Parking the tanks onto the opponents lawn

Fair Deal has spent some time arguing that moves on issues such as the Irish Language should wait until Nationalism has something to trade.I disagree with this for a number of reasons, not least that I’m not sure that endless horsetrading and mistrust will run a government in the long run (though the TBGBs seemed to manage it for a while…..) but the one that strikes me most is that it is an attitude that comes purely from the sectarian silo. Why exactly should the Irish Language, for example, be abandoned as one for “t’other”? Even if an ILA is blocked for now, it’s likely that eventually there will be an issue that gives the necessary leverage, and something will be done.

The Irish language has a number of very fervent supporters, but I guess that most Nationalists fall into a similar camp as me: a rudimentary grasp at best and no small affection for the language and a vague desire to see it promoted. With Unionism set dead against it, and the fervent supporters pushing SF, policy in the area is largely dictated by the more extreme end.

Now, suppose the DUP introduced an Irish Language Act into the Assembly. It would blindside both SF and the SDLP for a start. It would also mean that the DUP could set the agenda, shape the initial parameters for discussion and the scope of the debate. If it’s clever, it could maybe come up with proposals that would split more moderate Nationalism from the fervent supporters, and create something more to its taste. It might also have spent more time considering how Nationalism thinks, and maybe that would be helpful too.

Obviously I don’t give a stuff about Unionism does. But the principle still applies for Nationalism. Too many issues are abandoned as simply alien and dealt with by the other side. We need to break those boxes, and start pursuing policy outside of our sectional comfort zone. Pretty soon, cultural issues around Polish-Irish, African-Irish, Chinese-Irish will begin to loom larger as Ireland becomes more multicultural. If we can’t deal with Unionism, can we deal with that? Traditional nationalism is an important and strong component of the Irish identity, but it is not the only one. Only by trying to deal with all these issues do we come close to true Republicanism.

  • ggn

    “Even if an ILA is blocked for now, it’s likely that eventually there will be an issue that gives the necessary leverage, and something will be done.”

    Ten, twenty, thirty years. It doesnt matter how long it takes.

    Irish needs to break out of the Ghetto, to do that we need to get through the barriers surrounding it.

    The Acht is not optional and the idea has united Irish speakers like no issue ever has, marches are grat social events and the community is stronger as a result of every single one.

  • ??

    there is more need for a chinese or polish language act than an “irish” one. FFS its not even a native language, the real irish, yes those south of the border, speak english for crying out loud!

  • Rory

    I think we can safely ignore the contribution from the last poster who signs himself as “??”. A man that unsure of himself needs not be accounted.

    That leaves us however with the thread itself and that presents a difficulty as we cannot make head nor tail of what Kensei is proposing. On the one hand he seems to think that it would be a good idea for the DUP to introduce an Irish language Act but the reasons he suggests for so doing is that it might help to divide nationalism but also, in some sneaky kind of way,help them to appreciate how nationalism thinks (which would help no end in understanding even better how to further undermine nationalism no doubt).

    But, hold! He was only joking. He doesn’t really think the DUP will introduce such a bill (even with the tantalising bonus Kensei dangles in front of it of undermining nationalism). No instead he wants nationalism to abandon its struggle for the Irish language to enjoy in Northern Ireland similar encouragement as does Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in Scotland.

    Not that hope is to be abandoned entirely. If nationalists encourage minorty languages such as Polish and Chinese (what, Mandarin, Cantonese, any other, none?) who knows, we might sneak Irish past their noses sometime in the future.

    I suppose it will be easy to obtain DUP support for aiding assistance to Polish, Chinese and other cultures – we just have to convince them that it will undermine these people politically.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “there is more need for a chinese or polish language act than an “irish” one. FFS its not even a native language, the real irish, yes those south of the border, speak english for crying out loud!”

    Why are people so culturally ignorant?

    Politics dictate so, I suppose!

  • ??

    for the Irish language to enjoy in Northern Ireland similar encouragement as does Welsh in Wales and Gaelic in Scotland….

