— Localization (@localization) March 4, 2019
This has been sent to every household in the country but no one thought to spellcheck the text. It’s Áras not Arás!
Earlier: How Was It For You?
Called on the UK Government to uphold its commitment to introduce an Irish Language Act if power-sharing institutions are not restored within six months.
— Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP (@LSRPlaid) October 24, 2018
Irish Language was spoken apparently for first time in the UK House of Commons as Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts asked the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley:
“Is cearta daonna iad cearta teanga agus tá cothrom na féinne tuilte ag lucht labhartha na Gaeilge (Language rights are human rights and the Irish speaking community are entitled to equality)
Under the St Andrews Agreement of 2006 the British government pledged to introduce an ‘Irish Language Act based on the experiences of Wales and the Republic of Ireland’.
Will the Minister uphold its commitment by introducing an Irish Language Act if power-sharing institutions are not restored within six months?”
Dr Niall Comer, President of Irish language campaigners Conradh na Gaeilge, who lobbied Ms Saville Roberts, says
“We wish to thank those MPs who have listened to our community, and especially those who are prepared to act and speak in favour of equality, respect and language rights, in particular Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts who historically addressed the House of Commons as Gaeilge today as part of her questions on the Irish language Act, following engagements with Conradh na Gaeilge. All we are asking is to be brought into line with the other indigenous language communities on these islands.”
Thomas O’Donnell did it in 1901, you may be a close second 117 years later though 😁
— Richard McC (@ric_mcc) October 24, 2018
GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
Conradh na Gaeilge members demonstrate their support for “the protection of essential services for Gaeltacht communities.”
Conradh na Gaeilge are seeking a meeting with An Post, with the Minister for Communications and with the Minister for the Gaeltacht to ensure that An Post will “not end services through Irish in Gaeltacht areas as part of their current redundancy process, and to see that Gaeltacht communities will not be denied essential services through Irish”.
Irish language spoken here
Síomha Ní Ruairc writes:
Bliain na Gaeilge and Festival Republic are delighted to announce that they will be collaborating on some special feature events at Electric Picnic 2018 in Stradbally, Co. Laois, 31st August – 2nd September.
As part of this collaboration, there will be an official Gaeltacht camping area founded on the festival grounds.
There will be space provided for two hundred people in this designated camping area, in which Irish will be the common language of the residents.
Tickets for Electric Picnic 2018 are sold out, but those who have already purchased tickets will be able to stay in this new designated Irish language camping space.
Because of limited spaces, campers will have to register to stay in ‘An Ghaeltacht’ beforehand, at electricpicnic.ie. Applications will open for ticketholders at 10am. tomorrow, Tuesday July 24.
The breakdown of respondents who said they could speak Irish in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland censuses of 2011
Colm Ó Broin, who last week compiled a rich example of prejudice in the national press about the Irish language, writes:
There are people in every society who are hostile to groups that are different to them. We are all familiar with prejudice against people of a different gender, sexuality, skin colour, nationality, ethnic background or religion.
But what about people who speak a different language? Usually bias against a language is classed as racism – for example, immigrants being verbally abused for speaking their native languages or chauvinists repressing the languages of minorities like Kurdish in Turkey.
We have our own version of this chauvinism here in Ireland – the hostility of British loyalists to the Irish language. One of the earliest examples are the Statutes of Kilkenny, which outlawed the speaking of Irish among the descendants of settlers from Britain.
These laws were enacted in 1366 but given the political nature of this hostility it’s more than likely it goes all the way back to 1169. The fear behind it was the belief that people would be less loyal to the English Crown if they spoke Irish – a fear still heard today in hysterical claims that the United Kingdom will be “undermined” if speakers of Irish Gaelic are given the same rights as speakers of Scottish Gaelic.
Which brings us to Gaeilgephobia – the irrational fear or hatred of the Irish language and those who speak it. You’ve probably never heard the term before and the concept has received little or no recognition in English-speaking Ireland, despite it being one of our oldest recorded prejudices.
While we can see the open hostility of Unionist politicians to the Irish language in Northern Ireland, many would find it hard to believe that there is prejudice against Irish speakers in the Republic of Ireland as well. Any negativity surrounding the language south of the border is supposedly related to government efforts to promote it, and not the language itself.
