Nationalist politicians turning their backs on Irish language…

There’s a useful translation of Eoghan op ed in La Nua doing the rounds at the moment (below the fold). You can find the original here. It reflects a large strand of thought amongst the Irish language section of civil society. He argues that the language has fared particularly poorly in the interparty negotiations, and that accordingly they feel abandoned by parties like Sinn Fein and the SDLP who had previous pledged support.Where were you, our friends in power?
Eoghan Ó Néill

There are five Nationalist ministers in Stormont as well as one junior minister.
Six people who state that they are in favour of the Irish language.
Are there any Gaels in the Six Counties out there who felt relief that we had so many ‘friends in power’?
Caitríona Ruane is doing great work with Irish medium education, work that is gaining the praise of all Gaels in the six counties.

But besides that, the Irish language community does not take much hope from having the best wishes of nearly half the seats in stormont. If the will was present, or indeed the resources, those same nationalist ministers could implement bi-lingual policies within their own respective ministeries.
That would promote an Irish language Act through the back door.
But they did not do that and they will not do that.

Instead of doing something radical like that, all six sat in silence while Michael McGimpsey finished off the last and only bi-lingual symbol in a Stormont ministry, the bi-lingual advert that would have accompanied The Ministry of Health. Instead of gaining dividends, all we got was silence, contempt, degrading, battering and bruising from nearly every other minister sat at the table. Even last week, Sinn Féin and SDLP ministers accepted a budget that will proceed to put the proverbial final nail in the coffin of the Broadcasting Fund.

Why didn’t even one of the Sinn Féin ministers do what Margaret Ritchie and Michael McGimpsey did and state that they would refuse to accept the budget unless they got AB and C beforehand. As well as that, £40 million from the Irish Government being directed towards Reg Empey’s innovative fund, not one of them proposed that that money should be directed towards The Irish language Quarter or to other Irish language enterprises.

If we did not felt any encouragement or seen any dividends from having six Nationalist ministers, then all Gaels must feel gutted given that Edwin Poots is now in charge of a crusade to maul the Irish language.

Thanks to Sinn Féin and to the SDLP, Edwin Poots has the power to thrash the Irish language in the North. It was them who granted the DUP with DCAL (Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure).

Was it that these Nationalist politicians did not see the importance that this Ministry would have in terms of promoting the Irish language in the North and in and All-Ireland context?
Or was it that they did not care because they have their own agenda and programme and that the welfare of the Irish language would have to wait.

Imagine what could have been achieved if Michelle Gildernew had have been Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure for the last nine months instead of Edwin Poots. Imagine how effective it would have been to have Eamonn Ó Cuív and Foras na Gaeilge sit with Michelle Gildernew as opposed to Minister Poots.

Minister Poots has succeeded to throw an Irish language act in the rubbish bin. There is lots of room in that same bin for the Irish language Broadcasting fund. There is also plenty of room for other Irish language aspects of life also.

What was the response from those Nationalist ministers?
Criticism and talk without action.

It takes time for any party to gain experience from being in power, to understand the wily ways of the civil service, to deal with the dismay of not being able to administer the needs of the people who put you into power overnight.

This applies to Sinn Féin and to the SDLP as well as all of the other parties. But, if they cannot even protect the Broadcasting Fund for the Irish language then the question must be asked about their strategy, about their priorities and their abilities as politicians.

There is no way that Edwin Poots will calm the swelling of the Irish language and its people in the North. But he can damage and delay lots of things. He can also destroy worthwhile enterprises.

The six Nationalist ministers are failing to show leadership and the Irish language community will pay the price.

, ,

  • Dewi

    Good post – Mr Poots not a very rational person. Don’t understand how he is in government in any post.

  • slug

    Poots seems to be one of the better ministers given that its quite a difficult ministry.

  • Pete Baker
  • Dewi

    I know we have done this b4 to the nth – but if an ILA is to be effective then it needs to be passed by westminster to cover the DVLA etc……but let’s not debate it…again.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    It’s a devolved issue.

    Wishful thinking won’t change that.

  • Eireannach Saolta

    None of this is suprising. [Play the ball – edited moderator] Both the DUP are playning a suicidal game of keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. Sinn Féin have already succeded in removing the Paisleys from their power base and their rule of the party and cult. Gauging unionist opinion on this web site these fascist leanings have much support amongst unionist community. Its part of unionist culture not to think outside the propaganda their leaders feed them.

    If I were a unionist anti-gaeilge bigott I wouldn’t be feelin so smug about things. Its all smoke and daggers in politics and there are things going on in the background in
    europe

  • Eireannach Saolta

    should read

    both the DUP and Sinn Féin on line 3

  • gaelgannaire

    Ó Néill’s piece is excellent, spot on as ever. The reality is that SF and the SDLP know that whilst there are votes to be ENDSURED with pro-Irish language policies there are few votes to be lost except as the result of a direct assault.

    This is due to the simple fact that outhwith West Belfast Irish speakers and their supporters do not exist in high enough concentrations to have a real impact.

    Both parties know that Irish speakers will simply continue to vote for one or other of them due to the simple fact that no alternative exists.

    Should an alternative be created? In my opinion, no. Not now at least. It would only serve to alienate non Irish speaking nationalists at a time when ‘converts’ are still badly needed.

    However, would a one issue candidate standing in the one area were an impact could be had, West Belfast, have a positive effect? I think so.

    Many people have indicated to me at least that it is believed that around 2,500 voters in the constituency would vote for a pro Gaelic candidate and send a clear message to SF / SDLP. Not enough to win a seat but certainly enough to ensure that SF would not take a clean sweep.

    A high risk strategy, a very high risk strategy and whilst I am of the opinion that for the Irish language to survive a degree of Gaelic separatism is necessary (i.e. Social Clubs, Gaelscoileanna, Radio Stations, Neo-Gaeltachtaí), I believe that it should be keep to the necessary minimum. Direct electoral action on the language issue would take things to a new level.

    Then there is the question of the candidate, probably not that important who as long as the person is not a complete idiot. The real question is who would have the balls to run.

    Sinn Féin in particular have gambled that only a small proportion of their electorate actually care about the Irish language. I will have to reserve judgement on that on.

    But I would suggest that whilst Irish speakers may not be a key demographic in the North for Sinn Féin, in the South I suspect they maybe a vital 1-2% of Sinn Féin 8% and the loss of the Broadcasting Fund, the result of 30 years of campaigning will be felt all over Ireland.

    I take my hat of to Edwin Poots, he has engaged his enemy and found that their guardians have run away. Will Séadanta return to stand once again in the Bearna Baoil?

  • Greenflag

    Anybody ever hear Bertie Ahern trying to speak the obligatory cupla focail ? Sean Lemass -arguably the most effective of Irish Taoisigh and a pragmatic nationalist /republican could’nt speak a word of Irish .

    The lesson for those who wish to support the Irish language in Northern Ireland is fairly straightforward . Don’t depend on the politicians . The latter (of all parties ) are primarily interested in loot and power) . Despite 90 years of ‘independence’ in the Republic you could probably count on one or two hands the number of Irish politicians who were fluent in the language at least fluent enough to read a newspaper .

