The shared future – Irish speakers only

Has anyone actually read this monstrosity? Below are some annotated highlights. (Also worth noting is Conall’s noting of it. I didn’t notice until I opened the URL for linking that the comments are fairly amusing) Personally, I’d say that in the parallel universe this was passed, Royal Assent would be given at least a second thought.

What is clear, is that this was not drafted by professional legislative draftsmen at the Assembly, but by SDLP backwoodsmen who haven’t even properly proof read it (for example section 20 referring to section 39 above). And what will it achieve? Letting Unionists see what Nationalists think is down the road is hardly likely to soften attitudes now is it? But maybe this is a case of who speaks for the SDLP.

3. To the extent that any provision in any other Act of Parliament or any other Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly, or any other form of legal regulation, is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, the provisions of this Act shall take precedence.

I’d be pretty sure Parliament would have something to say about this, being sovereign and all. Maybe we were looking in the wrong place for the Ulster Nationalists.

5. The Northern Ireland Executive Committee shall provide adequate funding to ensure the effective implementation of this Act.

Note no suggestions for which hospitals should close to fund this.

38. There shall be an ‘Official Languages Commissioner for Northern Ireland’, who shall be appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Only someone who is fluent
in the Irish language may be appointed to the office.

Another unelected Commissioner to poke a nose in anywhere they please, only this time the Commissioner must speak Irish fluently. No definition of fluency is offered.

These are just some glancing highlights. Feel free to add your own.

  • Mack

    Pancho – yeah true. I’ll do any Gaelic course to improve to be honest, but I’d still prefer “my own” dialect. Just like I’d rather speak hiberno-English (or Ulster-English) than any other varieties. Slug-it-out was asking if it was something we could rally around & I think it is. We could benefit from some common identity building in Northern Ireland.

  • Oilifear

    I agree too. I suspect that the Ulster variety of Gaelic, rather that the southern standard would be a better approach for Nothern Ireland. It has the potential to be both the most authentic and the least controversial. Allowing Unionist cultural breathing space and a sense of ownership (the word “Ulster”, the link with Scotland, not being defined by the southern administration) while allowing Nationalists the authentic variety of Gaelic spoken in what is now Northern Ireland.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Mack, I remember when I was younger I used to plan to spend maybe 3 months working on a small farm for some old boy/girl/couple in Tír Conaill – a sort of total immersion. I never got it organised but that’s the way to do it. And forget about the correctors, the begrudgers and the sneerers and especially ignore the ‘citizens of the world’ who don’t give a damn about anything. Ádh mór ort.

  • Mack,

    I hope that your wife’s aunt is an exception. Most Irish speakers are quite familiar with all the dialects, thanks to exposure to all of them on RnaG and now TG4. In the same way that most English speakers have no real trouble with Scottish or American ways of speaking.

    There is no better way to improve your comprehension than simply hearing, and listening to, as much of the language as possible – Kerry Irish, Jailic, Ros na Runic, Gaelscoil Irish, whatever …

  • Reader

    Mack: What do you think the Gaelscoileanna produce?
    I thought they produced a chunk of the intake for the Grammers and Secondaries in the Maintained sector.
    Oilifear: Speaking English as “my own” language, in my experience, has left me outside of the experience of other people in Europe and aborad.
    Yep, it’s such a downer when it turns out that people understand what you are saying about them.

  • Doctor Who

    Neil

    I think you need help.

  • Driftwood

    Will Microsoft produce a PC version of US Irish, similar to US English, but with easy translations of Armalite, Car Bomb, legitimate target, massacre etc thrown in for SF followers to understand their history in their ‘native’ language.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Driftwood, I have two cracked ribs. Please stop your endless jokes or else.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Indeed. But there’s probably a common ancestor for all the regional variations of the gaelic language in Ireland. Each region of the island derived and developed it’s own particular unique dialect with time, passing it on to Scotland as folk moved to and fro between the islands. This common ancestor language probably arrived here in Ireland with the constant flux of migrating peoples and mixed with the existing language on the island of pre-historic times.

    ie…a bit like the way English and Dutch developed from the Germanic language!

  • cynic

    “there are growing thousands of fluent Gaelic speakers in Ulster & Northern Ireland. What do you think the Gaelscoileanna produce?”

    Not a lot actually. Just tell us how many students in Irish Medium leave school each year in Northern Ireland and what % of the NI population that represents.

  • Dave

    How do you concentrate unionist minds on fiscal rectitude?

    Answer: Propose an Irish Language Act.

