Talks and the ILA

Whilst talks continue on the devolution of Policing and Justice let us remind ourselves that an Irish Language Act was also part of the St. Andrew’s Agreement.

There has been no mention of the proposed Act being an issue in the current talks and I have no indication whatsoever that it is.
My view has also been that the proposed Act is a long term campaign and that equality for the language in the North is highly unlikely so long as unionism maintains a majority, aside from the slight possibility of British government direct intervention in a Plan B scenario, but I do not believe that Plan B actually exists.

I for one am dead set against any trade off involving the Irish Language Act and parades, such an equivalence would be a unionist wet dream and would kill off the Irish language movement completely in a number of key working class areas.

I would have to point out that according to my own ear almost all Irish speakers (i.e. those who speak Irish as a vernacular language) would prefer that the assembly would collapse.

Having said that, most would not want it to collapse on the issue of an ILA – and I certainly don’t as that would jeopardise the status of the language and its potential for growth in the broad (English speaking) nationalist community.

Sinn Féin will point out that they continue to lobby for an Irish Language Act and that the Act would not be on any political agenda had Sinn Féin not put it there. I think that point is quite an obvious one. Though it must also be said that a language act has the support of the vast majority of the North’s Irish speakers and that Sinn Féin were responding to that pressure.

Any suggestion that Sinn Féin seek to hoist an Act on Irish speakers is unionist fantasy and lets us not forget that the Irish language bill before the assembly is an SDLP one.

However Sinn Féin’s opponents in the Irish speaking community have certainly hardened their views as a result of the Act not coming to fruition.

If, and it is a big if, there is something to be gained on language issues from the current talks, it is highly unlikely to satisfy Sinn Féin’s critics in the Irish speaking community but it may satisfy a silent majority, at least as an interim step to equality.

To my mind, Sinn Féin, and Sinn Féin’s Irish speakers need to engage their opponents as Gaeilge and in public.

My view is that pressure needs to keep up on all political parties to deliver on language issues but that that pressure should be a rational one – lest politicians fear to come within a donkey’s bray of language issues.

A classic example is that for some in the Irish speaking community in the North Minister Ruane will only ever be remembered and frankly detested for the school she did not give recognition to, the schools she did give recognition to and the support she has given to IME in general being forgotten.

That is a political mistake in my view.

Things are changing as we see on Slugger’s pixels, unionism is changing, nationalism is changing, political parties are changing. We have a huge opportunity to influence people like never before in this unsure period. Young people need something new and dynamic, the Irish language movement can be that and we must grasp that nettle and get to work on the ground.

Demonising other Irish speakers, non Irish speakers who support the language etc. etc. for failing to deliver on each and every demand despite the fact that we live in a statelet demographically engineered to deny us our rights is not going to help in the task of selling the language to the broad nationalist and republican community in the North.

Many will vigorously disagree but you cannot sell your ideas to those you castigate.

For me, this is our decade if we get the work done.

  • Danny Boy

    If the ILA is seen as a bargaining chip in the P+J wrangling this will only reinforce the impression that it is a Sinn Fein issue – and as their name suggests, Sinn Fein are not good at sharing. The more the Irish language is seen as theirs, the less plausible is the claim that it belongs to all of us. Bit of a Catch 22, as they’re the only show in town for the moment.

  • Don’t panic, Gael gan Náire. One thing at a time. Don’t confuse them, FFS …. we get the message, Thanks.

  • Marcionite

    You can’t eat flags but you can eat your words

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    To be honest Unionist policy on the Irish language is Bigoted/Racist

    Why can the Irish language not have the same rights as the Welsh language in Wales or the Gaelic language in Scotland.

    It is strange that Unionists do not wish an indigenous in one part of the UK to have the same rights as an indigenous in another part of the UK>

  • RG Cuan

    Great post from GAEL GAN NÁIRE, hits most of the nails right on the head.