    Poots may be more rational than ye might think . After all if Nationalist and Republican politicians don;t speak up for the language why should he ?

  • Pete Baker

    As for the content of the article..

    “There are five Nationalist ministers in Stormont as well as one junior minister. Six people who state that they are in favour of the Irish language.”

    Therefore all other considerations by each and every minister are secondary to one lobby group?

    Don’t think it works like that.

    Try asking each individual minister what their objectives were in the budget.

    Assuming they were lobbied..

  • Turgon

    It may amaze people but I feel rather sorry for the Irish language lobby. They were promised if not the earth the moon and the stars, then, quite a lot.

    They appear to be a casualty of SF (and to a lesser extent the SDLP) taking them for granted. As gaelgannaire has correctly observed the calculation is that these votes will not leave SF and as such there is no great political need to pursue them or support for the Irish language.

    Can I suggest a possible option for the Irish language lobby. Before I do so I suspect it is a fairly disparate group and I am unclear if there is a unified leadership.

    However, I suggest that the supporters of the language now very clearly castigate SF (and the SDLP) for their failure to support them, make clear that they are in no way linked to SF. I know they are not necessarily linked but I only know this from reading this web site for several months. You need to make it abundantly clear to the unionist community that whilst most of you may well be nationalists you are not simply SF talking in Irish.

    Then approach, lobby and woo Poots and lots of other unionists. Find assorted Prod Irish speakers to help you. Drag some Scots Gaelic speakers down from Lewis to help. Then propose some cost neutral things and see what happens.

    Although the failure of SF to support the Irish language may be seen as a failing by the Irish language lobby; it could actually be a blessing in disguise. It might give the opportunity for the Irish language to be divorced from politics and be seen as what it is just a language and not in some way the private property of the republican movement. The above is a very long term strategy and it offers much less immediate rewards than trying to get concrete benefits from SF support. However, SF seem to be to quote the King James Version A broken reed. At this point you do not seem to have much to lose.

  • gaelgannaire

    Turgon,

    “lobby and woo Poots and lots of other unionists.”

    It is my understanding that Poots refuses to engage the ‘lobby’. No direct meeting have taken place.

    “Find assorted Prod Irish speakers to help you. Drag some Scots Gaelic speakers down from Lewis to help. Then propose some cost neutral things and see what happens.”

    Sometimes I actually believe that you believe that these things don’t happen Turgon.

  • PeaceandJustice

    I got sent the following link which exposes the SF IRA manipulation of the Irish Language:
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/minister-has-no-problem-with-exira-killer-in-top-job-1275093.html

    Since the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein and ex-IRA prisoner groups have set up dozens of Irish language and cultural organisations in the North and the Border area which have been heavily subsidised by Irish, EU and British taxpayers. Hundreds of millions of euro have been paid out under the ‘peace’ funding that followed the IRA ceasefire and the 1998 Agreement.

    Foras disburses around €20m a year to groups some of which are Sinn Fein fronts. Fifteen million euro comes from the Irish Exchequer annually and the equivalent of €5m comes from the British.

    Mac Cormaic (formerly McCormack), from the Bogside of Derry, learned Irish in the Maze, and on his release moved to Galway and took a course in NUI, where he was at one stage president of the students’ union. He has been a contributor to Sinn Fein’s newspaper An Phoblacht. Republican sources said he was regarded as one of the key ideologues in the party.

    One of the key strategies employed by Sinn Fein in its efforts to become a dominant force in Ireland has been to influence the arts and cultural worlds as well as the media. An Irish-language activist in the North, who has no associations with Sinn Fein and did not wish to be named, said the party has been imposing a “hegemony” on the Irish language, particularly in west Belfast.

    “That is the problem with Irish language organisations. You have to fight people who have this active service unit mentality. No one has that sort of energy. You can’t speak Irish in west Belfast unless you are in the organisation.”

  • gaelgannaire

    P & J,

    That article is pure nonsense. I also dont believe the person quoted actually exists.

    It was in the Sunday Independent.

  • However, I suggest that the supporters of the language now very clearly castigate SF (and the SDLP) for their failure to support them, make clear that they are in no way linked to SF. I know they are not necessarily linked but I only know this from reading this web site for several months. You need to make it abundantly clear to the unionist community that whilst most of you may well be nationalists you are not simply SF talking in Irish.

    I think that if you’ve been following Lá Nua in the past while – and perhaps you haven’t – you will have seen a very critical line emerging about Sinn Féin’s bona fides on the Irish language. Several SFers have a strong commitment to the language, not least among them Gerry Adams himself, but that hasn’t translated into effective action to promote or protect the language at government level. The point is well made in Eoghan’s article that the SDLP’s Ritchie and McGimpsey of the UUP both ensured they weren’t going to be short changed out of the budget – but that SF/SDLP didn’t ensure that the Irish Language would get a fair crack of the whip by standing up for it around the Executive Table. Who can say that the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, fought for and won BEFORE the sharing of power, would not have emerged enhanced with some effective horsetrading rather than with a huge question mark over its future.

    While the impression continues to exist among some of the less well informed that the Irish language community is an extension of SF, (CF Jim Cusack’s libellous article in the Sunday Independent etc) the reality is that SF can’t count on the Irish language community anymore, unless they buck up their act. And while they may not take political action against SF, they may not be as keen to come out and vote for them. Thus the birth of the Gaelscoil/Cultúrlann ‘nationalist’.

    SF and to a lesser extent the SDLP, who don’t appear to have noticed what’s happening, need to come up with a plan B to ensure that the Irish language doesn’t suffer at the hands of Poots. The appointment of Poots as DCAL minister has been a disaster not alone for the Irish language but for culture and the arts generally. And it was handed to the DUP on a plate by SF.

    A suggested plan B is to suggest to the Irish government – and lobby them effectively in this regard – to make the payment of the promised €60m innovation fund to Empey conditional on the Irish language being properly and adequately resourced.

    I won’t hold my breath…

  • Turgon

    gaelgannaire,

    No I do believe they happen. You have already convinced me to a considerable degree of the merits of some of your cause.

    Convincing a political anorak is, however, of little import; you need to convince lots and lots of ordinary sensible Northern Irish people, especially Prods.

    I wish you well in this enterprise but I do observe that the more distance you put between yourselves and SF the easier you will find that. I know SF have proffered help for their own cynical motives but firstly they have been no help and secondly any help they might provide will simply stoke unionist suspicion.

  • Mark McGregor

    When my local GAA club was taking a course of action that could have resulted in the closing of the local GaelScoil (promoted by the SDLP MLA), I as a non-gaelgoir had to make representations to the club and leaflet the community on the issue along with concerned parents of pupils while the local shinners sat tucked up in their beds not to be seen.

  • RepublicanStones

    Sinn Fein and ex-IRA prisoner groups have set up dozens of Irish language and cultural organisations in the North and the Border area -peaceandjustice

    hey there P&J;there is lots of Loyalist terrorists who speak english, and no doubt would say they speak ulster-scots…..should kids be stopped from learning to speak?????

    where do you come up with your nonsense, they have to be christmas cracker jokes, because what you say is well past its sell-by-date !