  • Declan

    Dialectal differences. I’m quite picky on things like this. So i’m gona use this as a forum to spread about my propaganda 🙂 ok. Call me a facist or a provincial purist, is cuma liom!!! (I dont care)

    a few examples of how to preserve our common Ulster heritage!!! 😛

    English – Forreignisms (ie. munster-biased southern govenment “standard”) – Native usage (ie. Ulster)

    Start – Tosaigh (tossy) toisigh (toshy)
    To begin/start something – Rud éigin a thosnú (rud ay-gin ah hoss-noo) rud ínteacht a thoiseacht (rud een-cha(cht) a hosh-art)
    Close/shut – Dún (doon) druid (dridge)
    Gaelic (language) – Gaeilge (no clue) Gaeilig (Gay lig)
    Speaking – Labhairt (lawart) (lorch)
    Is/are/am (indirect) – Bhfuil (will/vill) bhfuil (will)
    Did – Rinne (rinn-eh) rinn (rinn)
    Hill – Cnoc (ck-nock – south) (crock – ulster)

    meaning changes

    Dearmad a dhéanamh – to forget (ulster) to make a mistake (south)

    others;
    I remember – Is cuimhin liom (south) Is cuimhne liom (ulster)
    After/past – Tar éis (south) i ndiaidh (ulster)
    To keep – A choiméad (south) a choinneáil (ulster)
    Hello – Dia dhuit (dia gwit) dia duit (jee-ah ditch)

    Then there’s the whole sochraid contraversy, the cluinstin(t)/cloisteáil catastrophy and the faire crisis.

    Céard + Cad é = fiasco!!

    Cha and Chan are your real freinds. Ní is the enemy imposter!

    Be political! (whilst on slugger … )
    Northern Ireland –Tuaisceart Éireann
    Ulster – Ulaidh
    The North of ireland – Tuaisceart na hÉireann
    The province – an chúige
    The province of Ulster – Cúige Uladh
    The north – an tuaisceart
    The six counties – na sé chondae
    Or, alternatively – Na sé chondae a bhfuil seilbh glactha orthu ag na Sasanaigh
    (the six couties (that) the English have taken control over)
    The Freestate – an Saorstát
    The United Kingdom – An Ríocht Aontaithe
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Ríocht Aontaithe na Breataine Móire agus Thuaisceart Éireann
    The UK – an RA
    NI – TÉ
    EU – AE
    ROI – PÉ
    USA – SAM
    (The) United States – (na) Stáit Aontaithe
    United States of America – Stáit Aontaithe Mheireceá
    The Republic of Ireland – Poblacht na hÉireann
    The Republic – An Phoblacht
    The South – an Deisceart
    The European Union – An tAontas Eorpach

  • HeadTheBall

    Despite being an old Shankill Prod, I think the Irish language is beautiful and am making every effort to become a competent reader, if not speaker. But whence comes the idea that it is indigenous? There were people in Ireland for 5,000 years before the Gaels arrived. Irish was not the native tongue of Carbri Cinn Cait, nor, I expect, did he call himself so.

  • iluvni

    I was too lazy the other night to get the remote and therefore had no choice but to watch the worse than dreadful Gaelic soap, Seacht, on BBC NI.

    I wonder if with my help viewing figures reached double figures?

  • William

    At No. 25, Dominic Ó Brollacháin is mentioned….who the hell is he, when he’s at home????

    Is it some one speaking of Dominic Bradley, the bespectacled MEP from the Stoopes?

  • William

    I wonder how many Shinners and Stoopes use the Irish Language in everyday speech within their homes? Few, if any, I would imagine, yet still they want £m spent on promoting it, translating every form, brochure produced by Government, duplicating adverts in the papers etc etc for what?….there are more Chinese and Polish speakers in Northern Ireland than Irish language speakers. It is time the Oirsh lobby became pragmatists and doesn’t need an Act nor Commissioner. They should realised that Irish is but a hobby language for those who wish to learn it, but is as useless as an ash tray on a motor- cycle, in real life !

  • OC

    Perhaps the NI unionist community is missing an opportunity here.

    For instance, in court, anyone wanting to be heard in Gaelic, has first to swear in Gaelic loyalty to the Queen and NI.

  • Oilifear

    Reader –

    “Yep, it’s such a downer when it turns out that people understand what you are saying about them.”

    Funny. We used the same language to communicate, yet my point went passed right over your head. I guess there must be more to communication (and particularly to enabling communication) than syntax and grammar alone.

  • Oilifear

    Declan, I think you over estimate the dialectial difference between “south” and Ulster. Coming from my Connacht base, I can’t see anything in your list of supposedly “south” or Ulster phrases that I could find disagreeable. If anything Munster Irish – “Gaelainn” to it’s speakers, whatever the hell that is! – is what I find bewildering.

  • Oilifear

    (Incidentally, Muster speakers find “Gaeilge” just as repulsive a word as Ulster speakers. I have no particular issue with it. Pronoucations is as GAil-ga.)

  • Oilifear

    William –

    “They should realised that Irish is but a hobby language for those who wish to learn it…”

    Many things are “hobbies”: the IFA, the GAA, the Olympic Council, Orange parades, the Apprentice Boys, an interest in HMS Titanic, the arts of all kinds, traditional crafts and industries, the beaches and quays, country walkways, places of historical interest or outstanding natural beauty, and so on.

    The benefits of these “hobbies” to the community and to the economy are uncontroversially recognised. Consequently, they are recognised by the administration and supported both financially and practically.

    What is it that makes the Irish language controversial in your opinion? Why is it not supported by the administration?

  • On my own site I’ve offered some broad suggestions which might’ve challenged unionists to re-examine their attitude to an ILA. Here.

