Lá Nua le druideadh roimhe Nollaig?

Slugger understands that Lá Nua is to close before Christmas. Belfast Media Group will not be entering the competition for a new weekly newspaper as Gaeilge and a staff meeting is being held tomorrow Thursday to discuss the details of what’s about to happen. Ironically the news came to light as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams called for support for Lá Nua and said its departure would be a backward step. He was speaking at an event to launch Irish language leaflets produced by Translink in Belfast. Further information on igaeilge.

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  • Modernist

    Cé go bhfuilim brónach faoin nuacht sin, bhí sé chun tarlú. Ag labhairt do chainteoirí m’aois féin i mBÁC ní raibh fios ar bith acu go raibh nuachtán laethúil gaeilge ann go dtí gur chur mé a fíric in iúl dóibh. I mo thuairim chuir Lá is Lá nua ró-bhéim ar chúrsaí teanga in a altanna.

  • jim

    hip! hip! hooray!

  • steve

    I am sure the small minded will celebrate with glee

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    I wouldn’t celebrate but what I would say is that we have to be careful what we pump cash into with regards to the Irish language.
    Yes, there is a need to ensure that it is preserved, however, spending heaps of money translating every official document into Irish is playing buggers.

  • file

    Is it too Machiavellian to hypothesise that Gerry Adams had wind of the closure of Lá Nua before he issued his press-statement in support of a daily Irish newspaper? Thus enabling him to claim full support but in full knowledge that he would not have to do anything about it?

  • I agree with The Future’s Bright, the Future’s Orange. Spending heaps of money translating every official document into Irish is ‘playing buggers’ [whatever that means, is it Ulster Scots?] or simply stupid. Lá Nua had sales of over 1,500 per day at its worst, 4,500 at its best. Even at its worst level of sales, more people were reading Irish in Lá Nua on a daily basis than any other book or periodical. The average Irish language book sells a few hundred copies to friends and relatives at best.

    Believe you me, the State, whether it be north or south, would prefer to spend countless monies on documents that nobody would read, in either Irish or English, than invest, as per their obligation under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in a newspaper like Lá Nua which people actually did read, albeit a minority.

    And for my tuppence worth, there are other ways to spend of heaps of money which are ‘playing buggers’ and they include policing parades of silly men in bowler hats parading in communities where they’ve not been invited to parade. Or silly people building huge bonefires and burning effigies of politicians and causing untold damage to the environment and to the areas in which these fires are erected, all of which has to be cleaned up out of the public purse. That must cost millions every year and does me no good….if I were selfish I would call for it to be stopped but then again that would be halting an expression of culture which those involved consider to have value. Each to his own, I say. But beware of throwing stones if you’re in a glasshouse…

  • DK

    Wow Concubhar, you managed to turn a defence of the Irish language into an attack on unionist culture in one post. No wonder your cause is viewed with such suspicion.

  • ggn

    Cnocubhar is right when he says …

    “the State, whether it be north or south, would prefer to spend countless monies on documents that nobody would read, in either Irish or English, than invest, as per their obligation under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in a newspaper like Lá Nua which people actually did read, albeit a minority.”

    People have to realise that much of the money spend on the Irish language was never requested by Irish speakers or the Irish language movement.

    It is simply part of a long standing policy to try and buy us off at every point.

    Some people are of course, as ever, up for sale.

    We never asked for a translation culture, we aksed for a newspaper etc, but a radical daily newspaper is a bit too hot for Free State bureacrats to handle.

    Get rid of Foras na Gaeilge now!!

  • ggn

    P.s,

    The demise of La has been predicted many times.

    I predict that something will arise from the ashes, in fact, I guarantee it.

  • It’s not an attack on ‘unionist culture’. It’s merely pointing out that culture costs money….even if I disagree with it, I still support it.

  • Globetrotter

    An ancient language, with a tradition of great writing, poetry, song etc is culture.

    Burning wood, tires, effigies and drinking buckfast out of blue plastic bags is hooliganism.

    End of story.

  • An Irish language publication ceasing to operate is not something to celebrate. On the under hand celebrating a Belfast Media outlet closing is perfectly legitimate. 🙂

  • ??

    #

    An ancient language, with a tradition of great writing, poetry, song etc is culture.

    Burning wood, tires, effigies and drinking buckfast out of blue plastic bags is hooliganism.

    End of story.
    Posted by Globetrotter on Oct 23, 2008 @ 09:04 AM

    welcome to the ireland of equals where if it isnt oirish it isnt culture

    An ancient language, with a tradition of great writing, poetry, song etc is culture…(snigger)

  • Driftwood

    Why not just include La Nua as a free sheet within An Phoblacht? Same readership.

  • ggn

    “Why not just include La Nua as a free sheet within An Phoblacht? Same readership.”

    Ignorance keeps us safe and warm doesnt it?

    Your prejudice is not a source of strenght, someday you will realise that I am sure.

  • Mick

    Can we try to stick to the serious end of the subject. La Nua began as an independent venture back in 83, I think.

