love?”

    It’s similar but the inverse of the Orangemen’s attitude to catholicism – we don’t hate the Irish language but we hate the poor sinners who speak it.

  • Maggot

    “Maggot, Chinese isn’t an indegeous language of Ulster.”

    So what ? Chinese is widely spoken by Ulster taxpayers – How racist of you to deny these people their rights!

    The Traveller language is thought to be the oldest language on this island – should it also be accorded he same rights and facilities?
    ( whoops – naughty me – mentioning travellers – oppressed by everybody )

    This is SF playing politics, shit stirring. Hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of pounds will be wasted – money that should go to schools, hospitals and social services.

  • iain

    Maybe it should be called Gaelic instead of Irish as it is here in Scotland/Alba. Gaelic-ness probably predates Irishness.

  • iain

    “So what ? Chinese is widely spoken by Ulster taxpayers – How racist of you to deny these people their rights!”

    I don’t believe i am denying the Chinese their rights to a Chinese language act in the way certain members of Ulster society seem determine to deny the Gaels their rights.

    The Chinese representatives are entitled to propose such a Chinese language act.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Iain

    “Maybe it should be called Gaelic instead of Irish as it is here in Scotland/Alba. Gaelic-ness probably predates Irishness.”

    Why not get your own name? What about “Scottish”?

  • fair_deal

    “That’s already happening in a small way – Chinese ratepayers – I’ve seen Chinese and Arabic on RCA leaflets, I’ve never seen Irish. Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?”

    Leaving aside your basic ignorance of language needs of minority ethnic communities. The RCA do provide information in Irish.
    http://www.lpsni.gov.uk/irish_translation-3.htm
    http://www.lpsni.gov.uk/information_about_your_rate_bill.pdf

  • Maggot

    Billy – how many six year olds will follow question and answers from the Assembly, let alone follow then in Irish ?

    For myself, I’d be quite happy to see more money set aside for Irish language education in schools and for adult education – where it might actually acheive something useful.

    Iain – the Gaelic vs Irish takes you into very dangerous waters. When Standardised Irish was invented the Ulster dialect was largely excluded because …. it is contaminated by Scottish.

  • fair_deal

    “The Unionist/loyalist equivalent? Look no further than the pipe bombers of children at Holycross…”

    Almost made it to the end with no sweeping generalisation and demonisation of the Unionist community.

  • iain

    “the Gaelic vs Irish takes you into very dangerous waters. When Standardised Irish was invented the Ulster dialect was largely excluded because …. it is contaminated by Scottish”

    Presumably Donegal Irish (this would be strictly speaking Ulster Irish too) will be likewise ‘contaminated’ by Scottish yet it seems to be tolerated by the irish. in fact, they even refer to it as Irish. i’m not aware of any form of Irish that would be indigenous to Northern Ireland (geographically) still existing, though you can correct me on this.

  • DK

    Paying for translators etc. in Stormont is a waste of money – aren’t we supposed to be reducing our dependency on the public sector, not increasing it.

    Instead the funding should go into capital projects – boosting the Gaelic Quarter so it might attract some visitors, and create a centre of excellence so that those rich Southerners will come to study the language here.

    Spending the money translating car tax leaflets, road signs and assembly questions is misdirected political nonsense and will do the language far less favours than a thriving Gaelic Quarter or college.

    Same goes for Ulster Scots btw.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Unionist

    “It’s similar but the inverse of the Orangemen’s attitude to catholicism – we don’t hate the Irish language but we hate the poor sinners who speak it.”

    Very good! I would suggest though, that the strategy for unionists should be to get involved with the Irish language. If you perceive it to be a republican thing, get involved and pollute the republican purity of it! The Shinners would have kittens!

    “how many six year olds will follow question and answers from the Assembly, let alone follow then in Irish?”

    What’s that got to do with anything? You think “politics” is something that happens on TV, or that happens in one big room up at Stormont? Politics is happening all around us, all the time. Political debates and decisions affect our lives every day – not least when it comes to education. Even six-year-olds understand that.

    “For myself, I’d be quite happy to see more money set aside for Irish language education in schools and for adult education – where it might actually acheive something useful.”

    Good for you! I’m somewhat surprised to hear you say that though – you come across quite differently.

    “the Gaelic vs Irish takes you into very dangerous waters. When Standardised Irish was invented the Ulster dialect was largely excluded because …. it is contaminated by Scottish.”

    Hang on a sec. I recognise you. You don’t by any chance go by a couple of other names, do you Maggot? (Initials MR, DofS and ME, by any chance?)

    Because there’s only one person on this island who plays that old “standardised Irish” canard, but by God he plays it often. (Regardless of how many times his assumptions and skewed history are demonstrated to be bogus.)

    If that’s you, good to see you, you old so-and-so! If not, I know someone you’d get on famously with!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    DK

    Have to say I’d largely agree with that. The future for the Irish language is to make it sexy. (As has happened down south.) Translating civil service documents and car tax stickers is worthy but boring.