  • Dec

    I’m obviously not in a position to gainsay your experience but I note that you take care not to describe your six acquaintances as native speakers.

    Well, define native speakers? Personally, I see no substantial difference with someone brought up solely in Irish and someone brought up simultaneously in Irish and English.

  • Seimi

    A couple of posters have mentioned native speakers in the north. Can I just ask – what, in your eyes, constitutes a ‘native speaker’?

  • Dec

    Is it some one speaking of Dominic Bradley, the bespectacled MEP from the Stoopes?

    William, for once you’re actually right! Here’s some further reading about your least favourite hobby.

  • Mack

    Cynic – “Not a lot actually. Just tell us how many students in Irish Medium leave school each year in Northern Ireland and what % of the NI population that represents. ”

    LOL – it was a rhetorical question. But as to your own question – don’t be lazy, look it up yourself
    😉

  • ggn

    “Just tell us how many students in Irish Medium leave school each year in Northern Ireland and what % of the NI population that represents”

    Surpirisingly high after 150 years of direct discrimination and even threats of imprisonment.

    But not high enough and nowhere near the provision to meet demand, therefore we want the right to an IME enshrined in legisation.

    If it is intimated that there is no demand then what is there to be afraid of finacially?

    If it is recongised that there is a demand then why should it not be catered for?

  • Mack

    ggn – “If it is intimated that there is no demand then what is there to be afraid of finacially? ”

    Finance is a complete red herring on the provision of public services in Gaelic. These things should be cost neutral if there is demand (IME simply replaces EME).

  • ggn

    Mack,

    Of course, but we are not in the realms of rational.

    A school seat is a school seat in any language.

    Even capital costs would eventually have to spent renewing existing schools etc.

    Incidentedly, a IME primary school has to get 150 pupils before qualifying for capital funding.

  • perry

    Both the Welsh and Scottish Acts seem to provide for the setting up a board which can require than public bodies estbalish a language plan of some sort.

    The Scottish Act seems the more flexible in that it doesn’t specify which bodies are public but allows the board to give a notice to “an authority” requiring them to set out a plan and give the authority a right of appeal to the ministers if they think the board has acted unreasonably.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2005/asp_20050007_en_1

    http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=468378

    The Scots drafters (2005) seems to have learnt from Welsh experience (their Act was in 2003).

    I’m all for a private members bill on this. With the PUP and Alliance supporting a language act there should be the possibility of a cross-community majority. Sadly, like Sinn Fein’s actions on education the SDLP seems more concerned with grandstanding than actually delivering something that might be immediately workable and which would appeal to non-denominational common sense and fair play.

    If we went down the Scots route one compromise (within a national/regional plan) could be to allow a public body an automatic appeal against implementation if it can be shown that there is less than a 15% ability to speak the languag in its area of service. We could perhaps use the data behind this map;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gaeilig_in_Uladh.jpg

    All NI authorities and larger regional authorities (health authorities for example) would find themselves over the 15% threshold but eastern council areas might not be required to implement something which very few in their rate paying constiuency had any strong feeling about. Making this a “right” to be provided for and excercised equally everywhere regardless of local appettite seems needlessly divisive.

  • ggn

    Mack,

    Another ‘financial’ point that unionists get worked up over is the issue of bilingual signs.

    Yet the company which manufacters them is on record as stating that any increased costs would be minimal. And of course they have to be replaced periodically anyway.

    Many unionist focus on forms etc yet you can register to vote in Irish, the cost to the tax payer was the grand total of £240 if memory serves.

    As you say, this isnt about costs.

    Unionists have only started taking up costs very recently, before that it was ‘the dead language of a dead people’, ‘a lepreichaun language’, ‘offensive’, ‘ridiculous’ ‘disgusting’ etc.

    It is a wee bit hard to take unionist concerns as genuine as this stage, though I am sure there are genuine people with genuine concerns.

    It is a pity that those voices are drowned out.

  • Barnshee

    Irish is the Language espoused by the various murder gangs of a republic hue.

    As long as protestants can receive documents services etc untainted by the item and remain unoffended by sight of the item. I have no objection those who wish to use the item doing so.

    Cost? Costs

    What did the half witted previous health minister cost the NHS for “Irish implementation”
    How many (say) heart operations would those funds have paid for?

    Anwers please from the “Irish Act ” fans

  • Seimi

    ‘Irish is the Language espoused by the various murder gangs of a republic hue.’

    What a ridiculous statement.

    ‘As long as protestants can receive documents services etc untainted by the item and remain unoffended by sight of the item. I have no objection those who wish to use the item doing so.’

    How very magnamoniuos of you. No language belongs to one belief or creed. Dont be so stupid.

    Untainted??? Why do you perceive a language as something dirty?

    ‘What did the half witted previous health minister cost the NHS for “Irish implementation”
    How many (say) heart operations would those funds have paid for?’

    Why do you say half-witted? And do you have any figures to back up this ludicrous question?

  • Mack

    Barnshee – 80% of prisoners like chocolate. Should we criminalise it?

    Your attempt to link Gaelic to republican violence takes away from everything you else you attempt to say. In reality most chocolate eaters aren’t jailbirds – most of the people who have spent time learning Gaelic were not involved, did not support and more than that were appalled by Republican violence.

