Petition to save Foinse from Foras cuts…

I don’t normally do e-petitions, but this one seems especially important, since it feels like in a deflationary situation the Republic’s institutions are in grave danger of throwing the wrong things out of the falling balloon. Like keeping translations of documents that no one reads, and chucking out the country’s only weekly newspaper at a time when even English language papers are struggling to survive… There’s a crunch meeting on Wednesday (ie tomorrow), so pass it on… You can sign here

  • What are they doing really?? ūüôĀ Can’t understand the logic behind it. I think we must rise our voice against it.

  • Big Maggie

    Signed.

  • GGN

    There is a a belief out there that if the State goes monolingual and drops the Official Languages Act, a result of the √ď Beol√°in case that some how a florishing Irish language media will develope.

    I think this is quite silly myself but I understand it is sincerly held.

  • Interestingly, as a result of the Official Languages Act, not one but two Irish language newspapers have folded or are in imminent danger of folding.

    How silly can it be to pump millions into the translation of documents which aren’t read in any language while starving newspapers which are read, albeit by a minority, of investment to the point that they fold? And then to say, ah sure, Irish is alright because we can get the annual reports of the public bodies in Irish.

    In GGN’s myopic view of the world, it seems to me, all one need do is pump funding into translations and placenames/logainmneacha and Irish will be fine.

    The argument isn’t that the Irish language media will develop following the dropping of the Official Languages Act but that in order for the Official Languages Act to work, there must be a flourishing Irish language media so that people are aware that Irish isn’t just a language of officialdom so a few strays here and there can put in a planning application as Gaeilge but that it’s part of their lives in a meaningful way.

    The ultimate silliness is that of those who cling to the ways of the past and hope to get different results. The game has changed and it’s time to wake up before it’s too late….

  • As a point of information, the Foras, Foinse’s funder, isn’t an institution of the ‘Republic’ but an All Ireland body, established under the Good Friday Agreement. In that case the crisis of Foinse isn’t just a ’26 county’ problem but one for all of Ireland and of lovers of Irish everywhere….

  • Gael gan N√°ire

    “The ultimate silliness is that of those who cling to the ways of the past and hope to get different results.”

    The Official Languages Act dates from 2003. I would respectfully suggest that a return to the pre 2003 situation would be a return to the ways of the past?

    My view is that there needs to be a balance. I believe in a bilingual state, yes. I also believe there has to be an Irish language media.

    I do not believe that the existence of a stronger media will garantee the future of Irish more than anything else. A variety of approaches are needed.

    I believe strongly that all legislation in the Irish State should be bilingual.

    I respect that others have a different view.

  • You still don’t get it. Nobody’s talking about turning the clock back to pre 2003 – but the idea that the Official Languages Act supersedes the Constitution is wrongheaded in law. The reason the Official Languages Act was enacted was to limit the amount of translation required because the constitution gives the right to every citizen to demand legislation in Irish if they require it.

    I regard legislation in Irish as a luxury at this point РI would like it of course Рbut I would prefer to be able to do my business in Irish with the Gardaí or whoever. And if I insist on doing my business with the Gardaí in Irish respectfully, there is nothing they can do to stop me.

    As far as I’m concerned the Official Languages Act is redundant. what needs to be done if you want legislation in Irish or whatever is that awareness of Irish as an important language in public life needs to be raised. The Irish language media are vital in this regard. The result of the OLA to date has been completely unbalanced in favour of increasing bureaucracy and against supporting Irish in the front line.

    I’m advocating strongly now for a decommissioning of the Coimisin√©ir Teanga (the King Canute figure in all of this) and a radical redrafting if not an entire repeal of the Official Languages Act – you can read more over on http://igaeilge.wordpress.com.

    It’s time to shout stop! We didn’t say it loud enough when L√° Nua went, now that Foinse’s going we have to make sure that those in authority here us. Or else, we will have to reclaim that authority…

  • Gael gan N√°ire

    “Or else, we will have to reclaim that authority‚Ķ”

    What do you mean?

  • GGN

    “Petition to save Foinse from Foras cuts‚Ķ”

    It is interesting that no FnaG employee has come along to correct the headline.

    At least we know they are working hard and not reading blogs all day.