    It took a generation of passionate commitment and countless hours of voluntary work to get it going. It’s a crying shame it has gone under.

    I just hope that what replaces it proves to be engaging and sustainable.

  • Globetrotter

    ??

    Why (snigger)?

    I’ve nothing against “unionist culture”, I was brought up on the Newtownards Road. Bonfire night can’t be described as cultural, no matter how loosely you care to use the term.

    I’ve equally nothing against the Irish language, its genuine activists don’t go out of there way to offend anyone.

  • Driftwood

    ggn
    In what significant viewpoint would La Nua differ from An Phoblacht? The racing tips on the back pages?

  • ggn

    Mick,

    Let us not forget that La survived for years on very little money, they took the grant in 1999.

    9 years later – Foras killed it off. But La gave Foras the rope, the loaded pistol.

    People have to learn that the re-strengthing of a language is a revolutionary concept which Free State civil servants will naturally work against.

    I have been saying it for years and have been dimissed as a crank, It is a trap! AHave I not been proved right?

    If you take the grants, you will get addicted to them, when you are addicted to them they will close you down – Learn from this people!

    The Irish governement will tolerate the Irish language movement and fund it in order to shape its direction, but only in so far as it will fail. Notice all success stories are vigorously resisted, witness the treatment of IME in the South.

    As I said, something will rise from the ashes, the question is will it resist the temptation to take the grant, or will it simply repeat the same mistake?

    For the love of good read a bit of O Cadhain befor it is too late!

  • Ignorance is strength….Driftwood….

    It’s not as if there are racing tips either on An Phoblacht’s back page or Lá Nua’s back page…. there used to be on Lá Nua….

    However you won’t read in An Phoblacht trenchant attacks on Sinn Féin’s failure to stand by the Irish language as were published last February when the newspaper printed the pictures of the SF and SDLP minister on the front page with a question as to their silence when then Culture Minister Edwin Poots first axed the Irish Language Broadcast Fund and then the Irish Language Act…..serious questions were being asked by Lá Nua of Sinn Féin’s avowed support for the Irish language.
    It might also be worth noting that the four SF members of Foras na Gaeilge all voted FOR the non renewal of Lá Nua’s contract for a daily paper…. Would they do vote against An Phoblacht?

    If you still think Lá Nua is a SF apologist, provide the evidence….

  • ggn

    “In what significant viewpoint would La Nua differ from An Phoblacht? The racing tips on the back pages?”

    La does not take a party political viewpoint so I would say that is a pretty bit difference?

  • Driftwood

    So La Nua covers local politics from a wide variety of viewpoints, including Unionist? I remain sceptical. But the question remains, if it is not a commercially viable enterprise, should the British Government subsidise such a venture? I seem to remember the Daily Ireland didn’t last the course.

  • ggn

    Driftwood,

    Yes, there is a unionist column on a weekly business.

    However, La Nua is and was alway pro-Irish language, all unionist parties are anti-Irish language, there is a clear conflict of interest of course.

    “But the question remains, if it is not a commercially viable enterprise, should the British Government subsidise such a venture?”

    It is a good question, I trust you apply same to all cultural enterprises, events etc.

  • Mick

    Drift,

    If you think banning people is for bad language or being rude, think again. Refusing to engage in conversation, is a yellow, possibly red card offence.

    Go in hard by all means, but do us the favour of putting some leg work into your contributions, or butt out!

  • Lá Nua, until recently, had a unionist columnist, Ian Malcolm. I have no doubt that the only reason he departed is there wasn’t money to pay him. Other columnists also were let go, including myself, earlier, for the same reason.

    The British Government signed up to Part 3 of the European Charter for Minority and Regional Languages and, therein, it chose from a multitude of options in the media section to sign up to the part which obliges it to support the provision of a daily newspaper in Irish. That it has, through Foras na Gaeilge, singularily failed to do to ensure that newspaper’s future. Thus the British Government is in breach of its obligations under the Charter, as is Foras na Gaeilge.

    Daily Ireland was an entirely separate venture, a commercial proposition, entitled to no protection from the European Charter.

  • Driftwood

    Mick
    I’m curious as to why you think i’m not engaging in conversation. All I am doing is asking questions. Some of which have been answered. Surely it’s not too much, for someone from a unionist background, to ask pertinent questions in relation to a subject I have little background knowledge of.

  • ggn

    Cnocubhar, et. al.

    There is a ‘unionist’ column in TODAYS La – an important insightful column.

    I suspect that there may be little if any payment involved as I understand is the case for a number of people who write for La.

    Mick,

    Perhaps the name mentioned in Cnocubhar’s posts could be removed for obvious reasons.

  • ggn

    “I have little background knowledge of.”

    Yet you made some strong points on the back of this lack of knowledge.

    I makes people less inclined to give you information.

    One is better recommended to can questions in a gentlemanly fashion in all walks of life I think, snipe like a angry teenager and the response will be less forthcoming.