    Incidentally, is your nickname a play on Banshee? Anglised from – bean sí ?

  • Babett’s Pig

    The tone of the majority of pro-ILA posters clearly demonstrate that a large element of the promotion of Irish, in Northern Ireland in particular, is all about proddie lie down.

    Anyone who suggests that this is not about one-in-the-eye for unionists is at best disingenuous.

    The Irish language has been made a divisive issue by militant republicans in the same way as they have devalued the Irish tricolour. If the language is to have a shared future they should pull back now.

    The (Protestant) saviours and promoters of the language in the 19th Centuary will be turning in their graves and future generations of Irish people will not forgive those people who continue to make language promotion a point scoring exercise.

  • An Truitean

    It’s nice to hear someone like Sneakers O’Toole give a sensible rationale as to why not all of the money raised in taxes goes to hospitals and schools, and why we must accept that not all resources will directly benefit all citizens equally.

    Take note that the Bill content proposed by Doiminic Ó Brollacháin was not formulated by the SDLP, but was formulated by POBAL (the Irish language unbrella group for the north) – Dominic changed a few phrases here and there to suit his bill. POBAL produced the original document after much research with the Irish-speaking community of the north and with much input and advise from internationally reknowned experts on language legislation, including from Scotland and Wales. Thus, I think that any disparagment as to the bone fides and worth of the document content can be disregarded.

    The numbering is a bit skew quiff in Dominic’s version in that some of the references have not been changed from the original document. Failure to re-number does not reflect the time and effort to formalate POBAL’s original draft bill which Dominic used – I remember the research and consultation process with our language community lasting perhaps a number of years.

  • Irish is the Language espoused by the various murder gangs of a republic hue.

    As long as protestants can receive documents services etc untainted by the item and remain unoffended by sight of the item. I have no objection those who wish to use the item doing so.

    and

    The tone of the majority of pro-ILA posters clearly demonstrate that a large element of the promotion of Irish, in Northern Ireland in particular, is all about proddie lie down.

    Anyone who suggests that this is not about one-in-the-eye for unionists is at best disingenuous.

    it’s difficult to reconcile these two statements from Barnshee and Babett’s Pig – except that they are both informed by hysteria and ignorance both of which are fuelled by unionist politicians and their deliberate campaign of misinformation and sectarian fire stoking on this issue.

    The name of the most prominent and effective Irish language institution in the north and probably in all of Ireland is Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, where equal status is given to both Robert McAdam, a Protestant saviour of the language of the 19th century. That’s merely an indication of the depth of genuine love of the language for its own sake, rather than some nationalistic badge, that exists among Irish speakers.

    My own point is that political unionism in its rejection of the Irish language for sectarian reasons is actually acting counter to its own best interests. Surely the point of unionism should be to illustrate to all the benefit of living in the Union and how they and their culture will be respected. What results from their constant pillorying of the Irish language is a disaffection with the union by Irish speakers. They look across to Wales and Scotland where speakers of indigenous languages such as Welsh and Scots Gaelic are given protection and their language promoted by the state and wonder why the Irish language is left to languish in comparison.

    The more the likes of the DUP and the TUV and the UUP demonise the Irish language and its speakers and talk about it being counter to ‘Protestant’ culture and use their efforts to margnialise further the language – Michael McGimpsey, Edwin Poots and Gregory Campbell have all played their part in this shameful sectarian exercise – the less attractive the union and their monocultural, petty and sectarian concept of Britishness for people who are in the most part fair minded.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I would have thought a native speaker was someone who learned the language as a baby before learning any other. A native English speaker does not require translation facilities in order to engage with the State.

  • Babet’s Pig

    Concubhar neatly illustrates my point exactly. In his world unionists simply woke up one day and decided that they were going to demonise the Irish language. Witness their removal of Irish places names and refusal to use Irish symbolism such as the harp and red hand, in official bodies since partition. Oops, sorry that didn’t happen.

    Concubhar’s view is of course nonsense.

    Unionism’s antipathy towards the language is chronologically tuned to the (mis)use of Irish by republicans as a political, and yes sectarian, weapon in their campaign of violence.

    In Concubhar’s patronising opinion the unionist people are malleable fools driven into hysteria by their politicians. Unionists could not of course have witnessed Sinn Fein and their fellow travellers deliberate adoption of the Irish language as an essentail element of their political viewpoint, including its use in the strapline of their ‘struggle’. No, No it was all them unionists wot done it.

    I do feel sympathy for those language enthusiasts who have a genuine interest in Irish. Sadly their voice has been drowned out by the republicans’ language agitation.

    There is no unionist culpability in making Irish a divisive political issue. Although Concubhar will never consider this. For him and his ilk the very existence of unionism is an aberration on the island of Ireland and, as with unionists’issues with the Irish language, all they need do is come to their senses, throw off their colonial shackles and realise that they are in reality Irish republicans at heart.

    slán

  • ggn

    It always amazing me that unionists zero in on Cnoc. as the arch-Republican despite the fact he is unrelenting in his criticism of Sinn Féin!!