    Irish is the native language of Northern Ireland, English is.

    It must be hard being Oirish

  • ulsterfan

    It is a serious question–What have nationalists to trade to get ILA.
    All politics is about compromise.
    The question has never been asked because nationalists would not consider it.
    Let us face reality. The every day language in Ireland North and south is English.
    Surely that must be the only official language in both jurisdictions.
    Irish along with other languages such as Polish and Chinese is a minority language and they all deserve support to prosper and be used on a daily basis. Remove this idea of “official ” status and it will flourish.
    The Irish Government will give a very clear signal to Unionists that a UI can treat them as equals if Irish lost its official status.
    At the present time what chance has a loyalist from the Shankill getting a job in Garda Siochana or place at Teacher Training centre.
    Is it a case of all Protestants/Unionists becoming Irish and to embrace a culture / language which is alien to them.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Irish is the native language of Northern Ireland, English is.”

    That’s right, Irish is the native language of Northern Ireland, as well as English, of course!

    But you yourself don’t really have a good grasp of the English language however!

  • Rory

    To paraphrase Alan Jay Lerner (as sung by Rex Harrison), “Why can’t the British teach their children how to speak?”.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “It is a serious question–What have nationalists to trade to get ILA.”
    -FFS, It’s the native and ancient cultural language of the island and these islands. Imagine if similar ancient languages like Sanskrit, Aramaic etc… being treated the same by the culturally ignorant and thick!

    “The Irish Government will give a very clear signal to Unionists that a UI can treat them as equals if Irish lost its official status.”
    – Jeepers, the language must be so offensive to Unionists.

    “At the present time what chance has a loyalist from the Shankill getting a job in Garda Siochana or place at Teacher Training centre.”
    – A loyalist would never apply in the first! The requirement to speak Irish to be a Garda is not the case anymore!

    “Is it a case of all Protestants/Unionists becoming Irish and to embrace a culture / language which is alien to them.”
    – Well who in Ireland really cares about this any more, given the constant intransigence and indifference of the staunch British Unionist citizens in NI, their loyalties will always be with England!

  • Driftwood

    Given that many people under 20 struggle with basic English, shouldn’t that be a priority. The shift into ‘Textspeak’ is gathering pace. The British Government already subsidises Irish speaking schools, and at GCSE and A level, it can be taught to whoever wishes. If local councils vote to have signs in Irish, that’s fine, the ratepayers vote for them. Isn’t this a non issue for 90% of people in NI?

  • Turgon

    Kensei,
    Not trying to be unhelpful but I did float exactly this idea in April.

  • Driftwood

    Greagoir
    Do you think the British government should introduce Olde Medieval English,ie Chaucer etc in England? Or even better,signs in Latin, since it was once the historical language in these islands.
    Whatever happened to Manx? Do the inhabitants of the IOM give a shit? Making people in West Belfast fill in their DLA forms in Irish is pointless and stupid.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Do you think the British government should introduce Olde Medieval English,ie Chaucer etc in England? Or even better,signs in Latin, since it was once the historical language in these islands.”

    Why, do they still speak Olde Medieval English or Latin in parts of Britain today, like they speak Irish in parts of NI and Ulster?

    Irish Nationists request that the Irish language is merely officially recognised in NI. Unionist see it as a threst like everthing else to their very ‘BRITISH’ way of life and all the rest…Ah sure, the vestiges of anything Irish is so offensive to Unionists! Yer NI team played in all green last night too, FFS!
    Anyway, who really cares what the lot of ye’s think!
    Your loyalties will always be with Engerland!