    A lot of excellent, innovative and dynamic work is being done by the Irish language community at the minute and we all have to focus in the same direction to make even more progress.

    DANNY BOY

    Sinn Féin only means ‘Ourselves’. As GGN alludes, the Irish speaking community, and of course the language itself, is much bigger than just one party and always will be. As the Gaelic community grows and gains confidence it will continue to attract people from a range of different social/cultural/political perpectives and will be richer for it.

    Indeed, if the English language media gave the general Irish language community the opportunity to speak on matters regarding the language, instead of politicians, your point wouldn’t even be an issue.

  • Danny Boy

    Absolutely, RG Cuan. It’s just a pity that for a variety of reasons SF end up having a (perhaps unwilling) monopoly on the public argument for the ILA. Why do you think so few other pro-Irish language voices are heard outside Irish language circles?

  • Jim Allister tweet: Going on Hearts & Minds tonight to discuss p & j.

  • Blue Hammer

    Nonsense.

    There will not be and cannot be “equality” since the use of Irish is simply a hobby, not a realistic means of communication in the 21st century. There is not a soul alive in Northern Ireland with an interest in Irish who cannot speak English as their primary tongue. In truth, more people in NI speak Mandarin.

    If you want to make your argument based on culture, well that is fine, and i would be broadly supportive of cultural support and recognition of Irish as a historic cultural language, precious to those who see themselves as gaelic. Sticking signs up in Irish in republican or other areas does not make it the indigenous language.

    However, seeking to ascribe “equality” to your hobby presumably requires a whole raft of translation services, signage and other means of support, basically to facilitate a non-existent constituency – those who cannot communicate in English. I do not try to denigrate Irish language by calling it a hobby – that is just what i consider it to be. At least it was a real language, and not “English with a Cullybackey accent” like our other tongue!

    At a time when hospital cuts are being enforced, how can such waste be justified? So that a group of people who wish to keep their language alive amongst themselves can, for example, write to the likes of the DHSSPS in Irish to complain about, say, poor hospital care in what amounts to an inessential expression of their culture through an ancient language?

  • I would have to point out that according to my own ear almost all Irish speakers (i.e. those who speak Irish as a vernacular language) would prefer that the assembly would collapse.

    What then? What would be the reaction of IL activists to taking your campaign to the House of Commons? Presumably your chances of achieving any kind of success would be greater there.

    Apart from that, your post comes across as insular, ie the only selling you imply you need to do now is to the “broad nationalist and republican community in the North”. Does that mean you’ve given up on everyone outside that “community”?

  • Blair

    “I would have to point out that according to my own ear almost all Irish speakers (i.e. those who speak Irish as a vernacular language) would prefer that the assembly would collapse.

    Having said that, most would not want it to collapse on the issue of an ILA – and I certainly don’t as that would jeopardise the status of the language and its potential for growth in the broad (English speaking) nationalist community.”

    So it’s a sectarian issue then.

  • Marcionite

    I do understand the concerns unionists have about the Irish Language. Welsh and Scots Gaelic don’t have the same opposition (no opposition hardly) due to the fact that Welsh and Scottish nationalists didnt have an armed wing that killed people of an inordinate membership of one religious community.

    Also, how many SDLP people have you ever heard speaking Irish? Let’s face it, the only time we ever heard Irish spoken in the North during the troubles was by SF and at graveside orations of dead IRA men. Not the best PR for enticing unionists for learning let alone liking it.

    I don’t think the sound of German was v popular in Tel Aviv circa 1950 but I’m sure the bitterness around language will subside with time.

    I say this and I am a lapsed Irish speaker from the nationalist community. I was put off by it because of the bigoted attitudes held by most of those around me who spoke it.

    SF are just street protesters pretending to be a political party.

    Give them the IFA and what next, change to the flags and emblems ? Not that would be a bad idea but lets get all these things on the table at once and get it over with so we can try to govern otherwise we can write the news in advance for the years 2010 to 2020

  • RG Cuan

    MARCIONITE

    I don’t know where you are from but your experience seems quite strange to me. As Irish speakers are bilingual i usually find it gives them an extra perspective of the world, very much more open to other ideas and cultures and far from the bigotted attitudes you mention.

