Irish Language Act: fulfillment of past promise or future concensus?

As noted previously, the parties seem short of concrete arguments on the merits and de-merits of the proposed Irish Language Act. Much of the public discussion comes down to: we’re having it; or, you’re not! Gerry Adams’ plans to tell the (currently belaboured) Minister for Culture Edwin Poots that he had already negotiated it separately with the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The BBC reports.

Mr Poots insists he is not bound by promises made by the Prime Minister. When it was put to him he was cherrypicking the act, he insisted his party did not negotiate the Irish language Act at St Andrews.

He added it was up to his department to make recommendations but it was then a matter for the Executive and Assembly. “Ultimately we have to achieve cross-community consensus and cross community support to win this one.”

Hmmm…

Update Poots after the meeting:

“I am not bound by an agreement between Sinn Fein and Tony Blair,” he said. “What I am bound by is the Northern Ireland Assembly and ultimately any decisions I take have to be taken through the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“We have conditions to ensure that issues which are controversial – and I take it this is deemed to be controversial – that they require cross-community support. “So ultimately it is a challenge for those people who are lobbying for an Irish Language Act to ensure that they can achieve cross-community support.”[Emphasis added]

Adds: Commenter Oilibhear makes mention of Part III of the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In an attempt to aid reference, here’s the relevant section:

Part III – Measures to promote the use of regional or minority languages in public life in accordance with the undertakings entered into under Article 2, paragraph 2

Article 8 – Education

With regard to education, the Parties undertake, within the territory in which such languages are used, according to the situation of each of these languages, and without prejudice to the teaching of the official language(s) of the State:

to make available pre-school education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to make available a substantial part of pre-school education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to apply one of the measures provided for under i and ii above at least to those pupils whose families so request and whose number is considered sufficient; or
if the public authorities have no direct competence in the field of pre-school education, to favour and/or encourage the application of the measures referred to under i to iii above;

to make available primary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to make available a substantial part of primary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to provide, within primary education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils whose families so request and whose number is considered sufficient;

to make available secondary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to make available a substantial part of secondary education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to provide, within secondary education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils who, or where appropriate whose families, so wish in a number considered sufficient;

to make available technical and vocational education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to make available a substantial part of technical and vocational education in the relevant regional or minority languages; or
to provide, within technical and vocational education, for the teaching of the relevant regional or minority languages as an integral part of the curriculum; or
to apply one of the measures provided for under i to iii above at least to those pupils who, or where appropriate whose families, so wish in a number considered sufficient;

to make available university and other higher education in regional or minority languages; or
to provide facilities for the study of these languages as university and higher education subjects; or
if, by reason of the role of the State in relation to higher education institutions, sub-paragraphs i and ii cannot be applied, to encourage and/or allow the provision of university or other forms of higher education in regional or minority languages or of facilities for the study of these languages as university or higher education subjects;

to arrange for the provision of adult and continuing education courses which are taught mainly or wholly in the regional or minority languages; or
to offer such languages as subjects of adult and continuing education; or
if the public authorities have no direct competence in the field of adult education, to favour and/or encourage the offering of such languages as subjects of adult and continuing education;
to make arrangements to ensure the teaching of the history and the culture which is reflected by the regional or minority language;
to provide the basic and further training of the teachers required to implement those of paragraphs a to g accepted by the Party;
to set up a supervisory body or bodies responsible for monitoring the measures taken and progress achieved in establishing or developing the teaching of regional or minority languages and for drawing up periodic reports of their findings, which will be made public.
With regard to education and in respect of territories other than those in which the regional or minority languages are traditionally used, the Parties undertake, if the number of users of a regional or minority language justifies it, to allow, encourage or provide teaching in or of the regional or minority language at all the appropriate stages of education.
Article 9 – Judicial authorities

The Parties undertake, in respect of those judicial districts in which the number of residents using the regional or minority languages justifies the measures specified below, according to the situation of each of these languages and on condition that the use of the facilities afforded by the present paragraph is not considered by the judge to hamper the proper administration of justice:
in criminal proceedings:
to provide that the courts, at the request of one of the parties, shall conduct the proceedings in the regional or minority languages; and/or
to guarantee the accused the right to use his/her regional or minority language; and/or
to provide that requests and evidence, whether written or oral, shall not be considered inadmissible solely because they are formulated in a regional or minority language; and/or
to produce, on request, documents connected with legal proceedings in the relevant regional or minority language,
if necessary by the use of interpreters and translations involving no extra expense for the persons concerned;

in civil proceedings:
to provide that the courts, at the request of one of the parties, shall conduct the proceedings in the regional or minority languages; and/or
to allow, whenever a litigant has to appear in person before a court, that he or she may use his or her regional or minority language without thereby incurring additional expense; and/or
to allow documents and evidence to be produced in the regional or minority languages,
if necessary by the use of interpreters and translations;

in proceedings before courts concerning administrative matters:
to provide that the courts, at the request of one of the parties, shall conduct the proceedings in the regional or minority languages; and/or
to allow, whenever a litigant has to appear in person before a court, that he or she may use his or her regional or minority language without thereby incurring additional expense; and/or
to allow documents and evidence to be produced in the regional or minority languages,
if necessary by the use of interpreters and translations;

to take steps to ensure that the application of sub-paragraphs i and iii of paragraphs b and c above and any necessary use of interpreters and translations does not involve extra expense for the persons concerned.
The Parties undertake:
not to deny the validity of legal documents drawn up within the State solely because they are drafted in a regional or minority language; or
not to deny the validity, as between the parties, of legal documents drawn up within the country solely because they are drafted in a regional or minority language, and to provide that they can be invoked against interested third parties who are not users of these languages on condition that the contents of the document are made known to them by the person(s) who invoke(s) it; or
not to deny the validity, as between the parties, of legal documents drawn up within the country solely because they are drafted in a regional or minority language.
The Parties undertake to make available in the regional or minority languages the most important national statutory texts and those relating particularly to users of these languages, unless they are otherwise provided.
Article 10 – Administrative authorities and public services

