PSNI as you may not have heard them before.

Just a quite update on a few things that I have noticed happening and I thought I would post up having decided to give myself somewhat of a rest day.

First up, a policing board have held their first meeting in Irish. Predictibly some Unionists are less than happy. Is Jim ever happy I wonder?

Irish speakers may be pleased to know that the PSNI wish to recruit more Gaelic speaking officers.

I note also …

“It also emerged at the meeting last night in the City Hotel that a team of Gaelic-speaking PSNI officers are currently in training to deliver programmes in Irish schools”

Certainely many principal in areas with a high number of children / parents from areas which oppose the PSNI would have to thread carefully lest they lose families as a result of inviting PSNI officers to a school, in other areas I would not see there being much of a problem.

It is understood that up to 80 PSNI officers are engaged in learning Irish through courses arranged by the force.

I hope this new attitude filters down to officers on the streets, some of whom can react very badly on hearing the Irish language. Then again, the Gardaí aren’t always too pleased either.

In other news Iontaobhas na Gaelscolaíocht have launched the Big Irish language survey. I am not entirely sure of what it aims to achieve but given the time I love a good survey.

The Irish News reports that pupils in Irish medium schools ‘are achieving better English results than children in English-medium schools’.

“Figures from 2007/08 obtained by The Irish News show that 82 per cent of children in Irish-medium schools achiev-ed level four or five in English compared to 78.8 per cent of children in English-medium schools.”

Friday night sees Gradaim Chumarsáide an Oireachtais 2009, the Irish language medium awards in Dublin.

This year we Ultaigh (Ulstermen) are well represented, can the Connacht men be defeated?

In the radio program of the year category Blas (BBC Raidió Uladh) and Na Giollaí Deacra (Raidió Fáilte) have been nominated. Eoghan Ó Néill (Raidió Fáilte) has a radio personality nomination.

Pól Ó Muirí (The Irish Times/Comhar) and Tomaí Ó Conghaile (Nós*/Nuacht 24) are nominated for journalist of the year along with Eoghan Ó Néill (An Druma Mór/Nuacht 24).

A great young computer and technology journalist Diarmuid Ó Muirgheasa (Nós*) has also got a nomination for his writting in nós*. An Cailín sa Chathair has also got a nomination for her, well, sex column in nós*.

If nós* don’t win at least three prizes I am going to chain myself up somewhere!

Anything else, well I have noticed that Seymour Major over at Ni Tory Story has produced a series of posts on the Irish Language Act debate. I shall hopefully get the chance to return to that one.

  • New Blue

    I saw this story this morning, I hope that this programme receives not only full support from all of us, but that is is properly funded so that any PSNI officer who wants to learn (or develop their existing skill) will have the chance to do so.

  • Dec

    It’s revealing that Jim Allister bases his opposition to the Irish Language on a single sentence from a 27 year old booklet.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    The leopard changeth not his spots nor can he. 50% catholic/100% british.

  • New Blue

    Surely that’s not a bad thing if they are responsible for policing a part of the UK.

    As long as the move is towards neutrality and away from bigotry, I’m behind them.

  • Ian Butler

    I feel a bit impertinent posting here as I am english but I agree with Dec about the revealing nature of Allister’s quote. I welcome the PSNI attempts to engage pro-actively with all members of the community and wish them well. In the same vein I wish that all of us could begin to cross cultural bridges and engage with each other.

    Slán agus beannacht leat

  • Driftwood

    Gael gan Náire

    Good to see. It would also be good to see the British Army garrison here engaging with the Irish speaking community. George Norton would probably be positive. How about classes at Thiepval and Ballykinlar?

  • alan56

    To some degree this was a bit of a publicity stunt.However it is a great step forward in the PSNI signaling that they want to be a service for all the community. Unionists who oppose this must ask themselves why. Is it that they just hate the Irish language for political reasons? The Irish language, although I’m no expert, belongs to everyone in Ireland and is a close relation of Sctots gealic. These developments should be welcomed by anyone who believes in an inclusive, secular society which is at ease with itself

  • alan56


    I know you are joking but why not? If people in Ballykinlar or Thiepval want to learn Irish…no problem.

  • Ian Butler

    Unionism will have to learn the cost of peace means learning to compromise. As for me I am not threatened by anyone’s culture, rather I see it as an opportunity to learn.