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry, I should make it clear: the SDLP MLA was actively promoting a line of action that would close the Gael Scoil (planning objections in his name), the shinners were just too busy to help out with leaflets? they were asked.must have been busy? (éirígí did help out though)

  • Oiliféar

    “… while the local shinners sat tucked up in their beds not to be seen.”

    Of course, Mark, if the school had closed they would have had reason to cry oppression, no?

    Sinn Féin have been the blight of the Irish-language movement since it’s inception. I genuinely find their attitude to the language sickening and I don’t blame many unionists for being driven away from the language and made to be think that concern for it can only be politically motivated.

  • The Irish language is a part of the identity and traditions of a people. It has to be preserved and efforts should be made in that direction.

    At the same time, with the increase in immigration and the influence of a more European ethos through business and other connections, I’m not convinced that Irish is up to it – it may in fact be more of an obstacle. It’s a hard language to learn. I tried and didn’t get too far. But maybe that was my orange ancestors expressing indignation from the grave.

    As for the Shinners backing off on it. I don’t think it’s selling out at all. I think it’s more common sense. The chances of an Irish speaking revival that knocks English off its pedestal is a long shot. Many indigenous languages have suffered similar neglect, and in almost every case efforts to revive them fail. They retain a level of practical use in rural areas and in the art and music of the peoples who preserve the tradition, but for these languages to become the language of state, business and the media would take some sort of junta that mandates the use of the language in law.

    Last time I was in Donegal I heard Irish spoken and it was a beautiful thing. I hope it can be kept alive as the first language of a people, but I can’t see it replacing English on the big stage.

  • Oiliféar

    “At the same time, with the increase in immigration and the influence of a more European ethos through business and other connections, I’m not convinced that Irish is up to it – it may in fact be more of an obstacle.”

    Ironically, it was just that that got me back into Irish – realising that having one’s “own” language (aside from English which is ultimately no-one’s at this stage) is a crucial part of the European mainstream.

    I realised it first in Dublin when living and working alongside continental Europeans, effectively for the first time. Having now returned from two years of living and working on the Continent, I can testify that this is a genuine realisation. Dumping the parochial and political orthodoxies of Irish that I was raised with was a difficult transition, but necessary things to exorcise, and I feel better for it.

  • DK

    If Poots did something for the Irish language, how many speakers would vote DUP?

    Might be none, but then I’ve heard that catholics on Rathlin Island vote DUP because Ian Paisely went out of his way to get them electricity.

  • Elvis Parker

    This entire thread is based on the desirability of intertwining the Irish language with Irish nationalist – if you cannot see the error in doing that I suggest you go sit in a darkened room for some time

  • Peace and Justice is as usual full of crap and the article he linked to is wrong. I’m from East Belfast, born to a Protestant family, a family involved to a degree in “the other side” of the conflict yet when I expressed an interest in learning Gaeilge Réamonn Giffen of An Droichead bent over backwards to accomodate me and my sister.

  • pith

    The Irish language is a victim of politicisation by people who are now more interested in being in power than policy. It’s a pity for the language that it lost its Presbyterian interest.

    BTW can’t believe the old chestnut about Paisley working for Catholic people has resurfaced on this thread. That was part of the old Paisley myth. Oh he does a lot for the Catholics y’know.

  • lib2016

    The Executive is still in it’s early days and some items, like sorting out policing, are more urgent than others. If the Irish language lobby can expand beyond its current roots that is all to the good, and equally if some of the loyalist groups want to move towards developing a cultural basis for their community then that should be encouraged as well.

    Whether it’s a revival of shinty or Scottish dancing it should be encouraged. Let’s widen our horizons. It’s a long time since I’ve been to a Feis but I seem to remember Scottish sword dancing so we could even have a cross community aspect to it which should help justify that essential grant.

  • Yeah pith, just as Liam Neeson a man who in his autobiography claimed, probably quite accurately, that as a catholic in Ballymena he felt like a second class citizen. Yet more recently Liam has been full of stories of sneaking in to watch Paisley’s sermons.

  • lib2016

    Pounder,

    A lot of students in the 60’s took the opportunity to visit the Martyr’s Memorial since even at that stage he was an international phenomenon. Should we sneer at them all or just the people whose views you appear to dislike?

    To me it appeared that when he was asked a question about whether he would play Paisley in a film of his life rather than give a blunt answer which might have caused offence he took the opportunity to tell an amusing anecdote. It showed the sheer class of the man, just as your comment cast an interesting light on how we should judge your future remarks. 😉

  • fair_deal

    Interesting piece. So much for all the spin about Irish not being a nationalist thing.

    I would suggest that putting all the eggs in the basket of a Language Act was a tactical error. It was pretty much an all-or-nothing approach and Unionist political ill-will towards it was perfectly clear. The impression I got was the prioritisation of an Act in this way was the choice/decision of the Irish language lobby which SDLP and SF adopted. Is this impression correct? If it is then the failure is not entirely the two nationalist parties.

    I would point out that there is still the strategies for Irish and Ulster-Scots that the Executive are legally required to produce and I understand DCAL will be seeking input from the DCAL committee.

  • [i]Pounder,

    A lot of students in the 60’s took the opportunity to visit the Martyr’s Memorial since even at that stage he was an international phenomenon. Should we sneer at them all or just the people whose views you appear to dislike?

    To me it appeared that when he was asked a question about whether he would play Paisley in a film of his life rather than give a blunt answer which might have caused offence he took the opportunity to tell an amusing anecdote. It showed the sheer class of the man, just as your comment cast an interesting light on how we should judge your future remarks. 😉

    Posted by lib2016 on Jan 31, 2008 @ 10:22 AM[/i]

    Hell I like Neeson, us Jedi gotta stick together. I just wonder what was behind the change in attitude, and more importantly will Ballymena ever actually honour it’s most famous son?

  • Up the Wesht

    I have met so many people from the Western Islands of Scotland here in the West of Ireland at language festivals, and eventhough the peoples are different the craic is always good. Its a pity that people are missing out in a shared interest.

  • gaelgannaire

    fair_deal,

    I think that what was underestimated by most people was Poots agression on the issue.

    I think it was assumed he would at least make an effort to appear to be neutral, but he is playing to his electorate and playing very well. His mandate is clear, to halt the growth of the Irish language, and that is putting it diplomatically.

    My understanding of his motivations would be that he is inspired by intolerance and a desire to complete anglicisation but that is irrelevant.

    BTW, it was Sinn Féin who pushed the Irish Language Act up the agenda, Pobal, Conradh na Gaeilge, Na Gaeil Óga et. al. were not actually party to the St. Andrews. agreement. That is a simple fact.

    It was SF who hailed the Language Act, which was a medium to long term aim for Irish language organisations. SF have not made it a deal breaker however, making its provision in St. Andrews irrelevant.

    But I think that Eoghan Ó Néill’s final remarks that Poots efforts will ultimately fail does ring true for most Irish speakers, it will just force people to work harder.

