The authority to speak, linquistic intolerance, anonymity and monolingual regimes

There’s a line in a poem by Seán Ó Riordáin poem called Daoirse/Captivity or Unfreedom which talks about a woman and the way she might talk to you and the impact that would have on you. Dá labhródh bean leat íseal nach ísleofá do ghuth, dá mbeadh an bean réasúnta, nach réasúnófaí thú. If a woman spoke to you quietly, wouldn’t you lower your voice, if the woman was reasonable, wouldn’t that make you reasonable too. Bernadette O’Rourke, who gave … Read more

Now we see who’s ‘red (white and blue) lines’ are holding up the show!

It’s becoming increasingly clear that unionist political parties and politicians have set their opposition to an Irish Language Act and, by extension, any form of an Irish identity within ‘British’ NI as a priority ‘red line’ ahead of returning to powersharing or, even, at the most fundamental level aspiring to an equal Union between NI and the rest of the UK. The rhetoric today from Arlene Foster in which she set out what she would not countenance in response to … Read more

Sins of omission

More than a year since the collapse of the Assembly over, among other things, the refusal of the DUP to respect previous agreements which promised an Irish Language Act,  we’re no further on this issue and, it could be argued, any of the other outstanding issues. One thing I don’t understand is why the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, neither this one or the previous incumbent, have met the Irish language groups campaigning for the legislation or, rather, … Read more

Light-fingered DUP “Culture Crocs” prepare to exploit ‘new model’ Acht?

I was asked on Friday if I thought there would be a resolution to the current impasse and answered honestly with a “no idea” that brought only the inevitable derisory laughter at a public pundit declaring himself unable to take a punt. But as Patrick Murphy in the Irish News on Saturday joyfully declared: This is a difficult time for astrologers, especially those who dabble in British and Irish politics. It is not much fun for columnists either, because whatever about … Read more

Unionists should welcome Irish Language Act with open arms

As I read the latest contributions regarding the Irish language from UUP leader Robin Swann and its echo in the Newsletter’s Morning View, it seems to me that they have tied themselves in a knot about Acht na Gaeilge.   A Gordian knot is a phrase that occurs to me.  It seems impossible to loosen but is easily unravelled with the judicious use of logic and good sense. Unionists like Robin Swann, Jim Allister and the writer of the Belfast … Read more

Ulster Scots now being ‘weaponised’

I’ve been following with interest the coverage of the Ulster Scots Agency’s funding plan since the story was first brought to light earlier this week in the Belfast Newsletter – and subsequently refried by other outlets. It was clear from the outset where the story was going as the Ulster Scots Agency CEO used a duplicitious figure ascribed to funding the Irish language, which had been used in a DUP press release – as the basis for the funding he … Read more

High Court finds the DUP and Sinn Fein government in breach of promise over Irish strategy…

I saw this story tweeted when I was in the count centre in Belfast, and only how have a chance to blog it. The journalist I was sitting next to did think it was relevant to the business in hand (he had copy to file, and thanks to Gary on the live blog I didn’t). Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge took the last administration to court over their failure to bring forth an Irish language strategy as agreed via … Read more

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 … Read more

The DUP and the ‘cost’ of the Irish Language Act: Fake News and alternative facts

A headline atop the latest column from former cultural minister and DUP figure Nelson McCausland made his point clear: £2 billion over 20 years – the real cost of the Irish Language Act Gerry Adams doesn’t want to talk about Nelson McCausland doesn’t want an Irish Language Act because, he claims, the cost could end up dwarfing the RHI debacle. Frankly, I have a suspicion that the DUP are seeking anything which might dwarf the RHI debacle! In his article … Read more

Acht na Gaeilge: Time for a mature discussion

The Stormont House Agreement arrived at as Christmas dawned was supposed to have heralded a new dispensation for Northern Ireland and yet here we are in early January with the same old theatrics. A Sinn Féin Minister proposes a consultation process on the long promised Irish Language Act (2006, St Andrews) and up pops that stalwart defender of minority language (Ulster Scots) and culture (Loyal orders etc), Nelson McCausland. He doesn’t even know what’s in the proposed bill and yet … Read more

AN LÁ DEARG was an expression of both a growing sense of anger

This is the first of two related pieces we’re publishing today which relate to the funding and status of the Irish langauge in Northern Ireland. The first is on the Dearg le Fearg protest last weekend by campaigner Caoimhe Ní Chathail. In the aftermath of an ‘An Lá dearg’ a pertinent question has yet to be posed, ‘Why was it that thousands of people descended upon the Gaeltacht Quarter on Saturday the 12th of April to march through Belfast festooned in … Read more

Cuts and splits: How the Irish language community’s most effective advocates are being silenced

At an event on the Newtownards Road on Thursday to open Belfast’s newest Irish language centre, Linda Ervine, sister in law of the late David Ervine, spoke of ‘An Ghaeilge’ as her language. It was nothing to hide or be afraid of speaking, an attitude which might come as news to some unionist politicians. While there was a celebratory mood in Skainos, the good humour belied the darker clouds gathering for Belfast based organisations which have contributed in various ways … Read more

Faic bainte amach don Ghaeilge?

Tá cuma ar an scéal go bhfuil sé beartaithe ‘straitéis’ a bheith ann don Ghaeilge mar thoradh ar na cainteanna ar siúil i gCaisleán Chroimghlinne. Beidh le feiceáil cad a bheadh i gceist ach tá dualgas ar a DCAL agus ar Nelson McCausland straitéis a chur ar bun don Ghaeilge cheanna féin, rud atá Nelson ag déanamh a sheacht ndícheall chun moill a chur air, seans nach bhfuil i gceist sa straitéis seo ach an tAire ag cúlú siar céim … Read more