  • Maggot

    Iain – do you realise that there is such a thing as “standardised Irish” and that there is resentment that it is in danger of destroying the Ulster Gaelic ?

    e.g. from the letters page of the Irish news in January 2004, by Sean O Cearnaigh, Belfast

    ” the Dublin government adopted the Munster dialect as a substitute for the spoken tongue in the rest of the country.

    This is easily proved, especially in the case of
    Ulster Irish.

    The latter was always under pressure from the south from the foundation of the Gaelic League in 1893.

    In the end, Ulster was forced to set up its own defence council in 1924, in the form of Comhaltas Uladh, which from then on led the fight for the survival of Irish in Ulster until it finally capitulated in 1948.”

    In fact all is NOT rosy in the Donegal Gaeltacht -some people are unhappy at the damage being done to their dialect.

  • Maggot

    “Good for you! I’m somewhat surprised to hear you say that though – you come across quite differently.”

    Thats because your preconceptions prevent you seeing what I’m getting at – he’s unionist, he must be anti-Irish. As it happens I’m listening to some Irish language as I write.

    I’ve only posted here as Maggot – discovered the place, lurked a few weeks and bit the bullet. sorry!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Maggot

    “That’s because your preconceptions prevent you seeing what I’m getting at – he’s unionist, he must be anti-Irish.”

    Ah, now you’re preconceptions are coming to the fore!

    “As it happens I’m listening to some Irish language as I write.”

    Maith go leor!

    “I’ve only posted here as Maggot – discovered the place, lurked a few weeks and bit the bullet. sorry!”

    Ah, I could’ve sworn you were someone else!

  • Ulster McNulty

    fair_deal

    “Leaving aside your basic ignorance of language needs of minority ethnic communities. The RCA do provide information in Irish.”

    Leaving aside your complete ignorance of my knowledge of language needs of minority ethnic communities – thanks for linking to the RCA info. I wasn’t aware they published info in irish, I’ve never visited their website. I was going on a leaflet they delivered with my rates bill – it had Chinese and Arabic, no Irish or Ulster Scots.

    All’s good, you learn something everday. Maybe someday you’ll even learn something that would actually qualify you to speak about my level of knowledge of language needs of minority ethnic communities.

  • scary_eire

    Maggot

    “the Gaelic vs Irish takes you into very dangerous waters. When Standardised Irish was invented the Ulster dialect was largely excluded because …. it is contaminated by Scottish”

    Get your facts straight buddy. Scots gaelic and all the Irish dialects spoken on the island come from “old Irish”.

    When it was brought to scotland it was isolated from the rest of ireland and developed differently. the same with all of the dialects on the island. The same with all the english spoken in england. you speak of the ulster dialect as tho its a different language but its not. Exactly the way liverpudlian, london accents/ dialects etc are different but they al stem from english – am i right. We dont have a liverpudlian dictionary a london dictionary etc.. for every english dialect. We have a standardised one exactly the same for Irish. When it was standardised not just the munster dialect was taken but also the connacht. The donegal strand was not used as much as the others tho.

  • fair_deal

    UM

    When a comment displays no knowledge rather ignorance of a topic it would be rather strange to reach the conclusion the person possesses knowledge but has chosen to hid it behind ignorance.

  • observer

    what a load of crap , the REAL irish dont even speak this dead language. THEY SPEAK ENGLISH!! the language of Corrie and Eastenders!!!

    there is no cross community support for this so no irish language act …. welcome to the UK lads

  • Maggot

    scary eire – that’s not what I read in the Irish News.

  • Maggot

    If the shinners had the courage of their convictions wouldn’t their meetings and literature – all of it – be in Irish ?

  • George

    Maggot,
    “I’ve only posted here as Maggot – discovered the place, lurked a few weeks and bit the bullet. sorry!”

    I could have sworn you were Davros. But then again you may be Maggot, who by pure chance is repeating all the opinions of the long departed Davros.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    “When a comment displays no knowledge rather ignorance of a topic it would be rather strange to reach the conclusion the person possesses knowledge but has chosen to hid it behind ignorance.”

    I realise that it is impossible for you to demonstrate how my original comment displays “basic ignorance of language needs of minority ethnic communities”?

    So, I’m not going to ask you to demonstrate it because I know you won’t post an answer, or if you do it will be evasive. That’s the way it goes on slugger when someone like yourself gets it so obviously wrong.

    Oh what the hell, go on f_d, explain how my comment displays “basic ignorance of language needs of minority ethnic communities”?

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands of years, much longer than English or Scots or Polish or Chinese.”