Within the administrative districts of the State in which the number of residents who are users of regional or minority languages justifies the measures specified below and according to the situation of each language, the Parties undertake, as far as this is reasonably possible:

to ensure that the administrative authorities use the regional or minority languages; or
to ensure that such of their officers as are in contact with the public use the regional or minority languages in their relations with persons applying to them in these languages; or
to ensure that users of regional or minority languages may submit oral or written applications and receive a reply in these languages; or
to ensure that users of regional or minority languages may submit oral or written applications in these languages; or
to ensure that users of regional or minority languages may validly submit a document in these languages;
to make available widely used administrative texts and forms for the population in the regional or minority languages or in bilingual versions;
to allow the administrative authorities to draft documents in a regional or minority language.
In respect of the local and regional authorities on whose territory the number of residents who are users of regional or minority languages is such as to justify the measures specified below, the Parties undertake to allow and/or encourage:
the use of regional or minority languages within the framework of the regional or local authority;
the possibility for users of regional or minority languages to submit oral or written applications in these languages;
the publication by regional authorities of their official documents also in the relevant regional or minority languages;
the publication by local authorities of their official documents also in the relevant regional or minority languages;
the use by regional authorities of regional or minority languages in debates in their assemblies, without excluding, however, the use of the official language(s) of the State;
the use by local authorities of regional or minority languages in debates in their assemblies, without excluding, however, the use of the official language(s) of the State;
the use or adoption, if necessary in conjunction with the name in the official language(s), of traditional and correct forms of place-names in regional or minority languages.
With regard to public services provided by the administrative authorities or other persons acting on their behalf, the Parties undertake, within the territory in which regional or minority languages are used, in accordance with the situation of each language and as far as this is reasonably possible:
to ensure that the regional or minority languages are used in the provision of the service; or
to allow users of regional or minority languages to submit a request and receive a reply in these languages; or
to allow users of regional or minority languages to submit a request in these languages.
With a view to putting into effect those provisions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 accepted by them, the Parties undertake to take one or more of the following measures:
translation or interpretation as may be required;
recruitment and, where necessary, training of the officials and other public service employees required;
compliance as far as possible with requests from public service employees having a knowledge of a regional or minority language to be appointed in the territory in which that language is used.
The Parties undertake to allow the use or adoption of family names in the regional or minority languages, at the request of those concerned.
Article 11 – Media

The Parties undertake, for the users of the regional or minority languages within the territories in which those languages are spoken, according to the situation of each language, to the extent that the public authorities, directly or indirectly, are competent, have power or play a role in this field, and respecting the principle of the independence and autonomy of the media:
to the extent that radio and television carry out a public service mission:
to ensure the creation of at least one radio station and one television channel in the regional or minority languages; or
to encourage and/or facilitate the creation of at least one radio station and one television channel in the regional or minority languages; or
to make adequate provision so that broadcasters offer programmes in the regional or minority languages;

to encourage and/or facilitate the creation of at least one radio station in the regional or minority languages; or
to encourage and/or facilitate the broadcasting of radio programmes in the regional or minority languages on a regular basis;

to encourage and/or facilitate the creation of at least one television channel in the regional or minority languages; or
to encourage and/or facilitate the broadcasting of television programmes in the regional or minority languages on a regular basis;
to encourage and/or facilitate the production and distribution of audio and audiovisual works in the regional or minority languages;

to encourage and/or facilitate the creation and/or maintenance of at least one newspaper in the regional or minority languages; or
to encourage and/or facilitate the publication of newspaper articles in the regional or minority languages on a regular basis;

to cover the additional costs of those media which use regional or minority languages, wherever the law provides for financial assistance in general for the media; or
to apply existing measures for financial assistance also to audiovisual productions in the regional or minority languages;
to support the training of journalists and other staff for media using regional or minority languages.
The Parties undertake to guarantee freedom of direct reception of radio and television broadcasts from neighbouring countries in a language used in identical or similar form to a regional or minority language, and not to oppose the retransmission of radio and television broadcasts from neighbouring countries in such a language. They further undertake to ensure that no restrictions will be placed on the freedom of expression and free circulation of information in the written press in a language used in identical or similar form to a regional or minority language. The exercise of the above-mentioned freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The Parties undertake to ensure that the interests of the users of regional or minority languages are represented or taken into account within such bodies as may be established in accordance with the law with responsibility for guaranteeing the freedom and pluralism of the media.
Article 12 – Cultural activities and facilities

With regard to cultural activities and facilities – especially libraries, video libraries, cultural centres, museums, archives, academies, theatres and cinemas, as well as literary work and film production, vernacular forms of cultural expression, festivals and the culture industries, including inter alia the use of new technologies – the Parties undertake, within the territory in which such languages are used and to the extent that the public authorities are competent, have power or play a role in this field:
to encourage types of expression and initiative specific to regional or minority languages and foster the different means of access to works produced in these languages;
to foster the different means of access in other languages to works produced in regional or minority languages by aiding and developing translation, dubbing, post-synchronisation and subtitling activities;
to foster access in regional or minority languages to works produced in other languages by aiding and developing translation, dubbing, post-synchronisation and subtitling activities;
to ensure that the bodies responsible for organising or supporting cultural activities of various kinds make appropriate allowance for incorporating the knowledge and use of regional or minority languages and cultures in the undertakings which they initiate or for which they provide backing;
to promote measures to ensure that the bodies responsible for organising or supporting cultural activities have at their disposal staff who have a full command of the regional or minority language concerned, as well as of the language(s) of the rest of the population;
to encourage direct participation by representatives of the users of a given regional or minority language in providing facilities and planning cultural activities;
to encourage and/or facilitate the creation of a body or bodies responsible for collecting, keeping a copy of and presenting or publishing works produced in the regional or minority languages;
if necessary, to create and/or promote and finance translation and terminological research services, particularly with a view to maintaining and developing appropriate administrative, commercial, economic, social, technical or legal terminology in each regional or minority language.
In respect of territories other than those in which the regional or minority languages are traditionally used, the Parties undertake, if the number of users of a regional or minority language justifies it, to allow, encourage and/or provide appropriate cultural activities and facilities in accordance with the preceding paragraph.
The Parties undertake to make appropriate provision, in pursuing their cultural policy abroad, for regional or minority languages and the cultures they reflect.
Article 13 – Economic and social life

With regard to economic and social activities, the Parties undertake, within the whole country:
to eliminate from their legislation any provision prohibiting or limiting without justifiable reasons the use of regional or minority languages in documents relating to economic or social life, particularly contracts of employment, and in technical documents such as instructions for the use of products or installations;
to prohibit the insertion in internal regulations of companies and private documents of any clauses excluding or restricting the use of regional or minority languages, at least between users of the same language;
to oppose practices designed to discourage the use of regional or minority languages in connection with economic or social activities;
to facilitate and/or encourage the use of regional or minority languages by means other than those specified in the above sub-paragraphs.
With regard to economic and social activities, the Parties undertake, in so far as the public authorities are competent, within the territory in which the regional or minority languages are used, and as far as this is reasonably possible:
to include in their financial and banking regulations provisions which allow, by means of procedures compatible with commercial practice, the use of regional or minority languages in drawing up payment orders (cheques, drafts, etc.) or other financial documents, or, where appropriate, to ensure the implementation of such provisions;
in the economic and social sectors directly under their control (public sector), to organise activities to promote the use of regional or minority languages;
to ensure that social care facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes and hostels offer the possibility of receiving and treating in their own language persons using a regional or minority language who are in need of care on grounds of ill-health, old age or for other reasons;
to ensure by appropriate means that safety instructions are also drawn up in regional or minority languages;
to arrange for information provided by the competent public authorities concerning the rights of consumers to be made available in regional or minority languages.
Article 14 – Transfrontier exchanges

The Parties undertake:

to apply existing bilateral and multilateral agreements which bind them with the States in which the same language is used in identical or similar form, or if necessary to seek to conclude such agreements, in such a way as to foster contacts between the users of the same language in the States concerned in the fields of culture, education, information, vocational training and permanent education;
for the benefit of regional or minority languages, to facilitate and/ or promote co-operation across borders, in particular between regional or local authorities in whose territory the same language is used in identical or similar form.