If you read the articles that the quotes used in my post are taken from you will indeed see legitimate arguments against official policies on the language – but scattered among them you will also see something entirely different – prejudiced attacks on the Irish language and Irish speakers.
One thing that’s striking is the GUBU nature of these statements, which would be worthy material for a Louis Theroux documentary.
In the bizarre corner we have the claim that no Irish word has been created in the past 100 years and the argument that Irish is comical in some way because it has taken words from other languages, something that practically every language on the planet does, none more so than English itself.
Then we have the comparison of Irish speakers with Nazis, skinheads, Communists and Islamic fundamentalists.
Among the worst is the comparison of a school in Dingle with the Finsbury Park Mosque, an establishment frequented by Islamist terrorists linked to Al Qaeda. The great crime committed by this school was to teach through the medium of Irish – in what is officially an Irish-speaking area.
Then there is the association of Irish speakers with IRA terrorism, “mucksavagery” and last but not least, the sexual abuse of children. If linking an entire community to the sexual abuse of children isn’t prejudice then ‘prejudice’ has no meaning.
Like other phobias Gaeligephobia has its own set of mantras that are repeated ad nauseum regardless of evidence, many of which are seen in the quotes.
One of the most common is the false claim that Irish is a “dead language”. The commentators who say this are fully aware that there are Irish-speaking communities in Ireland as well as thousands of fluent speakers in the rest of the country, so this is simply a crude attempt to insult Irish speakers.
After all, if Irish is a “dead language”, and you speak Irish, that means there is something “dead” about you and your community.
The most blatant example of Gaeilgephobia is the ludicrous claim that Irish language schools are “middle class”. The basis for this seems to be that because there are Gaelscoileanna in middle class areas in Dublin then all Gaelscoileanna must be middle class, which is like saying that only middle class people shop in Dunnes Stores because there is a Dunnes Stores in Stillorgan.
Opponents of Irish language education don’t have to send their children to Gaelscoileanna and are not affected in any way if other people make this choice. However, they still go out of their way to attack parents who choose Irish-medium education for their children.
But as they don’t have a rational reason for this opposition they have to resort to bogus pretexts. This is the most revealing attack on Irish as it relies on false claims, which is a sign of pure bias against the language.
Claims that the Irish language is somehow “middle class” are also very amusing for Irish speakers as for centuries we have been told that Irish was a “badge of poverty”.
This Orwellian doublethink will be familiar to other groups subjected to prejudice, like the immigrant who can scrounge on the dole while stealing your job at the same time.
Similarly, if a poor person speaks Irish it becomes a “peasant language”, but if a rich person speaks it it’s an “elitist language”. The object here is not to establish facts but to negatively stereotype the minority group using any means necessary.
Attacks on the Irish language began hundreds of years ago and the quotes highlighted last week show that they continue to this day.
Whatever the reason for this bizarre prejudice it’s time we consign it to the rubbish bin of history, where it belongs.
Colm Ó Broin is an Irish speaker from Clondalkin, Dublin and a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. Follow Colm on Twitter here.
Previously: I’ve Nothing Against Irish Speakers, But…
From the illustrated Ulysess by James Joyce
Colm Ó Broin writes:
If you don’t believe there’s prejudice in Ireland against the Irish language and Irish speakers consider that people working in the national media have…
1 Denied the existence of the Irish language
“You see, the truth is there IS no Irish language. There was a bunch of dialects Dineen tried to turn into a language as a nationalist plot.”
Sarah Carey, 02/10/2017
2 Described the Irish language as gobbledygook
“The bilingual street signs in Dublin are just a bit of English and a bit of gobbledygook to most people.”
Malachi O’Doherty, Belfast Telegraph, 17/11/2015
3 Stated that English is superior to Irish
“I’m being excoriated [what’s the Irish word for excoriated?] for saying that English is a superior language to Irish. Which was tactless [what’s the Irish for tactless?] and a digression anyway. [Irish for digression?] But it is actually true. Try going round the world on Irish.”
Malachi O’Doherty, 21/02/2018
4 Described the name Mac Gearailt as an “absurd Gaelic confection”
“Garret FitzGerald is clearly Anglo-Norman, no matter the absurd Gaelic confection that he occasionally translates his name into.”
Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 15/04/2011
5 Described an Irish language song as gibberish
“Somehow chanting pretentious gibberish is now considered to be cutting edge but it’s not and it never will be.”