    1. You create a hierarchy of language based solely on longevity of use in the locality not present need.

    “It is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t,”

    2. You have a exclusionary attitude to the liguistic diversity of present day northern ireland.

    “That’s already happening in a small way – Chinese ratepayers – I’ve seen Chinese and Arabic on RCA leaflets, I’ve never seen Irish. Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?”

    3. You misunderstand that the reasons for provision in ME languages and the lesser used languages are largley different. The provision of material in ME languages isn’t based on cultural allowances but for communicative reasons. The provision of materials in Irish and Ulster-Scots is much more a case of cultural allowances.
    4. The blanket description of MEC’s as foreigners and by implication their languages as foreign repeats an exclusionary attitude.

    Simple really

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    Lol! You didn’t let me down – you came back with a load of evasive nonsense.

    Rather than appointing yourself as my personal language spokesman (a position you are unqualified for) why not just answer the question…

    How does my original comment display “basic ignorance of language needs of minority ethnic communities”?

  • fair_deal

    UM

    I see you have gone for repetition of the question after it got an answer, trying to ignore the answer rather than address it. If you disagree and don’t accept my characterisation of the comments much simpler just to say so and that would be fair enough but if you want to play a game so be it.

    The “basic ignorance” was thinking that the production of information in MEC languages was for cultural allowances when it is for communciation.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    There’s no point pretending. Both of us know that you are not going to answer my question.

    We also know that you have an agenda here (hence your attempt to represent me as some kind of ignorant ultra-nationalist racist).

    You aren’t concerned about the usefulness or otherwise of an Irish language act. You subscribe to the same school of thought as many in Sinn Fein in that you see Irish as a political football rather than a language and you debate on that basis – hence you don’t answer my specific question, just repeat my words with your own little bit of spin.

    You’re quite the devious propagandist – keep kicking your political football maybe you’ll manage to break a window.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    Our comments crossed there.

    “..after it got an answer”. It didn’t get an answer.

    “The “basic ignorance” was thinking that the production of information in MEC languages was for cultural allowances when it is for communciation.”

    So, essentially you are saying that Irish isn’t a form of communication it a form of cultural allowance. I geddit now.

  • fair_deal

    UM

    1. There’s no point pretending that it matters what answer I give, you will ignore it rather than reflect on what you wrote.
    2. In our exchanges on this thread I made no reference to the Irish Language Act at all, your views on such or mine. I suggest you would be better reconsidering your comments rather than wasting it imagining machiavellian motivations.

  • iain

    fd,
    i don’t know from your last comment what your position is. Are you for the irish language act in the spirit of inclusivity, or against it for any number of spurious reasons already mentioned on this thread. In truth I suspect that a lot of people are against the irish language act because they don’t like the irish or any manifestation of irishness, yet that hasn’t been mentioned at all. Also, no matter how you much you evade the issue, the irish language has a special significance for a large percentage of ulster people, whether you like it or not.

    Observer
    so people who speak irish are not real irish people. they might disagree.

    “there is no cross community support for this so no irish language act …. welcome to the UK lads”

    Lol. the perfect formula for stalemate and stagnation. Should that be applied to permission for orange marches too?

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    I’m not an Irish Language Act advocate, but if such a thing is ever introduced I hope they include a provision to educate people like yourself so that you might understand that Irish is in fact a language and not a “cultural allowance” or a political football.

    Also, when I say that “Irish is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t”. I mean it in the sense that “The Black Pig’s Dyke is part of traditional Ulster heritage. The Great wall of China isn’t” It would take a devious person with an agenda to represent that as “exclusionary” and to try to drag it down to the accusations of racism and xenophobia.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    “I suggest you would be better reconsidering your comments rather than wasting it imagining machiavellian motivations.”

    I suggest you quit trying to flatter yourself by comparing yourself to Machiavelli, your attempts to misrepresent my views as racist were just too stupid – see how I rubbished them in my last post.

  • observer

    Also, when I say that “Irish is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t”. I mean it in the sense that “The Black Pig’s Dyke is part of traditional Ulster heritage. The Great wall of China isn’t”

    To some Ulster people of chinese decent the great wall of china is part of their heritage, or are you saying if its not in ulster its no concern of ours?

  • Ulster McNulty

    Observer

    “To some Ulster people of chinese decent the great wall of china is part of their heritage, or are you saying if its not in ulster its no concern of ours?”

    Are you saying that because there are Ulster people of Chinese descent the Great Wall of China is part of Ulster’s traditional heritage.

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “So, essentially you are saying that Irish isn’t a form of communication it a form of cultural allowance. I geddit now”

    My apologies if I have been insufficiently clear.

    Irish as with every other language is a form of communication. The production of public information leaflets in it and Ulster Scots is broadly a case of cultural allowance as speakers of those languages in NI also speak English.

    With a significant proportion of people in MECs a lack of knowledge of English or the increased barriers to comprehensibility caused by official or technical jargon in public information means it is best to produce the leaflets in their mother languages to understand it – communication.