    One of the most frequent Irish speakers in the Assembly is Dominic Bradley from the SDLP.

    Opposition to Gaelic in Scotland, and to Welsh, does exist. In Wales it is almost as fervent as it is here and Welsh language activists are imprisoned on a very regular basis.

    BLUE HAMMER

    Where have you been for the last number of years? As far as I can remember, there are about 800 speakers of Chinese languages in NI. There are about 20,000 here who speak Irish as their first language.

    I respect your point of view but when you look at the Irish language community – in particular our media scene of newspapers, magazines, news websites, blogs, radio stations, a tv channel, Facebook etc – it’s quiet off the mark to claim that it’s “not a realistic means of communication in the 21st century”.

    DANNY BOY

    I guess the main reason why we don’t hear from the actual Irish language community on such issues is because the English language media automatically contact SF.

    Work needs to be done on this.

  • Gael gan Náire

    oneill,

    On a point of information I believe that the Irish language should be promoted without regard to class, religon or political view.

    Some activists and organisations engage in that and far play to them – I have done the work myself, but for its own sake – not because I buy into any narrative that it is necessary.

    I do not believe that we should hold ourselves back in fear of unionist sensititives and I believe that it up to unionists to do the outreach to Irish speakers not the other way round.

    Frankly, the biblical story of casting your seed on stoney ground springs to mind when I think of all that I have witnessed and heard from unionist parties on the language question.

    They have gone out of their way to express hatred in the strongest and most offensive way possible, even in private. Therefore to me they have but themselves out of the debate and certainely I give their concerns no thought whatsoever.

    Frankly, the work is to be done on the ground and their is little unionism can do to stop that.

  • Mark McGregor

    GGN,

    Something to reflect on. Slugger used to have regular posts in Irish from Mick. As the use of Irish became a big political issue and as you were introduced as a blogger we have never had less post as Gaelige on the site.

    It seems the language was damaged when politics became part of the equation, on Slugger at least.

  • fin

    Marcionite
    Wasn’t Ireland, Wales and Scotland invaded by an English speaking race? strange that as a nationalist you only perceive suffering in one particular communities history, and its not your own.

    Regards German in Tel Aviv, for a start there’s all those German Jews and as Yiddish is a High German language its safe to say German is the most spoken language in Tel Aviv.

    You were put off Irish by Irish speaking bigots, as a nationalist in the North you never came across an English speaking bigot, or do you just accept the English version

  • Gael gan Náire

    Mark,

    I never write anything in English that I have not already written in some form in Irish.

    Occasionally, I will write a post in English on Irish for the purposes, I hope of information and debate.

    I would dearly love to be blogging about a host of issues here in Irish but I am extremely busy and Slugger does not pay, others can and do.

    That is just the truth.

    I cannot say why Mick does not publish more in Irish that is a matter for him.

  • Marcionite

    RG CUAN

    I’m not saying members of the SDLP don’t speak it but one never hears them mention it or speak. Don’t Irish speakers not understand how it was and is used as a weapon to annoy unionists? The SDLP let the cultural aspects of Irishness slip to SF in totality due thier schizoid “are we social democrats or are we nationalists” outlook from their inception. By the time they worked it out that they were nationalists, it was too late. Didn’t Danny Morrison say that every word of Irish spoken was a bullet against the British or something like that?

    If we want parity of esteem of Irish, it has to be when it is no longer seen as the language of Provos. U can pass the act by all means and be smug about having road signs saying Doire and Beal Feirste but if over 60%of our people here feel threatened by that, then were engaging in triumphalism.

    As for Welsh activists being jailed, it was not for speaking Welsh, they were jailed for assault and criminal damage. I got a parking ticket last week and so did my wife. Can I now say that Irish nationalists are now being given parking fines? Really, employ some logic please

  • “On a point of information I believe that the Irish language should be promoted without regard to class, religon or political view.”