  • Mea culpa – there is still a unionist column in Lá Nua, just the day was changed and that threw me. Good.

    There is no doubt a tradition of providing articles for no payment in Lá – but all columnists were paid in my time. That is essential in my view to ensure that a normal relationship exists between the editor and the columnist. ie it’s difficult for an editor to call someone who’s late with a column to ask where the heck is that bloody article if they’re not being paid….. However I do recognise that some columnists who provide their works for free are diligent and would never place an unfortunate editor in that position!

  • Driftwood

    ggn
    Fair enough. But Irish language enthusiasts often claim they are not political. In Micks intro he mentioned Gerry Adams support for La Nua. So that automatically raises suspicion. If, however it attempts to be a genuine pluralistic paper, commentors should have no reticence defending such, and be prepared to answer questions. And sometimes my attempts at humour may be taken as cheap sneers. That’s the nature of forums I guess.

  • Seimi

    Acquisition of funding can sometimes be the worst thing that can happen to any venture, language-based or not. I hope Lá Nua recover from this and continue.
    The nay-sayers on this thread should be ashemed of themselves.

    hip! hip! hooray!

    Posted by jim on Oct 23, 2008 @ 01:51 AM

    welcome to the ireland of equals where if it isnt oirish it isnt culture

    An ancient language, with a tradition of great writing, poetry, song etc is culture…(snigger)

    Posted by ?? on Oct 23, 2008 @ 09:22 AM

    Bíodh náire oraibh.

  • barnshee

    A debate about an Irish language item conducted entirely in English —-LOL

  • ggn

    “But Irish language enthusiasts often claim they are not political”

    Most Irish SPEAKERS vote like everyone else, knowledge of Irish is not a reason to be excluded from politics. Outwith the Unionist Parties, the Irish language has speakers and supportes in all of Ireland’s political partys, and enemies too.

    It is unrealistic to state that an entire group is ‘not political’, it is not like being Plymouth Brethern

    I welcome Gerry Adams’ support, he is the MP for the area and vocally supports the Irish language, he should support La.

    “genuine pluralistic paper”

    I maintain La is pluralistic as far as possible, in as far as strong support for the Irish language permitts.

    For example, a unionist writes a column, and whilst he rarely speaks of the Irish language, and when he does it is a plea for understanding for unionists, the commentator is of course a strong supporter of the Irish language, a person for whom Gael and Ulster-Scot are not exclusive terms. Therefore the plurality of La like all other newspapers is relative.

    For example, I read the Newsletter on a daily basis, it is not pluralist!

  • Seimi

    A debate about an Irish language item conducted entirely in English —-LOL

    Posted by barnshee on Oct 23, 2008 @ 10:24 AM

    Maybe that’s so people like you, who don’t speak the language, can join in? Just a guess….

  • ggn

    Barnshee,

    What do you find humorous, pray tell?

    You can follow this debate and many others on blogs in the Irish language ..

    http://igaeilge.wordpress.com

    http://andrumamor.nireblog.com/

  • Driftwood

    In an era when many papers may struggle with hard print copy, as opposed to online, surely there is a case for an online paper to continue?

  • ggn

    Driftwood,

    Is maith an scéalaí an aimsir / Time is a good story teller.

    Of course thats what La wanted, but someone in Foras said ‘computer says no’.

  • Seimi

    Lá were the first local paper to produce a podcast version, if I remember correctly (Conchubhar?). The decision by Foras is wrong. Foras need to look at their own committments here. They are supposed to fund the development and growth of the language, and they are not doing that properly.

  • ggn

    Seimi,

    “They are supposed to fund the development and growth of the language, and they are not doing that properly”

    Do you really believe that?

  • Seimi

    “They are supposed to fund the development and growth of the language, and they are not doing that properly”

    Do you really believe that?

    Posted by ggn on Oct 23, 2008 @ 10:57 AM

    It’s what they’re ‘supposed’ to do. Whether or not I believe they do it? Sin scéal eile 🙂

  • lorraine

    i find it a bit difficult to comprehend why belfast media group who proclaim to be champions of the irish language can’t keep printing la nua when they are demonstrably equipped financially to do so.

  • fair_deal

    COL

    “to sign up to the part which obliges it to support the provision of a daily newspaper in Irish.”

    The Charter does not use the term daily.

  • Seimi

    Just a quick question to those who seem to be against Lá Nua’s continuance – why?
    The funding would come from Foras na Gaeilge – money which is specifically, and ONLY, for the Irish language, therefore, it couldn’t be argued that Health, or Education, or whatever, would suffer from it. So why the negativity, and in some cases, outright hostility, derision and celebration at its demise. Is it because you are just anti-anything Irish language, or do you all have some other reason? I’m genuinely curious about this, because without any other reasonable argument, I can only assume that it is the language itself which you are against…

  • ggn

    Seimi,

    One quick point, I thin kwe should take the time to welcome the use of arguements grounded on cost coming from unionists. If genuine, these arguements are rational.