    So MEC’s and Lesser Used Language communities both get the leaflets translated but the rationale is different. The production for MEC’s is more to meet a clearly identifiable communicative need. The production in LUL is more recognition for the language and promotion of its usage rather than to ensure communication.

    If you cut the MEC language leaflets the direct result is some people will have no access to materials they can understand. If you cut the LUL materials the speakers will still have access to materials that they can understand if not in the language they want.

  • Turgon

    Um

    “Irish is in fact a language and not a “cultural allowance” or a political football.”

    I seem to remember someone once saying that every word spoken in irish is a bullet fired in the cause of Irish freedom or some such nonsense. Making Irish a political football is not one sided.

    I can remember when I was at Queen’s (many years ago)it was proposed to make the then bilingual signs multi lingual with appropriate Chinese languages. This was opposed essentially because the Chinese languages were seen as foreign. Was that not a trifle racist and are your comments not veering a bit close to that? Incidentally I think the Irish signs are down now in Queens because a report commissioned by the university said they were devicive

  • fair_deal

    fd,

    “i don’t know frm your last comment what your position is. Are you for the irish language act in the spirit of inclusivity, or against it for any number of spurious reasons already mentioned on this thread.”

    On other threads I have previously stated I am not opposed in principle and it depends on what is in it. I haven’t had a decent case made to me the merits of an act nor how what people want can’t be achieved by non-legislative action.

    There is significant scope for developments under the European Charter and the legislative requirement on the Executive to produce an agreed strategy for the development of the Irish language rather than create the holy cow of an act, to be worshipped or slain.

    “In truth I suspect that a lot of people are against the irish language act because they don’t like the irish or any manifestation of irishness, yet that hasn’t been mentioned at all.”

    In other threads on the topic it has been often mentioned. Maybe there are. However treating everyone who disagrees with an Act as holding these views is not the way to win friends or influence people.

    “Also, no matter how you much you evade the issue, the irish language has a special significance for a large percentage of ulster people, whether you like it or not”

    I haven’t evaded anything. I simply took UM up on a particular point. I have discussed the ILA on other threads.

    This is also the bog standard argument often used for an ILA and I can’t see how it would change anyone’s attitude from anti to pro as everyone is aware of this. It isn’t a clincher argument.

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “I suggest you quit trying to flatter yourself by comparing yourself to Machiavelli, your attempts to misrepresent my views as racist were just too stupid – see how I rubbished them in my last post.”

    It was you who called me “quite the devious propagandist” with “an agenda”

    No I saw how you didn’t read my post and had to misrepresent my description of public information materials as a description of Irish. I said “The provision of materials in Irish and Ulster-Scots is much more a case of cultural allowances.” but you claimed I said “Irish isn’t a form of communication it a form of cultural allowance”.

    You may not like the exact repetition of what you said and highlighting the concerning parts of it but trying to make me the issue instead is pointless.

    I would also point out I never made any charge of racism or ultra nationalism simply ignorance of MEC needs. I try to be controlled and specific in the language I use.

    You had the good sense and grace to accept your error on the RCA provision of irish language materials. In an online debate where speed of answer often gets in the way of clarity, sensitivity and displaying the knowledge you say you possess on MEC languages. Would you consider accepting that what you said could have been better phrased and knowledge better communicated?

  • willowfield

    Maybe it should be called Gaelic instead of Irish as it is here in Scotland/Alba. Gaelic-ness probably predates Irishness.

    Ironically, in the language itself, it is called “Gaelic” (Gaeilge), but for some reason the campaigners choose to call it “Irish” when they speak in English. That in itself perhaps reveals an exclusively Gaelic attitude towards Irishness – to be Irish is to be Gaelic.

  • willowfield

    “Up to” 4,000 responses (whatever that means – no more than 4,000?) tells us nothing other than a lot of people are exercised by this issue.

    The fact that “up to” 4,000 people have written to the Government makes the proposal for an Irish language Bill no more or no less meritorious.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    “Would you consider accepting that what you said could have been better phrased and knowledge better communicated?”

    Why, do I look stupid or something? What I said was “Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?. I was refering to an RCA form that had 2 or 3 lines each of Chinese, Polish and Arabic, no Irish – and I wanted to know why, if we are prepared to make an effort for foreign languages, are we not prepared to do it for a native one. I was not describing the language needs of MEC language speakers. Do you understand? Of course you do. BTW, you might consider the use of Irish to be all about token cultural gestures but there are people who can actually “communicate” fluently in it and that is the point of providing services in them. I must say you have an imperfect grasp of language issues.

    “It was you who called me…”

    Fair enough, I accept your point, you really are machiavellian, you’ve mangaged to drag me into a “when did you stop beating your wife” scenario – my compliments.

    “You may not like the exact repetition of what you said and highlighting the concerning parts of it but trying to make me the issue instead is pointless”

    You are the issue, lets examine the exact repetition of what I said and your highlighting of the concerning parts.