  • Given that many people under 20 struggle with basic English, shouldn’t that be a priority.
    Like our friend, ??, Driftwood!
    According to independent academic research, those who opt for immersion Irish language education have a better chance of being fluent – and articulate – in both Irish and English and, no doubt, text speak.
    Contrary to the opinion of flat earthers, learning Irish or any language doesn’t leave less memory space in the brain for acquiring ‘useful’ languages such as continental languages.
    As for waiting for unionists to make up their mind what they want to trade for meaningful legislation to promote and protect Irish in this part of Ireland/UK, that’s a nonrunner. Ignoring the rights of a minority is what painted unionists – the political leadership of unionists – into their particular corner in the first place.
    I think what Kensei is saying has a point if what it means is that unionism recognises Irish as a language of the UK and therefore treat it here as Scots Gaelic is treated in Scotland or Welsh in Wales. Instead what unionism has been about, particularly the DUP, is that the Irish identity, much less the Irish language, has no place in NI or the UK. The point was driven home by Gregory Campbell’s snide remarks about Tyrone triumphing in an international competition. And almost every time the DUP opens its mouth to talk about the language, it’s to insult the language and those who speak it. Is that how they think their fellow citizens should be treated – if so they have no place in the government of any civilised society.
    I’m no friend of SF in this regard – in my opinion that party has done little that is effective to promote the language and its overall contribution to Irish may in fact be a negative value…

  • Driftwood

    Is there a Scots Language act? I don’t remember seeing too many signs in Gaelic on my last trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh. I cannot recall Alex Salmond ever speaking it, although please feel free to call me on that one.
    I’m not sure what a British identity consists of, or even an Irish one. I’m sure you would get a wide variety of opinion on both scores. This is an Anglo American culture. We all have a tendency to speak US-English, as Bill Gates would have it.

  • Sinn Féin are much more likely to get an Irish language act under direct rule.The dups have shown that they are incapable of inacting anything that can be construed as giving an inch.With the dups its “not an inch” or we may be stuck in the quicksand of history but heh we like it here and as we are all tied together nobody else is going to make any headway either.

  • ??

    Ignoring the rights of a minority is what painted unionists – the political leadership of unionists – into their particular corner in the first place…….

    the rights of a minoirty.. LOL why should they have the right to have irish signposts and have government bodies converse with them in Irish? THey SPEAK ENGLISH as a first language.

    Now real minorities, such as the chinese, polish etc, they deserve our help as not all speak english as a first language.

    God help us, irish speakers now a minority FFS!

  • Kensei

    Rory. I can only apologise if the point of this thread is obscured by my crapness. I imagine that unfortunate characteristic will continue into the future. You should see what my current in progress effort is like at the minute.

    The Irish language was really tangential to the point I was trying to make. Whole areas of policy are abandoned to “the other side” either by lack of interest or reflexive opposition. It is a bipartisan failure. I could have used another example, but the ILA is easy to do. Perhaps that was a mistake, as the thread is immediately derailed to the same old argumens.

    You also misunderstand me: I don’t propose that the DUP “do” anything. I simply used a hypothetical example to show how they might gain some advantage from more creative policy.

    But if they did, perhaps then Nationalism might get an ILA more like what it really wants at this point in time. The policy is effectively driven by people who have a really passionate belief in the language. I respect their passion, and I have some sympathy with their stance. But if presented with the choice of translating every document at huge cost the average activist is likely to say yes. The less involved may pause to consider the financial repercussions in difficult times. Funny, no?

    Turgon

    It wasn’t the ILA example per se I wanted to get across, more the need to break out of our boxes. Apparently I failed miserably. Ho hum, back to the drawing board.

  • Just for the record Kensei, I have never advocated translating every document into Irish. I thought a good approach would be to translate the top ten most demanded documents in English – that’s across the board, just 10 documents – per year. What I want from an Irish Language Act is support for the language in broadcasting, education and the courts.

    As for ??, what’s your point? The Irish language community in NI is a minority and it’s being treated shabbily by the DUP who it seems have taken it into their redneck brains that, as well as targeting homosexuals, they should also try to further marginalise Irish speakers in their own country. It’s also laughable to suggest as you do that Polish and Chinese should have more rights than Irish speakers – I’m in favour of appropriate documents being translated for them of course -but to suggest the speakers of a foreign language should have more rights than those who speak an indigenous language is contrary to logic.

    As for your assertion that because Irish speakers can speak English they shouldn’t be accommodated in Irish, that’s a bit like Iris Robinson thinking homosexuals can be ‘cured’. Irish is part of our identity – it’s not an optional extra. It’s pure ignorance to suggest otherwise.

    Unionists would be better off if they were more accommodating on this issue rather than clinging to the political wreckage of their old certainties, a ploy which has led them down a cul de sac to date.

  • ulsterfan

    There will be an ILA.
    The terms are to be discussed and rights clearly stated.
    The first provision is to establish English as the sole Official language for NI.
    There can always be parity of esteem and respect for Irish but there can not be any parity of sovereignty as that is a contradiction.
    It is not a case of one language being superior to another but it is simply an acceptance of reality.
    Irish can be supported in education but not in the courts where the official language takes precedence.
    This can only be set aside if someone can prove they can not speak English.

  • Ulsterfan,

    Is Wales being effectively bilingual a threat to soveriegnty, or are you talking nonsense to suggest that Irish is a threat to sovereignty?

  • ulsterfan

    Garibaldy.
    I hope I am not talking nonsense and have thought a lot about this subject.
    Irish will be a tool used by SF for political reasons and a means to weaken British sovereignty by trying to create a state within a state by controlling education, having Irish speaking gaeltachts and allocating social housing to native speakers.
    In other words they will have access to tens of millions of pounds to fund jobs and will use the language as an economic tool to get an advantage over working class loyalists and to perpetuate the apartheid which already exists in our society

  • Ulsterfan,

    I see. There was a recent book by a guy called Kevin Bean arguing that the Provos had already created an effective state within a state within places like west Belfast, but that all it did was to make them vulnerable to threats from the British Exchequer to pull the plug, and to tie them ever more closely into the current (British constitutional) arrangements.

    Unfortuntely NI has gotten along quite nicely as an apartheid society for decades, and the Irish language will not seriously change that one way or the other.

  • What weakens British sovereignty within NI is the inability of unionists, such as UlsterFan, to acknowledge that the demand for an Irish language act, protection for the Irish language within a ‘British’ context, comes from Irish speakers, represented by the 2.000+ who took to the streets in Belfast yesterday, and is little if anything to do with its use by SF as a political tool. If Unionists, proud and all as they are to be British, can’t afford the same protection to Irish speakers in their part of Britain as the English speaking majorities in Scotland accord the Gaelic speakers there and the English majority of Wales extend to Welsh speakers, then they, the British unionists, are effectively diluting Britishness in NI.

    Perhaps that’s the SF game plan – after all SF really only have a nodding acquaintance with Irish as Gerry Adams readily demonstrates when he speaks the language – that they are going to sucker unionists to render meaningless the inclusive and pluralistic nature of true Britishness as it’s understood in Britain.

  • ??

    Why, do they still speak Olde Medieval English or Latin in parts of Britain today, like they speak Irish in parts of NI and Ulster? ………

    LOL not natively, SF robots abound on these boards

    It’s also laughable to suggest as you do that Polish and Chinese should have more rights than Irish speakers – …..

    Why not, some of the people dont speak english and they speak their languages natively. IRISH is not the native language of NI. No One speaks it natively, they only do so because its a political weapon

  • ?? – nobody who knows anything about those who speak Irish believes they speak it as a political weapon. If that were the case, why do SF speak it so badly? Or why haven’t they made it part of their ‘political’ aresenal? They’d have ‘won’ the ‘war’ years ago. You’re just being completely silly and you obviously don’t have a clue….

  • Sgt Arthur Wilson

    The “do exactly as they want” suggestion to confuse them/throw ‘them’ off balance etc. Captain Mainwaring had a greater strategic grasp.

    Next week Gerry Adams to call an Ard fheis to propose the Union Flag flies all year round, the Queen’s picture goes up in all public buildings and abolition of all anti-Orange residents groups. Just cos he feels he has to make it up to Robinson.