  • ersehole

    “I‚Äôm advocating strongly now for a decommissioning of the Coimisin√©ir Teanga ”

    Oh good! So I can look forward to the return of the days of ‘Nah, Se√°nie’s not here today so nobody can speak Irish to ya. What is it ye wanted annyway?’.

  • GGN

    Concubhair,

    “I‚Äôm advocating … a decommissioning of the Coimisin√©ir Teanga … and a radical redrafting if not an entire repeal of the Official Languages Act”

    As a matter of interest, do you still advocate an Irish Language Act in the North? with a commissioner?

    How would you justify it to already sceptical unionists?

  • Janet

    We need legislation to provide a significant number and wide range of guaranteed rights in political institutions, and local authorities in education, in the media (including broadcasting – not just the print or online media) and in the courts. We need an enforcement mechanism. Legislation cannot solve all the developmental problems of the Irish speaking community, but it is one of a number of key means to normalise a minoritised language. Another one has to be serious and radical community development programmes supported by the state. This is not just about funding, its about extending decision-making powers to the community itself (ie not preventing them from making their own decisions, and stopping deciding arbitrarily that this project or that group should be discontinued). It is about promoting independence and strength in the Irish language community sector rather than setting groups against each other to fight for crumbs. I disagree with Concubhar’s call for an end to the Commissioner’s role in the south although I understand the point that the constitution is the bottom line in the south. But I am uncomfortable with the thought that Irish speakers could be caught in the ‘swopsies’ game with the state – ‘we don’t want this, we want that.’ We need to add to what we have, whether it is media or rights – not take away. We need a broad, complementary range of protections, services and initiatives. Most of all, we need a political climate that ceases to punish Irish speakers for the marginalisation of the Irish language by the state/s.

  • RG Cuan

    An end to An Coimisinéir Teanga would certainly be a negative, retrograde step, however I am sympathetic to the view that far too much money is being spent on the translation of documents that nobody reads, in any language.

    We need to add to all the provisions and services available to the Irish language community although I would say that priority should be given to projects and services that actually make a visible impact on a daily basis. In this respect, media projects etc. should come before translating legislation but again, a balance has to be met and one should not be given up just for the sake of the other.

    At the end of the day, the real responsibility of promoting the language lies with us, the Irish language community, and many of us are simply ploughing ahead with the work, providing services for our community, with or without state support.

  • On-line petitions are clever.
    However, to be effective, each signature should represent a commitment to…

    ● Subscribe to Foinse. http://www.foinse.ie/subscribe.php

    ● Write/call to Foinse’s advertisers, thanking them for their support.

    ● Write/call/fax Foras na Gaeilge.

    ● Write to the Taoiseach.

    ● Write to TD’s (if in Ireland) or to the Irish Embassy/Consulate (if abroad). Tell the the Foinse is important to you.

    ● Encourage others to do the same.

    Such a petition, with teeth in it, would be effective!

  • The Coimisin√©ir Teanga is a toothless tiger unable to tackle the really powerful institutions – such as RT√Č – who exert a real influence on the lives and attitudes of people. RT√Č has yet to agree a sc√©im teanga with the Minister therefore the Coimisin√©ir, himself a former RT√Č employee, has no remit.

    Even where he does have a remit, ie where there is a language scheme agreed, the worst sanction he can provide is the naming of the public body concerned in his annual report and the media provide the shaming. So all I say, naively no doubt, is to cut out the middle man.

    Now it looks increasingly likely that there will be no Irish language print media, apart from Nós and Nuacht 24, who will be able to provide indepth coverage of such reports as in the English language media these get lost. And nós*does not have the will nor the resources to do this kind of work Рand who could blame them Рa youth oriented magazine is hardly the place for such material as this. Nuacht 24 is simply under-resourced.

    Anyhow, my basic point is that language legislation in the south has been skewed away from worthwhile projects towards increasing bureaucracy – as if we needed more – and if my call results in a rebalancing that’s fine. Proposed language legislation in the north is a far different animal but I very much doubt that Pobal’s proposals as worthy as they are will ever see the statute books. I think SF would sell everything worthwhile in that proposal to ensure that an Irish Language Act was enacted – so they could claim credit for a symbolic pyrrhic victory – but that it would be no good and would illserve the Irish language community in the north….