    I said “Irish is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t”.

    You highlighted your concern that I “have a exclusionary attitude to the liguistic diversity of present day northern ireland.”

    Now, are you saying that Chinese is part of “traditional Ulster heritage”?. No, I didn’t think so. But you are trying to imply that I am racist. It’s as if you are saying that pagodas are as much a part of traditional Ulster architecture as dolmens and anybody who says otherwise is “exclusionary”. That is actually how stupid you are prepared to get!

    “You had the good sense and grace to accept your error on the RCA provision of irish language materials”

    Absolutely, I’ll admit it when I get it wrong and I’d invite you to apologise but you are rather persistent in your attempts to mis-represent me as racist, so I doubt if you would have the good grace to come clean on this one.

    Good night.

    Turgon.

    “Was that not a trifle racist and are your comments not veering a bit close to that?”

    Could you not be a bit more original – see my reply to fair_deal above.

    “Making Irish a political football is not one sided.”

    Yeah, that’s why I pointed out the similarity between fair_deal and the shinners and how they like to use Irish as a political football.

    Good night.

  • páid

    A fair point willowfield. In fact, in the Ulster dalect, Irish/Gaelic is caled Gaedhlig.

    Funnily enough the Irish/Gaelic name for Welsh is Breatnais (British).

    And the old English name for Scots Gaelic was Scottish.

    And of course, the Scotii were in fact the Irish.

    The Welsh name for England is Lloedr, which I hear means the ‘lost lands’

    And the Irish/Gaelic name for Wales is Breatain Bheag – Little Britain.

    As for me, I’m the only Gael in the village.

  • Taxpayer

    Rather than get into a crude sectarian argument about this, Unionist representatives should simply point out that no where in the consultation document has it been shown that there is a need or demand for a specific Irish Language Act. Irish or for that matter Ulster Scots language enthusiasts are well catered for already through the provisions made in the Belfast Agreement.

    From googling “Irish Language and Unionist” the most sensible Unionist response to this whole argument is here-
    http://www.roy-beggs.co.uk/news/displayfullpress.asp?pressid=181

    “Under no objective criteria could it be argued that there is a need for an Irish Langage Act. No ‘appropriate demand’ has been demonstrated in the consultation documents. According to offical census figures produced by the NI Statistical and Research Agency, 1.3% of the population in my constituency of East Antrim constituency can speak, read, write and understand Irish . 96.7% have no knowledge whatsoever. In the borough of Carrickfergus, 0.72% of the population can speak, read write and understand Irish, 98% have no knowledge of the Irish language. In Newtownabbey the respective figures are 1.95% and 95.7%. In Larne they are 1.6% and 95.6%.” http://www.nisranew.nisra.gov.uk/Census/Excel/KS24DC.xls
    While statistics can of course be massaged or manipulated, what is undeniable is that 100% of those who claim they can read, write and understand Irish can also speak, read, write and understand English. I would contend that only a miniscule percentage of the general public can communicate fluently enough to be comfortable accessing public service through the medium of the Irish Language. I would argue that significant need has not been demonstrated.”

    But here is surely the clincher- this Bill would have to pass the cross community support threshold in the Assembly.- surely that is not going to happen?

  • fair_deal

    The Chinese community is now in its third generation in Northern ireland when exactly does it merit being included in our cultural life.

    I have no need to come clean on a charge I did not make.

  • iain

    Taxpayer
    surely the fact that the Act is being proposed means there is a demand. And i presume that those people who support this act feel there is a real/significant need to their language having an officially recognised status.

    Fair Deal
    i wasn’t attempting to convince you of anything. Indeed, i don’t believe you are even susceptable to being convinced on this issue. This whole thing brings me back to my original point. Britishness is not an inclusive identity. Britishness means the English and the anglicised others.

  • fair_deal

    “i wasn’t attempting to convince you of anything.”

    Fair enough.

    “Indeed, i don’t believe you are even susceptable to being convinced on this issue”

    You are wrong. There is also no value in that position as the starting pointt of a debate.

    “Britishness is not an inclusive identity. Britishness means the English and the anglicised others.”

    No it doesn’t.

  • Ulster McNulty

    fair_deal

    “The Chinese community is now in its third generation in Northern ireland when exactly does it merit being included in our cultural life – I have no need to come clean on a charge I did not make.”

    I think the lesson here seems to be you are a very persistant troll.

    Otherwise, how do you rationalise that I am trying to exclude Chinese people from our cultural life by stating the fact that “Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousand of years, much longer than … Chinese”.

    Your accusations can’t be rationalised. It suggests you have bitter dislike of those who advocate the use of Irish, and when they compare provision for Irish with provision for ethnic minority languages you’ll go to quite absurd lenghts to imply racism.

    This is my last exchange with you on this subject, I have no wish to feed a troll.