  • Seimi

    ‘I would have thought a native speaker was someone who learned the language as a baby before learning any other. A native English speaker does not require translation facilities in order to engage with the State.’

    Ah, ok. So that would be me then? And my brothers and sister, my neighbours (originally 7 families, now approximately 25), many of my friends, my two children, a large number of their friends (and their parents), and many other people I know. All raised speaking Irish as their FIRST language. And – shock! Horror! – we are all from Belfast, born and raised!
    For my part, most of my early English language vocabulary would have been learned from my grandparents. So, by your definition, I am not a native English speaker, so why can my ‘native’ language not be given the same rights afforded to your ‘native’ language? Or must I (and all the people mentioned above, including many young people and children) just shrug our shoulders and continue on having our rights ignored?
    Or will I just be put in the same old ‘republican, playing political football with a language in order to stick one to the prods’ box?

  • Oilifear

    “Irish is the Language espoused by the various murder gangs of a republic hue.”

    I’m nut sure of what kind of hue are the murder gangs that espouse the languages of French, Spanish, Portugese, German, Turkish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian … or even, heavens forbid, English … but I do know that they espouse one language or another. I must admin though to not remembering a statement issued by P O’Neill except in the English language. Ban it, I say. You surely must agree?

    Back onto topic …

    “How many (say) heart operations would those funds have paid for?”

    At a quick guess, I would say none, as would any right thinking person. Heart operations are expensive, my boy, langauge plans are cheap.

    “Anyone who suggests that this is not about one-in-the-eye for unionists is at best disingenuous.”

    Who’s eye are the Scots and the Welsh asking for? Who’s eye the southerners? In a normal society this is a non-issue. Northern Ireland is not a normal society. Everything is reduced to eyes.

    “Unionism’s antipathy towards the language is chronologically tuned to the (mis)use of Irish by republicans as a political, and yes sectarian, weapon in their campaign of violence.”

    This is true, and was warned against in the early days of the Revival movement. Yet the chocolate example still stands. It is wrong to taint a language with the sins of those that abuse it. It wrong to do so for the sins of Nationalists, just as it is wrong to do so for the sins of Unionists.

    It is wrong not least because it robs from Unionist, as well as Nationalist, a cultural wealth that once belonged to them. It’s stealing. If your TV is stolen, you don’t tell the burgular he can keep it? If your cultural property is stolen, you don’t it either.

  • that’s perceptive commentary Babet though it’s entirely wrong. It’s not that unionism is an aberration – it’s not being presented properly by its ‘advocates’. I have often criticised Sinn Féin for its less than positive engagement with the Irish language – as some who will have read my posts on the case of Lá Nua, the Irish language daily shortly to be closed for daring to criticise SF – but I find unionist politicians attitude to Irish to betray their own insecurity as ‘second class citizens’ of the UK. This is why more than anywhere else in the UK they have to wave the Union flag, fouling it in the process through associating it with unionist paramilitaries, and eternally prove how British they are just in case they are mistakenly described as Irish, a point well illustrated in a letter I recently read in the Belfast Telegraph which described being called ‘Irish’ as the ‘ultimate insult’.
    They don’t seem to get the central point of Britishness, or so we’re told, is tolerance for diversity. In the eyes of the unionist politician, that means tolerance for every identity except the Irish identity. They should grow up and smell the coffee…

    This has been a long standing problem of unionist politicians, which can be blamed partially on Sinn Fein and the early nationalist attitude re Irish as exemplified by Conradh na Gaeilge/The Gaelic League, but is mostly down to their own ignorance. We have to face facts – neither the unionist nor the nationalist politicians elected to Stormont are particularly bright or brilliant.

    This had led to stale thinking and action and therefore a growing cynicism towards politics here. The 30 years of bloodshed came as a result of political failure.

    It’s time that unionists with wit and intelligence led their community away from the old style politics into a new age. I have no faith in either SF or the SDLP on the nationalist side and would hope that sooner rather than later a new party emerges on the nationalist side to more accurately reflect the concerns and aspirations of the nationalist community.

  • Jimmy Sands

    You can’t have it both ways. As a matter of logic, if the Irish language is something that belongs equally to the Irish protestant community then its use or non-use cannot be an equality issue.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Seimi,

    I’m genuinely surprised. Certainly for a non-native speaker your English is very fluent. I still find it hard to see that your rights (languages in my view as opposed to people do not have rights) are affected by the fact that your dealings with the state are in English. I am however sincerely impressed by the efforts made to keep the language alive. I wish I’d been as diligent. If it is to be kept going it will be through efforts such as yours and not through forcing some council beaureaucrat to translate bylaws.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Jimmy Sands

    “Seimi…I’m genuinely surprised. Certainly for a non-native speaker your English is very fluent..”

    Dont be surprised, there’s a scientific explanation for Seimi’s abilities – read this article:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3739690.stm

    Though after reading this article I can understand that unionists may be concerned that official use of the irish language may give nationalists an even more opportunities to develop “density of the grey matter in the left inferior parietal cortex of the brain” which exceeds that of unionists.

  • Babet’s Pig

    Just to even the ‘ya boo sucks’ quotient let me say it is you who are wrong.

