O’Muilleoir promises that a “Irish Language Act would cost £3.5 Million or less…”

Very probing questioning from Will Crawley who probes Mairtin O Muilleoir on the matter of a cap which the former Finance Minister seems to answer and then not. This is based on a broad extrapolation of £6.1 million from Scotland’s Gaelic Language Act.

He mentions three million down from Foras na Gaeilge that’s already being spent on the language already, doubling the budget to £6.5 million. Now I know we like big scary numbers, but six million is not one of them.

What’s interesting is his unwillingness to explicitly accept a cap. This is hardly surprising since this Scottish model is not what the party had promised the Irish language movement.

It lays out schematic areas of spending which are largely discretionary. Appeals from activists are effectively routed back to government departments which can either act or not, depending on the ministerial policy.

The Welsh model is rights-based legislation with several sets of statutory instruments. It comes with a Commissioners office which the law (unlike many of our current commissioners) gives teeth to implement policy.

This is one reason why activists and advocates have been so keen to push for the Welsh model. But Wales has a broad pro language stretching from rightist Tories, through Lib Dems, Labour and Plaid.

The Scottish Bord na Gaidlig has a duty to produce a plan every five years, and the act codifies provisions already passed. That’s pretty much it. It would prevent the sort of petty politicking that saw Liofa funding withdrawn, but little else.

It’s a climb down on behalf of Sinn Fein. Two years ago SF’s preferred model included a Commissioner, street names:

…included proposals for Irish to be used in the courts, the translation of Stormont business and designated Gaeltacht areas across the north.

It might get them (and the DUP) off a hook. Question is what will the wider movement make of it? Mairtin’s reluctance to accept a cap when challenged by Crawley may be treated as the thin end of a very long wedge by their once and putative partners in government.

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  • Croiteir

    The continuing roll back of SF on the ILA continues apace, remember that this was a red line that wasn’t? Then Michele says it was open for negotiation, now they are trying to water down their own suggestions. anyone that thinks the ILA is important for SF needs their heids looked

  • Lionel Hutz

    Negotiating against themselves

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    As an Irish speaker my main reason for seeking an Irish language Act is to protect the language in education and other areas from capricious attacks by the likes of the DUP. I also want legislative enforcement of commitments freely entered into by the British government wrt Irish Part 3 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. Add to that an enhanced commitment for more broadcasting as Gaeilge on our friendly local public service broadcaster, the BBC. Perhaps this is the time to seek a new BBC NI channel like Scotland has secured. That’s my ‘red line’. Others may seek more but no one should be happy with less.

  • mickfealty

    Apparently Caral was up at Stormont looking for the Welsh model.

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Mick’s share yesterday of that excellent film about the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht demonstrates that the language will survive and prosper through the efforts of committed individuals, not legislation.

  • ted hagan

    The Irish language is just another political football being abused by both sides in the neverending sectarian soap opera that is Northern Ireland. Any mature, sensible nation would look at sensible ways ways of advancing the language without drawing lines in the sand. Not here though, where every issue is judged along the lines of victory or defeat.

  • file

    Hi Concubhar
    1) The Irish language in education is protected by law. The DENI has a statutory duty to support and encourage Irish medium education, and the DUP cannot do anything about that.
    2) A serious question: which measures in part 3 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages are you looking for? Because you sure as shit are not going to get vocational or third level education in Irish, nor criminal proceedings in Irish. So which bits do you want?
    3) The amount of Irish programmes on BBCNI is proportionate to the amount of speakers in the population … and do not come off with teh one in ten lie in response.
    4) Who cares what your red line is, Skibereen Eagle?

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    Yet 80,000 speak Scots Gaelic and in NI , less than 17,000 claim fluency in Irish.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    Visit Wales and see the Welsh language industry…..a self serving political elite reaping its benefits.

  • Ian Rate

    I think they realise that if it was enforced as they originally wanted and to the level expected by other Gaelic Fanatics, they would then be shown up for their inability to use the language other than in sound bites rote learned long ago.
    Organic growth is its best hope of survival, not legislative growth.

  • file

    Hi Concubhar

    1) The Irish language in education is protected by law. The DENI has a statutory duty to support and encourage Irish medium education, and the DUP cannot do anything about that.

    2) A serious question: which measures in part 3 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages are you looking for? Because you sure as hell are not going to get vocational or third level education in Irish, nor criminal proceedings in Irish. So which bits do you want?

    3) The amount of Irish programmes on BBCNI is proportionate to the amount of speakers in the population … and do not come off with the one in ten lie in response.