,

  • daithí

    Tiocfaidh ár lá

    Remember 1916

    Brits Out

  • Brits out of course includes the British Protestant population . The province wide attacks on Protestant property shows some still don’t want a Protestant about the place.
    http://www.protestant-gazette.blogspot.com

  • BonarLaw

    Am I the only one enjoying the irony of a republican leader demanding legislation in the face of majority opposition in the local assembly because it was promised by a British prime minister?

    Are all those demands for the institutions to be up and running coming back to haunt Mr Adams?

  • Mick Fealty

    And the connection between either of the first two posts and the Irish Language Act is?

  • Dewi

    I love the comment of the bloke from Irish St – he couldn’t see an Irish sign going up in Irish St. A little surreal but hell – life is just a dream.

  • observer

    Dewi, there is a sign up in Irish Street and its in the language spoken by the people of Ireland: ENGLISH!

  • OIlibhear Chromaill

    The question at the heart of the Irish Language Act debate should be whether or not unionists are big enough to accept that the Irish language is a living breathing part of the culture of NI and that its speakers have rights which need to be, because of the sorry history of this place, protected by law.

    This is a test of unionists’ democratic credentials, you know the bit after majority rules, the bit about the rights of minorties shall be protected. The British Governnment feels this is necessary but the British ‘parties’ in the North seem to be of a different opinion…..

  • Cruimh

    OC- which “rights” are currently denied ?

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The right to do business with the state as Gaeilge, an officially recognised language of NI (as per Good Friday Agreement) and have the state return the compliment. The right to hear and view Irish medium programmes on the publicly funded BBC to the same extent as in Wales, the right to make one’s case in court in our native language, the right to an education service on a par with that available to English speakers (including text books…. and they’re only for starters. Add in there the right for the Irish language to be reflected adequately and reasonably in the image of NI as presented by NITB and the recent Smithsonian trip…. at the moment the Irish language is marginalised by the old don’t rock the boat mindset.

    And here’s another thing – could Mick please correct the spelling of ‘language’ in the post title. It’s a poor show to get the spelling wrong in a headline.

  • Ultimately we have to achieve cross-community consensus and cross community support to win this one.”

    Twice in three days Edwin has hidden behind that one.

    For the foreseeable future there will be no “cross-community consensus or support” in our society for a lot of the things covered by the DCAL, eg sporting facilities, minority language provision, events connected with specifically *British/Ulster Scots/Irish* *culture* -so if Poots is going to use that each time as a judging criteria he may as well resign and close down the department now.

  • CTN

    Derry republican Donnacha MacNailis seems to think there will be progress on its implementation within six months- is there any truth in this?

  • Cruimh

    Sorry OC – how do you figure those are “rights” ?
    Because you want them ?

    There are other things in your post that are open to debate, especially your reading of the Belfast Agreement.

    But we have been over this before – so there’s not a lot of point rehashing it all.

    I just wanted to point out that you are in fact labelling your wants as rights.

    There are a lot more demands on public resources which have a much better case for funding – such as healthcare and education.

  • Irish Language Act for a stadium in Belfast.

    I am the weaver!

    Still get a hoot from OC’s wanky arguments though.

  • fair_deal

    OC

    “the bit about the rights of minorties shall be protected”
    “The right to do business with the state…”

    1. None of which you list is in breach of the Framework Convention for National Minorities
    2. The language is protected under the appropriate international standard, the Convention for regional and minority languages.
    3. A want and a right are two different things.

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘Derry republican Donnacha MacNailis seems to think there will be progress on its implementation within six months- is there any truth in this?’

    Like Gerry, Donnacha doesnt seem to realise that the Irish Langauge Act and the North South Parlaimentary Forum are subject to the cross community backing of the Assembly.

    In other words if they cannot persuade unionists of their merits they are both dead in the water.

    I know Gerry is still sulking about his kicking in the Southern Election but he needs to start being nice to Edwin et al and perhaps offer something in return?

    Perhaps abolition of the Army Council, agreement on the continuation of acedmic selction?

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    The rights exist and should be recognised as such by the state in legislation. Then it’s up to the state to do so cost effectively and efficiently. The State appears to have no problem wasting huge wads of cash – which could be better spent on health and education – ruining the infrastructure of Iraq for instance so don’t give us that tired old excuse again.

    The rights are to a limited extent already acknowledged by the state – through its signature of the European Charter of Minority/Regional Languages Part 3 – what’s needed now is legislative protection to ensure these commitments are enhanced and implemented.

  • DK

    Who are the wankers who are putting up “en gailege” stickers on public signs. I noticed them mostly in Newry, but there are a few in Belfast now. I even saw one across the border in the Republic, but I guess that mindless vandals aren’t very bright.

  • Cruimh

    “The rights exist”

    How ? Because you say so ?

    “The State appears to have no problem wasting huge wads of cash – which could be better spent on health and education – ruining the infrastructure of Iraq for instance so don’t give us that tired old excuse again.”

    Isn’t it a bit selfish of you to deny old people care in order to indulge your hobby?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ziz,

    Ball please!!

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    The rights exist because they are recognised as such in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages – they just aren’t enforceable and that’s why the act is needed.

    Tell that to the British Government who are wasting huge wads of money on excesses such as Iraq, the Royal Family etc. The amount of money to be spent on the implementation of Irish language rights would be miniscule in comparison. And, also, for your information, old people also speak Irish…..

    As for Mick’s entreaties about ball-not man – playing, I have no doubt that this debate will get absolutely personalised as the likes of Cnuimh and co. rebound on their old tactics.