    Unionism’s flag waving has little linkage with attitudes to the Irish language. Feeling the need to overstate their Britishness was a natural human response to being under attack and finding themselves held within the less than warm embrace of their fellow island dwellers.

    It is difficult to display more positive attributes, such as tolerance, when one is being throttled.

    Sadly a by-product of the troubles has been the negative loading attached to innocuous realities. This extends clearly to geography. To be ‘Irish’ in the Northern Ireland context does now come with baggage.

    To castigate people for finding themselves in a poltically charged atmosphere where any and all language is scrutinised for indications of political allegiance is both unfair and a perverse refusal to understand the history of Ireland since 1922.

  • Mack

    Babet’s Pig – I agree with everything you said in that last post #22 @ 05:24 PM

    Time people in Northern Ireland to move on now though? Gaelic has nothing to do with Republicanism or nationalism (that is, unfortunately just were the only political support is enamating from at the minute). A proud British unionist could speak it – and many do…

    http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page3763.asp

    Would be fantastic to see a unionist party pick up the ball on this and articulate what they do want!

  • Babet’s Pig

    Mack

    The majority of people want to move on, or at least I hope they do. The challenge is how to do it without indulging it what sometimes seem to be the default setting of apportioning blame for what has gone before.

    Drawing a line under the past, which in my definition is about accepting right and wrong (without the need to quantify it) on each and all sides, will be either very challenging or impossible in the current climate.

    It is for that reason I believe that ‘official’ development of the Irish language should be parked for a period until it can be, once again, recognised as the cultural legacy of all.

  • Mack

    Babet’s pig – Ok, I hear ya.

    This is painful for unionists, and the marketing & branding of this on the nationalist side has been rather poor.

    Still – here is the opportunity. Let’s reiterate that the Gaelic language is part of shared heritage of everyone in Northern Ireland (almost everyone has a Mac in the family tree, & many more Protestant names were more fully anglisced than normal when their Irish ancestors converted back in the day). It has nothing to do with Republicanism or nationalism (remember the chocolates story, & the link to HRH). Nationalists and republicans are going to continue to get it wrong in promoting this to unionists – because they don’t understand them. However slowly, unionism should begin exploring how to take the lead on this – explain to nationalists how seeing Irish on signs everywhere will scare the bejaysus out of the unionist population (leading to heads rolling in the political parties). Explain you’re not opposed to Gaelic, but it has to be done sensitively. Be pro-atactive, because the nationalists, will always, always, get it wrong for you.

  • Éamonn Ó Gribín

    It may come as a surprise to some of your readers to know that the British Government (the sovereign government) has signed up to implementing !

    The Belfast Agreement, under the heading ‘Constitutional Issues’, states that “The participants endorse the commitment made by the British and Irish Governments that, in a new British-Irish Agreement replacing the Anglo-Irish Agreement, they will:…..
    (v) affirm that whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions and shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the Identity, ethos, and aspirations of both communities;
    (vi) recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they
    may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would
    not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.

    So, in paragraph (v) above, the British Government affirms that Irish Citizens living in this part of Ireland can expect ‘parity of esteem’ and ‘just and equal treatment’.
    Paragraph (vi) confirms the right to hold Irish Citizenship.

    One of the requirements that an applicant for naturalisation as a British citizen
    under section 6(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 must fulfil is that he has
    “sufficient knowledge” of the English language or Welsh or Scottish Gaelic.
    The right to use the ‘national language’ is generally accepted as one of the rights of the citizen, indeed Citizenship without language rights would be meaningless.
    That Irish Citizens living in this jurisdiction should expect official recognition of Irish Gaelic (the national and one of the two official lanaguages in the rest of Ireland), should not be a surprise!
    In Schedule 1 of the Agreement it states “2. Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.”

    If there was a united Ireland, the sovereign government (Irish Government) would be bound to protect the rights of those claiming British Citizenship, who live in Northern Ireland. Presumably full official recognition of the English Language would be seen as necessary to afford this community ‘parity of esteem’ and ‘just and equal treatment’.
    The Agreement thus affords protection to both communities..’a quid pro quo’ if you like and I would have thought that it was in all our interests to support this important aspect of the Agreement.
    I applaud the Bradley Bill, which aims at affording both the Gaelic and English languages official status in this part of Ulster. I would politely ask those who would oppose this Bill to ‘Fág an bealach’.

  • blinding

    Anyone that says that Unionists are not interested in the Gaelic language should read through this thread.

    Can Unionists save the Irish language?

  • Dewi

    Strange thread – so many odd thoughts. Like “native” language – so what. I know many Irish language campaigners won’t agree with me but recognising Irish as an official language in the courts is critical – and cheap cos not many people will use the right – but a wonderful gesture to a shared future.

  • Reader

    Ulster McNulty: I can understand that unionists may be concerned that official use of the irish language may give nationalists an even more opportunities to develop “density of the grey matter…”
    Wouldn’t Spanish do the job just as well? And potentially be more useful?
    And when I want to improve my mind, I tend to read books, not government pamphlets. And likewise, I would be much more inclined to go to the theatre than to court.