Ian O’Doherty, Irish Independent, 03/10/2015
6 Associated the Irish language with rich people
“Even now there is a class bias within the Irish language. At many Irish language primary schools in Dublin the favoured form of transport is an expensive SUV”
Anne-Marie Hourihan, The Times, 15/02/2018
7 Associated the Irish language with poor people
“I had a real visceral dislike for Irish back then…It was the language of poverty and submission”.
Ian O’Doherty, Pat Kenny Show, Newstalk, 14/06/2016
8 Used English words taken from other languages to criticise Irish words taken from other languages
“I am hurt by the reduction of Irish, the oldest spoken literary language in Europe, to phonetic translations from the relative newcomer, English. Who gains from the translation of ‘buggy store’ into ‘stóras bugaithe’? Anyone who wants to make fun of the Irish language, that’s who.”
Victoria White, Irish Examiner, 2015
9 Falsely claimed that no new Irish words have been created in 100 years
“When there is no intrinsic word or phrase in a language for anything new to the world in the past hundred years or so, that language is not alive.”
Emer O’Kelly, Sunday Independent 05/11/2006
10 Falsely claimed that the Irish language is dead
“So even though the language is dead – Erse is a hearse is how I have heard it described”
Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 26/01/2007
11 Falsely claimed that Irish language schools are exclusively middle class
“Gaelscoils don’t exist most parts of the country. And where they do, their appeal seems to have little to do with Irish language. More to do with exclusively middle class (non working class, non immigrant) environment.”
Eoin Butler, 08/10/2016
12 Compared Irish language schools to the racist apartheid system
“While I appreciate the language, I abhor the educational apartheid that goes along with it.”
Kate Holmquist, Irish Times, 09/12/2008
13 Suggested Irish language schools “weed out” children with special needs
“The department’s own audit showed few children with special needs in Irish-speaking schools – so are Irish-language schools weeding these children out?”
Kate Holmquist, Irish Times, 09/12/2008
14 Described Irish language schools as “nationalistic Irish language nonsense”
“I’d create inclusivity by abolishing exclusivity. No religion, no private schools and none of this nationalistic Irish language nonsense, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the ultimate barrier in the Irish education system”.
Sarah Carey, Irish Independent, 22/01/2017
15 Associated Irish language schools with snobbery and racism
“The snobs (Na Snobi) are those who reckon that sending their kids to a gaelscoil is the only politically correct way to keep their kids away from the lower classes. (They are not wrong.)…Of course, sending your kids to a school where the parents must speak Irish could be seen by some as a form of racial segregation. Na Snobi are at pains to point out they are not racists.”
Pat Fitzpatrick, Sunday Independent, 02/06/2014
16 Described the growth of Irish language schools in South Dublin as “sinister”
“Apart from its straightforward careerist aspects, among the things we did not hear about the gaeilge during Seachtain na Gaeilge was the sinister development whereby the ruling class are sending their children to the Gaelscoileanna in unprecedented numbers — south Dublin, the land of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, is full of them.”
Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 13/03/2011
17 Associated teachers in Irish language schools with Sinn Féin
“In recent weeks Sinn Fein fielded candidates who came across like gaelscoil teachers, while in Belfast a senior republican was declaring that they still had access to their own army.”
Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 01/06/2014
18 Associated Irish speakers with IRA terrorism
“if you think there’s been some gross hypocrisy over the language thus far, just watch how dirty it gets when the Gaelgoiri and the ‘cultural republicans’ of post-terrorist Sinn Fein face the prospect of losing their precious shibboleth.”
Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 23/02/2011
19 Compared Irish language activists to the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement
“The guardians of ‘language rights’ as prescribed in the Official Languages Act have gone at the language like the Taliban went at Islam and left nothing except lumpen duty and legal threat.”
Victoria White, Irish Examiner, 24/09/2015
20 Compared Irish speakers to Communists
“But don’t hold your breath waiting for a quarter of a million language-Stakhonovites marching into the 2033 sunset, Gaelic spanners in hand, chanting Erse verse.”
Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, 15/03/2013
21 Compared Irish language activists to Neo-Nazis
“I’ve been writing about the futility of the state’s language-restoration programme almost my entire professional life, and the outcome has been threefold. One, vilification by brainless Gaeilgeoir skinheads, yawn. Two, the language is deader than ever. And three, the state money spent promoting this doomed language remorselessly rises.”