    GGN,

    Having read your comments previously here and elsewhere, I know that’s the case and that’s why I was surprised with the tone of this post where you have specifically limited the potential of the promotion of language to the “nationalist and republican community”.

    It’s that limitation (along with bigotry from certain Unionist politicians) which turns it from a cultural into a political issue and consequently and inevitably puts the language into a communal straitjacket.

  • Harry J

    Why can the Irish language not have the same rights as the Welsh language in Wales or the Gaelic language in Scotland……..

    beacuse this is NOT ireland its NOrthern Ireland and the language here is English

  • socaire

    Well, lets have NOrthern Irish! And please, Mick, can you change the default on ‘notify me of follow-up comments’ to tick for ‘no’ I’m just after deleting 1000 from my e-mail that somebody has responded etc

  • Fabianus

    Harrt J,

    “beacuse this is NOT ireland its NOrthern Ireland and the language here is English”

    Are you sure? To hear many of my fellow Nordies speak is to wonder whether they’re speaking English at all. Or indeed any known language.

    That said, the University of Ulster has just published the findings of an interesting survey.

    Seems that Irish speakers have the edge over monoglots. They tend to be among the most affluent, and indeed the brightest in the island of Ireland.

    “One thing that emerges is that Irish speakers are better educated than non-Irish speakers. They do the kind of subjects that take them into these kinds of occupations.

    “It’s a network effect. If you are in a network of Irish speaking people and part of that culture, and some of them are already in good jobs, well if a vacancy comes up, all things being equal they will prefer an Irish speaker to a non-Irish speaker. It is a network; you belong to a ‘club’.

    So it seems to be a good idea to learn Irish. Just think where the Robinsons and Paisleys could be today if they’d picked up a word or two along the way. Why, each would be holding down several well-paying jobs at one time.

    Oh, wait…

  • joeCanuck

    Oh, wait…

    Cute, Fabianus. hehehehe

  • The Raven

    “It is strange that Unionists do not wish an indigenous…”

    You, of course, mean SOME unionists?

  • RG Cuan

    MARCIONITE

    Don’t Irish speakers not understand how it was and is used as a weapon to annoy unionists?

    Are you for real? This view is unbelievably outdated and is not relevant for today’s Irish speaking population, if it ever was. You must know some members of the Irish language community – do you think they speak Irish to annoy other people? I’m 100% sure they don’t.

    I’m an Irish speaker in my late 20s, I work through Irish, I use Irish language websites, I sometimes listen to Irish language pop/rock/reggae/hip hop, I regularly watch Irish language tv programmes, I make love through Irish and tonight I’ll be going for a pint with my friends. We’ll be speaking Irish. I don’t do any of this to annoy Unionists or non-Irish speakers. I do it because it’s my life, my culture, my future. In my mind Gaelic is for everybody but I cannot be expected to somehow change my life, or stop asking for bilingual roadsigns in pro-Gaelic areas, just because some narrow-minded people feel uncomfortable.

    And hanging on to some obscure statement somebody supposedly said in the last millenium is also no longer valid. Things have moved on.

    As for Wales, the analogy to your parking ticket story is ridiculous. I mentioned Welsh language activists simply to illustrate the fact that their language movement is very pro-active (much more so than here) and that there is quite a bit of hostility to the language in Wales itself. Activists are regularly jailed for taking part in protests, graffiti campaigns etc. in favour of a new Welsh Language Act and for greater recognition from the private sector.

  • georgieleigh

    “At a time when hospital cuts are being enforced, how can such waste be justified?”

    Quite right, bluehammer. And you are consistent on this issue, for I well remember you calling for the implementation of an Irish Language Act when there was a budget expansion in the Health Services.

    “We’re not short of sticking plasters, now let’s speak Irish” was your catchphrase if I remember correctly.