  • Rory

    I have no doubt, Kensei, but that your intentions were good but is it any wonder that it is, as you say, “a bipartisan failure” when Robinson’s priority on attaining the office of First Minister was to oppose his partners in government at every turn? The DUP participation at St Andrews is increasingly being revealed as a big lie and rather than make any attempt at joint governance they seem to view the power it gave them simply as an opportunity to retreat back to the reactionary misery of the bleak days of yore.

  • Kensei

    Sgt

    The “do exactly as they want” suggestion to confuse them/throw ‘them’ off balance etc. Captain Mainwaring had a greater strategic grasp.

    I don’t believe I called for anyone to “do exactly as they want”. If the DUP was driving the Irish Language policy, it would be highly unlikely they’d do it like SF wanted. I don’t even propose it because it may throw the other side “off balance”, though that may be a useful side effect from a particular political standpoint. I propose it because I think politics in general benefits from more fluid debate, and more people generating ideas on a topic. And because I believe we’ll never get out of sectarian hole if we continue abandoning issues because they the other side’s.

    Next week Gerry Adams to call an Ard fheis to propose the Union Flag flies all year round, the Queen’s picture goes up in all public buildings and abolition of all anti-Orange residents groups. Just cos he feels he has to make it up to Robinson.

    I think it would be a very positive thing if SF could come up with some new thinking on symbols and parades. Compromise and innovation does not mean capitulation. Can SF improve their policy to have wider appeal? Can they think of a new way fo doing it?

    Rory

    The DUP participation at St Andrews is increasingly being revealed as a big lie and rather than make any attempt at joint governance they seem to view the power it gave them simply as an opportunity to retreat back to the reactionary misery of the bleak days of yore.

    I don’t necessarily disagree that the DUP have been playing the institutions for sectarian and party political advantage. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to suggest they do it differently. Nor does it mean that Republicans should necessarily respond in kind. Then we are playing their game. Now, sometimes you can only meet force with force, and perhaps this is one of those times. But we need to be constantly thinking of ways to be smarter, and create space by doing things differently. Unionism is served by stagnation. Republicanism isn’t, and it at least rhetorically claims to be universal. We need to start applying the theory a bit more.

  • Delta Omega

    Kensei

    Your statement that unionism is dead set against an ILA is a generalisation – we are not all against it. I am happy for an ILA that promotes the Irish language, I am happy for an ILA that allows it to be taught to anyone that wants to speak it, I am even happy for an ILA that recognises it as an official language in NI. What I do not want however is an ILA that demands all government documents to be translated into a minority language when virtually all of the speakers of Irish are also fluent in English and can adequately make use of the English form anyway. that to me is legislating to waste money and more of that we don’t need.

  • ??

    represented by the 2.000+ who took to the streets in Belfast yesterday,………..

    it was actually 300- 400, guess 2000 is the irish translation

  • ??

    It’s also laughable to suggest as you do that Polish and Chinese should have more rights than Irish speakers ……….

    no its your bigoted approach that is suggest Irish speakers, who speak english as a native language , should have more rights that chinese or polish speakers

  • ggn

    Kensei,

    There is always the danger that when you campaign for something that your oppenents will come forward and propose some sort of ‘compromise’ which in the end would not be worth the paper it is written on but that will never happen here.

    What is also important to understand is that for the DUP thee content is mostly irrelevent, this can be seen through some of the more silly suggestions coming from unionism as to what the ILA would actually entail. They focus on the title itself.

    Some have mentioned linguistic rights in the legal system.

    My understanding is that that will probably happen anyway and the British Government will deal with getting rid of the 1737 Act.

    “it was actually 300- 400, guess 2000 is the irish translation”

    I think you will find that the BBC will change this figure in due course, of course it was a political decision to give such an estimate, and you for one are fooled by it.

  • eranu

    are there any nationalist people who find the fuss about getting an ILA to be totally pointless and a waste of money?
    we all know that no one actually speaks irish as a first language and that everyone speaks english, so theres no disadvantage in anyones day to day life. Is it the case that most people in nationalist areas couldn’t give a monkeys about speaking irish but they don’t want to be seen to go against what people in their tribe are supposed to be into?

  • runciter

    What I do not want however is an ILA that demands all government documents to be translated into a minority language

    Who demanded this?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    ??… BTW is that you UMH?

    Your appaling attempt at the English language (grammer, spelling, etc..) suggests so!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Your appalling attempt at the English language (grammer, spelling, etc..) suggests so!”

    I don’t profess to speak the Queen’s English either!

  • Democratic

    “If that were the case, why do SF speak it so badly? Or why haven’t they made it part of their ‘political’ aresenal?”
    In all fairness Concubhar – Sinn Fein have made Irish part of their political arsenal frequently – you and I have exchanged on that very subject on a couple of occasions! I do accept many of your points about inclusiveness etc, but I couldn’t let that one go…

  • Delta Omega

    Runciter

    POBAl who are apparently a representative group for the Irish language in their proposal asked for this, specifically on page 20 – the right to correspond in Irish with bodies which come within the scope of the proposed Irish Language Act, and to receive correspondence or information from them through the medium of Irish. I.e. any government dept etc needs to be in a position to communicate with an Irish speaker in Irish, therefore all forms etc which are the governments usual way of communicating to the general masses will need to be bi-lingual.

  • abucs

    There’s a Breton poem that, complaining about the dominance of French translates something like

    ‘Breton’s civic suppression is testimony to its continual existance’.

    I don’t think the non recognition of the Irish language dilutes the Irish language identity.

    It will be as successful as people want it to be.

    The UK government support for Irish schools is the thing to build on IMHO.

    In addition, Sinn Fein (on behalf of Irish Language groups) can ask for more support in the Dail regarding Irish Language for up north.

  • ggn

    Abus

    “Irish language identity”

    Whats that?

    DO,

    “and to receive correspondence or information from them through the medium of Irish.”

    That is the way it is already, most of the time though I dont know about DCAL.

  • ggn

    “we all know that no one actually speaks irish as a first language”

    1. Who is ‘we’.

    2. How would ‘we’ know?

  • Agree entirely with DO. Unionists should be promoting some initiatives on IL in the cultural sphere but eschewing its necessity in public life. Draw the poison from the argument.

  • abucs

    ggn,

    i would define it as those who have an affinity with the Irish language.

    That could include proficient speakers, those learning the language or those that have family members who speak it. It could include those that just have a historical family tie to the language and would wish to see it used more prevalently.

    You might think of it in a similar way to those who might describe themselves as having a cricket identity or an EPL identity or a Chinese Language identity or a security forces identity.

    Of course there’s a cross-over with people having lots of different identities at once, sharing some with certain people and some with others.

    Got to go now.

  • perry

    The Alliance Party conference voted in near unanimity for an Irish Language Act.

    I hear that the PUP also voted to support an Irish Language Act.

    Assuming that the Green Party and Dr Deeney are in favour and that all MLA’s support their parties position that gives an Irish Language Act a natural majority (55/108) in the Assembly even without a UUP or DUP supporter.

    Would either the UUP or the DUP use a petition of concern to oppose a language act?

    Could a private members motion be agreed between the supportive parties?

  • Seimi

    “we all know that no one actually speaks irish as a first language”

    I do. I was raised in West belfast, with Irish as my first language (I learned most of my English from my grandparents and friends).
    I work through the medium of Irish and use it every single day. My children use only Irish when talking to anyone in my family, and with many of my friends.
    I think statements like the one above from ?? show the depth of ignorance which exists concerning the language. It is constantly used as a political football, by all political parties. One of the few positive statements made in the past few days by any politician is Dawn Purvis saying that there is nothing to fear from the Irish language.
    Perhaps those who constantly run the language down should engage in some research about it first. They might realise then that it is part of their culture, history and heritage too, and in doing so might actually come to the conclusion that, while they may never wish to learn it (nobody is demanding this), but that at least it should be protected and allowed to flourish.

  • ggn

    Chekov,

    Of course I welcome any watering down of unionist aggresive towards the Irish language.

    But lets be honest, all but a small handful of people who would describe themselves as Irish speakers view the language as a ‘Cultural Language’, most people view Irish as a living language.