  • Dewi

    Reader – just to understand where u come from. I’d have loved to be taught Gaelic in my school instead of blasted Latin and Greek – absurd.

  • Reader

    Oilifear: Funny. We used the same language to communicate, yet my point went passed right over your head. I guess there must be more to communication (and particularly to enabling communication) than syntax and grammar alone.
    That’s because you didn’t make the point you thought you did. You speak the language you learned at your mother’s knee. That is *your* language more than any language you learn later can ever be. In that sense, it’s *too late* for you.
    Others didn’t start from where you started though – pay attention to them instead. Really – being Irish isn’t all about not being British, and speaking Irish isn’t all about not speaking English.

  • Reader

    Dewi: I’d have loved to be taught Gaelic in my school instead of blasted Latin and Greek – absurd.
    And I wouldn’t want to stand in your way. Still – wouldn’t Spanish have been more useful than any of the above? When I went to school the mandatory parts of the curriculum covered electricity, not origami; French, not Magyar; and base 10 arithmetic, not base 13. Utility seems to have been the tie-breaker.

  • Dewi

    Funny Reader – but I’m not sure how useful Latin and Greek were to be honest. And Spanish ain’t a big deal in Cardiff Bay. Just don’t u think our education should cover where we like came from ?

  • RepublicanStones

    Many unionists bigotted attitude toward what is after all the native language of this country, is evident through their claims that spanish or Urdu or Polish has more right to be given funding. Perhaps its true, they do see the eradication of Irelands own language as a battle still to be won, one which their colonial ancestors couldn’t quite manage.

  • Oilifear

    “…being Irish isn’t all about not being British, and speaking Irish isn’t all about not speaking English.”

    Reader, you don’t live up to your name. Read back again. I said nothing, and meant nothing, about the supposed dichotomy of British and Irish. Again, I suppose, you continue to demonstrate the difference between mere syntax and grammar and genuine communication. Being able to speak Irish has brought me closer to others (specifically non-Irish people) through a shared experience of having one’s “own language”. I can only testify to it. I cannot demonstrate it here, you can appreciate.

    I can understand that your exerpience of the Irish language has been that it is a tool of division – at best – and redundant on all other occasions. I had similar view. It was not until I came to live, meet and work with people not from these islands that I came to appreciate (the) langauge from a perspective outside of the bitter ideologies that we on these islands have been raised in. It is still, however, dogged by exploitation by people who do not have the best interest of language or community on the island of Ireland at their hearts.

  • Adam

    Surely at the very least reading through this thread must have shown even the most hardcore Unionist that those involved in the Irish language want to promote it to all and take it out of the hands of those who would use it for political purposes.
    We recognise that it has been hijacked by SF etc but there isn’t much we can do about that on our own.
    True language enthusiasts would welcome every man, woman and child among you. It’s yours as much as it’s ours and you might even enjoy yourselves..

  • Just to even the ‘ya boo sucks’ quotient let me say it is you who are wrong.

    Unionism’s flag waving has little linkage with attitudes to the Irish language. Feeling the need to overstate their Britishness was a natural human response to being under attack and finding themselves held within the less than warm embrace of their fellow island dwellers.

    It is difficult to display more positive attributes, such as tolerance, when one is being throttled.

    I could go down the traditional route with my answer to this provocative post – but I won’t. Let me try another approach.

    There’s been a long standing conflict on this island between political unionism and republicanism. Blood has been spilt on both sides. There is a mutual antipathy. I understand that.

    But it’s time to move on. And here’s the opportunity – support a practical Irish Language Act, with the emphasis on support for speaking and using the language in public life rather than on the creation of a costly and counterproductive bureaucracy. And, at the same time, political republicanism should move towards giving recognition and extending respect to unionist traditions.

  • Dublin voter

    Haven’t had time to follow the thread of late. But something picked me about an earlier post so I checked it out on focal.ie.

    Greagóir said: BTW “whats Northern Ireland in Irish?”
    Eranu…It’s Tuaisceart na h’Eireann.

    No it’s not. Its Tuaisceart Éireann.
    Tuaisceart na hÉireann is The North of Ireland.

  • eranu

    thanks for clearing that up dublin voter.
    i look forward to the Tuaisceart Éireann supporters club being formed on the falls road!

  • Babet’s Pig

    Concubhar, strange how you interpret my statement as ‘provocative’. Simply because I do not share your world view does not make my views a deliberate attempt to raise anger.

    Of course when I again read your earlier post in which you claim right to be on your side I can see how you could get angry when someone has the audacity to disagree with you.

    Back on topic. Why do you insist that the adoption of an ILA at this time is part of moving forward? I suggest that it is not because of current attitude of many unionists. Any act, even a “practical” one will be seen by many as an imposition.

    Rather let the (Irish)hare sit. Language development will continue without an act as it has done over many years. At the same time language enthusiasts can mount a campaign that promotes and celebrates Irish for all, hopefully at the same time marginalising those who seem to view Irish as primarily a political weapon of division.