    I remember in Queens years ago, costs didnt come into it. The Irish language was ‘offensive’, full stop. You would also have heard that it was ‘dead’, followed by frenzied cheers.

    I also recall loud cheers for a unionist spokesperson who declared that Irish had no ‘future tense’ – he later admitted to me in the bar that he made it up but that the more ignorant he could make himself appear of Irish the ‘more staunch’ he would appear. Nice chap when you got to know him, and he of course had a fine Gaelic name, top and tail!

    All I am saying that outwith McNarry and a few others, political unionists have decided to put their brain in gear, a challenge to us but also perhaps a step onto a ‘slippery slope’?

  • Darren J. Prior

    The Belfast Media Group are not serious about Irish. They only bought Lá because they could use it to further SF and then when Lá Nua started critcising SF the four SF members on the Ard-Coiste of Foras na Gaeilge voted to end its funding and the Belfast Media Group although they have the money for a weekly have now decided not to publish at all.

    The Media Group is the largest shareholder in the Gazette local papers in Dublin. There are several of them and they do not have an article in Irish every week. Nor annoyingly (and OK it’s a small point) do they type the fada on Irish words like Oireachtas Éireann etc.

  • RG Cuan

    Lá Nua ending its publication of a printed daily newspaper is the combination of many factors, some of which have been mentioned above.

    It’s clear however that the most effective way forward for daily news services in minoritised languages is online. It’s absolutely unfathomable why Foras na Gaeilge did not take on board Lá Nua’s proposal to focus on online news.

    This isn’t the end for daily news in Irish, ná baol air.

  • Seimi

    ggn, I welcome any arguments for or against the language, whether they are about funding or not. I think that they only serve to further the cause for the language.
    This thread, however, is specifically about Lá Nua, and it’s closure due to lack of funding/loss of grant. Several posters have come here to gleefully applaud this, and again I ask – why? The funding/contract for a daily publication in irish will in no way decrease the funding for any other department/project/cultural endeavour, so why cheer its loss?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘A debate about an Irish language item conducted entirely in English —-LOL’

    Ceart go leor, coimhéad do ghnó féin !

    Interesting insight Darren and indicative of the Orwellian designs the shinners over their so called electoral pool.
    Drifts idea regarding an online edition is food for thought no? But then again would funding for that have to come from the same source? If so we are back to Mr Priors point.

  • ggn

    Seimi,

    It is a fair question of course, I meant no criticsm. I am just saying we need to recongise that the unionist narrative has begun to change.

  • Seimi

    I understand that ggn – no offence taken 🙂
    I agree that the unionist narrative has begun to change. I also firmly believe that the unionist worries/concerns over the language and its development need to be taken into serious consideration. It is unfortunate though, that people like David Mcnarry can stand in the Assembly and argue that the language should be banned because it ‘makes him sick to his stomach to hear it’, and that, not only is he not censured, but that others actually back him up!

    The proposal for an online edition of La Nua was proposed, by Lá Nua, ages ago. Foras decided to ignore it. Now that BMG are not going for the contract, FnaG seem to be in favour of an online element at least.

  • Darren J. Prior

    “It is unfortunate though, that people like David Mcnarry can stand in the Assembly and argue that the language should be banned because it ‘makes him sick to his stomach to hear it’, and that, not only is he not censured, but that others actually back him up!”

    Get your facts right. He never said that. I saw his speech in the Assembly on the matter of the teanga and it’s use there. He said he was sick as you say of SF using the language for political purposes.

    There is a big difference between the UUP and the DUP in case you don’t know.

  • fair_deal

    DJP

    “There is a big difference between the UUP and the DUP in case you don’t know.”

    “opposing the divisive Irish Language Act proposals” UUP manifesto 2007

    “The DUP will not support an Irish Language Act.”
    DUP manifesto 2007

  • It’s obvious that Darren J. Prior has no contact with reality and his grasp of the facts on this issue is questionable.

    The facts are these – the Belfast Media Group has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling in Lá  Nua – and has lost approximately £200k-£300,000 so far. That’s above and beyond the call of duty as far as I’m concerned and when Darren J. Prior gets a company to match that investment, then he’ll be able to speak with some credibility on this or any other issue pertaining to the language. I don’t know what insight Darren has as to the financial reserves of the BMG but why he should think they have ‘enough money’ for a weekly newspaper is beyond me. Does he have the faintest foggiest notion as to the costs of a weekly newspaper in Irish or in English? In today’s climate I doubt if it’s sound on any grounds for the Belfast Media Group to invest any further in Lá Nua given the failure of Foras na Gaeilge to stand by the paper. Even if Lá Nua were to enter the competition for the weekly newspaper contract, and were to win that contest, the result would be that Foinse would be put out of business. There’s only a contract for ONE weekly newspaper.
    On top of that, the Belfast Media Group hasn’t any shares in the Gazette group in Dublin since last year. As a matter of public record, The Irish Times owns the newspaper group now and any complaints regarding ‘fada’s’ and the likes should be taken up with that newspaper.
    The online element that Foras are prepared to fund only amounts to what Foinse already provides – ie a website which is only updated once weekly. That is entirely inadequate for today’s 24/7 world. What is needed at the very least is an Irish language version of breaking news.ie.