    Therefore even in the extremely unlikely event that there was some sort of ‘Unionist Irish Language Act’ the struggle for a real one would simply continue.

  • perry

    ggn,

    Do you think we now have a natural majority in the Assembly in support of an IFA? If so who could/should draft an act? Could one be co-sponsored by the leaders of the supportive parties?

    Anyone know if there are any rules/procedures preventing a private members’ motion from taking effect. Could it be enforced againts a resistant culture minister?

  • ggn

    Perry,

    That is a bit technical for me today as I am feeling a bit shyte.

    But what I can say is this, people are marching for an Acht passed through Westminister.

    This is necessary as Police and Justice and Broadcasting are not devolved matters.

  • perry

    “But what I can say is this, people are marching for an Acht passed through Westminister.”

    Then the ideal procedure might be for an SDLP member to present a bill in Stormont and Westminster. Getting endorsement from the Assembly might be the ticket.

    Shows the usefulness of Westminster attendance also.

  • Kensei

    eranu

    we all know that no one actually speaks irish as a first language and that everyone speaks english, so theres no disadvantage in anyones day to day life. Is it the case that most people in nationalist areas couldn’t give a monkeys about speaking irish but they don’t want to be seen to go against what people in their tribe are supposed to be into?

    No, I’ve always found nationalists keen on the Irish language, if not always keen to learn it due to perceived difficulty. But they are perfectly capable of balancing arguments — and none are particularly keen on wasteful spending either. I think people would be happy to see some increase in visibility and support but probably short of what ggn would want. An argument based on future extension based on success/increased demand would probably fly.

    Chekov

    That would of course suit your “Nationalism is fine as long as it’s no where near me” approach. Trying to treat it as something you can just box off and just kick out of public life is definitely not the way to go to draw the poison out of anything.

  • “Of course I welcome any watering down of unionist aggresive towards the Irish language.

    But lets be honest, all but a small handful of people who would describe themselves as Irish speakers view the language as a ‘Cultural Language’, most people view Irish as a living language.

    Therefore even in the extremely unlikely event that there was some sort of ‘Unionist Irish Language Act’ the struggle for a real one would simply continue.”

    Because culture is dead? The language can live without its provision being imposed where it is not needed and where cheap and effective communication must be the priority. Unionists shouldn’t be in perpetual opposition to everything pertaining to the Irish language, but neither should we be shy about pointing out where the parameters should lie. If courts are forced to provide translators for people who can speak perfectly good English, if we are talking car tax forms in Irish or if private businesses must make Irish language provision or be prosecuted, then things have gone too far. Best to be in there from the beginning preventing this type of thing.

  • Unionists shouldn’t be in perpetual opposition to everything pertaining to the Irish language, but neither should we be shy about pointing out where the parameters should lie. If courts are forced to provide translators for people who can speak perfectly good English, if we are talking car tax forms in Irish or if private businesses must make Irish language provision or be prosecuted, then things have gone too far. Best to be in there from the beginning preventing this type of thing.

    I think I would be in agreement that I don’t want an Irish Language Act which merely reproduces a few forms as Gaeilge. I want meaningful support for the Irish language in broadcasting, education and the courts. If someone wants to make a case in Irish, then it should be allowed and not prohibited as it is now by 18th century legislation. If all that is needed is a translator, then why not. Do you actually think the floodgates are going to open for a deluge of Irish language cases. Not likely.

    Basically what is required is support for Irish in broadcasting -along the lines that Welsh gets in Wales and Scots Gaelic in Scotland. Unionism is presently fighting against this and last year the DUP minister actually axed a fund for Irish language broadcasting. That fund is now up and running again, even though the fund itself is a minute fraction of what is available in Wales, £3m per year in NI, £120m per year in Wales.

    There’s no question of private businesses being compelled to use Irish – but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t offer a service if it is within their power. They may get custom as a result. The technology to send Electric and other utility bills in Irish is as available in Irish as it is in Welsh or Scots Gaelic.