  • alan56


    Embracing the Irish language is not a ‘cost’ of peace. It is a benefit.

  • Ian Butler

    I agree with you. My point was that in my experience Unionists find compromise difficult and will likely not see the benefits as I would. I found it interesting that the Irish middle schools english results are better than non irish speakers, which only proves the benefit of embracing language and culture from everywhere. The experience of Wales and the re-birth of its language is a lesson for me as it has added a new layer of cultural heritage to our common european home.

  • Danny Boy

    What’s with the ‘well’ before the ‘sex’? Oddly coy!

  • Driftwood


    Faugh A Ballagh!

  • Dec


    Fág an bealach. Note the difference.

  • Driftwood

    The Irish Guards and RIR, and indeed my old TA unit, the North Irish Horse, have a history here.
    A lot of serving soldiers in these great regiments are from Southern Ireland. Some of them must have a basic knowledge. Time to bridge a gap here?

  • Sean

    A story related to Driftwood’s point:

    in the 1980’s, an acquaintance was a British soldier on checkpoint duty in Belfast. A car was stopped; the occupants insisted on speaking Irish. An Irish-speaking soldier was called over (he was from Kerry, I think). The occupants of the car refused to talk to him, as he was a traitor to Ireland.

    Not strictly on point but relevant-ish I thought.

  • Brian MacAodh


    They probably didn’t even know Irish other than “Tiocardh ar la”.

    Good news though, I was unaware of these developments

  • Danny O’Connor

    Roll on the election results,it will bring JA down a peg or two,Ian óg is pissed that those pesky Fenians are getting too big for their boots.

  • Ian Butler

    I am really hoping that the split in the unionist vote will let in Ian Parsley for the Alliance. JA hopefully will be a rather nasty footnote in history

  • Big Maggie

    It doesn’t take much to put Jim’s nós out of joint :^)

  • eranu

    the PSNI are making a sensible gesture towards the irish speaking community. would anyone from the section of that community that are anti PSNI tell us if they would now be supportive of our new police force? would they for example not join in cursing the police if it came up while chatting in the pub to their mates? perhaps even stick up for them? it would be nice to see someone here saying their hostility has melted or is melting a bit? just wondering.

  • Alan – Newtownards

    Well done the police!

    As a unionist with an interest in the language (albeit as a leaner) I appreciate what the police were and are trying to do. This language belongs to us all.

    I get really annoyed with politician’s like Ian Paisley jnr and Jim Allister when they go on and on that the language is not for unionist’s. What tosh!

    I would agree with them that the shinners have made it incredibly hard for unionist’s to believe that there is a place for them in the Irish language community. Even the S.D.L.P are alienating unionist’s. Delores Kelly, debating with Ian jnr on U.T.V. on Tuesday night past, stated that the police held the meeting in Irish “to reach out to the republican/nationlist community”. This language does not belong to the republican/nationlist community alone. It belongs to unionist’s as well.

    I wish politician’s of all parties would stop turning the language into a political football.

  • Danny Boy

    Totally agree, Alan.

    Also, police learning Irish can’t be such a new development, because I know a couple of people who have taught them over the years. It’s great that they can shout about it a bit more now.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    It is nice to see the police doing this. Although it is a bit of a stunt it shows that an effort is being made to reach out to people. I agree with Alan, I wish the language could lose its political content, it is just a language and a part of culture. It would be nice to see people taking it up not because they are in the ‘nationalist/republican’ community or even because they want to reach out to the ‘nationalist/republican’ community. People should just take it up for the enjoyment and because it is rewarding to learn a language.

  • tuv supporter

    What a complete waste of time and resources. The police should be out on the streets not wasting time speaking in a dead dialect which has to be translated into English even for the so call speakers!

  • Neil


    obviously a lot of people have less hostility now than they did, hell some people are even reporting crime now for what little good it does them. I suppose it comes down to not pleasing all the people all the time, SF could never bring everyone with them as evidenced by the recent murders. There are most certainly a large number of people who will never support the PSNI in any way, those who have lost loved ones or been shot or abused by the RUC will have a much larger mountain to climb in declaring even neutrality towards the PSNI.

