Fascinating discussion going on over at Talkback around the protests in favour of the use of Irish in the Assembly. It’s coordinated to coincide with a debate on Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry’s motion to object to an Irish Language Act and ask for a directive requesting all members of the Executive to refrain from its use in the Assembly chamber, in committees and in letters to MLAs. The motion has come in for stern criticism from Naomi Long who said the language was being abused by both sides in the argument, sometimes as a means of distracting debate from more pressing issues. Dinny McGinley, Fine Gael TD for Donegal South West noted that in the Oireachtas, that the issue has long since stopped being a political football since simultaneous translation services meant that everyone could follow what was being said. By his estimation only 3 or 4% of debates are conducted in Irish.
Intriguingly, one Derry caller made a reference to petitions he had made to both the Education Minister and one of his local MLAs in Derry, Martina Anderson, about the closure of Meánscoil Dhoire, an Irish medium secondary school which has now been completely merged with St Brigid’s High School in Shantallow. So far, the caller claims not to have had a reply. It looks like it’s a local controversy which may connected with matters discussed in this post over at Politics.ie from back in February this year.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty