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 …

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Cartoon – “Do you do big Mács”

Former Mayor of Belfast and Sinn Fein councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile said not being able to place an order in Irish at McDonalds is an example of where equality of rights of Irish speakers isn’t being met. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Hoist on his own petard……

Curious, wasn’t it? Nelson McCausland’s choice of language to highlight his ‘concern’ over a letter sent to primary school principals throughout Northern Ireland, inviting them to consider including an Irish language study programme in the school curriculum. According to Nelson, this was another effort by Sinn Féin to “weaponise” the Irish language and to use it as a tool, it seems, to entice unionists to be assimilated within an Irish identity. Apart from the fact that the letter was sent …

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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 …

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SDLP not to ratify Stormont House Agreement

[email protected] says it has no plans to ratify Stormont Hse agreement but will work to implement positive aspects. See Saturday’s @irish_news — Irish News Politics (@politicsIN) January 10, 2015 Interesting story in the Irish News that the party will not fully ratify the Stormont House Agreement. The party has reservations about the silence of the agreement on issues such as the Bill of Rights and the Irish Language Act. In addition to this, while the party recognises progress on Welfare …

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Cold and stormy at ‘Cnoc an Anfa’

I was up in Stormont yesterday – Cnoc an Anfa is the Irish for Stormont – and it certainly lived up to its name.  It was bitterly cold, so cold I could feel my fingers begin to detach themselves from my body as I clutched my ‘Acht Gaeilge’ placard at the bottom of the steps of that grandiose building. There were around a hundred of us, participating in an anti-racism pro diversity demonstration, called to demand an Irish Language Act …

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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 …

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Gregory Campbell and the law of unintended consequences

Not that he cares but Gregory Campbell MP’s recent remarks about the Irish language and his contemptuous dismissal of the campaign for an Irish Language Act has had some unintended consequences from those he may have imagined. It’s very easy to see why Gregory Campbell, drifting as he was to the margins of his party having been left out of the Executive by his leader in successive reshuffles, would want to make some grand effort to get back in the …

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Ó Donnghaile takes on the biggest show in the country

Sinn Fein Councillor,Niall Ó Donnghaile appeared on the Nolan TV Show last week to talk about Gregory Campbell’s “Curry my yogurt” quote in the Assembly earlier that week. However,  Ó Donnghaile has taken offence about how Nolan dealt with the issue as he kept repeating the remarks in an attempt to get Niall to laugh.  Ó Donnghaile  has said in a statement released yesterday offensive remarks were repeated ad nauseam in order to get a cheap laugh…The disrespect shown to …

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The Irish language belongs to us all, not just to Sinn Féin

It must be very tempting in this current highly charged atmosphere to convert any turn of events into an attack on Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams.   And God knows the party does provide the material for onslaughts.    However the recent ill-informed and ignorant ‘Curry My Yoghurt’ remarks of Gregory Campbell, and the subsequent farce of barring him from speaking in the Assembly for a day he was due to be in Westminster, doesn’t seem to me to be a …

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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 …

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Sinn Féin to the fore for the photo, to the rear of the movement

Sinn Féin, with the shamelessness we’ve become accustomed to from Establishment politicians, were to the fore in today’s ‘LáDearg’ parade in Belfast with several aspiring candidates behind a banner proclaiming the party’s support for an Irish Language Act in the north. Shameless because the several thousand protesters who paraded in colourful good form from the Cultúrlann on the Falls Road to the Custom House Square were expressing their anger at decisions in which Sinn Féin members had participated and, indeed, …

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An Irish speaker’s reaction to Orangeman’s outburst

Belfast’s County Orange Order Grandmaster George Chitick may protest that he never intended to offend Irish speakers with his exhortation to Protestants not to learn the language he termed part of the ‘republican’ agenda. But Irish speakers in Belfast and throughout the north are well used to such insults, going back to the time of Sammy Wilson’s infamous ‘leprechaun language’ jibe and beyond. While it’s disappointing, it’s not surprising and life will go on. Grand Master Chitick may be surprised …

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The Republicans are coming! Chittick on the Irish language

As many of you know Linda Ervine has been leading efforts for years now to make Protestants more aware of their contribution to the development and maintenance of the Irish language. There have been a variety of events held in places like East Belfast to demonstrate how much of our everyday language is actually linked to Irish. Well, today the Grand Master of the Belfast Orange Order George Chittick, decided to add his two cents on whether Protestants should be …

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The North short-changed in Irish language shake up

So yesterday (Thursday) Pobal, the Irish language advocacy group for Northern Ireland, had its critique of the failures of the Stormont Assembly and Executives regarding the Irish language strategy endorsed by no less an organisation than the Council of Europe. But today the cross border body, Foras na Gaeilge, announces the new ‘lead organisations/ceann eagraiochtai’ for the promotion of Irish on an all Ireland basis and none of the NI based organisations, including POBAL, Iontaobhas ULTACH, Forbairt Feirste or Altram …

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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 …

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Cá háit a bhfuil an Ghaeilge cúig bliana déag i ndiaidh Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta?

Tá muid ag obair le Pobal chun sraith beag de aistí bhlag a tharraingt le chéile, agus iad ag iarraidh athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar staid na Gaeilge cúig bliana déag ar aghaidh ón Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta. Anseo thíos cuireann Príomhfheidhmeannach Janet Muller duit do chuid smaointe a sheoladh isteach chugainne. Beidh na aistí foilsithe i nGaeilge amháin, ach tig linn aistriúchán a dhéanamh ón Bhéarla do na cinn maith. Le Janet Muller Bunaíodh POBAL, scátheagras phobal na Gaeilge sa bhliain chéanna is a síníodh Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta …

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Fionola Meredith: Can what has been divided by language also be brought together by it?

This week (May 20-26) is Community Relations Week, with over 180 events across Northern Ireland. Below, Fionola Meredith provides her thoughts as part of her involvement in the Community Relations Council Policy Conference which she was contributing to. One of the most singular ironies of living in Northern Ireland is that language – the most fundamental human tool of communication, the shared medium through which we all encounter the world – becomes, in itself, a source of division, suspicion and …

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Patrick McGinley’s ‘That Unearthly Valley: A Donegal Childhood’: Book Review

In Bogmail and Foggage, Patrick McGinley sent up the Irish (could he or it be otherwise?) murder mystery genre. He scooped dollops of encyclopaedic wit and mordant satire into these entertainments. A later saga proved more somber and meditative, the Black and Tan War ending as The Lost Soldier’s Song, while The Trick of the Ga Bolga updated a mythic showdown around his native village of Glencolmcille, on the blustery coast of Donegal. This novelist left the Glen for boarding …

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Farewell to Gaelscéal

I am writing this article in English (though I will probably write something similar in Irish for Gaelscéal) because I want slugger fans, the majority of whom are English readers, to read it and engage with the issue, rather than get bogged down in whether or not it should be in Irish or English. As poet Michael Hartnett wrote in his poem, Farewell to English: But I will not see
great men go down who walked in rags
from town to town …

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