    For instance when I pointed out to them that a Millward Brown survey which showed 17% of people throughout Northern Ireland could speak/understand Irish had been published last week, they went suddenly silent over on another thread, especially when they found out that this was a bona fide poll which indicated a huge increase (up from 10% in the same poll last year). They may argue with me but they can’t argue with figures provided by an independent pollster carrying out an opinion poll according to accepted standards.

  • Cruimh

    “The rights exist because they are recognised as such in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages ”

    have you a link please ?

    “As for Mick’s entreaties about ball-not man – playing, I have no doubt that this debate will get absolutely personalised as the likes of Cnuimh and co. rebound on their old tactics.”

    I have been scrupulously polite to you here OC so as to try and avoid rehashing previous unpleasantnesses. But the above suggests you cannot cope with an examination of the case you are making.

    As for “going silent” – you went mighty silent when I ripped apart your claims about Michael Hartnett 🙂

  • Cruimh

    Thanks for the link Mick – I’ll read it carefully later .

    This struck me – the GAA is blown riight out of the water by

    “the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in its Article 14 lays down the principle of non-discrimination, in particular outlawing, at least with respect to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention, any discrimination based on such grounds as language or association with a national minority.”

    Inroduction, 3

    http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Reports/Html/148.htm

  • Cholm MacCormaic

    Could somebody please display the GCSE & A Level results and the number of students sitting such examinations last year from Northern Ireland’s schools.

    This surely will demonstrate the appetite amongst the nationalist/republican community to speak as gaeilge they so readily love to do or have us believe.

    Personally I do smile when I hear SF representatives attempting to speak Irish – they should stick to English!! Especially Adams – painful to listen to.

  • RG Cuan

    DK

    Stickers saying ‘As Gaeilge Anois’ have been put up on road signs all over the north. The campaign has been covered by Lá Nua, the Sunday Tribune, RTÉ and the BBC, as well as local media.

    According to certain estimations there have been over 5,000 stickers put up in total.

    The stickers are only erected in areas that are pro-Gaelic and do not fully cover the English version of the placename. Hardly vandalism.

    The signs stickered in the south were in English only – so I think it’s obvious that it is you who is not very bright.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    I don’t know how stupid it makes you look Cnuimh to request a link for a document which is included in the post which opened this thread up the page – on a scale of 1-10, say 11?. Just scroll to the top of the page and read all about it…..

    I wasn’t making an argument wrt Hartnett but I did point out that he was writing in Irish and English towards the end of his life up to his untimely death.

    However, on a scale of 1-10, I think that ‘going silent’ pales into insignificance wrt the sudden silence from yourself and Barnshee regarding the Millward Brown poll. Suddenly the minority you’re dealing with is growing and if it continues growing at this rate, well, who knows who the minority will be in a few year’s time. However expect one thing, Irish speakers won’t neglect the rights of English speakers at that stage. But it could be instructive for you to put yourself in the boots of Irish speakers to be able to better tell the difference between, as you so coyly put it, ‘rights’ and ‘wants’.

    Colm McCormaic – if he could spell his name correctly – would be in a better position to criticise SF leaders about their language skills.

  • fair_deal

    OC

    “The rights exist because they are recognised as such in the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages – they just aren’t enforceable and that’s why the act is needed.”

    Would legislation that made the present provisions (36 paragrpahs) of the Charter enforceable be sufficent?

    Would such legislation apply to both Charter recognised languages?

    The Charter has a number of limitations on the application of the rights within it, would they still apply?

    Why do Pobal’s proposals go beyond the Charter requirements?

  • Cruimh

    OC- tMick’s link wasn’t there when I first read your 2.47 post. Must you be so bloody rude?

    re the Poll – That only 17 percent claim to speak/understand the language when over 40% are taught it does not support your case – that most of the nationalist community reject it hardly helps you 🙂

  • Yokel

    You’ll get an Act but it’ll be so watered down it’ll be symbolic, like most things people in this country seem to like.

  • Gareth

    RG Cuan

    I think placing these stickers over destinations (to any extent) on road signs is a bit of vandalism – self-inflicted vandalism during tourist season. As I travelled about this summer I saw these stickers and thought how wonderful it must be to arrive in a country and find your ability to get about easily so pointlessly hindered. But as you claim (and I’m not sure it is the case) it is only in pro-Gaelic areas, so you only hurt your own pocket when they can’t find the place they might have visited. BTW, I support an Irish language act, but these stickers aren’t going to get one and just annoy normal people.

  • RG Cuan

    Point taken Gareth but from what i’ve seen so far it seems that the stickers are only in pro-Gaelic areas – Newry, South Armagh, South Down, Antrim Glens, Coalisland, Bellaghy, West Belfast, parts of the Sperrins etc.

    I’m guessing that the group behind the campaign is carrying it out because bilingual road signage is not included in the proposed ACHT.

  • Séamas An Rapaire

    I’ve seen the stickers around An tIúr/Newry and have to say that it is ridiculous to suggest that people cannot find their way because of them.

    I’ve checked out the group’s site and they do claim to only put up stickers in areas that are in favour of Irish.

    There is also Irish language slogans in support of the Act written along the Newry bypass. ‘ACHT ANOIS!’ is what is written.

    Interesting stuff…

  • OILIbhear Chromaill

    Pobal’s proposals go beyond the Charter requirements because they carried out a two year period of consultation, including consultations with the most renowned academic experts in the field of sociolinguistic rights, and arrived at a document which, according to former NICS chief Maurice Hayes, was ‘reasonable’. He actually launched it and I was there for the event. The charter requirements are indicative but they are an international minimum.

    17% of people can speak/understand Irish – that’s up on the 10% last year and that’s also up on the Census figures. The disparity between the number who do Irish in school and those who can still speak/understand it is down to the fact that there is always a falling off after school -partly out of choice and also because people have no avenue in which to pursue their interest in the language, thus the fall off.

    Through the simple measure of requiring the BBC to broadcast at least one hour in Irish every day – or providing it to TG4 – that would boost the number of people in the north coming in contact with Irish enormously. That’s the kind of measure that’s required first off and the BBC resolutely refuses. That’s why we need legislation…

  • Cruimh

    “17% of people can speak/understand Irish”

    17% CLAIM to be able to speak/understand Irish 🙂

  • Dewi

    Technically I still don’t quite get it – Clause 3 lays out that certain UK wide bodies will be covered by the Act….therefore it must be a Westminster Act surely – or does the Assembly have power over UK wide public bodies – surely not ?

  • Truth & Justice

    I can tell you now there will not be a Irish Language Act and any Unionist party would be foolish to try!

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    “it must be a Westminster Act surely”

    keep clutching at those straws and marvel at the wonder that is local democracy.