  • A quick response to oneill’s extremely valid point (@7.44pm). If you go to iGaeilge, where this discussion was begun in Irish earlier today, you will find a link to a Church of Ireland document about the value that hierarchy sees in reclaiming Irish. Herre is the link to save you the trouble…..
    http://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/Information/Submissions/Ch_Soc/coiirish.pdf

    I find GGN’s entreaties not to castigate political parties [ie Sinn Féin] for using the Irish language to build its poltical power while neglecting to deliver on its promises insulting. This bald propoganda reminds me of the time in 1998 when a document was leaked from the NIO in which some Irish speakers were described as ‘abrasive’ because they dared to raise their voices in protest at various measures to marginalise Irish were implemented.

    Now we have to stop castigating SF because then we won’t be able to sell our ideas to them. Shucks. Now SF is part of the establishment, they have to be protected from the abrasive Gaels!

    Sinn Féin, we’re told, lobbies for an Irish Language Act – but there’s no evidence that they actually do anything except deliver bellicose statements and organise pointless parades to get people out on the streets to demand an Irish Language Act which SF never intends to deliver. The whole point of SF’s involvement in a campaign for an Irish language act is not to deliver legislation but to carry on a campaign which points to a basic inequality at the heart of Northern Ireland. If that inequality was eliminated SF believes that the public would desert them in droves.

    Now SF is part of the establishment, they have to be protected against awkward questions from abrasive Gaels who see through their “Irish language” charades and recognise them as the charlatans that they are.

    After all, this is the party that ‘campaigns’ for Irish language signage and simultaneous translation services etc – but in the Gaeltacht in Gaoth Dobhair runs its Cumann meetings in English!

    When I was editor of Lá Nua, we castigated SF for its failure to protect the Irish Language Broadcast Fund which had been aced by their Executive colleague, then Culture Minister Edwin Poots. I firmly believe that as a result of the embarrassment the party felt as a result of being called to account publicly in that way on that occasion that SF demanded the restoration of the Fund as its price for supporting the election of Peter Robinson as First Minister in May 2008.

    So GGN is wrong – SF should be castigated and castigated with feervour That’s the only way to get the party to do something practical for the Irish language and, indeed, on any issue worth talking about.

  • Reader

    Professor Booroah: well if a vacancy comes up, all things being equal they will prefer an Irish speaker to a non-Irish speaker. It is a network; you belong to a ‘club’.
    So it’s sort of like being a Protestant, or a Catholic, or a Mason, or in Opus Dei, or an Anglophone – except without any chance that someone might view the discrimination in a negative light?

  • Marcionite

    Yes Ireland was invaded by England all those years ago and we all now speak English. I have nothing against Irish, of course not and I applaud those speakers who do reach out and are open minded.

    I would like everyone to speak it and want to speak it but not because SF tells us to. Funny how those who tell me how outdated my arguments are yet they throw the ancient English invasion of Ireland at me! In those dark distant days, everyone invaded everyone else. That’s how our modem day nations and languages came to be.

    I want an united Ireland of Gaels, Brits and our immigrant friends who add colour and vibrancy to our country. I want Ireland to be a multi ethnic nation where our constituent cultures can proudly call themselves Irish first, Gael/Brit second.

    The language could be a symbol of the expression of that common Irish identity. But my point is that like or nit, no matter how illogical YOU may think unionists are about the Irish language, their perceptions and attitudes to it need to be addressed. If you are a Protestant, the sound of Irish is a cold scarey thing as it is identified as the tongue of the IRA.

    Yes you may be a cool funky Irish speaker but you are not the image that comes to mind when unionists think of Irish

    It’s our responsibility to wrest the Irish culture from those who kept the border in place, the Provo movement. In the 60s, unionists described themselves as Irish. The IRA actions drove them from feeling Irish and sought sanctuary in their British identity.