    Had Foras decided last February to sit down with Lá Nua to discuss the online element, Lá Nua would in all likeliehood have survived. As well as that the Foras has decided to use this opportunity to CUT funding for the Irish language print media, from €600k approx per year to €400,000 per year. That decision is a foul on Lá certainly but also on Foinse which is going to eventually end up in the same black hole Lá is in now. Foras is supposedly responsible for promoting the Irish language – and, since last year, Irish language literature, but what this means is a blow for Irish literature [less reading as Gaeilge means a smaller readership in the long term for Irish books, which only sell in the hundreds as it is, and ultimately the language.

  • Seimi

    You are correct Darren J. Prior. What he actually said was:

    Since 1998, unionists have been subjected to having the Irish language forced down their throats in an uncompromising and adversarial way.

    He then went on to say:

    Mr McNarry: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In case the Chairperson of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure makes another point about my absence, I must say that I am heartily sickened to hear a Minister of this institution speaking in Irish.

    Both from the Hansard minutes of 9th October 2007.

    The difference bewteen UUP and DUP is….?

  • ggn

    Darren,

    You are not correct.

    Seimi has not reported it entirely accurately, but neither are you frankly.

  • ggn

    Oh, sorry, now he has found it!

    Buartha a Sheimi.

    No Sinn Fein mentioned Darren.

    “I must say that I am heartily sickened to hear a Minister of this institution speaking in Irish.”

    There it is black and white. Why are you trying to defend the indefensible?

  • Seimi

    ….silence….

  • Darren J. Prior

    Here is the link:

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2007/071009.htm#4

    Please point out where he said what you believe.

    And why would the Belfast Media Group not be happy to enter into the public competition for a €400,000 fund to fund a weekly newspaper? Silence.

  • ggn

    Darren,

    Go to ‘edit’, then to ‘find on this page’.

    Type in sickened and you find it.

  • RG Cuan

    I’m guessing the BMG would not go for the weekly contract because they have lost too much money already and because their vision is for a daily print newspaper.

    This leaves Foinse – which is owned by the person who runs Aer Arann, which seems to be in some dificulty at the minute – and The Irish News – which is nowhere near all-island enough to serve the whole Irish language community.

    Who knows what the outcome will be but one thing is certain – a daily Irish language online service is needed, and the sooner Foras na Gaeilge recognises this, or somebody gets cracking on it, the better.

  • Seimi

    ‘a daily Irish language online service is needed, and the sooner Foras na Gaeilge recognises this, or somebody gets cracking on it, the better.’

    Let’s face it, FnaG aren’t going to do it. Any thoughts on who might RG? Can’t see any private businesses going for it…

  • Darren J. Prior

    Found it…

    I watched what was televised of that debate on UTV (I think it was) and it was the only time that I had ever heard of or seen David McNarry. He is not a bigot. I don’t think there are any bigots in the UUP. Thats the big difference between the UUP and the DUP.

    McNarry’s comment was wrong though and he should apologise.

  • What concerns me is that Foras na Gaeilge may be offering a total of €400,000 for a weekly newspaper AND an online news-service in the belief that a digital version of the newspaper, updated weekly, will be enough for the Irish language reading public. The reality is that no news service will survive never mind prosper on that basis. It’s a 7 day week news service which is required, no less. And, frankly, Foinse isn’t up to the mark in the provision of current news. It’s a weekend paper which provides a compendium of mostly aged stories from the previous week.

    The Belfast Media Group has suffered enough losses and has been burnt once too often by Foras na Gaeilge to risk its capital, and the future of its company, on another venture into the Irish language market. That’s my guess. Either way, even if they did enter and win, as I pointed out previously, the only result would be that Lá replaced Foinse and then the people at Foinse would be out of work. Lá is a daily newspaper, that’s its raison d’etre. It may survive online as a daily service but only if Foras na Gaeilge offer a realistic contract, separate from the weekly news paper, for it.

    An online news service doesn’t have to be tied to a weekly newspaper to prosper. It could be provided in any number of ways, but it’s unrealistic to expect the publishers of such a service to have to publish a printed newspaper weekly when all they might be interested in is the online news service. To tie both together then reduces the possibility of a new player entering the market.

    And the other point to remember is that Foras should increase the funding from €400,000 for the weekly print newspaper to €600,000, €200,000 of which would be for the news service online. That would still be in keeping with the current Foras budget and, on top of that, as Foras is getting no less in 2009, it would mean that it should be able to accommodate this reasonable expectation out of next year’s budget.

    That’s a way forward out of this mess….the only way forward I feel. But maybe there are other proposals on the table.


  • Found it…

    I watched what was televised of that debate on UTV (I think it was) and it was the only time that I had ever heard of or seen David McNarry. He is not a bigot. I don’t think there are any bigots in the UUP. Thats the big difference between the UUP and the DUP.