Kevin Myers, The Times, 06/09/2015
22 Compared Irish language summer colleges with concentration camps
“It’s that time of year again, when schools try to tempt youngsters into signing up for a few weeks in one of the Gaeltacht’s vast network of concentration camps…sorry, summer camps.”
Eilis O’Hanlon, Sunday Independent, 09/05/2010
23 Compared the Irish language to the Islamic hijab head covering
“A cúpla bliain ó thinn I wrote that the Irish language was our equivalent of the hijab, the headscarf worn by orthodox Muslim women as a badge of identity and compliance, a figleaf to cover a web of unacknowledged weaknesses.”
Anne-Marie Hourihane, Irish Times, 05/03/2012
24 Compared the Irish language to bird that became extinct 350 years ago
“We pretend that Irish is our national language and lavish hundreds of millions a year on trying to revive what is a linguistic dodo.”
Irish Examiner Editorial, 11/05/2012
25 Compared an Irish-speaking football team to fundamentalists and Nazis
“He said, look guys would you go and speak English, because everybody we do know, on this island does speak English. Not everybody on this island speaks Irish…this is fundamentalism. You vill learn the Irish and you will do it right, ja?!”
Paul Williams, Newstalk Breakfast, 21/09/2016
26 Wrote that “the Gael” is dishonest
“The one true function of the Irish language today is that it demonstrates the vastness of the dishonesty of the Gael, and the piety that is his calling card.”
Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 08/04/2012
27 Associated the Irish language with “mucksavagery”
“The Irish language’s unpopularity is rooted in the kind of mucksavagery with which it is surrounded. It has become the international language of cute hoorism, the babbling soundtrack to a world of strokes, chips on the shoulder and fast ones.”
Diarmuid Doyle, Sunday Tribune, 19/12/2004
28 Compared an Irish language school in the Gaeltacht with a mosque in London frequented by Islamist terrorists
“The school has set itself up as a kind of Finsbury Park Mosque by the sea.”
Irish Examiner Editorial, 17/10/2007
29 Associated Irish speakers with the sexual abuse of children
“The vast majority of us cannot hear that language being spoken, in any context, without also hearing some distant echo of physical and sexual and psychological abuse”
Declan Lynch, Sunday Independent, 23/08/2009
…Or to summarise, I’ve nothing against Irish speakers – they’re just inferior, extinct, dead, poor, rich, snobby, dishonest, fundamentalist, savage, sinister, racist, terrorist, Sinn Féin-IRA, Commie, Nazi child sex abusers.
Colm Ó Broin is an Irish speaker from Clondalkin, Dublin and a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. Follow Colm on Twitter here.
Yesterday’s Irish News
Colm Dore writes:
A perspective on the politics of AnaG in the north which might interest a southern audience…
How’s your Irish?
Want to spend a cupla days and nights immersed in your native tongue?
Dúisigh do Dhúchas (Awaken your Heritage) is a project to help Irish people recover their roots.
Their first Wild Irish Retreat will take place this September on the Great Blasket Island in County Kerr hosted by Diarmuid Lyng, Siobhán de Paor and Cearbhuil Ni Fhionnghusa.
This is Irish language immersion but with a contemporary bent, with workshops in poetry, singing circles, wild food foraging and preparation, hurling, yoga, meditation and a purpose-built sweatlodge.
Lessons will be informal and the emphasis will be on learning naturally through experiencing the language.
Food will be organic and locally sourced where possible and accommodation will be simple, comfortable and off the electric grid.
This is an opportunity to live like a former islander for three days, learn skills to live closer to nature, explore your creativity through the Irish language and awaken your body to its natural environment…
Easy, you say?
Gerry McBride writes:
So listen, I want to tell you about this taxi driver I met yesterday morning.
We got chatting about writing and the like, and he told me that he’d written a book.
It’s aimed at young people, or indeed anyone who wants to be able to speak a bit of Irish, and is called ‘The Easy Way To Speak Irish‘.
He gave me a copy, and it’s a charming little book which teaches Irish pronunciations phonetically rather than drilling you like school.
You can order a copy if you know someone who could use a hand with Irish. If you have kids who are struggling with Irish at school, it could be a huge help to them.
Irish-made stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org marked ‘Irish-made stuff’. No fee.