  • good grief

    Surely the crux of the matter is:

    (Let’s avoid the ‘you know nothing about..’ and leave the ‘you’re as nasty racist’ cliche ridden, mud slinging festival for two minutes..)

    The objective of printing official/government/council/whatever communications in languages such as Chinese, Polish etc in Ulster/NI/the North/6 counties (select your preferred reference) is aimed at getting important messages across to sections of the commmunity who would have difficulty understanding the same message in English.

    I don’t believe a body of people exist in the geography in question who would speak only Irish and would struggle to comprehend an english language version. Do they ? Happy to be contradicted.

    As for an ILA – is it best aimed at trying to force Irish language into officialdom ?

  • Ulster McNulty

    good grief

    We all already know that the objective of printing official communications in Chinese etc is aimed at people who have difficulty understanding the message in English.

    That’s blatantly obvious – you don’t need to patronise anybody by pretending you have to explain it.

    But you can’t accuse somebody of being racist (or “exclusionary”) for saying: “If you can print them in Chinese, why not in Irish?”. That isn’t saying you want Chinese excluded – which is how fair_deal tried to spin it.

    “I don’t believe a body of people exist in the geography in question who would speak only Irish and would struggle to comprehend an english language version.”

    You’re quite right, but you miss the point – which is to facilitate people to use Irish as a means of communication in all spheres of life, including official communication. The lack of which in previous years contributed great harm to the irish language in this geographic area.

    “As for an ILA – is it best aimed at trying to force Irish language into officialdom ?”

    How can that be a bad thing? What is your difficulty with it?

  • good grief

    UM

    ” As for an ILA – is it best aimed at trying to force Irish language into officialdom ? ”

    The above is a question. I’m interested in anyones opinion on the matter.

    The below represents you (for reasons best known to yourself) transposing certain views of the ‘difficulty’ or otherwise is the use of the Irish language in an official capacity.

    “How can that be a bad thing? What is your difficulty with it? ”

    As for promoting the use of the language as a means of communication, my personal opinion is the education of children should be a priority. Broader interest would be better stimulated outside of government publications I’d suggest? …making it ‘sexy’ as someone previously suggested.

    Cheers

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “how do you rationalise that I am trying to exclude Chinese people from our cultural life”

    It would the situation if you remember what you said. The comment I made around tradition and the inclusion of Chinese was a response to your earlier statement that

    “It is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t,”

    You were emphatic that Chinese “isn’t” part of “our traditional Ulster heritage”. I rationalise it because you said it directly.

    It was not a response to the other point you made about length of use. I argued it was creating an unnecessary hierarchy.

    Again I never introduced the terms racist nor ultra nationalist, you did.

  • Ulster McNulty

    good grief

    “The above is a question.”

    Sorry, it sounded like a rhetorical question.

    Anyway the availablity of governemnt publications may help to stimulate some further usage of the language among those who want to use it. At the least it helps people to see it, use it and practise it. I don’t think you can make it “sexy” – it’s difficult to learn.

    The only significant thing is that people use it and pass it on to their children. Any measures or legislation should be introduced should have that purpose – not for some kind of useless and irrelevant “cultural allowance” or tokenism.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    “It would the situation if you remember what you said. The comment I made around tradition and the inclusion of Chinese was a response to your earlier statement that – “It is a part of our traditional Ulster heritage. Chinese isn’t,”

    OK, go on then, explain how the sentance “Chinese isn’t part of traditional Ulster culture” means “Chinese should be excluded from our cultural life”.

    Then explain how Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands of years, much longer than English or Scots or Polish or Chinese” creates a “hierarchy” of language

    “Again I never introduced the terms racist nor ultra nationalist, you did.”

    No you didn’t use the word, you introduced the concept. For example I refered to “the linguitic culture of foreigners” and you said…

    “The blanket description of MEC’s as foreigners and by implication their languages as foreign repeats an exclusionary attitude”,

    Do me a big favour fair_deal, explain why you think Chinese, Polish and Arabic aren’t foreign languages. Do you recognise any language as foreign?

    (WTF is an “exclusionary attitude” anyway? To me it has a racist sound to it, like the Chinese should be excluded. But you invented it so you are the only one who know what it means, I suppose.)

  • fair_deal

    ““Chinese should be excluded from our cultural life”.”

    1. That is not a direct quote of what I said.
    2. The language you used excluded “Chinese isn’t”

    “creates a “hierarchy” of language”

    It implies that a link between longevity and importance. Also the needs of MEC communities and their languages is basically a seperate one from the promotion of lesser used languages.

    “No you didn’t use the word, you introduced the concept.”

    Thank you for accepting I did not use the word. I do not think I introduced the concept either. The word and concept are thrown about too easily and flippantly. I have been careful in my language. Also if I thought you were I would have no problem in stating it. I don’t so I haven’t.