    Irish is being used as a weapon. There’s no sure way of making something divisive as activism. If SF stopped ramming down our throats and just leave it, people may come to learn Irish of their own volition in the same way people don’t need SF to tell us to learn pottery in our local night class

  • Marcionite

    As an addendum, someone once said there will be a united Ireland not when Protestants become nationalists but when they don’t mind one.

    One of the troubles with the two communities in NI is that each is a cariacture of the country they claim allegiance to. I wish Unionists were really like the Brits ie the cool funky progressive secular people like the ones u meet in Brighton or Manchester. I wish the Nationalists were like those from Dublin or Mayo ie confident, not feeling they have to wear Irishness like a badge.

    The seeds of change will be in working class loyalist area. Those who suffered the most are the most wiling yo engage if given a chance. The PUP despite past associations are the only sane voice of unionism and engagement. It’s with these people the ideas of an inclusive Irishness can have mileage

    I remember when GFA was signed and seeing the loyalists jeer at a speechless Paisley “where r u taking us now Paisley”

    I genuinely though he wad finished. I though the PUP would have swept the board

    what happened?

  • IanR

    “There has been no mention of the proposed Act being an issue in the current talks and I have no indication whatsoever that it is.”

    It was mentioned in an article in today’s BelTel:

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/peter-robinson-expected-to-join-talks-sessions-today-14634905.html

    “It was also being said that another core matter, legislation to boost the status of the Irish language — a long and central Sinn Fein demand — is also in the mix and could be dealt with through the House of Commons rather than the Assembly, in what some will view as a side deal.”

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark,

    Two reasons there’s not much Irish language blogging. One, I’ve got absorbed in other things. And two, the amount of outlets that do real outputs are dropping like a stone.

    I would however really appreciate heads ups on good Irish content, and I will republish stuff here as and when it comes to hand.

  • Fabianus

    Marcionite,

    Excellent comment at 22.49. My compliments.

    I do believe you’re right about those caricatures, and that the reality north and south of the border vindicates your argument.

  • georgieleigh

    Mick,

    You might not have done much Irish language blogging lately, but at least you haven’t banned it.

    Which is more than can be said for other ‘irish’ sites.

    Slugger’s reasonable disposition towards Gaelic is evidenced by this thread. I mean, we’ve got as far as the SECOND PAGE without someone claiming that the Irish language was ooooohhhh…wait for it…here we go now…yes once more ..

    ..BEING RAMMED DOWN THEIR THROATS!!!!

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    The Raven said

    “23.“It is strange that Unionists do not wish an indigenous…”

    You, of course, mean SOME unionists?”

    Yes you are correct.

    My heartfelt apologies for stereotyping all Unionists as a homogeneous block.

    Well done for speaking up and it is good that some Unionists have the vision to see the bigger picture.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Harry J said

    “beacuse this is NOT ireland its NOrthern Ireland and the language here is English

    Posted by Harry J on Jan 14, 2010 @ 07:52 PM”

    So shall I take it that you want different rules for indegenous’s languages here in NI than other parts of the UK.

    You wish for NI to be different to have its own “separate” ways of dealing with this issue.

    If its good enough for Wales and Scotland within the UK to treat one of their indegenous languages with respect then it would be an absurd anachronism for an NI within the UK to behave differently.

    Are you a NI separatist. You cannot on the one hand extol the virtues of the values of the UK (when it suits you) and on the other reject inclusive policies within the UK when that suits you.

    Hail Harry J “A NI Separist”

  • The Irish language has been abused by political activists for so long that many think it is mainly used to have a go at the unionists.

    In addition many of the political activists Irish is so bad it would put anyone off.

    The fact is the Irish have always been brilliant at English and, like Americans, have made it their own.

    If I were a parent concerned for my childs education I would make sure the language he learned other than English, was the fast growing Spanish, followed by the international power to be, Chinese.

    I like Irish and like the idea of it being taught, but if it means as it does in the Republic, that you would have to speak Irish to get a job in public service, forget it. As for the cost of printing everything twice, the money would be better spent on the needs of the people the politicians are meant to represent.