  • slug

    “17% of people can speak/understand Irish – that’s up on the 10% last year and that’s also up on the Census figures.”

    These rates of growth must be very encouraging to Irish language enthusiasts.

  • confused

    Legislation on any topic should have a bearing on reality.For example the first language throughout the whole of Ireland is English and yet it is not recognised as the official language of ROI. Why is this? I simply do not know?
    To enshrine Irish in the constitution as the official language is madness when the great majority of people can not speak the language never mind read and understand the constitution which governs their lives and gives legitimate authority to the Dail to to enact laws which are incomprehensible.
    An Irish solution to an Irish problem—-just translate into English which everyone understands when the obvious answer is to accept English as the First Language.
    Before we draw up an Act which is designed solely to protect Irish which the majority of people have shunned during the past 100 years let us by other means encourage the use by daily speech and not rely on some artificial method.
    We have a lot to learn from the Welsh who learn and cherish their language ,history and culture at their mothers knee and not rely on others to teach.

  • Dewi

    Again I’m confused – if the Language Act covers UK wide bodies it must be a Westminster Act. This is an entirely technical point with no religious, sectarian or other implications whatsoever.

  • RG Cuan

    TRUTH & JUSTICE

    I can tell you now there will not be a Irish Language Act and any Unionist party would be foolish to try!

    What does that mean excatly? Yo really need to wake up. Irish is for all and threatens no-one.

    CONFUSED

    I believe you really are confused. English is not the first language throughout the whole of Ireland. Many thousands, both in and outside the Gaeltachts, north and south, use Irish as their first language every day.

  • Dewi

    it must be a Westminster Act surely”

    keep clutching at those straws and marvel at the wonder that is local democracy.

    Just whatever anybody’s aspirations (and mine different from yours no doubt !) technically can’t see how this ain’t Westminster’s responsibility (it is in Wales which pisses me off !)

  • Still clutching at straws Cnuimh?

    This is a six county wide survey and it interviewed 1000+ adults.

    They answered a question. So to say they CLAIM to be able to speak/understand Irish is to stretch it. That would mean that anyone who answers a question in an opinion poll can’t be believed.

    So no opinion poll could be trusted.

    17% – almost one in five adults in the north is able to speak Irish – take into account the number of children in the schools learning Irish/Gaelscoileanna included, and you could be talking about an even higher number. Way to grow!

  • It would appear that the esteemed Minister is one those 17%, from the Beeb update:

    Edwin Poots was asked by a reporter if he knew any Irish himself.

    He replied that he probably knew as much as many assembly members including Sinn Fein.

    When pressed to elaborate on what words he knew, the minister ventured: “Go raith maith agat, Ceann Chomairle and of course I learned the word bainne many years ago in County Wicklow which means milk.”

    So there you go.

  • Dewi

    “It would appear that the esteemed Minister is one those 17%, from the Beeb update”

    Good old Mr Poots –
    see the language is part of the Unionist heritage after all !

  • George

    I would be wary of placing to much credence on the Eurupean Charter. To the best of my knowledge, the Irish Republic hasn’t even signed up to it.

    Confused,
    “For example the first language throughout the whole of Ireland is English and yet it is not recognised as the official language of ROI. Why is this? I simply do not know?”

    English is an official language of the Irish state. Believe or not, it is possible to have more than one official language.

  • confused

    To RG
    It is true as you say that thousands of people speak Irish every but it is also true that several million people can not express themselves using it and that is why English is the first or dominant language.
    Any legislation will of course be enacted at Stormont and I only highlighted what was going on in ROI to make sure we did not make the same mistakes.

  • George

    Confused,
    what mistakes are you talking about?

  • observer

    The question at the heart of the Irish Language Act debate should be whether or not unionists are big enough to accept that the Irish language is a living breathing part of the culture of NI –

    Load of shite, this is wanna be Oirish trying to pretend theyre not really british citizens , whilst the real Irish get on with life and speaking English.

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘The stickers are only erected in areas that are pro-Gaelic’
    What bollocks. what are pro Gaelic areas? Even by your own figures the majority of nationalists voters are indifferent to Irish (ie a minority said they could understand/speak Irish)
    Define a pro Gaelic area? In fact what you mean are majority Catholic areas and hence your are exposed as simply trying to use the Irish language to foster sectarian division – cos at the end of the day nationalism thrives on sectarianism.

    Not one of those bleating on about the ‘need’ and ‘right’ for an Act has cottoned on to the truth of my earlier point.

    If Adams et al cant convince unionist MLAs this Bill is dead in the water before it is even drafted. You can whinge all you like but your elected representatives signed up to it.

    If I was Adams I’d keep my head now. His ‘infallibility’ as a leader was destoryed in the Southern GE – if he bangs on about this and it becomes apparent that without cross community support in the Assembly this Bill is dead his voters might think he had made a balls of the negotations.

    I love his bleated about having a deal with Tony LOL

  • al

    Irish is barely spoken in the Republic let alone Northern Ireland but why let that get in the way of the loonybins wanting to have every sign ever created changed to dual language just because they think it’s more “native”

    I’m an atheist unionist from a protestant background in North Down and I speak more Irish than half the gimps fighting for this “equality” having learnt it for a year during my school days. Frankly, it’s an ugly language of no use on the world stage. It’s more of a “trying to feel better about ourselves” exercise from some in the community who are bitter that they actually speak english far better than the “native” language they seem so proud of.

  • Dewi

    What’s a gimp Al ?

  • DK

    RG Cuan: “Stickers saying ‘As Gaeilge Anois’ have been put up on road signs all over the north. The campaign has been covered by Lá Nua, the Sunday Tribune, RTÉ and the BBC, as well as local media.

    The stickers are only erected in areas that are pro-Gaelic and do not fully cover the English version of the placename. Hardly vandalism.”

    Well that is not my experience. And they are on the Westlink – not exactly a Gaelic area, but a major road. In fact, I have only seen them on major roads used by both communities – they are sparse inside the local areas.

    To me, they are essentially the same as all the stupid flags that are put up. Terrirtoial p*ssing, and usually located so as to cause maximum offence to the other community.

    Since you and “Séamas An Rapaire” are apparently in favour of them, can you at least use whatever influence you have to getting them to not obscure words on the signs because they do.

    If you really wanted to spend money on your “let’s convert all the street signs into Irish” campaign, why not actually make some signs, or stencil in the Gaelic words next to the official words. In some real pro-gaelic areas in Belfast they have done just that with their street names. Take a leaf out of their book. The sticker campaign, as it exists now, is just offensive vandalism.

  • fair_deal

    OC

    Thanks for that. Although it seems to go against your earlier point of enforceability of the Charter as much more is wanted.