    “explain why you think Chinese, Polish and Arabic aren’t foreign languages.”

    There are settled communities here that use these languages so they are no longer foreign. Plus you have the likes of the Chinese community and their range of languages that have been here for a number of generations. How long does a language have to be spoken here before it is no longer foreign and the people who use them no longer “foreigners”?

    “exclusionary attitude”

    An attitude that excludes “Chinese isn’t”. Take for example your other phrase
    “the linguistic culture of foreigners”

    Some speakers of MEC languages were born, grew up here and are raising families here and others have gained citizenship. Some speakers are citizens but your comment classed them all as “foreigners”.

  • Ulster McNulty

    f_d

    “That is not a direct quote of what I said.”

    Yes indeed.

    “The language you used excluded “Chinese isn’t”

    Yes, I said Chinese isn’t a part of traditional Ulster heritage, and that is entirely true. Chinese is a part of traditional Chinese herigage, not traditional Ulster Heritage.

    If Chinese people remain here in Ulster and keep their language they will be keeping a part of their traditional Chinese heritage, not their traditional Ulster heritage. If their Chinese mutates into a dialect that is unique to Ulster then that dialect will become a part of traditional Ulster heritage.

    Your contention that Chinese and Polish are a part of traditional Ulster heritage could be no more ridiculous than if you went on to claim that Irish is a part of traditional Chinese heritage because I spent 2 months in China last year (which I did, and I picked up quite a few words of Chinese. It would be ludicrous to say that those Chinese words are part of my traditional Ulster Heritage, as you are saying). http://www.flickr.com/photos/60403521@N00/203244664/in/set-72157594216568829/

    Explain how the straight forward statement of fact “Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands of years, much longer than English or Scots or Polish or Chinese” implies a link between longevity and importance. It doesn’t imply anything, it simply means that Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for much longer than English or Scots or Polish or Chinese.

    “..if I thought you were I would have no problem in stating it. I don’t so I haven’t.”

    OK, what about “The blanket description of MEC’s as foreigners and by implication their languages as foreign repeats an exclusionary attitude.” What exactlty do you mean when you say I have an “exclusionary attitude” to foreigners if it doesn’t mean I have an “exclusionary attitude” to them because they are foreigners. You are impling I’m a racist, you don’t have to use the word.

    “How long does a language have to be spoken here before it is no longer foreign and the people who use them no longer “foreigners”?”

    see above

    “Take for example your other phrase
    “the linguistic culture of foreigners”

    see above

    “Some speakers of MEC languages were born, grew up here and are raising families here and others have gained citizenship. Some speakers are citizens but your comment classed them all as “foreigners”.”

    No I didn’t class anybody as foreigners, I didn’t mention anything about first, second or third generation immigrants or their descendants, or their ability to speak English, or their traditional languages, or their bilingualism or their integration into our society or their loss of their traditional language.

    Why do you feel the need to suggest I did? I referred to the inclusion of Chinese, Arabic and Polish on official leaflets as “the linguitic culture of foreigers” which they are. If those immigrants remain settled here for a lot of generations their descendants will be no more fluent in their ancestral language than the average Italian American is fluent in Italian.

    Now what was I originally talking about? Yes, Irish has been spoken here in Ulster for thousands for years, much longer than English, Scots, Polish are Chinese – pointing this fact out doesn’t make me a racist. Irish is a unique and precious part of our Ulster heritage.

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “Your contention that Chinese and Polish are a part of traditional Ulster heritage could be no more ridiculous than if you went on to claim that Irish is a part of traditional Chinese heritage because I spent 2 months in China last year (which I did,”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or shake my head in despair at that comment.

    They are not here on holiday. They live here. They work here. They pay taxes here. Some are raising families here. Some are citizens. Some have families who have been here for generations. They are not here for a couple of months/interlopers etc.

    For accuracy I never mentioned Polish. I specifically referred to Chinese and the fact the community has existed and the associated languages have been used here now for at least three generations. I do not subscribe to the view that they are forever foreign? When did the other languages spoken here cease to be foreign? Irish is a composite language so a good chunk of it didn’t come from here when did it cease to be foreign?

    “and I picked up quite a few words of Chinese.”

    What do you want a prize?

    “No I didn’t class anybody as foreigners,”

    Err yes you did. Your full comment was “That’s already happening in a small way – Chinese ratepayers – I’ve seen Chinese and Arabic on RCA leaflets, I’ve never seen Irish. Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?”

    Leaving aside the comment was based on a factual inaccuracy. You described provision in Arabic and Chinese as “allowance for the linguistic culture of foreigners”.

    You made no mention of the different generations, range of linguistic ability etc as you did in your last post. You used one term to describe provision for speakers of Arabic and Chinese here and that word was “foreigners”

    “this fact out doesn’t make me a racist.”

    I have NEVER once called you a racist.