    McNarry’s comment was wrong though and he should apologise.

    Posted by Darren J. Prior on Oct 23, 2008 @ 03:10 PM

    Even though David McNarry utters a remark which would be considered bigoted during a debate on a motion to ban the Irish language in Stormont, which was inspired by nothing less than bigotry in my opinion, he’s not a bigot because….Darren says so.

    Lucky escape for David McNarry then….

    And the rest of the UUP, with whom Darren appears to be very familiar.

    The reality is that both the DUP and UUP have been trying to out do each other in opposition to the Irish language and that’s only increased the animosity and bad feeling towards the Irish language among their followers. The fact that many unionists hold a more reasonable, nuanced approach to Irish is not taken into consideration by their political leaders. What the leaders of the UUP and DUP should be saying, if they were true unionists, is that within the British union, the Irish language would be protected better than it would be within the Irish republic. They could point to the Welsh Language Act and the provision of funding for Welsh language television and, as it happens, a Welsh language online news service (£200,000 per year for the next three years on Golwg) and that would help eliminate the negative attitudes many Irish speakers and nationalists hold regarding both the UUP and DUP. However to expect that to happen may be too much to expect from parties which are stuck between the creation of the planet in seven days and 1690 in terms of political evolution.

  • Seimi

    Darren, if you watched, and indeed read the minutes of, the debate, you should notice that McNarry left the chamber on a number of accasions, always when Irish was being spoken. Indeed, it was pointed out that he DIDN’T leave when Ulster Scots was spoken. What does this say? Bad bladder?
    I was speaking to the DCAL subcommittee a few months ago at Stormont, and myself and my colleague spoke in irish at the beginning. The same David McNarry refused to speak to us, and again walked out of the room when we spoke in Irish, returning just after we had finished.
    On what do you base your assertion that ‘He is not a bigot.’ you stated that ‘it was the only time that I had ever heard of or seen David McNarry.’ So how do you know? Is it the fact that you ‘don’t think there are any bigots in the UUP’ that draws you to this conclusion?
    This is what Danny Kennedy had to say in the same debate, when the Alliance mayor of bangor pointed out that the mayoral chain of office in Bangor had Irish written on it:

    ‘The Mayor of North Down then made an intervention with Irish translations, which confirmed that people in Bangor could never spell. [Interruption.] I meant that some people in Bangor could never spell.’

    So, no bigots then?

  • ggn

    Darren,

    Type McNarry and or McNasty into Slugger’s search facility. You will discover that many unionists who post here have quite a low opinion of Mr McNarry. Perhaps he is not the pluralist you imagine?

  • cynic

    Concubhar

    Oh God, what is the world coming to. I find myself agreeing with you almost completely. My prejudices are being damaged – a fatal condition in Norn Iron. Yes I agree…even on the fires…what an outdated drunken shambles that pollutes the place with smoke and dioxins. Not to mention the cost to the Health Service of the drunken patients, assaults and unwanted pregnancies when Shelley wakes up next day feeling queasy and realises that downing 10 bottles of Smirnoff ice wasn’t such a good idea and that she cannot remember what she did after half past nine last night.

    “Even at its worst level of sales, more people were reading Irish in Lá Nua on a daily basis than any other book or periodical. The average Irish language book sells a few hundred copies to friends and relatives at best.”

    Yes but that sort of proves the point that there’s no real demand for Irish medium materials or an Irish Language Act. It would be force-feeding Irish down peoples gullets, not for any practical or cultural reason but politically just to stick one up to the Prods. Which is why Gerry wants it.

    Dont get me wrong. Let’s support the development of Irish for those who want it…but that doesn’t mean translating every bloody document / dual language road signs etc. As for Ulster Scots, I would throw that in the bin straight away. It clearly was a wonderful (and quite clever) vehicle to highlight the absurdity of the SF position on Irish and bugger up funding for it, but we all need to grow up and sort these things out politically.

    That will mean electing some politicians – for a change

  • RG Cuan

    CYNIC

    Irish speakers don’t want every document translated nor are we proposing bilingual roads signs throughout NI, just in areas that are pro-Gaelic.

    A strong and vibrant media is essential to any language however and that’s why Lá Nua et al. is such an important issue.

  • cynic

    “Irish speakers don’t want every document translated nor are we proposing bilingual roads signs throughout NI, just in areas that are pro-Gaelic. ”

    1 ….. er that is just not true. The proposed Act will impose bilingual conditions on signage, docuemnts etc. Look at the Welsh Act as a model. And even if language activisits dont want that some politicians do – for purely political reasons – to be seen to get one over on thmuns.

    2 …. just what is a pro Gaelic area? If you ask many Nationalist will say ‘I am pro Gaelic’. In some communities they dare not do otherwise. Some Unionists might also say that. It doesnt mean that they want signs in Irish. Sorry but it’s really a meaningless catchphrase in this context.

