Hysterical Unionist reaction to Irish Language Act proposals damage the ‘Union’

Irish speakers are entertained mightily at present by a series of memes poking fund at the Newsletter’s hysterical obsession with scare stories about what an Irish Language Act might do to Northern Ireland – the funniest features a front page story trumpeting a proposal to replace Edward Carson’s statue at Stormont with one of Peig Sayers. It would be funny except it were so serious, unionist politicians and opinion leaders have got it all wrong. At a time when increasing … Read more

Arlene’s statement on Irish may be crucial to the defusing of the nasty culture bomb that is blocking NI democracy 

One of the most depressing milestones in the pre Christmas crisis was Paul Given’s pointless and counterproductive cutting of the tiny Liofa bursary fund for funding poorer kids to attend Gaeltacht courses in the summer colleges in Donegal (predominantly attended by kids from NI). Even for those of us determined to resist the casual vilification of unionist politics that’s so commonplace amongst the NI commentatiat that was a hard one to take.  The health of the language in NI has … Read more

The Belfast Gaeltacht, fifty years a growing…

This subtitled documentary on the setting up of the west Belfast Gaeltacht should be compulsory viewing for almost everyone in Northern Ireland (and beyond). It’s a real antidote to the cheap rhetoric currently being indulged in about the language, its speakers and what drives them. As a personal aside, this project, its extraordinary mission and the many very ordinary folk who’ve been behind the setting of its enduring fruits remain one of the most enduring sources of inspiration “i mo … 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

Light not heat should come as a result of RHI scandal

As the clamour increases for the rolling of heads, even from those who find themselves within the proverbial glasshouse, it’s important to see what can be salvaged from the mess which is rapidly escalating on the Hill of Stormont.    The disintegration is underlined by the bellicose line from Arlene Foster who is trying to distract attention from her own mishandling of the RHI scheme and, in particular, the latest fall out, with bogus claims of ‘misogyny’ and a rather … Read more

Múinteoir meas Pat Kernan bás…

Tá curadh gan staonadh agus an-urramú na Gaeilge AR FEADH AN tSAOIL bás i nDún Pádraig. Bhí Padraig MacThiarnain, a bhí ina 70s, idir cainteoir líofa agus múinteoir na teanga. Beidh Pat Kernan a mheabhrú ag na glúnta daltaí i gColáiste Naomh Pádraig, An Cnoc, anois Coláiste Mhuire agus Naomh Pádraig. I gceannas sé suas roinn na Gaeilge ar éirigh an scoil oirthear Bhéal Feirste agus bunaíodh an iris Dúchas, de brí ‘Roots’ i mBearla, ce a bhuaigh se gradam … Read more

Ag canadh le taibhsí na staire sa GPO i mBaile Átha Cliath…

Note A shorter version of this piece in English is available at http://goo.gl/Fay35A via the Belfast Telegraph San amhrán chlúiteach Oráisteach Lurgan Town tá líne faoi leith i dtreo an deiridh: ‘D’iompaigh muid thart, chroith muid lámha, an méid is féidir a dhéanamh…’ Agus mé á chanadh in Ard Oifig an Phoist i mBaile Átha Cliath ar Luan Cásca, ba bheag gur shamhlaigh mé gurbh é garmhac Éamoin de Valera an fear a bheadh ag croitheadh láimhe liom ag an … Read more

How to best serve the Irish language in Northern Ireland without falling into tribalist traps?

One of my first big political rows about Northern Ireland with an ex pat NIer, was with a guy from Newry, and it was about the divisive nature of the Irish language, as he saw it. Needless to say, I didn’t agree. Malachi O’Doherty is coming from a similar place on recent proposals to start putting Irish on council signage [Has the 80s and 90s vintage QUB students union has finally come through the system? – Ed] Parity with the assertion of … Read more

Linda Ervine: “respect the Irish language”

Linda Ervine was at Stormont today to hand in a letter calling for “fair treatment and respect for the Irish language.” Writing on her Facebook page Linda said: This Tuesday 2nd December at 11 am on the steps of Parliament Buildings I will be presenting a letter to representatives of the main parties. The letter calls for fair treatment and respect for the Irish language. It outlines the disappointment and anger caused by divisive and insulting comments about the language … Read more