    I also asked a number of questions you addressed the fourth explicitly amd by implication the first. I’d appreciate and answer to the second and third.

    “Would such legislation apply to both Charter recognised languages?

    The Charter has a number of limitations on the application of the rights within it, would they still apply? “

  • Cholm MacCormaic

    Oilibhear Chromaill would do well to have a further visit to the Gaeltacht for furthering his understanding of the Irish language rather than suggesting that I need to spell my name right. Having this name for 33 years and been taught Irish until the age of 18 it appears to all those that, including a professor of Gaeilge, that it is indeed spelt correctly!! So maybe you need to update your language understanding and don’t be so ignorant of telling others of how you think it should be spelt.

  • casual observer

    Cholm,

    Any Gaelic speaking four year old in Scotland or Ireland will tell you that the way you are spelling your name (nominative case) is impossible. Furthermore whilst I would have many disagreements with OC, I suspect he has spent most of his life in the Gaeltacht.

    DK,

    I have seen many stickers in South Armagh, hardly an anti Gaelic area, Irish has been spray painted on in some areas.

    In addition I have seen some stencil work in South Down.

    I have not seen a sticker on a street sign, there is of course a legal way of getting a bilingual sign, directional signs have to been in ‘English’ only however, I suspect that this is the point.

    The tactics are copied from Scotland and Wales of course.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceartas

    http://www.llgc.org.uk/ymgyrchu/Iaith/TyngedIaith/index-e.htm

    In both cases successful although in Wales it was common for road signage to be completely destroyed.

  • Dan

    “Irish is barely spoken in the Republic let alone Northern Ireland but”

    Debatable. There are 100,000+ fluent Irish speakers in the ROI.

    “it’s an ugly language…”
    False

    “…of no use on the world stage.”

    Well, if we were to follow your logic, few languages would qualify as useful on the “world stage”.

  • Dan

    While we’re discussing things that are or are not on the world stage…

    Northern Ireland. A sectarian backwater full of people with ugly accents. Are they Irish? Are they British? Nobody really knows! If not for all the killings, it wouldn’t even register on the radar.

    Reasonable enough for you? ;p

  • Dewi

    One of Casual Observer’s links shows that the Scottish Parliament’s Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 gave people the absolute right to speak Gaelic in Courts in Scotland.

    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/12003.htm

    Link above shows what happened here – intersting that the absolute untrammelled right to use Welsh in court (not just if your English was inadequate) was not established until 1967.

    The proposed Act asks for that Right for Irish Speakers – to approve would be a powerful symbol, to reject (and tried to think of a more appropriate word but couldn’t) barbaric.

  • CTN

    Elvis- “if he bangs on about this and it becomes apparent that without cross community support in the Assembly this Bill is dead his voters might think he had made a balls of the negotations. I love his bleated about having a deal with Tony LOL”

    Agree Adams is a ganch.

    What is the possibility of him redeeming himself somewhat with a side-deal introduction of this Act by way of over-reaching from Westminister?

  • al

    “Debatable. There are 100,000+ fluent Irish speakers in the ROI”

    Out of a population of…? Tiny proportions are fluent and use it in their daily lives. FACT. In NI it’s even more miniscule.

    “Well, if we were to follow your logic, few languages would qualify as useful on the “world stage”.”

    Correct. Beyond English, French, Spanish, Portugese and possibly Japanese and Mandarin you start struggling. What is the issue?

  • Dewi

    CTN
    What is the possibility of him redeeming himself somewhat with a side-deal introduction of this Act by way of over-reaching from Westminister?

    The Act proposes duties on London based institutions – I can’t see how it cannot be intoduced there – this isn’t a request for the abuse of local democracy – it just requires measures outside the jurisdiction of the Assembly.

  • confused

    As a Unionist I would like to see Irish flourish as a spoken language. It would be good to hear it on the street , on buses and in general conversation but supporters are in danger of making a great mistake if their wishes as I understand them to be are reflected in a Language Act.
    ROI tried to protect the language by enshrining in the Constitution, control education in such a way that special advantage was given to it, by insisting on a basic level to obtain employment in the civil service and all to no avail.
    A lesson must be learned from their experience because they failed miserably to protect it.
    The language was close to extinction until ordinary people insisted that they should continue to use because of their love of the language.
    The danger of an Act is to create another layer of apartheid when we already have the community divided by religion, sport,politics, culture and now language.
    In many parts of the world this has caused so much civil strife.
    Those who wish to speak Irish are encouraged to do so but when I join their company they should out of respect speak to me in English which is my native tongue.
    When dealing with the State do Irish speakers really need to converse as gaeilge to make their views known. The answer is an emphatic NO but they insist on doing so as a method to demand respect when that respect can be given in other ways or is it a case of using the language as an economic/political tool to bash the unionists so that employment is created only for Irish speakers thus denying prospects for non speakers.
    Is it a case of building a state within a state?
    This is a bigger debate than most people realise and will have huge repercussions if we get it wrong.

  • willowfield

    DEWI

    One of Casual Observer’s links shows that the Scottish Parliament’s Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 gave people the absolute right to speak Gaelic in Courts in Scotland.

    It doesn’t. There is no such right in Scotland.

  • Dewi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceartas

    I was quoting the above Willowfield – I’ll find out more.

  • Dewi

    You are right Wikepedia right included in Mike Russell’s first proposal but superceded in final bill…don’t believe all u read eh…..anyway that makes them barbaric also.

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘What is the possibility of him redeeming himself somewhat with a side-deal introduction of this Act by way of over-reaching from Westminister? ‘

    Next to zero. Brown’s not interested and it would run the risk of destablising the current Executive.

    Best tactic is for Gerry to be honest and admit they screwed up and that he will stand down as President of SF.

    They perhaps non sectarian, non political supporters of Irish could appraoch Poots about an Act.

    The more SF identify with this issue the more unlikely an Act becomes in fact the sight of Gerry bleating on about Irish belonging to everyone etc is guanarateed to kill of the Act

  • DK

    Good point confused. Irish language is being used as a territorial marker and as a way of formenting division. I would suggest instead:

    A short course in Ulster-Irish should be mandatory for all school children, even in state schools.

    A set budget for dual-signage where it is wanted – to be taken from an overall Irish language budget, so those that care about the language can decide whether spending it on Irish schools is more important than translating “M2 Belfast” into Irish.

  • Cruimh

    DK – segregated education should be scrapped and all children should learn Irish at school.

  • casual observer

    Cruimh & DK,

    All children should have the ‘oppurtunity’to learn Irish but it should not be compulsory in the North.

    No Irish language organisation is campaigning for the language to be manditory.