    Agree on the media issue but my point was that the collapse is an illustration that there isn’t that much real support in the nationalist community for the Irish language. It’s like the slow collapse in unionist support for the organge order. Many younger people are looking to the future and not the past. Old reference points arent so relevant any more. They want a new identity. Hopefully a shared one.

  • I think that you’re not being fair to Lá Nua when you describe this as a collapse brought about by lack of support for the Irish language in the nationalist community. Lá/Lá Nua was always a struggle – it was always surviving on a shoestring and, sure enough, it got some funding in recent years from Foras na Gaeilge but never enough to produce even for a limited time the product that the Irish language community deserved. Lá was founded in 1984, more than 100 years later than most of the mainstream English language media. In the time since then it has been striving to deliver as good a newspaper as its resources allowed and often exceeded any reasonable expectations of what might be achieved with those resources.
    When Foras na Gaeilge was established in 1999, it had on its doorstep a perfect opportunity to get behind a flagship project which would announce its arrival with bells and whistles. Instead it adapted a dog in the manger approach and tried to string Lá along with promises of better things to come while, all along, hatching unsuccessful plots with others to put Lá out of business. Now it has finally succeeded in this aim, with the help of Sinn Féin, an unexpected convert to the cause of censorship after the party was questioned vigorously by the newspaper over its failure earlier this year to defend the Irish language broadcast fund and to effectively counter the decision by Edwin Poots to axe the proposed Irish Language Act. Surprise , surprise, the party which spent years under the cosh of Section 31 censorship has four representatives on the Board of Foras na Gaeilge who voted gladly, it seems, for the decision to silence Lá Nua. Market forces, they claimed, were the reason for this decision. This from a party which claims it is socialist in nature! I’ve long been waiting for a good screen version of animal farm to come along. This drama Orwell couldn’t have written better.
    The coup de grace came when Gerry Adams announced in Belfast on Tuesday that he thought the end of Lá Nua would be a backward step and that he supported the provision of an Irish language daily news service. He also added curiously:
    “Foras na Gaeilge was established under the Good Friday Agreement to promote Irish on an all-Ireland basis.
    This gave a new impetus to the myriad strands of the language revival. However if Foras is to be relevant to this revival it has to continue to plan ahead on a strategic all-island basis.
    It needs to be a dynamic and representative body giving voive to the grassroots and keeping the Irish and British governments to their pledges on Irish.
    It is of key importance that we all have confidence in Foras na Gaeilge.”
    As if, somehow, we could forget Sinn Féin itself had 25% of the reps around the Foras table and played a major part in the vote against Lá and even boasted of it afterwards – Eoghan Mac Cormaic, Foras vice chairman, devoted a column in piss poor Irish in An Phoblacht to his role in the affair under the headline: Lá na Cinniúna Thart/Day of Decision over

  • Richard James

    Concubhar,

    It’s pretty weak foaming at the mouth about McNarry’s “bigotry” when the Irish speaking community has failed to provide the demand for services in Irish. The civil service for example has only had 29 enquiries in Irish in four years. The health department which spent £151,000 on Irish translations between 2002 and 2007 recieved no enquiries in Irish. So I very much doubt there are many chomping at the bit to get their copy of Hansard in Irish. At present all it does is allow Sinn Fein Ministers to answer less questions by wasting time in it.

    And I’m afraid there is no one else to blame other than the Nationalist community for La’s demise. If they really wanted a newspaper in Irish then they would have supported it. And it’s a bit rich demanding millions of taxpayers money for an Irish Language Act when it supporters won’t spend a few quid a week to support a newspaper.

  • If you’re referring to the Irish language voicemail phoneline mentioned in the Telegraph story which primarily focused on the fact that there were no calls at all to the Ulster Scots phoneline, then it’s worth bearing in mind that it would have taken a miracle for anybody to find out that there existed such a thing as an Irish language voicemail phone number or its Ulster Scots equivalent. If the Civil Service doesn’t advertise these as available, then how is one supposed to know that they exist. It’s as if they were set up to fail….

    As you can see from my posts above I have no time for Sinn Féin and their use of Irish. So I’ll let someone else take up the baton on their behalf.

    It’s a bit simplistic to blame nationalists for Lá’s demise. It survived for 24 years, most of that time without grant aid. The British Government, by signing up to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and in its submissions to the Council of Europe, say they support the newspaper as an effort to promote an indigenous minority language. They – through Foras na Gaeilge – failed to support Lá sufficiently. Minority languages throughout Europe get government support for daily newspapers. The Welsh language gets over a £100m per year for Welsh language TV. I support that and I wonder why is the Irish language in NI less supported by the government than the Welsh language is in Wales, is NI less important than Wales? Is NI culture, of which Irish is an integral part, less worthy of support than Welsh Culture?

    True, it would be folly to ignore the fact that not enough people bought Lá and that’s one of its causes of demise. But in a society which celebrates diversity, Lá’s diverse voice ought to have been supported, for cultural reasons as well as it was a British government commitment to support the Irish language in public life in NI and they have done very little to meet that commitment.