  • Ulster McNulty

    fair_deal

    “I don’t know whether to laugh or shake my head in despair at that comment”

    Try doing both at the same time.

    “They are not here on holiday.”

    Are you claiming that there aren’t any Chinese people here on holiday? How do you know? Do you stop every Chinese person you meet and ask them their business?

    “They live here. They work here. They pay taxes here. Some are raising families here. Some are citizens. Some have families who have been here for generations.

    Some are here on student visas…….

    And all that makes Chinese part of traditional Ulster heritage? Chinese is a part of traditional Chinese heritage. If Chinese people remain here for generations and keep their language they will be keeping a part of their traditional Chinese heritage, not their traditional Ulster heritage.

    If the Chinese spoken by the descendants of the Chinese in Ulster mutates into a dialect that is unique to Ulster then that dialect will become a part of traditional Ulster heritage. As of now Chinese isn’t part of traditional Ulster culture, it is part of traditional Chinese culture.

    “For accuracy I never mentioned Polish. I specifically referred to Chinese..”

    For even more accuracy we were talking about Arabic, Polish and Chinese. I presume then that you don’t consider Polish to be part of Ulster’s traditional heritage like Chinese. What about Arabic? Is that part of traditional Ulster heritage? Why? Why not?

    “Err yes you did. Your full comment was “That’s already happening in a small way – Chinese ratepayers – I’ve seen Chinese and Arabic on RCA leaflets, I’ve never seen Irish. Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?”

    Maybe it’s ambiguous, I dont think so, but be assured, when I say “we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?” I don’t mean everyone of Chinese descent in Northern Ireland is a foreigner, I mean we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners.

    FYI, there are third generation Chinese here who can’t speak Chinese. There are people of Chinese descent here who aren’t foreigners. There are Chinese people here who are foreigners, on holiday. Chinese is a foreign language.

    (btw, what is your take on Teaching English as a Foreign Language – in China? Is English a foreign language in China in your opinion, or is it part of traditional Chinese heritage? If it is – why is it? and if not, why not?)

    “What do you want a prize?”

    No an apology for your suggestion that I am seeking to exclude Chinese. Why would I when I have learnt to speak it (to a very limited extent)

    “Leaving aside the comment was based on a factual inaccuracy”

    Actually it wasn’t based on a factual inaccuracy for the leaflet in question, it was factually correct.

    “You made no mention of the different generations, range of linguistic ability etc as you did in your last post. You used one term to describe provision for speakers of Arabic and Chinese here and that word was “foreigners”

    Yes, I made no mention of the different generations or their linguistic needs – you mentioned them (your patronising spiel about MECs and LULs). Where do you get different generations and their linguistic needs from “Why should Ulster’s unique linguistic culture be ignored when we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners” That compares the use of languages on a leaflet, not anybodys linguistic needs.

    “I have NEVER once called you a racist.”

    No, you implied that I’m a racist.

    BTW, why you don’t you answer my questions?

  • fair_deal

    UM

    “Are you claiming that there aren’t any Chinese people here on holiday?”

    No. When you live, work etc here you are not a tourist. Also a leaflet about rates information would not be produced for a tourist.

    “I presume then that you don’t consider Polish to be part of Ulster’s traditional heritage like Chinese. What about Arabic? Is that part of traditional Ulster heritage? Why? Why not?”

    Not yet. I thought I had made my position clearer earlier. If there is a settled language community here then it ceases to be a foreign language spoken by foreigners. If that community continues to exist and maintains their language, for a number of generations, as the Chinese community has, then you have to start looking at what you include in the definition of traditional heritage.

    “(btw, what is your take on Teaching English as a Foreign Language – in China? Is English a foreign language in China in your opinion, or is it part of traditional Chinese heritage? ”

    Apart from it being an apples and pears comparison. My general position is summarised above. If there is no settled community it is a foreign language and if such a community has not existed for generations it isn’t part of the traditional heritage.

    “FYI, there are third generation Chinese here who can’t speak Chinese.”

    I know. Although it tends to be literacy skills that decline the fastest rather than oral. Its causing intergenerational communication problems.

    “No an apology for your suggestion that I am seeking to exclude Chinese.”

    I am glad you had the chance to learn some Chinese. Did you manage to crack the tones? I am having real problems with them.

    Whatever the activities on your visit, your comment still excluded here.

    “(your patronising spiel about MECs and LULs).”

    So knowing something about the issues and aware of the different sets of needs of MEC languages and LUL’s is patronising?

    “Maybe it’s ambiguous,”

    No its pretty clear.

    “be assured, when I say “we are making allowances for the linguistic culture of foreigners?” I don’t mean everyone of Chinese descent in Northern Ireland is a foreigner”

    Glad to here it.

    “BTW, why you don’t you answer my questions?”

    My apologies, if you would care to repeat the questions I have missed I will do so. You missed a few of mine too.