“Is maith liom curraí, curraí le mo yoghurt…”

H/T do an Tuairisceoir… Agus seo iad na focail… Curraí my Yoghurt Is maith liom curraí, curraí le mo yoghurt Yoghurt le mo curraí, curraí le mo yoghurt Yoghurt le mo curraí, curraí le mo yoghurt Yoghurt le mo curraí, curraí le mo yoghurt Gaeilge sa leithreas Ag caint liom féin An doras faoi ghlas Agus mé gan srian An dtiocfaidh tú amach liom? Ta Gaeilge agam Labhróidh mé leat Gach aon am Gaeilge sa leithreas Ní féidir liom stopadh … Read more

#IndyRef agus Tuaisceart Éireann: Níl an cluiche ach ina thús.

Achoimre deas ar an áit ina aimsiú muid féin i ndiaidh an IndyRef, le Póilín Ní Chiaráin: Drochsheans go dteastaíonn ó Shinn Féin go sásófaí a n-iarratas ar a thuilleadh cumhachta do Stormont. Ar éigean a mheallfadh sé sin daoine atá ina choinne chun tacú le hÉirinn aontaithe. Tá Cameron agus an DUP ag suirí le chéile le tamall mar go mb’fhéidir go mbeadh sé ag brath orthu chun rialtas a chur le chéile an bhliain seo chugainn. Cé acu … Read more

So who’s Irish is good enough to become a Minister of State for the Gaeltacht?

Interesting to discover that both Gerry Adams and Peadar Toibin are availing themselves of a new scheme aimed at improving the proficiency of Oireachtas Deputies in Irish… Mr Adams and party colleague Peadar Toibin TD are using the subsidised tuition service which is also available to civil servants and political staff in Leinster House. A Freedom of Information Act request by the Sunday Times revealed that the two Sinn Fein TDs are joined in classes by Fine Gael deputies Joe … Read more

“I want to swim with the dolphins in Donegal someday…”

Great metaphor from Pól Ó Muirí: “speaking a language is like swimming – you might need assistance and a little water helps…” “And you would want to swim…?” “Every day! I want to swim every day! I like swimming. It’s fun and good for your health.” “Every day! I don’t know that the other members would be too happy with that. I don’t think we could fill the pool every day. How about once or twice a year? Maybe on … Read more

Gaeilgeoir ‘outrage’ at Joe McHugh a symptom of long term policy neglect of the Irish language

Joe McHugh has been the nearest thing Dublin has had to a Minister of State with responsibility for Northern Ireland. He’s made the most of his parliamentary role as Chair of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and co-chair of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. As Harry McGee points out, “he should really have been promoted years ago…” As the newly appointed Minister of State for the Gaeltacht he’s getting stick for not being fluent, … Read more

Seanfhocal don am atá romhainn amach: Ná hAbair é, Déan é!!

Our Generation – Ná hAbair é, Déan é from Northern Visions NvTv on Vimeo. Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

NI21’s ‘tús maith’ !

One swallow doesn’t make a Summer and one bilingual billboard can’t erase the generations of anti Irish language unionist politics – but the bold initiative by NI21 to include the Irish language in its election campaign has to be hailed as a breakthrough of sorts. Look at any of the unionist party websites and you will note the absence of any Irish language content and, on top of that, any reference to the Irish language is invariably hostile.   The … Read more

“Foras na Gaeilge is centralising resources around a small number of Dublin-based organisations”

Janet Muller is CEO of Pobal an advocacy organisation that has spearheaded work on Irish language rights since the Good Friday Agreement. Hers is one of the Northern Ireland based organisations facing a restructuring will see all publicly funded Irish language groups headquartered in Dublin and away from Belfast. It is now 3 months since Foras na Gaeilge announced its decision to end core funding to all northern-based core funded Irish language groups and to transfer this funding to 6 … 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

A parent’s love of language: “you have to take your inspiration from where you find it…”

Back in the 80s, I remember an elderly aunt in Beechmount telling me about the day her mother told her to fetch my grandad from the Donegal shore of their small farm, and her remarking that ‘she spoke us, as she always did, in Irish, and we replied in English’. It was only then it struck just how immersed my own father must have been in a language I sweated tears to get my head round as a kid and … 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