    I’m not demanding millions of taxpayers money for an Irish language Act. I want the position of Irish protected within the state. The state can work out how much will that cost and work out a cost effective way of recognising the Irish language as part of NI’s public life. I want it to be cost effective. I think myself that it would be better to spend lets say £500,000 a year on an Irish language newspaper in which public service notices could be issued in Irish as well as the news of the day, and that would be read, than establishing voicemail services which are never advertised nor intended for use.

    Believe it or not, I don’t think money should be wasted on Irish. I just don’t think money spent on Irish is necessarily a waste as you seem to do.

  • If you’re referring to the Irish language voicemail phoneline mentioned in the Telegraph story which primarily focused on the fact that there were no calls at all to the Ulster Scots phoneline, then it’s worth bearing in mind that it would have taken a miracle for anybody to find out that there existed such a thing as an Irish language voicemail phone number or its Ulster Scots equivalent. If the Civil Service doesn’t advertise these as available, then how is one supposed to know that they exist. It’s as if they were set up to fail….

    As you can see from my posts above I have no time for Sinn Féin and their use of Irish. So I’ll let someone else take up the baton on their behalf.

    It’s a bit simplistic to blame nationalists for Lá’s demise. It survived for 24 years, most of that time without grant aid. The British Government, by signing up to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and in its submissions to the Council of Europe, say they support the newspaper as an effort to promote an indigenous minority language. They – through Foras na Gaeilge – failed to support Lá sufficiently. Minority languages throughout Europe get government support for daily newspapers. The Welsh language gets over a £100m per year for Welsh language TV. I support that and I wonder why is the Irish language in NI less supported by the government than the Welsh language is in Wales, is NI less important than Wales? Is NI culture, of which Irish is an integral part, less worthy of support than Welsh Culture?

    True, it would be folly to ignore the fact that not enough people bought Lá and that’s one of its causes of demise. But in a society which celebrates diversity, Lá’s diverse voice ought to have been supported, for cultural reasons as well as it was a British government commitment to support the Irish language in public life in NI and they have done very little to meet that commitment.

    I’m not demanding millions of taxpayers money for an Irish language Act. I want the position of Irish protected within the state. The state can work out how much will that cost and work out a cost effective way of recognising the Irish language as part of NI’s public life. I want it to be cost effective. I think myself that it would be better to spend lets say £500,000 a year on an Irish language newspaper in which public service notices could be issued in Irish as well as the news of the day, and that would be read, than establishing voicemail services which are never advertised nor intended for use.

    Believe it or not, I don’t think money should be wasted on Irish. I just don’t think money spent on Irish is necessarily a waste as you seem to do.

    And there’s no way I would ever want to read a copy of Hansard in Irish….or English for that matter.

    As for McNarry’s bigotry, the facts speak for themselves. It’s very clear that he harbours ill feeling towards the language. Interestingly enough, his name is an anglicisation of an Irish name which means Son of the Person Who Is Ashamed.

    I notice that you forgot to mention that there was no caller for the Ulster Scots voicemail in your message. Was there a particular reason for that omission? Do you think that Unionist parties can stand over their calls for ‘parity’ of funding for Ulster Scots and Irish given that there is no take up for the service?

    The fact is that unionist parties have used the Ulster Scots to set up a very comfortable situation where the Orange Order gets funding for issuing English language CDs of party songs from the Ulster Scots Agency, Scots Dancing and buying new uniforms for loyalist bands and the likes. There is very little indeed done to promote the Ulster Scots Language – it’s just a means of pumping public money to this faux tartan/orange culture.

  • RG Cuan

    CYNIC

    The only organisation that is proposing Irish language road signage is Na Ceithearna Coille – http://www.ceithearnacoille.com – and they clearly state that they only want bilingual signs in areas that are supportive of it.

    Of course there is no official criteria regarding what constitutes a pro-Gaelic area but a locality in which more than 50%+ of the population speak or have substantial knowledge of the language would be a start.

    Your point about most younger people looking towards the future is certainly true, and for thousands of them Irish Gaelic is part of that future. Just look at the vibrancy of Irish language life in our universities; Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway’s Irish language niteclubs and the funky new magazine nós* – http://www.nosmag.com – for proof.

  • proinsias frawley

    Keep the chins up Conchubhair old boy

  • Good man Frank, keep up the old tradition of when failing to find a good argument, go for the ad hominem attack…. Fair play to you, it’s almost witty.

  • Proinsias Frawley

    You’re able to lash it out old Cucumber but not able to take it

  • Your contribution, Proinsias, to this conversation amounts to a negative value. I wouldn’t waste my time with your likes.

  • Danny

    I can understand why people with no knowledge of Irish don’t use the síneadh fada. Nor would I expect people who have feelings of hostility towards Irish to use them.

    But what I can’t understand is why people like GGN and a few others insist on misspelling the name of the newspaper in question.

    Lá. Lá Nua. What’s La? Come on. Have you been reading the Indo a lot lately? They have very little respect for the Irish language. Éire…Eire. It’s all the same to them.