Not necessarily equal, but preferably separate?

With the main consultation having ended on 10 January, and only a specific consultation for children and young people due to end on 30 January 2009, it seems a bit late in the day for Máirtín, and the Andersonstown News, to be campaigning against the recommendations for Irish-medium Units and Streams [pdf file, Chapter 13] within English-medium schools. The Andersonstown News editorial noted by Máirtín highlights the party political dilemma.

The struggle of Irish people to be able to conduct their lives through the medium of Irish in their own land is a long and noble one. It has had many setbacks but also, in recent times, many important victories. Some of those gains were made because of the personal intervention and commitment of the West Belfast MP Gerry Adams. It would, therefore, be nothing short of devastating if, under the watch of a Sinn Féin minister, the fight to provide freestanding Irish medium education at secondary level was to be lost.

And a reminder of how those ‘successes’ elsewhere might not be quite what they seem..

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  • Dewi

    Your point Peter?

  • Seimi

    There seem to be several points Dewi.
    1. Have a go at Mairtín Ó Muilleoir
    2. Have a go at Sinn Féin
    3. Have a go at Gerry Adams
    4. Have a go at Irish Medium Education

  • USA

    I was also wondering what Peter Fakers’ point was. On this occasion, and why I don’t know, but I actually clicked on one of his self serving links, specifically this one.
    Which took me to a discussion, posted by Mick Fealty, which stated:
    “However, a spirit of inclusivity is no guarantee of diversity. Clued-in, academically motivated parents are signing their children up to gaelscoileanna when they are born; those with less savvy have a slim chance of getting in the door when the waiting lists are full years in advance. According to Blaithnead Ní Ghréacháin, this is a symptom of under-resourcing in the sector, especially at post-primary level, where there is massive demand but limited availability”
    emphasis added for slow learners.

    Faker posts his dismissive and smug “successes elsewhere might not be quite what they seem..” link, yet does not realize that the content is contrary to his position.
    That is, demand for Irish medium education is high.
    I am not an Irish speaker but Gerry and the peacemakers need to get a move on and have the ILA enacted. Speaking Irish in Ireland is not a crime, it adds to Irish culture and the quality of life of Irish speakers. To experience Ireland through its language must be a very fullfilling experience for those who have taken the time to develop their language skills.
    I cannot think of any educational disadvantages of speaking a second language. While it may not be for everyone, it is an endeavour that should be respected so the language is preserved. Unionists should grow up and offer a hand of friendship on this issue, which should be reciprocated by nationalists on a unionist pet project. But maybe that is what Gerry and the peacemakers are waiting on…leverage.

  • Jim Henson – Muppett Master

    So let’s just organise some reunification rallies and force the resistant unionists into speaking our tongue once our friends in America (not George W’s mates)tell the nasty Brits that it must be so. Once achieved we shall move on to the air traffic control system.

  • Mayoman

    JH: ” force the resistant unionists into speaking our tongue”

    Woooh there muppet man! You are safe, no one is going to force you to speak Irish — ever! Now come out of that bunker…..slowly…..now take the medication….no ones gonna hurt you…….

  • Glencoppagagh

    USA
    “Speaking Irish in Ireland is not a crime”
    Indeed it is not, anywhere on the island.

  • The struggle of Irish people to be able to conduct their lives through the medium of Irish in their own land is a long and noble one. It has had many setbacks but also, in recent times, many important victories. Some of those gains were made because of the personal intervention and commitment of the West Belfast MP Gerry Adams. It would, therefore, be nothing short of devastating if, under the watch of a Sinn Féin minister, the fight to provide freestanding Irish medium education at secondary level was to be lost.

    I think this notion that Máirtín is promoting that Gerry Adams is singlehandedly saving the Irish language is debatable. The West Belfast MP had to be prodded into action by the Irish language community venting its anger at its axing by Edwin Poots on the SF watch through Lá Nua last May to get the Irish Language Broadcast Fund back into play last May. The end result for Lá Nua for its role in the affair – the SF nominated members of Foras na Gaeilge voted against renewing its contract to publish a daily newspaper. The Irish language community deserves better than the current broadcasting arrangement where programmes in Irish in NI are funded from the public purse at a fraction of the level in Wales and Scotland – £120m per year for Welsh language tv, £10m+ per year in Scotland – and that’s down to Sinn Féin refusing to take the Culture Ministry when it was available and letting it go to the DUP. I don’t expect funding on the level of Wales but I do expect the same per capita funding. 500,000 Welsh language speakers in Wales – that’s £240 each of a benefit. In NI, even if you take the most modest estimation of Irish language speakers – 20,000 – then £3m per year translates into £150 each. The census figures are 161,000 who speak or understand Irish – that brings a figure of less than £20. The true figure is somewhere between the two – but the reality is that Welsh language speakers in Wales are getting preferential treatment as opposed to Irish speakers in NI. It’s time the playing pitch between the various elements of the UK was levelled – and I’m not talking about bringing down Welsh language provision to the level of Irish language provision.

    Sinn Féin’s support for the Irish language, however well intentioned – and I’m not convinced on that score – needs to be much more productive than it is.

  • “The struggle of Irish people to be able to conduct their lives through the medium of Irish”

    i can feel the pain….

    is it really a struggle? measured against what?

  • Gael gan Náire

    It should be pointed out that their are honest Gaelic speaking families and dedicated activists on both sides of the stream / stand alone debate.

    No-one promotes streams as the a perfect solution but as a step in the right direction and frankly better than nothing.

    Stand alone schools are my preference but I would prefer have a stream than nothing at all, and I feel that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, maybe in some areas a stream is more suitable.

  • Seimi

    Aontaíom leat GGN.
    Where a stream is the best option, they should go for it. Putting a stand-alone school in an area where there isn’t the demand/catchment figures can be detrimental to the education of the pupils, as it risks the school’s closure, and the dispersion of the pupils amongst English medium schools.

  • Even more interesting is the Andytown New reporting DUP Lisburn councillor Paul Givan is to attend next month’s Sinn Fein Ard Fheis.

  • picador

    Did not streaming prove a disaster for IME when it was implemented in Derry?

  • mise

    The bottom line here is that in most cases free standing schools or indeed federations of Irish language schools make sense. The environment needs to nurture the language. In some rare cases units are needed, but in most cases they are provided as a cost cutting measure. The Welsh and those in the south have learned the hardway ‘streams’don’t deliver what is needed for the kids, a rich linguistic environment!

  • Dewi

    Streams don’t work. Avoid them.

  • Piobaire Breac

    Lets face Irish Medium Education is all about believing, thats what communities all over Ireland have demonstrated. How many of the top staff working for the Norths Irish Medium Body, Comhairle, ever had any experience of an Irish Medium School? Answer None! The Boss never send his kids!. not good enough I suppose, English Medium Schools are safer I suppose?
    But what about the rest of us who actually believe in what the sector provides and what it can become?

    Belfast boy

  • Lidle Richard

    As Ulster is British everyone should speak British.

  • Dewi

    Wouldn’t argue with that Lidle Richard…..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_language_(Celtic)

  • If Irish is so good how come no one in the South uses it. Why not have some Polish – medium schools – it’s where all your jobs are going.