    You know whats sad? The despised English dont give a monkeys which language the Irish speak.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Translation costs yes but surely printing costs would only be for those who wish to print themselves these days.

  • RG Cuan

    MARCIONITE

    Irish is being used as a weapon.

    Your post was quite reasonable until this statement in the last paragraph. If you really believe that you need to get out more and meet more Irish speakers. I think you should also reconsider how a language can actually be used as a weapon.

    In fact I find it quite insulting that somebody would claim this about the language I, my family, friends and colleagues use on a daily basis. Anybody and everybody is free to speak, learn and use Irish, and people from all backgrounds do.

    Only in NI could speaking and promoting the indigenous language of the area be seen in such a warped light. Concubhar has linked to a Church of Ireland document about promoting Irish, are they now “ramming the language down the throats” of their congregation too?

    Labeling a language because of its occasional use by certain politicians is the equivalent of labeling all 20 year old cafe owners as MILF hunters.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    poppakin said

    “The despised English dont give a monkeys which language the Irish speak.”

    Are the English despised these days. Remove the BNP and their followers and the English are a very broadminded and inclusive lot these days.

    Certainly Irish people of all shades have a lot to learn from todays “English” person.

  • Gael gan Náire

    “The despised English dont give a monkeys which language the Irish speak.”

    Hence most Irish speakers I know want the assembly to collapse.

    Most British people in Britian have different attitude to minority and indigenous cultures than British people here.

    Indeed the British Royal family patrons and supporters of the Gaelic language and culture in Scotland.

  • RG Cuan

    PIPPAKIN

    International research – from Ireland, Catalunya, Wales, Basque Country, Canada – has all shown that children who are bilingual from an early age have numerous learning advantages over monoglot kids. They learn faster, make connections quicker and pick up a third or fourth language with relative ease.

    Of course the easiest way to ensure children are bilingual here is to send them to a Gaelscoil, then they’ll have the skills to learn Spanish, Mandarin or any other tongue in no time.

    Indeed I know a lot more Irish speakers who speak a third language than monoglot English speakers who speak a second.

    And PANIC et al. has it with the translation issue, it’s all online these days so printing costs aren’t that significant.

  • Gael gan Náire
  • R G Cuan

    You must not have been listening when Irish was being spoken at the Unionists, very badly I might add, by people who are close relatives of the ‘heres one I learned earlier’ brigade.

    I dislike the sectarian views of some as much as anyone, but I also think the Irish language has been politicized and this needs to be put right.

    Panic these ones like it up em

    Not as much as in the past, but I still see attempts to blame the English for everything that goes wrong up to and including the weather!

  • RG Cuan

    PIPPAKIN

    I also think the Irish language has been politicized and this needs to be put right.

    Politicisation of language is very subjective but the main way in which this is being “put right” is by the Irish language community themselves who simply live their lives everyday in Irish.

    Also, anybody is free to use a language in any way they wish. That includes Unionist parties of course and I’m looking forward to the day the UUP or DUP produce election information etc. in Irish.

    I find it very ironic that some Unionist politicians base their opposition to Irish on claims that it’s only a ‘nationalist’ language when in fact they have the power to change that – all they need to do is use it a bit themselves and their problem is solved:

    UUP – Ag Obair Ar Son Rialtais Mhaith agus Freagrachta / Working For Good Government and Accountability

    DUP – Ceannasaíocht Láidir In Uair An Dúshláin / Strong Leadership In Challenging Times

  • fin

    I don’t mind people who speak Irish but….
    I don’t mind black people but….
    I don’t mind Islam but………

    There’s an awful undercurrent of bigotry/racism here been dressed up as something else

    mmmh people speaking Irish badly, the facists

    As for people who play Gaelic or Hurling badly, obviously only doing it to annoy the decent folk

  • R G Cuan

    I agree but if the only time someone speaks Irish is to put one over on the opposition, well, that tends to be seen in a certain light. In addition all languages are ‘nationalist’ except possibly, English, which has become truly international, but then it would, as it takes which ever word appeals and is in fashion, uses it, abuses it, then dumps it.