  • Mack

    Babet’s Pig – “Any act, even a “practical” one will be seen by many as an imposition”

    Good point, but where does the fault for this lie? Chekov has argued for Unionists being pro-active on this, and there have been positive comments on this thread. But legislation for Gaelic will remain, by definition, an imposition until Unionism takes an active role in this.

    If this issue is sensitive for Unionism, by all means take it slow (but communicate what you are doing & thinking). That will help keep stakeholders happy and prepare the base. Work in partnership and don’t default to obstructionism!

  • Seimi

    ‘At the same time language enthusiasts can mount a campaign that promotes and celebrates Irish for all, hopefully at the same time marginalising those who seem to view Irish as primarily a political weapon of division.’

    The ‘TÁ’ campaign, organised by POBAL does just that, Babet’s Pig. It was launched last December purely to celebrate the language and culture, and has avoided any political spin. Its first major event was an international day of celebration, hosted by the Irish language community in Belfast, and attended by thousands, including members of the Chinese, Korean, Indian, Polish, African, Welsh, Basque, Catalonian, Spanish, Ecuadorian and Filipino communities in the north. One of the highlights of the day was a ‘Ciorcal Comhrá’ – a ‘Conversation circle’ – where participants learned how to say a few words in each others language, and learned a bit about the different cultures in the city. The day was topped off by a celebratory parade into the city centre, again attended by thousands, where they listened to Irish music and international music, provided by the excellent Arts Ekta group.
    Another project which was part of the TÁ campaign was the gathering of signatures of celebrities across Ireland and England in support of the language. Amongst the signatories were Ken Loach, Jeremy Irons, Niall Quinn and Roy Keane.
    The campaign has been a great success, and has shown how the language and culture can be celebrated by all, without once claiming that ‘It’s ours, not yours.’
    Go out and get your TÁ badge and show your support! 🙂

  • I don’t know where you get ‘anger’ from – after all I said that your post – which I considered provocative because its blatant and biased revision of historical fact – would not elicit the expected response from me.

    I am neither angry nor surprised at your attitude. You are perfectly entitled to be wrong!

    All I want for Irish in NI is that is already available for other ‘British’ languages such as Welsh and Scots Gaelic – surely as a unionist, you want equal rights in terms of language for all parts of the UK?

  • Babet’s Pig

    Seimi

    Thank you for bringing the TÁ campaign to my attention. I would be happy to wear the badge. Perhaps its the media, or advertisement budgetry issues, but what hits the front page so to speak is the mangled use of Irish (as translated by an Irish speaking friend) by republicans.

    Concubhar

    I merely defined the word ‘provocative’- deliberately causing annoyance or anger.

    One man’s blatant and biased revision of historiacl fact is another man’s truth. As you so ably demonstrate.

    Did the Scottish and Welsh Troubles pass me by? You seem keen not just to revise history but to completely eradicate it.

  • Seimi

    To be fair, Babet’s Pig, what has more often hit the front page, is leading unionist’s comments against the language, without giving proper reasons even, rather than the ‘mangled use of írish’ by republicans.

  • picador

    As far as I can work out from some of the posts on here by opponents of an Irish Language Act it seems that the Irish language is fine as long as isn’t spoken by nationalists / republicans. Who does that leave if unionists are unwilling to embrace it?

  • Driftwood

    Some unionists were quite comfortable with FAUGH A BALLAGH on the union flag recently….Maybe the army could take a lead on this issue

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7749793.stm

  • Dublin voter

    eranu: “thanks for clearing that up dublin voter.
    i look forward to the Tuaisceart Éireann supporters club being formed on the falls road!”

    Cheers eranu, that would be Cumann Lucht Leanúna Thuaisceart Éireann, Bóthar na bhFál.

    And that fantastic banner that iirc the Castlederg NISC carry: We Exist Is Ann Dúinn

  • D Bishop

    Some of us remember the introduction of the pound coin with the Rose representing England, the thistle Scotland, the leek Wales, and the flax plant Ireland.
    There was an outcry over Ireland’s non-representation. The flax coins were removed and replaced with ones with a Celtic Cross from Tyrone.
    Again There was an outcry over Ireland’s non-representation.
    Luckily this time round the esteemed hard working MP from Antrim was ignored.

  • E/amonn O/ Gribi/n

    “All I want for Irish [sic] in NI is that [sic] is already available for other ‘British’ languages such as Welsh and Scots Gaelic …
    Posted by Concubhar O Liathain ”

    This would be very difficult or dare I say impossible to achieve, given that Gaelic in Scotland is treated less favourably than Welsh in Wales!
    The Bradley Bill is not an ‘Irish Language Bill/Act’, but rather an ‘Official Languages Bill/Act’, which aims at giving equal status to English and Irish-Gaelic as Official Languages in this part of Ireland.

  • Well, Éamonn, tell me what the bottom line is? I merely pointed out that both Scots Gaelic and Welsh have legislative protection – and this is what is being sought in NI. Now the shape of that protections is yet to be determined but if I had my choice it would be aimed at promoting the Irish language within broadcasting and education primarily.

    I would like to be able to call a public authority and have someone deal with my query in Irish but in essence that doesn’t make my life much better as it is an inconvenience to deal with authority at the best of times, whatever language you’re using.

  • Dewi