    It should also be pointed out that whilst all Irish speakers will be affected by the binning of the Broadcast Fund, it should be noted that virutually none of that money went anywhere near West Belfast, in fact most of it went to production companies in North Down and South Belfast so I think some unionists are going to affected too.

    Lá Nua have constantly pointed out that SF had the oppurtunity to take the Culture brief. I believe they did this in order to avoid Irish language issues which would have soured the bedding in of the executive.

    Therefore, whilst the focus is on Poots people are deflected from realising that Conor Murphy, Michelle Gildernew and Catríona Ruane (and Ritchie of course) could introduce language schemes into their departments, which they are refusing to do.

    It must also be pointed out that no legal reason prevents road signage being made bilingual in nationalist areas, this is not under Edwin Poots’ department, but Conor Murphy’s.

    I see little evidence of progress here other the the efforts of people on the ground.

    I should point out that I have always been of the opinion that Dominic Ó Brollacháin was the strongest representative of Irish speakers in northern political life, his silence annoys me the most I must admit.

  • BonarLaw

    gaelgannaire

    “It must also be pointed out that no legal reason prevents road signage being made bilingual in nationalist areas, this is not under Edwin Poots’ department, but Conor Murphy’s.”

    Wrong.

    The days of solo ministerial runs are over thanks to St Andrews. That is why we will still have grammar schools selecting by ability despite the ideology of the muppet occupying the Education portfolio.

  • kensei

    “I would suggest that putting all the eggs in the basket of a Language Act was a tactical error. It was pretty much an all-or-nothing approach and Unionist political ill-will towards it was perfectly clear. The impression I got was the prioritisation of an Act in this way was the choice/decision of the Irish language lobby which SDLP and SF adopted. Is this impression correct? If it is then the failure is not entirely the two nationalist parties.”

    Actually FD, I think that it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference. Unionists, it is clear despise Irish and will block any progress on it.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article3384966.ece

    “Limited signage” would probably give the DUP something to point at and a little cover on killing the ILA, but no – veto threat. SF really need to start giving a few pointed reminders they have a veto of their own.

  • DM

    Tá mé ag foghlaim Gaeilge… It’s a very interesting (and difficult) language. The tone of that article was verging on the hysterical though if you ask me.

  • BonarLaw

    kensei

    in the politics of double veto who has the advantage- those determined to preserve the status quo or those determined to change it?

  • gaelgannaire

    Bonarlaw,

    I understand your point, I was not clear, the department have always intimated that bilingual directional signage was in fact illegal.

    There are unable to point specifically to the piece of legislation which makes it so.

    Perhaps you yourself can?

  • gaelgannaire

    DM,

    Eoghan Ó Néil is a highly respected broadcast and print journalist and a person whose opinions Irish speakers in general would respect.

    I fail to see how the article could be described as histerical.

    What specifically are you refering to?

  • DM

    [i]Minister Poots has succeeded to throw an Irish language act in the rubbish bin. There is lots of room in that same bin for the Irish language Broadcasting fund. [b] There is also plenty of room for other Irish language aspects of life also.[/b][/i]

    [i]But he can damage and delay lots of things. He can also destroy worthwhile enterprises.

    The six Nationalist ministers are failing to show leadership and the Irish language community will pay the price.[/i]

    I thought this was a little OTT. It’s not as if the Irish-speaking community in NI will collapse without Edwin Poots’ approval. Of course I take his point about the broadcast fund etc but does the strength of the movement not lie in the people themselves and the language? As someone else said, recourse to politicians isn’t a great idea, self-serving as they tend to be. Just my own thoughts, I wasn’t trying to have a go at Mr Ó Néill.

  • kensei

    “in the politics of double veto who has the advantage- those determined to preserve the status quo or those determined to change it?”

    Tackled this before. Everyone wants something. And I believe Poots cut money to Irish Broadcasting. Couldn’t SF have issued a petition of concern and vetoed it?

  • DK

    Pith: “BTW can’t believe the old chestnut about Paisley working for Catholic people has resurfaced on this thread.”

    Except that it is true – I have also heard directly from someone (a catholic) of Paisly visiting his mum to help her. But then you’re probably just some indoctrinated yank who doesn’t know any better & doesn’t want to either.

  • gaelgannaire

    DM

    This is the second last paragraph.

    “There is no way that Edwin Poots will calm the swelling of the Irish language and its people in the North. But he can damage and delay lots of things. He can also destroy worthwhile enterprises.”

    I think it is quite clear and rational.

    I have said it again and again on Slugger and to people I meet – It is not in the power of unionists to affect the amount of Irish spoken in Ireland. Only Irish speakers can affect that.

    So I also say when nationalists ‘blame the brits’ for not being able to speak Irish that that is only half true. No one is stopping anyone from buying a copy of ‘Now your talking’.

    However, as Eoghan points out problems can be created.

  • fair_deal

    Gaelgannaire

    I think you are over-estimating the centrality of Poots and his personal attitudes in all this.

    The DUP made it clear from the announcement of St Andrews that they were not up for it, the UUP tried to bash them with it, Robinson got Hain to commit in parliament that it would go to the assembly if it was restored quick enough and that preventing it was given as a reason for going with devolution etc were all pretty good inidcators it was not a runner whether or not the DUP or Poots ended up with the job.

    “BTW, it was Sinn Féin who pushed the Irish Language Act up the agenda, Pobal, Conradh na Gaeilge, Na Gaeil Óga et. al. were not actually party to the St. Andrews. agreement. That is a simple fact.”

    Pobal produced a detailed document on an irish language act in February 2006, some 7 months before St Andrews.

    This document describes the demand for an act thus:
    “The need for appropriate domestic legislation for the Irish language in the north is one that has been clear to our community for many years. It has been a consistent demand from Irish speakers for over thirty years. It is an issue that POBAL, as the non-governmental umbrella organisation for the Irish speaking community in the north, has encountered again and again in different forms in the course of our work.
    Since our inception, it has been a question that we have consistently raised at all levels of government and in the broader society.”

    This document says it was the output of an 18 month consultation process and describes the document as:

    “The Irish Language Act for NI’ document seeks to reflect the views and needs of the Irish speaking community and others who have taken part in the consultative processes and the best international practice on language rights.”

    Granted SF may have crowed “Look what we got you” but the Pobal document would seem to me that the idea was being pushed by the Irish langauge lobby before St Andrews and had been debated within it. The impression I gained from this was it was a clear and present wish of the irish language sector not medium or long term or are the Pobal claims an exaggeration or misrepresentation?

    “in fact most of it went to production companies in North Down and South Belfast so I think some unionists are going to affected too.”

    The Unionist parties don’t have a great relationship with the Arts/Media sector in general so don’t think that’ll particualrly change attitudes.

    “Therefore, whilst the focus is on Poots people are deflected from realising that Conor Murphy, Michelle Gildernew and Catríona Ruane (and Ritchie of course) could introduce language schemes into their departments, which they are refusing to do.”

    Do you know what reasons they give for this?

    “It must also be pointed out that no legal reason prevents road signage being made bilingual in nationalist areas”

    There are already provisions for bi-lingual street signage on the statute book. On the broader issue of road signage Jim Wells is claiming recent comments by CM put this in doubt
    http://www.dup.org.uk/articles.asp?Article_ID=3096

  • DM

    Well fair enough. I personally don’t think Poots has as much power as that article would have you believe.

    [i]I have said it again and again on Slugger and to people I meet – It is not in the power of unionists to affect the amount of Irish spoken in Ireland. Only Irish speakers can affect that.[/i]

    That’s the point I was making too. Of course funding etc is a different matter, I accept that, but how much difference do you think it would make if we had Ms Gildernew or similar in the DCAL post? I suppose we will find out in due course anyway.

  • This entire thread is based on the desirability of intertwining the Irish language with Irish nationalist – if you cannot see the error in doing that I suggest you go sit in a darkened room for some time
    Thi
    Elvis would have a point except he’s looking at the problem from a skewed perspective.

    It’s not so much desireable to link the Irish language to Irish nationalism, it’s evolved out of necessity given the policy of unionist leaders throughout the generations to denigrate the Irish language at every opportunity. Their attitude has been regressive and repressive on this and other subjects, such as their constant denigration of ‘human rights’.

    The attitude of the likes of Willie Frazer underlines the need for unionist politicians to inform themselves properly in order to lead their followers to a position where they are not ignorant about this issue. Promoting the Irish Language or Northern Gaelic if they wish could be a way of enhancing their Britishness and elevating them to equal status alongside the Welsh and the Scots.

  • gaelgannaire

    fair_deal,

    “I think you are over-estimating the centrality of Poots and his personal attitudes in all this.”

    I think Mr Poots is representative of the views of his party.

    “Pobal produced a detailed document on an irish language act in February 2006, some 7 months before St Andrews.”

    Of course, but no lobby group expects instant results, I respectfully suggest that not even Pobal expected to achieve an language act within months.

    “Granted SF may have crowed “Look what we got you” but the Pobal document would seem to me that the idea was being pushed by the Irish langauge lobby before St Andrews and had been debated within it.

    True but again, I still think that medium to long term is a fair assessment. People always realised that achieving an Irish language act would take many years of hard work. That is still my personal position.

    “Do you know what reasons they give for this?”

    Nope. I do know anyone else who does either.

    “There are already provisions for bi-lingual street signage on the statute book.”

    Not for directional signage, but again there is no specific prohibition.

  • RG Cuan

    Glad to see Eoghan’s article getting coverage in English language circles. His arguments are spot on and are held by the vast majority of Irish speakers.

    Gaelic is on the rise throughout Ireland and Scotland, nothing really can change that, but Minister Poots’ decision to cut funding for the ILBF will have a negative impact on Irish language broadcast media. A similar decision in Scotland or Wales would not be tolerated, even by the Conservatives.

    SF and SDLP have a lot to answer for – why most of them agreed to the budget, why they didn’t take the DCAL ministry etc.

    The Irish Gaelic community will continue to lobby for increased recognition but recent developments have illustrated that they cannot depend on supposedly pro-Irish language politicians.

    Ar aghaidh linn.

  • fair_deal

    “I respectfully suggest that not even Pobal expected to achieve an language act within months.”

    The report clearly states this was a long-standing demand eg 30 years prior to its production and a clear opportunity, the ongoing talks, provided an opportunity for it.

    However, it is probably too minor a point to obsess over and over-emphasising what is contained within one document.

    A point I missed earlier how does the Irish language not being political equate with:

    “road signage being made bilingual in nationalist areas”

  • RG Cuan

    A point I missed earlier how does the Irish language not being political equate with:
    “road signage being made bilingual in nationalist areas.”

    The aim organisation asking for Irish/English road signs are Na Ceithearna Coille.

    They are seeking “bilingual road sigange in areas that are pro-Gaelic”, or wish it erected, not nationalist areas.

  • RG Cuan

    I should point out that I have always been of the opinion that Dominic Ó Brollacháin was the strongest representative of Irish speakers in northern political life, his silence annoys me the most I must admit.

    Creidim gur thug Dominic óráid in éadan Poots agus ar son na Ciste sa Tionól inné. D’eisigh sé ráiteas faoi dtaobh de.

    I believe Dominic questioned Poots yesterday in the Assembly about the Minister’s opposition to the ILBF. He released a statement about it.

  • fair_deal

    RG Cuan

    It was Gaelgannaire I was seeking the clarification from but thank you for the input.

    On you point what definition is given for “pro-Gaelic”?

  • happy lundy

    I think I understand that an Irish Language Act is part of the Dept of Culture’s remit but isn’t directional road signage a DRD matter?

    Do SF and the SDLP not have the power to manage their departments as if the Irish Language Act was already in place?

    Obviously things can be undone by a later minister, but for that matter so can an Irish Language Act.

  • Marconi

    The SDLP are all over the place when it comes to bi-lingual signage in North Antrim. In Ballymoney Council SF have been pushing for bi-lingual signage and the SDLP rowed in behind them (eventually) to support this – the result being that the first 3 irish street-signs are to be erected there shortly.
    Meanwhile up in Moyle Council last week the SDLP voted against Irish street-signs being erected in the Glens and Ballycastle even though residents in both those areas have been surveyed and overwhelmingly supported the erection of these signs. It must be said that local Ballycastle GAA member Cllr Seamus Blaney has been the most vocal opponent to irish street signs (anyone spot the contradiction??. SF were the only party who supported the bi-lingual signage policy.

  • RG Cuan

    FAIR DEAL

    I would say where the majority of the population value Irish Gaelic and wish it to be visible in their community.

    HAPPY LUNDY

    Your points are all valid and many within the Irish language population are asking the same questions.

  • fair_deal

    RG Cuan

    “where the majority of the population value Irish Gaelic and wish it to be visible in their community”

    How would this be determined?

  • After reading the introductory paragraph in this blog I found myself briefly wondering if it wasn’t a shame that the language lobby found themselves so close to nationalist parties and associated with republicanism. To some it probably is unfair.

    Then of course, within the first three sentences:
    “Are there any Gaels in the Six Counties “

    Does he really think that helps?

  • RG Cuan

    How would this be determined?

    Good question Fair Deal.

    In Newry & Mourne, and other district areas, the council consults with residents of whichever road or street wishes bilingual street signs erected.

    The situation would obviously not be as straight forward with road directional signs but i’m sure a similar system – consultation with residents within a certain area etc – could be implemented.

  • RG Cuan

    BEANO

    I think you are nitpicking here. ‘The North’ is also used in the article and ‘Northern Ireland’ appears in the paper on a regular basis.

  • gaelgannaire

    Marconi,

    There in lies the problem.

    Who do Irish speakers turn to if SF turn away from the language? The SDLP? It isnt feasible.

    Therefore even when SF is weak on the language as it is now many people would fear being over critical for fear of inadvertantly helping the SDLP, who with a few very notable exceptions are non existant on language matters. It is a case of being between a rock and a hard place.

    RG,

    Cha rabh fios agam fá sin, GRMA.

    Didn’t know that, cheers, I will check that out.

    Do you have a link?

  • happy lundy

    RG,

    Thanks.

    I’ll confess that I’m getting a bit cheesed off with people pretending they don’t have the power to fix their own problems.

    It strikes me as odd that when I drive around northern France the place is festooned with European and Commonwealth flags but that SF and the SDLP can’t erect a few flagpoles on a roundabout or outside the Town Hall in each council they run to fly a dignified Tricolour alongside the Union Flag and a European Flag. They could just say it’s for the tourists if that helps. Same goes for “unionist” memorabilia. Why not arrange a few rooms into a local museum where that memorabilia could be stored alongside a few bits of other local history reflective of “the wider community”? Just blame those tourists again .

    Similarly I can’t see why we can’t just take some policies and standards from the Welsh or ROI road services for directional signage.

    On your other point, personally I’d prefer one standard for road signage. I wouldn’t want Irish appearing only in areas of nationalist majority like a civilised version of painted kerbstones.

    I lived in Wales for a good few years and never found the presence of Welsh language signage threatening, “anti-British” or even nationalistic. A very good friend with fluent Welsh was a cheerful Tory.

  • On the subject of street signs I remember a friend of one of mu uncles beign really in to his Ulster Scots, which in my opinion is just really bad english with an accent. He campaigned to Castlereagh Council and was eventually allowed to get some street signs in his area put up in Ulster Scots, the result being some knuckle dragging idiots thought they where in Gaelic and ripped them down. Kinda goes a long way towards showing the mentality of loyalists towards anything they don’t understand (which is a HELL of a lot)

  • RG Cuan

    I’ve heard that story many times Pounder but never came across anybody that actually has a connection to it!

  • Eireannach Saolta

    Here’s the story on the ulster scots signs .

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/570614.stm

  • Eireannach Saolta
  • interested

    Happy Lundy

    The road signs stuff just wont happen Gaelic fans:

    From the Hansard:
    Mr Butler: Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as a fhreagra.

    I thank the Minister for that reply. As he knows, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was one of the commitments under the Good Friday Agreement to which the British Government and all the political parties signed up. Could he be more specific about when his Department will create a policy and legislative framework for the Irish language to be used in relation to street signs and traffic signs?

    Mr Murphy: The proposals are one element of the miscellaneous provisions bill that I intend to bring forward this year. The timing depends very much on progress of the bill through the various stages in the Assembly. As Members will be aware, that can take up to two years.

    He accepts himself that it would require a Bill to be passed through the Assembly. That means going before both the Executive and the Assembly and those particular clauses ain’t going to get consent. Or if it did, as Nelson McCausland pointed out in the next question, it would have to be tru-lingual signage because the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages also applies to Ulster-Scots (something Irish fans don’t often refer to).

    There won’t be harmonisation of speed limits into Km/hr either as:

    Mr McGlone: Go raibh maith agat, a LeasCheann Comhairle. Has the Minister had any discussions with his counterparts in the Irish Government about the harmonising of road signs? The linguistic issue has been dealt with, but what about speed limits and moving to kilometres per hour?

    Mr Murphy: Athough road signs are our respons­ibility, the responsibility for speed limits and road safety policy across the island largely lies with the Department of the Environment. I have been to two sectoral meetings at which road safety issues across the island were discussed, and I am happy to discuss signage arrangements as part of that. No specific propositions were put to either of those meetings in relation to universal signage North and South, whether in miles or kilometres.

    This is a cross-Departmental issue and therefore has to come before the Executive also, so no change there.

    As for your last point
    “Obviously things can be undone by a later minister, but for that matter so can an Irish Language Act.”

    The ILA decision is not dependent on who holds Ministerial Office. Its already clearly defined as one of the “controvertial issues” which must (at any time) come before the Executive. I’m sure Edwin Poots isn’t overly concerned that he’s being portrayed as the man who wrecked the ILA (shouldn’t do him too much harm around Lisburn) but in reality he was, in part at least, simply recognising that there wasn’t any point in bringing it forward as it wouldn’t get the cross-community support in either the Executive or Assembly.

    That consent won’t be there no matter who the Minister is, and I would hazard a guess that its even less likely to be there if its part of an aggressively pro-nationalist/pro-Irish agenda from a future Minister.

  • gaelgannaire

    interested,

    “as Nelson McCausland pointed out in the next question, it would have to be tru-lingual signage because the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages also applies to Ulster-Scots (something Irish fans don’t often refer to)”

    As 96% approx of the place-names come from Irish not Ulster Scots, how would the Ulster Scots forms be created?

    And indeed, if there was some sort of group set up to create the forms how would they do the translations without an Irish speaker to interpret them.

    I will have to go and look at the European Charter very carefully but I suspect that its provisions are intended to protect the original minority language in which the place-names were coined not to sponser mass translation projects.

    I am all for Ulster Scots but Newry, Omagh, Derry, Belfast etc dont come from Ulster Scots.

  • RG Cuan

    I agree with Gael Gan Náire on the issue of Ulster Scots.

    Indeed, in the European Charter, the British Government has to adhere to more clauses for Irish Gaelic than it does for the Hamely Tongue.

  • Seimi

    I have to say, interested, that as someone who was raised in Belfast with Irish as my first language, it’s quite condescending and insulting to be reffered to as a ‘gaelic fan’ and an ‘Irish fan’. Why not try Gaelic or Irish speaker, or in the case of those who may not speak the language but support its growth and development, Gaelic or Irish supporter? Or does this imply that you are not a ‘fan’ of the language? Are you opposed to it?
    Anyway, your reference to the European charter, whilst partially accurate, is not wholly so. True, both Irish and Ulster-Scots are supposedly protected under it, they are so at different levels. Irish is at level 3, while Ulster-Scots is at level 2. This is because there are more Irish speakers and more of a demand for its use and protection. How many US schools are there? There are at present 79 Irish schools in the north, and projected figures from Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta predict 10,000 children being taught through the medium of Irish by the year 2010. This is another reason for Irish being at a higher level.
    Please dont mis-inerpret this as some kind of attack or dismissal of Ulster-Scots. While I have no particular attachment to it, I am interested in it, as it appears to have some legitimancy as a language, albeit as a dialect of Lallan Scots. Neither do I feel threatened by it. Languages and cultures should enrich a people, and we should try and embrace and understand and support them all.

  • gaelgannaire

    interested,

    BTW, if where there are genuine Ulster Scots names and forms of names, in South Antrim and in the Ards for example. I would be in favour of Ulster Scots on Road Signage. No problems. But I believe that this would need the consent of the local population.

    I would also support fully education through the medium a’ Ulster Scots if that is what people want.

    A kin spake braid as weel as tha nixt maun, by tha way.

  • interested

    gaelgannaire
    I very much doubt whether it matters one roasted snowball where the name originated from. That’s not the rationale being used for promotion of Irish anyway. We’re told its about cultural equality and the back-up given for that argument is always the EU Charter. That Charter equally applies to Ulster-Scots so if we’re to have multi-language signage then U-S would have to be included on the same basis as Irish.

    My preference is simply to have English. Saves all the hassle.

    Seimi
    I agree that Ulster Scots has not yet reached the same level under the EU Charter as Irish. Mind you, that might well have something to do with the fact that there has been a massive disparity in amount of funding directed towards Irish over the years. What level was Irish at originally?

    The fact that Ulster-Scots is currently at a lower level is a very good argument for higher levels of funding of U-S as opposed to Irish.

    I’m happy too for us to embrace all languages – they all form part of the overall cultural heritage and makeup of Northern Ireland. Why therefore is there a disproportionate demand for Irish signage/promotion etc.

    If, as you suggest, we should cherish all the languages equally then why do you bother making points about the level of usage of Irish (brought about because of massively increased funding). If they’re to be cherished equally then treat them equally also.

  • gaelgannaire

    interested,

    “That’s not the rationale being used for promotion of Irish anyway”.

    I think it is with all due respect. Irish speakers beleive that signage should be bilingual because the Irish is normally the original form and has meaning to us. The English form is normally devoid of meaning to all however.

    “That Charter equally applies to Ulster-Scots so if we’re to have multi-language signage then U-S would have to be included on the same basis as Irish”

    I have tried to explain why that would be impossible. It is nothing to do with the European Charter. It is the simple fact that no Ulster Scots form exists for 99% of place-names.

    That is something that even tit for tat politics cannot change it is a simple linguistic fact.

  • Seimi

    interested, I believe I was being equal to both. The reason Irish language schemes recieve more funding is because they ASKED for more, simple as that. As the language re-developed, the need for increased funding grew proportionatly. I well remember when Irish language funding meant myself, family and friends, standing outside local churches with collection boxes, or knocking on doors to collect a few pence, which was then used to pay our teachers.
    U-S thankfully doesnt have to do this, as there are now many more funding sources available. Indeed, when the Ulster-Scots Society recieved its first major amount of funding, Lord Laird went on tv to thank the Irish language community for its help and guidance in securing the funding. This is how it should be, two languages and cultures side by side, supporting each other.
    But trying to put the 2 at the same level in terms of development at the present time is not sensible. Ulster-Scots does not at present have the resources to support such a move. Hopefully in the future it will.
    Irish never truly died out in this part of the island, people spoke it everywhere, it just wasnt as obvious as it is now.

  • gaelgannaire

    Just seen Caitríona Ruane saying ‘go rabh maith agat’ to a DUP MLA.

    I am deeply opposed to that. It is horseshit.

    I will happily admitt that that does damage and that that is it a vote loser.

  • RG Cuan

    Why therefore is there a disproportionate demand for Irish signage/promotion etc.

    Disproportionate? INTERESTED, there are Irish Gaelic speakers all over the north. They have primary schools, secondary schools, pubs, magazines, newspapers etc.

    Everybody, except certain Unionist politicians, accepts and realises that the Hamely Tongue does not have the same community of speakers, or interested groups, as Irish Gaelic. Greatly increasing funding for Scots here is not needed as the demand does not exist.

  • I don’t think that saying ‘go raibh maith agat’ (may good be with you) can be construed as anything other than a benediction and if a unionist MLA sees it in some other way, that’s his or her problem.

  • lib2016

    Gaelgannaire,

    After being turned off by compulsory Irish my interest in the subject was rekindled by a more open attitude from modern Irish fans and their willingness to engage with the sort of ‘cúpla focal’ beginner like myself, and also incidentally my two children who have both gone to nightclasses to improve their spoken Irish.

    What I really don’t need is the sort of fiorgael like Gaelgannaire who practically killed the language oriiginally coming on here and sneering at those who actually do speak it outside the ghetto. The reason why there is a revival is because people aren’t ashamed to use Irish in public any more. Not because there are purists who want to hide the language away like some private rite reserved for the initiated but because there are enthusiasts who are prepared to share their Irish with the rest of us.

    My representative using my ancestral language in a public place is exactly what I voted for. You can take your nasty elitest attitude and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    If unionists don’t want to learn Irish then there are translation facilities which they are free to use, unless Gaelgannaire wants to ban those as well. If Unionists don’t want to learn about their own culture that’s their loss but let the rest of us flaunt it where we want. It may, after all just attract the more intelligent observer into realising what they are missing.

    Boy! I never realised how much I detested those er- nice people for trying to steal my language.

  • pith

    Mick Fealty,

    Going back to Elvis Parker’s comment, is there any chance that you would open a thread on the lines of isn’t Paisley great to the Catholics? It would be useful if Catholic people could leave a few tales here of how Paisley came round and fixed their blocked drains on Christmas day – that sort of thing.

  • pith

    Mick Fealty,

    Going back to Elvis Parker’s comment, is there any chance that you would open a thread on the lines of isn’t Paisley great to the Catholics? It would be useful if Catholic people could leave a few tales here of how Paisley came round and fixed their blocked drains on Christmas day – that sort of thing.

  • gaelgannaire

    lib,

    Thanks for that.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Oilifar – “Sinn Féin have been the blight of the Irish-language movement since it’s inception. I genuinely find their attitude to the language sickening and I don’t blame many unionists for being driven away from the language and made to be think that concern for it can only be politically motivated.”

    Exactly. Many people have grown up associating Irish with Sinn Fein IRA terrorists.

    I don’t have a problem with anyone learning Irish and taking part in groups where the language is spoken. Good luck to them as learning a language can often be a challenge.

    What sickens me is the SF IRA use of ‘pigeon’ Irish to push their agenda. I would say that people should let the language grow organically while we get on fixing things like the health service. Trying to push a language down the throats of people is never going to work.

    Also, SF IRA need to stop having an air of superiority about the Irish Language and Culture. Trying to treat Ulster-British culture as some second-class culture which needs to stay at the back of the bus is not on.

  • BonarLaw

    let’s cut the crap on this issue once and for all.

    You don’t have to be a minister to introduce a bill in the Assembly. Get some “pro-Gaelic” MLA to draft and support an Irish Language Bill and see how far it gets in the legislature.

    Remind me, who was in such a hurry to get the institutions back up?

  • Oiliféar

    “I would say that people should let the language grow organically while we get on fixing things like the health service.”

    It’s not a binary choice, P&J;. Generally, governments have separate departments for culture and health. Yes, a government has limited funds to spend over-all, but it’s not as if energy is going to be distracted from the improvement of the health service if some is directed towards improvement of the culture.

    One area where this energy could be spent is in improving the “relations” between the two cultures – maybe getting back to a more normal situation where it’s not a case of one-or-the-other and undoing the damage that has resulted in Irish being seen as oppositional to unionist culture and, as you say, Ulster-British (not my choice of words) culture being seen as unauthentic.

    I’m no great believer in letting thing grow organically – it doesn’t happen. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Whether the executive supports Irish or doesn’t support Irish they have made a statement on it, one way or the other.

  • Cuairteoir

    Trying to treat Ulster-British culture as some second-class culture which needs to stay at the back of the bus is not on.

    Now that’s just funny.

  • Antichrist

    “Just seen Caitríona Ruane saying ‘go rabh maith agat’ to a DUP MLA.

    I am deeply opposed to that. It is horseshit.”

    Actually, gaelganaire, it means ‘Thank You”

    If she wanted to say ‘horseshit’ she would have said “cac chapaill”.

    Or, in the old Connacht dialectical way, “cacanna chapaill”

    Or, seeing as she’s from Mayo, “harshit”

  • gaelgannaire

    Antichrist,

    Bheadh orm a rá sa cás sin gurb ionann ‘go rabh maith agat’ agus cac na ngcapall in amanntaí.

    Tá mé ag seasamh le mo phointesea, níorbh ghá di a thafaint air as Gaeilge, is cuma cé chomh feargach is a bhí sí.

    Da mba rud é go raibh suíochán agam féin sa tionól úd agus is beag an baol, ní labhairfinn ach Gaeilge ach beirim mo dheimhin dhuit ach da mba rud é gur leor duine liom i dteanga ar bith a thuig mé go maith, labhairfinn sa teanga ceanna leo.

    Sin mo thuairim.

  • Seimi

    Surprise surprise
    Tá Lá Nua lán ar maidin de ráitéisí ó Shinn Féin, ag tacú leis an Ghaeilge. Cé a dúirt nach néisteann siad leis na daoine? An píosa is fearr – Ní mar gheall ar vótaí atá mé spreagtha chun an fód a sheasamh don Ghaeilge, ach mar gheall ar go gcreidim sa Ghaeilge – Mac Adhaimh.

    Lá Nua is full today of statements from Sinn Féin supporting the Irish language. Who says they dont listen to the people? The best bit – It’s not because of votes that I am encouraged to take a stand for Irish, but because I believe in the Irish language – Adams

  • No doubt SF felt they were on the back foot following several weeks of bad publicity directly attributable to their own ineffectiveness. They, like any party, can always ask the newspaper for a platform piece and no one’s ever been refused that.

    Reading what the SF leader says, I find a few problems.

    Calling for an Irish Language Commisioner in the north is all very well – but I am more concerned that the party makes a stand for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund which promotes Irish in a way which would be impossible for this commissioner, if he or she is ever appointed.

    I don’t believe the party’s reliance on the Equality Impact Assessments is going to do anything to offset the damage done. After all it can only affect ‘the future redistribution of resources’ as Jim Gibney points out in his article in the Irish News on Thursday. And secondly what legal compulsion is there on any ministry to do anything for the Irish Language even if the EQIA finds that, for example, the Irish Language Broadcast Fund was unfairly axed, it doesn’t necessarily follow that an EQIA finding in favour of this propostion will result in the Irish Language Broadcast Fund being retained and, as should be the case, awarded extra funding after the Minister’s cut off date of March 2009.

  • Seimi

    I find it very disheartening that Poots et al feel no need to provide money for the ILBF, SF and SDLP seem to doing the absolute bare minimum (ie, raising it occasionally in the Assembly and publishing statements when they see a percentage of the electorate have the cheek to criticise them in public) at a time when it’s just been announced that Scotland will have a Scots Gaelic station before the end of the year. I sincerely hope I can get this channel when it goes on air, cos there wont be much Irish programmes coming from here. Unless of course you dont mind Irish language programmes interspersed with ‘Western na Seachtaine’.

  • The problem with SF/the SDLP response to the axing of the ILBF has been too little too late. There’s no plan to get it back, no realistic means of securing its future being proposed by the different parties who should be to the forefront on this issue.

    The ILBF plus Lá Nua and Raidio Fáílte and Blas on BBC Radio Ulster, are the vehicles to bring the Irish language to all parts of NI. That’s where the funding should go. An Irish Language Commissioner, no doubt prompted by the appointments of Victims Commissioner, won’t do this. It’ll be a figurehead and won’t have any effective power to promote the Irish language. A figleaf to cover SF”s abject embarrassment on this issue.

  • Seimi

    I agree 100% OILibhear. A language commissioner, appointed now, would be a complete waste of time. If however ( and I am waiting for pigs to fly by my window) the Act, as proposed by POBAL, was enacted in it’s entirety, then a commissioner would be crucial to ensure it was complied with.
    I think SF and SDLP should be ashamed of the way they have handled the whole Irish language issue, in all it’s forms. Adams’ statement says that SF secured funding for Irish medium education. They didnt. People like my parents and their neighbours started that ball rolling back in the 70s, and far better people than SF or SDLP have kept it going ever since.

  • RG Cuan

    Francie Brolly (SF) and Dominic Bradley (SDLP) were on Blas last night trying to defend their lack of action regarding the ILBF.

    Franice, who’s not an effective speaker, just said it was ‘difficult’ and that they would continue standing up for the Irish speaking community.

    He had no answer for the reason SF supported the budget even though no provision for Irish was included.

  • It’s not good enough from either Francie or Dominic or their respective parties. They’re not being paid peanuts for their representations on our behalf. They have let themselves and their parties and the Irish language down badly and the expression of anger this week was deservedly aimed at them. Sure we know that the DUP and its little brother, the UUP, are opposed to the Irish language and will do everything they can to stymie its progress, but that’s no excuse for SF/SDLP to sit on their hands and utter the occasional platitude about “Irish Language Commissioner”. If they can’t ensure the survival and the enhancement of the Irish Language Broadcast Fund they will signal effectively to all Irish speakers and, indeed, to the wider community that powersharing is a one way system, back to the past.

  • BonarLaw

    “powersharing is a one way system, back to the past. ”

    *Stifled laugh* Be careful what you wish for lads…

  • Apparently the DUP and its fellow travellers wish to drag us back to the past, when anti Irish bigotry was at its height. They have done little but misuse power since getting it – they nearly managed to give away the Giant’s Causeway to a mate of Ian Paisley Junior for the cost of a holiday home. All I’m saying here is that SF need to wake up to this agenda and fast and stop it in its tracks and the Irish Language Broadcast Fund is the issue which could be the litmus test of their commitment to progressive forward looking politics as against a short sighted political view.

  • Dewi

    It is such a shame that nothing positive comes from Unionist politicians on this. The sight of Edwin P dismissing ILA, cutting funding for Irish and then appealing to GAA for inclusivity is just so bizarrely ridiculous.
    And why on earth can’t you get simultaneous translation in the assembly? Strange.

  • Danny

    “The chances of an Irish speaking revival that knocks English off its pedestal is a long shot. Many indigenous languages have suffered similar neglect, and in almost every case efforts to revive them fail.

    Last time I was in Donegal I heard Irish spoken and it was a beautiful thing. I hope it can be kept alive as the first language of a people, but I can’t see it replacing English on the big stage.”

    Actually, you’d find that very, very few people think Irish will ever become the dominant language across Ireland again. Plenty have no desire for that anyway. What’s wanted, I think, is an increase in the number of speakers. More visibility for the language. Being able to communicate with State institutions in Irish etc..
    Multilingualism is a very positive thing and there’s nothing unreasonable about speaking Irish Gaelic in Ireland.

    The present situation is that approx. 2% of the population in the Republic use Irish regularly in their day-to-day lives. It’s much less in NI, of course. That CAN be vastly improved. There’s plenty of room for both English and Irish here. There’s no reason for the language to remain on the edge of collapse (in terms of native speakers) like it is.