    Fear not though, English is likely to lose out to the upcoming Spanish, or perhaps Spanglish will be adopted who knows or really even cares.

    fin

    How can I put this, I dont care who does or doesnt speak Irish or any other language. Indeed my attitude is far more relsxed. I believe Irish people speak, write and communicate better in English than the English, or any other English speaking nation for that matter.

    When it comes to bigotry you might ask yourself who is worse, the one who insists it must be preserved, as if their identity depends upon it. Or the one who says, just dont spend too much public money, money that could be better spent helping people recover from serious illness, housing the homeless, little things like that.

    I do care about costs, I do care that language should be just a means of communication, not a stick to beat someone with.

  • Kensei

    Or the one who says, just dont spend too much public money, money that could be better spent helping people recover from serious illness, housing the homeless, little things like that.

    Let’s cancel all arts funding then. Sports? No money, could go on schools. Excetera. Theer are issue sabout appropriate amounts of money but dear lord if this sin’t a brain dead arguemnt.

    I do care about costs, I do care that language should be just a means of communication, not a stick to beat someone with.

    Languages are much more than “communication”. Else Shakespeare is pointless, and ITV can’t run interesting programmes on the English language.

  • Fabianus

    pippakin,

    “I believe Irish people speak, write and communicate better in English than the English, or any other English speaking nation for that matter.”

    Edwin Poots believes the earth to be 6000 years old. I suppose everyone’s entitled to his very own wacky beliefs.

  • Kensei

    If its a question of saving a life or housing a painting, you bet they can cancel art funding.

    As for education that is clearly a necessity, which art funding, outside school, is not. Sport yes, so long as its part of school activities. I see no point in paying for someone to kick, or bat a ball about. I leave that to sports fans.

    Language is indeed more than just a means of communication and I am sorry I did not make that clear. However it should never be used as a weapon, and I see no need to rush to impose it. The island of Ireland will be united and on that happy day the whole subject of language will be dealt with at the stroke of a pen, not the beating of people.

    As for Shakespeare I like the sonnets, but I do wonder how far his version of English would get him today.

  • Fabianus

    Are you suggesting the Irish dont speak English better than others? Shame on you!

    In fact Irish people no more speak English than American people do. We have our own version and it is a beautiful language evolving daily as it should.

    As for Edwin Poots, I have no idea what he believed, and fail to see the relevance. I like my ‘wacky’ beliefs, which are above all for us to reach out and welcome.

  • Fabianus

    pippakin,

    “In fact Irish people no more speak English than American people do. We have our own version and it is a beautiful language evolving daily as it should.”

    That’s more like it. Vive la différence, as they say in Mullingar.

  • Paddy

    In Breandan O Heihir excellent Lig Sinn i Gcathu, Lead us into Temptation, he speaks of Dev, the Gerry Adams of his day.

    Whenever Dev lost an election, he would soon start appearing at church gates, stressing the need to preserve the language.

    The Irish language got hijacked by politicians, careerists, guys after the small grants available. Nothing else could be expected in a land of urbanised peasants.

    The Northern Nationalists, long denied any form of self identity [removed]eg playing sports, drinking on a Sunday) are, of course, entitled to express their Irishness through language.

    It is a natural evolution. That their political enemies are Hibernophobes does not change that.

    Just think: If Enya had have grown up in the (now defunct) South Armagh or East Tyrone Gaeltachtai, the world might not have heard of her, save for er lamenting from Armagh Gaol.

    Let’s hope the Robinson affair will unloose the anuses of our Protestant brethern and make them a little less tight assed.

  • RG Cuan

    Maith thú Paddy!

    As for the our Gaeltachtaí in Ard Mhacha, Tír Eoghain etc, well they’re making a slow comeback 🙂