    The thing for the PSNI to do now is to tackle crime and anti social behaviour in areas such as West Belfast, in an attempt to cut the dissidents off at the pass. Because if the cops don’t step in and provide law and order then someone else will, IMHO. The thing is pretty much everyone wants law and order, everyone likes a quiet life, and at the minute in nationalist areas it seems like they aren’t getting it.

  • Caoimhin

    I think it is a good thing. It may help to destroy the mindset imposed by countless unionist politicians down the years.

    I don’t think Sinn Féin intentionally try to take the language away from Protestants, or Unionists for that matter. Although, when the language was destroyed by the British Empire as they imposed their rule, I think at that point it became political. As long as they refuse to allow it to be spoken in courts and inhibit its establishment it shall remain this way.

  • North By Northwest was there at the meeting. There was a similar attendance to English language versions of these meetings up here (even taking out reporters and staff). Interestingly, Sinn Feiners who spoke talked about the Irish language and policing. The same number of SDLP people spoke, but they raised regular policing issues but through the Irish language. Interesting difference.

    The other issue in this is how the broad nationalist media have presented this as a Sinn Fein event, when anyone from Derry who knew the crowd knew as many were SDLP types. So it isn’t only some unionists who help to ‘politicise’ the language.

    Poor Jim Allister deserves only pity. Well done to the PSNI and the Board for this positive step.

  • eranu

    neil, hopefully it will result in good will (and information) being given back to the police to tackle crime and anti social behaviour. looks like a good PR result for the peelers.

  • Ian Butler

    So everyone wins except Jim Allister. What a result!

  • SM

    Excellent initiative – whoever arranged this should be given a pat on the back.

    The Irish language is for all folk, and people objecting to it are silly eejits. I’m pro-union, and I think the pro-union parties could do a lot to de-politicse the language by, ironically, using it themselves in politics – am I being a crazy numpty or do others think that would help stop it being used as a political sliotar?

    Is this right? [It isn’t plural but I couldn’t figure out how to do that even with much googling]

    Votail Coimeádach agus Aontachtaí – Nicholson 1

  • eranu

    course the other way to look at it is that its less money to spend on actually tackling the crime in places like west belfast. its mentioned above that this is what people actually want (just like everywhere else).
    i wonder what 80 officers spending their time in west belfast rather than the classroom would have achieved? but then you get what you ask for dont you!

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m not sure of the benefits of the police learning a language that most nationalists and republicans do not understand.

  • RG Cuan

    Good step by the PSNI.

    North by Northwest is certainly right about political slant in The Irish News. It’s great they have a page in Irish but apart from that most of their reporting on the language is politicised and not exactly supportive.


    That’s right. Though Aontachtaí is the noun and Aontachtach is the adjective. Maith thú!

    Ádh mór ar chách sna Gradaim Chumarsáide! A win for the sexy Cailín sa Chathair would be a nice surpise!

  • SM

    course the other way to look at it is that its less money to spend on actually tackling the crime in places like west belfast. its mentioned above that this is what people actually want (just like everywhere else).
    i wonder what 80 officers spending their time in west belfast rather than the classroom would have achieved? but then you get what you ask for dont you!

    I don’t think its really a choice of either or. The cost of training a few officers to speak Irish is not going to be very much in terms of the overall budget, and if it helps some folk accept them as police and feel more inclinced to co-operate them then the cost-benefit ratio could well be favourable.

    RG Cuan – so which should I be using?

  • eranu

    SM, i agree that its worthwhile to do this to reach out to a section of the public. the police are to be commended for it. but it is an either or thing as regards money and time. if 80 officers spend 5 hours a week learning irish then thats 400 man hours a week spent not fighting crime and 400 hours of pay +teacher costs gone from the budget with no crimes solved in return. whatever the numbers it will have some effect. somebody in west belfast may wake up tomorrow to find their car has been stolen, which may have been avoided with only a little more time and money spent on crime fighting. thats the real world cost. in NI at the mo id say its worth it, but i wouldnt want to be that west belfast man tomorrow morning!

    its also a bit sad that there hasnt been more posts on this thread from sluggers irish language community welcoming this police move.

  • SM

    its also a bit sad that there hasnt been more posts on this thread from sluggers irish language community welcoming this police move.

    I was thinking that – it has dropped off the radar very quickly.

  • RG Cuan

    Probably the adjective.

    Vótáil Coimeádach agus Aontachtach.

    I’ll buy you a pint if you get this on their posters!