  • Ray

    “We need legislation to provide a significant number and wide range of guaranteed rights in political institutions, and local authorities in education…”

    Janet,
    Why is Pobal supporting the destruction of the gaelscoil movement in NI by its inability and/or refusal to speak out against the Sinn Fein-led Department of Education and its campaign to shut down primary and secondary Irish schools?
    Is it because Pobal is being funded by Foras and Pobal is under a gag order?
    And Foras is controlled by 4 Sinn Fein board members plus the FF members?
    Just like in Iran we need to know the truth and not have fraulent governments that make decisions against the interests of the people.

  • Everyone Loves Raymond

    Ray, you’re good craic, giz ur number.

  • Ray

    In Iran a young innocent woman, Neda Soltan, was shot through the heart by Iranian paramilitaries from a roof top. It just happened that someone has their mobile phone turned on and was able to film the tragedy as it was occuring.
    In Ireland the same tragedy is taking place with the Irish language except everyone has their mobile phones turned off and are refusing to film the tragedy and refuse to speak out about the destruction of the gaelscoil movement.
    Martin McGuinness deliberately shut 3 gaelscoileanna when he was Education Minister. He did not shut down any other type of schools. In fact, he overrode his senior civil servants when they recommended that other schools be shut down.
    Is everyone afraid to ask why?
    Why is the NI Department of Education refusing to fund an Irish College, Colaiste Speirin, in Cookstown, home of the seat of power of the mid-Ulster MP, Martin McGuinness.
    Why has the Deparment of Education shut down the Irish College in Derry, the actual home of Martin McGuinness?
    Why the total refusal by Foras and Comhairle to help fund new independent Irish gaelsoileanna?
    Why is it the policy of Comhairle to destroy the gaelscoil movement by putting it under the Catholic Church, an organisation which should have nothing to do with children because of its very long history of paedophilia.
    Why is Sinn Fein, the Catholic Church, Foras, and Comhairle working in unison to wipe out gaelscoil education?
    With all due respect to Janet why is Pobal not speaking out on behalf of the gaelscoil movement?
    Where are the mobile phones to film this atrocity?
    Do we already have an Iran in western Europe? At least in Iran, Neda and others stood up to be counted and showed their courage.

  • sinless

    Ray: Why? Some of your questions border on the conspiratorial. So why are the Provos so death against the Irish mob?

  • Ray

    sinless,
    I simply look at what has transpired, fact-by-fact over the past decade. I simply look at the record. I am not really into conspiracies.
    I had thought or had been lead to believe that Sinn Fein and the Irish language community were on the same page. I found out otherwise.
    You ask the question why? I cannot answer that.
    I do know that over a period of less than decade in the 1990s, some six dosen Irish schools were opened independent of Sinn Fein and without a penny from Sinn Fein. Apparently, that was bitterly resented by Sinn Fein and they have set out to crush the schools in revenge.
    There is no political credit they can rightly claim. There is a skeleton in the closet called the truth, and it is an embarassing one, apparently, for the Shinners.
    Do not get me wrong, there are some very good Shinners out there at community level. But Sinn Fein is a very authocratic organisation that is incapable of free thought or action. It does not tolerate dissent of any kind. There is the party and nothing else.
    The people who helped found those schools were attempting to do things on a cross community basis. That apparently has been resented. Those people also forged ties with Scotland. That apparently was also resented.
    Sinn Fein believes and practices its own version of totalitarian control. Power has gone to a number of peoples’ heads. Control is everything to Sinn Fein and that must only be SF control.
    The Irish schools proved to be one of the most successful economic engines in NI over the past 20 years, totally overlooked.
    If you notice, no one from Sinn Fein will attempt to refute any of the facts/allegations.
    As I said earlier I am not into conspiracies. The interlocking conflicts of interests between different state, religious, and political organisations is there for all to see, but much more importantly, their record of decision-making and denying all funding to non-conforming groups who were the ones who built up the language.
    Go to community level and ask what has been acccomplished over the past 6 – 7 years involving the Irish language, and you will find a trail of despair and people afraid to speak out.
    The Irish language activists believe in courage and honour, not political treachery to benefit the few at the cost of the many in the working class community who strive to keep hope alive and build a better future for their children and those children of all communities.
    I am trying to be constructive.