    4) Is there a touch of the Skibereen Eagle about your having a red line?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    That hasn’t stopped the DUP availing of every opportunity to impinge on IME capriciously. That has to stop.
    The provisions the British have signed up to already are what I’m talking about.
    No it isn’t proportionate. More Irish on radio, TV (at better times lots) and online.
    Yes.

  • Croiteir

    The way I look at it is the plant will be root bound by a small pot, and let us have as large a pot as possible to allow the plant to be as healthy and vigorous as possible.

  • Croiteir

    Let us have some of that then, in fact, a lot of it.

  • Croiteir

    seems to be working then,

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Two other comments to make: I don’t think you or anybody else are in a position to say what Irish speakers ‘sure as hell’ will ‘get’. As if you are the arbiter- keep your tone to yourself. If the British government have already signed up to some third level education in Irish they have to deliver.
    How many ‘other lies’ are in the census returns? Apart from those who speak Irish? How about those people who claim to be some sort of Christian – how many are ‘truly’ Christian?

  • Ian Rate

    Concbhar, take a chill pill. Your passion for the language is teetering over the brink.
    Admirable passion ….. Often sounds delusionaly fanatical too.

  • file

    In what way is it not proportionate? What proportion of the NI population do you count as fluent Irish speakers? IME needs to be supported and promoted, but not in all instances, ie if there are not enough pupil numbers. As you know Britain signs up to agreements with no intention of carrying them out, so which measures in part 3 do you actually want? I welcome your Skibereen Eagleness. :):)

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Imagine an uppity Irish speaker standing up for his rights? Heaven forfend!
    File’s tone reminds me of Jim Allister’s attempt to cast all Irish speakers only as possible defendants, rather than judge, jury members or legal practitioners on Nolan the other day. Ill judged!

  • Ian Rate

    You’re disturbing my watching of the 32 county Irish Rugby team .
    Take another pill!
    What’s the Gaelic for uppity?

  • file

    Don’t be changing the subject if you can’t answer the questions. The British Government has no intention whatsoever of honouring commitments in part 3 of the European charter for Leprechaun Languages, or of bringing in an Irish Language Act, regardless of the fact that they signed up to these commitments. Perfidious Albion, you know.

    Oh and congratulations for being able to define what my tone is through written language. Do you also know how far inside my cheek my tongue is?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Can you explain to me how a half hour per day on the radio, a half hour per week on TV and no equivalent news service online (as there is in Scotland) is proportionate given the census returns which put the speaking of Irish in NI ahead of Gaidhlig in Scotland where it has a radio station BBC Raidió nan nGaedhal, BBC Alba (TV)? Even if we adapt Roger’s figures above, it’s still not proportionate!

  • file

    I asked you not to bring up the false census returns. The BBC’s output of Ulster Scots is disproportionate; Irish output is about right. You have access to a special interest channel here anyway, TG4. Is that not enough?

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    TG4 should be available on Freeview. Access to TG4 is insufficient. Substantial funding to the tune of 30m per year – like that being offered for the new Scottish BBC channel – is also worth considering.
    The excuse you trot out like diarrhoea that Britain doesn’t adhere to its agreements is not tenable.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I don’t care how far inside your cheek your tongue is or, for that matter, which cheek.

  • file

    Seems to have worked so far for the Greatest Empire the World has ever seen. I mean, they even have derogations from every European treaty they ever signed. And, up to now, they have got away with torturing the 12 hooded men.

    TG4 is available on Freeview – that is where I get it. Are you paying for it? And say there is a united Ireland 5 years down the road, the BBC will have no Irish language output then. Will you then start attacking RTE?

  • file

    OoooH Cheeky! Watch your tone there, Concubhar …

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    TG4 is not available on Freeview in my house. You may be getting it on a Saorview box of a type which is available in the north.
    I have attacked and criticised RTE in the past for its disregard for Irish and there has been an improvement of late. I led a campaign for Irish language commentary to be made available as an option on the All Ireland GAA series as well as the Republic’s participation in 2016. I attempted also to get Irish Language commentary on NI’s games in Euro 2016, to no avail.

  • file

    Well get down to Grimley’s and get a ‘fell off the back of a lorry type’ box and get free TG4 then, and don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. You should not be watching soccer, particularly not Norn Iron matches, or Gaelic football. As Justin McCarthy recounted in his autobiography, it only slows down the mind for hurling. And commentary in Irish for hurling gives an unfair advantage to those counties with substantial (and real) Gaeltacht areas in them, as is evidenced by Galway at minor level.