    DK,

    If we are to exist as equals then surely the education budget for Irish medium Ed. should come from the education budget?

    It costs roughly the same to educate a child in Irish as it does in English.

    Whenever people mention ‘Ulster Irish’ it makes Irish speakers smile, to suggest that anything other than Ulster Irish is spoken is a bit silly.

    East Ulster Irish (only one native speaker)is rarely heard in Belfast, sure, but out in the sticks many people do endeavor to carry on continuity with their local dialects but it is not universal, people just prefer Donegal Irish, which is in Ulster.

  • Cruimh

    C.O – I’d like to see it as a normal part of the syllabus but without exams such as o levels having to be taken.

  • Ulster McNulty

    co

    “East Ulster Irish (only one native speaker)is rarely heard in Belfast..”

    ?

    Explain

  • casual observer

    Cruimh,

    I understand.

    I would like to see the provision of dedicated teachers travelling between schools teaching pupils who want to be taught and whose parents want them to be taught.

    I agree about the exam thing too.

    Incidently, I would be in favour of the use of specific Irish teachers in the South also. I think that having teachers teaching Irish who resent the language and in some cases hate the language denies kids a positive introduction the the language.

    I resent that I was taught no Irish in my primary school but still in the Northern Ireland context it is simply not an option for all kids to learn any variety of Gaelic at this stage.

  • casual observer

    Ulster McNulty

    I’m not sure what is unclear.

    I am speaking of the traditional East Ulster sub-dialect.

  • DK

    OK – I know little about the Irish language, but if we are to have an inclusive version for Northern Ireland, it should at least represent this region. Is there an Ulster Irish, or are there several Ulster Irish versions – in which case, which is the one spoken by the actual Irish speakers in Northern Ireland?

    Olibhear – you seem most qualified to be able to answer this (assuming you are from Northern Ireland)

  • Ulster McNulty

    casual observer

    “I’m not sure what is unclear.”

    Who is the native speaker, and how come he/she exists? What’s the story behind this extraordinary info?

  • scary_eire

    If the south would fund most of the act – would any unionists on this site have any problems with it.

    Apreciate any replies

  • casual observer

    DK,

    Most Irish spoken in Northern Ireland today is based roughly on the Irish of Rann na Feirste in Donegal and the surrounding areas. The dialect has a prestige beyond that of other Donegal dialects due to its literary tradition.

    There is an Ulster Irish as there is a Connaught Irish and a Munster Irish.

    But they are mutually intelligable.

    Linguists do separate Ulster Irish into East and West varities but they are mutually intelligable.

    Irish and Scottish Gaelic blend into each other in Ulster, the difference becoming geo-political rather than intelligibility.

    Alas, East Ulster Irish has suffered huge decline as has Gaelic in Arann and Kintyre, thus weakening a vital link with Scotland in my view.

    East Ulster Irish is practiced mostly in poetry and song and would have adherents in its traditional areas but not for the most part in Belfast.

    But it should be stressed, there is little real difference.

  • casual observer

    Ulster McNulty,

    Despite the fact that that info is available in print I will not divulge it online. I suggest that that could endanger the person.

    The gentleman is very elderly and has lost most of the language he spoke as a small boy. Some regard him as a semi-native, as I do myself in truth, I should have clarified that, I regard his aunt who passed away in the eightes as a better speaker. He was reared by elderly relatives.

  • Gréagóir O’ Franclín

    Saw Edwin Poots on TV last night managing a ‘cupla focal as Gaeilge’. ‘Go raibh maith agat’, he said as he reminisced about the times he spent in County Wicklow. His attempt was as good as Gerry Adams at the ‘sean teanga na h’Eireann’.

    Cruimh, are ye being a bit ironic when ye use a gaelic word for yer ‘nom de plume’…..(as gaeilge for maggot).

  • Gréagóir O’ Franclín

    ‘Alas, East Ulster Irish has suffered huge decline as has Gaelic in Arann and Kintyre, thus weakening a vital link with Scotland in my view.’

    I’m sure the Dál Riata wouldn’t be too impressed about this, continually turning in their graves!

  • barnshee

    Olly

    “for instance when I pointed out to them that a Millward Brown survey which showed 17% of people throughout Northern Ireland could speak/understand Irish had been published last week, they went suddenly silent over on another thread, especially when they found out that this was a bona fide poll which indicated a huge increase (up from 10% in the same poll last year). They may argue with me but they can’t argue with figures provided by an independent pollster carrying out an opinion poll according to accepted standards”

    Er no Olly -I outlined why the poll was flawed and asked how many achieve GCSE level in Irish (grades a-c) (a micky mouse qualification by the way– based on it I could claim to speak and understand French Spanish and Germman). I can help you out with the figues when you get stuck (hint try an examination of the results over ten years and you will see how may “speak and understand Irish)

    The whole deal is a scam to
    1 promote “irishness” a dead duck to prods and
    2 create jobs for the innumerate froth who cannot otherwise get a job

    Learn mandarin

  • casual observer

    promote “irishness” a dead duck to prods

    Therein lies the problem. Many people genuinely believe this and until Irish speakers can convince unionists otherwise we can only expect hostility.

    In my expereince however is that if you manage to convince unionists that the Irish language isn’t something that we wish pushed on them or even care if they take any interest in or not and that really it doesn’t matter if they are completley agin, they are often equally as horrified.

    You can’t win on that score, so should we bother trying?

    However, whilst I personally think that there is no chance of an Irish Language Act ever being passed by the Northern Ireland assembly, that won’t stop me campaigning for it.

    You have to stick for what you believe in, c’est la vie.

  • RG Cuan

    I mentioned that stickers were placed in the areas i outlined as that’s where i’ve seen or read about them. I agree that stickering places such as the Westlink in Belfast is probably not a good idea.

    I don’t have any influence over the group conducting the campaign but i’d guess – like the vast majority of Irish speakers – that they are not politically motivated. The sticker campaign seems more about gaining recognition for the Irish language community rather than any territorial statements.

    And stickering pro-Gaelic areas only is not an adherence to sectarian divides – it is a recognition that many Unionists do not understand the language movement and do not want “Irish forced down their throats”, which is something than essentially never happens. Nor will it happen as a consequence of an ACHT.

    And to all those who are wondering about the different classifications of Gaelic – it is the same language from Kerry to Lewis, Galway to Inverness.

    The regional dialect spoken in Ulster is today mainly based on Donegal speech. In northern Ireland, this is interwined with many local phrases and vocabulary from the dialects that were traditionally spoken in Armagh, Louth, Tyrone, Derry, Antrim etc.

  • In their handling of the Irish Language Act issue, unionists have a heaven sent opportunity to make Northern Ireland a cosier place in which to live and work for nationalists. So far thanks to the blatant anti Irish bigotry of the likes of David “We will bring this province to its knees if we don’t get down the Garvaghy Road” McNarry and some DUP nondescripts, they have shown that the ‘COLD HOUSE’ mentality hasn’t gone away. The Irish Language is no threat, nor is it a burden. In fact it’s an unexploited treasure which could attract many thousands to the north to see for themselves the revival at work. Northern Ireland would be a better place for an Irish Language Act, not just more tolerant of diversity, but more celebratory. Instead we have people posting here who have no interest in making NI a better place for everybody, just as long as they’re happy as bigots in primordial sectarian slime.

    When an independent survey is pointed out to them, illustrating the growth of the Irish Language in the north, they scurry around looking for possible ‘weaknesses’ in the methodology in the survey and, when they can’t find any, as Barnshee couldn’t, he tried to raise a false flag about the number of people attempting Irish at GCSE level. The fact is that Irish is more than a subject on a curriculum, it’s a living, speaking, listening, reading, writing language. So to attempt to pigeon hole it at GCSE level – a Mickey Mouse qualification as he says himself – is losing sight of the bigger picture.

    It’s true there aren’t alot of jobs for Irish speakers as Irish speakers – but that’s not where the game is at. People using Irish as their language of choice don’t have to work in the Irish language sector, such as it is, they can work at anything. Lawyers, teachers, engineers, astro physicists, builders’ labourers, fashion models etc. There’s no limit. So please spare us the phoney statistics – the Millward Brown survey is a genuine measurement of the appreciation of Irish in the north. That’s the low water mark. The Irish Language Act is a test of unionist sincerity about powersharing – that’s an exam which they must ‘ace’ in order to advance beyond the mickey mouse level of politics and democracy in which they’ve been enmired for so, so long.

  • Cruimh

    “Cruimh, are ye being a bit ironic when ye use a gaelic word for yer ‘nom de plume’…..(as gaeilge for maggot). ”

    Gréagóir – when I came to slugger I posted as ‘maggot’- I gaelicised it as a gesture of goodwill during a discussion on a thread to show that I have no antipathy to the language 🙂

  • Gréagóir O’ Franclín

    Sláinte!

  • Dan

    “Debatable. There are 100,000+ fluent Irish speakers in the ROI”

    Out of a population of…? Tiny proportions are fluent and use it in their daily lives. FACT. In NI it’s even more miniscule.
    ***************************************************

    Perhaps you and I have a different idea of what constitutes a TINY proportion. That’s out of a population of about 4.3 million (ROI). It’s actually closer to 90,000 (ROI only). That’s those who use it daily outside of the education system. A sum which doesn’t include those who use it weekly or people within the education system.

    I agree that’s it’s minuscule in NI. However, it’s ridiculous when people claim Irish is a dead language. A claim I’ve seen here on Slugger a number of times.

  • slug

    co

    “In my expereince however is that if you manage to convince unionists that the Irish language isn’t something that we wish pushed on them or even care if they take any interest in or not and that really it doesn’t matter if they are completley agin, they are often equally as horrified.”

    Confused by this. ANYhow as far as I (as a unionist) am concerned I woudn’t mind an Irish Language Act that allows people to use Irish when they talk in a Court or in certain other dealings with police and/or government; translation facilities can be provided at low cost. Also I would like to see the BBC starting a Digital Radio Station to broadcast to NI in the Irish Language (financed from the existing BBC NI local broadcasting budget); i.e. I am happy to see quite a lot of local NI output in English axed to pay for this. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to impose any costs on the private sector as I think we have to keep those to a minimum when trying to attract private investment.

  • Ulster Gael

    A nice wee site for those that are looking to learn more about the Irish language in our nine county Ulster and in particular the twang of the Ulster Gaelic dialect: http://www.ultach.org
    and a site on Ulster placenames for those that want to delve into their Gaelic derived townland/town/city names:
    http://www.ulsterplacenames.org

  • willowfield

    In their handling of the Irish Language Act issue, unionists have a heaven sent opportunity to make Northern Ireland a cosier place in which to live and work for nationalists.

    But do nationalists really care? Do they really want to speak Gaelic when putting their car through its MOT? Do they really want to speak Gaelic when asking the guys down at the recycling centre where they can dump a battery? When reporting a fault streetlight?

    From my contact with the “nationalist community” – through my in-laws and work colleagues – I don’t detect that any of them is remotely interested. I think the Gaelic lobby is somewhat exaggerating the importance of this.

  • RG Cuan

    SLUG

    Great to hear it – your viewpoint is refreshing.

    As a Unionist you should contact your elected represenatives and explain them your position. Let them know that Irish is for all and can add greatly to our society.

    Maith thú!

  • casual observer

    ‘Do they really want to speak Gaelic when putting their car through its MOT? Do they really want to speak Gaelic when asking the guys down at the recycling centre where they can dump a battery? When reporting a fault streetlight?’

    You are right of course. Nobody really cares about these things.

    You are the only person who seems concerned about them. What sort of car do you have? How often do you have to MOT it?

    Try marking the parts with tipex to make sure the garage actually changes the parts for you.

  • peter

    The problem for unionists is that although there is no sovereign threat from the Irish language Act it is being used a compensation measure by low lifes like Adams and McGuinness because they achieved nothing else during the last 40 years.

    They probably won’t in this case either.

  • Maybe this should be considered alongside an “English Act” for the Republic, to reduce the discrimination against non-Irish speakers?

  • The World’s Gone Mad
  • willowfield

    Casual observer

    I’m afraid your response to me makes no sense.

  • RG Cuan

    PETER

    The real problem for Unionists is to realise that the Irish Language Act is not a Republican issue. It is an issue of the Irish-speaking community, which happens to include all people from across the political spectrum.

    Just because a certain political party – that has views contrary to one’s own – supports an Irish Language Act does not take away from the fact that there are thousands of Gaelic speakers in the north that are simply asking for increased recognition.

    PAUL

    Good joke.

  • peter

    RG- Agree completely.

    The unionists will however still perceive it as a SF leadership device to compensate for the trivial and non-executive cross-border bodies.

  • hib

    Adams has bleated he agreed the act with Blair but how can he get it implemented.

    Has Adams been left in the dunce’s corner yet again or will the unionists fall victim to a side deal to bolster this farcical SF leadership?

  • CTN

    Oh yeah- Adams of “We didn’t kill Gerry McCabe, Not an ounce, no return to Stormont, Tom Murphy is not a cash launderer, the Columbia 3 aren’t in SF and the PSNI are unacceptable.

    It will be interesting…