The Right To Talk – The Right To Teach

Talking of indigenous languages and education, while in Ireland our political parties make the right noises while purposely doing none of the right things, in Scotland they have their priorities straight. Following on from the long campaign to get a dedicated school in Edinburgh teaching through the medium of the Scottish language, the capital’s city … Continue reading

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The Truth About Irish

The policies of all political parties in Ireland on the issue of the Irish language are bullshit. Complete and utter. There, I’ve said it. There is not a single political party on the island of Ireland that has a real, substantive or detailed program to implement full equality between the nation’s Irish and English speaking … Continue reading

Dissecting Empire – Richard Gott

In the Guardian journalist and writer Richard Gott examines the revived nationalist ideology of the British Empire as the world’s only “good empire” and how it is gaining ground in modern Britain. “In his speech to the Conservative party conference this month, David Cameron looked back with Tory nostalgia to the days of empire: “Britannia didn’t rule the waves … Continue reading

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil – The Irish News Media And The Sam Smyth Scandal

As many regular readers may know (you are there, aren’t you?) I frequently bang on about the inequities of the “media establishment” in Ireland. In general I pretty much loathe ‘em, the whole right-wing, faux liberal, elitist Anglo shower. Bah! But for those of you who ask, “A Shionnach, but why?”, here, in several easily digestible paragraphs, … Continue reading

One Race But Three Victors

Well its all over bar the shouting (or gnashing of teeth) and three clear victors have emerged from the election for the next President of Ireland. First and foremost of course is Labour’s Michael D. Higgins who managed to expand on his party’s core vote to almost certainly win through to the Áras. From RTÉ’s report yesterday evening: “2115 National FIRST … Continue reading

Enter Bagman

The damage delivered to Seán Gallagher’s presidential ambitions as a result of the revelations on RTÉ’s Frontline Presidential Debate is continuing to send disruptive ripples across the media and bloggosphere but it remains to be seen if the outcome will prove fatal. Gallagher was accused by Martin McGuinness of personally receiving a five thousand euro cheque from a local businessman … Continue reading

Irish Pigs In The Daily Mail

British journo Ian Birrell carries a lengthy rant against Martin McGuinness in the “Right Minds” section of the Daily Mail, a suitably right-wing British newspaper. It is replete with plenty of hackneyed phrases and stock stereotypes from the “Big British Book Of War In Ireland” (which is also popular reading amongst the Irish media establishment) but the most fun … Continue reading

From The People Who Brought You The IMF And The ECB – President Gallagher

Well, we’re in the final stretch of the race for Áras in Uachtaráin and it is claimed that the great Irish public, or at least a sizeable minority of it, may have decided to plump for the “Independent” candidate Seán Gallagher. No amount of revelations about his decades old allegiance to Fianna Fáil, his receipt of government largesse through investments in his companies or membership of cushy quango boards, … Continue reading

Not One Small Victory But Three

  Some days it is nice to be reminded that the Gaelic languages are not just national languages, but international ones too. So to three stories that highlight those who embrace our native tongues in far distance lands, as well as closer to home, and for whom it represents much more than a mere form … Continue reading

An Chatalóin – Catalonia, That Other Iberian Struggle

 With all the focus on the Basque Country over the last week it has been easy to forget that other separatist struggle on the Iberian Peninsula, in Catalonia. The Guardian carries a timely reminder of the progressive nationalist forces that have captured public imagination in the autonomous region:  “It is an unlikely age to step … Continue reading

Fine Gael, “No Irish Here!” – A Flashback From 1938

The wonderful Irish Election Literature blog does it again with this Fine Gael election poster from 1938 protesting against “Migrants” in County Meath. That’s Irish-speaking migrants, as FG opposes the breaking up of large estates held by absentee landlords to create the Ráth Chairn Gaeltacht or Irish speaking community in Meath.  Good to see that … Continue reading

ETA Declares “Cessation Of Its Armed Activity”

The headlines carry the news of the much anticipated declaration of a permanent end to all military operations by ETA, the Basque guerrilla organisation. From a report in the Irish Times:  “EUSKADI TA Askatasuna (Eta or Basque Country and Liberty) last night made a long-awaited announcement, which it describes as “historic”: its “armed activity” has … Continue reading

Anglophone Intolerance Speaks The Same Language – In Scotland Or Ireland

Just in case you thought it was safe to speak the Scottish language in Scotland along comes journalist Gina Davidson with an anti-Gaelic diatribe in the Scotsman that twists logic and reason to breaking point: “CAST your mind back a couple of years to the council’s school closures programme. After all the wailing and knashing of … Continue reading

Hail To Nova Scotia

Interesting news in the Scotsman highlighting the international dimension that is increasingly important to the two main Gaelic languages, Irish and Scottish. In this case it is the latter as a Canadian Gael is awarded for his Scottish language poetry and writing.  “AN international dimension was brought to this year’s Royal National Mod in Stornoway … Continue reading

Seán Gallagher And Health Rights USA

I wrote a substantial piece earlier dealing with the Fianna Fáil background of the “Independent” presidential candidate Seán Gallagher, a background which dates to the early 1980s. However in my researches some weeks ago I came across some information that I have been debating whether or not to discuss. Firstly it is (as far as I can tell) a strictly personal matter for Mr. Gallagher and therefore should be off-limits. Politics … Continue reading

Seán Gallagher – A Fianna Fáil Sockpuppet?

If one were to believe the polls (and some commentators) the “Independent” candidate for the presidency, Seán Gallagher, may be a serious contender for becoming the next Uachtarán na hÉireann. We are told that he is well-ahead of his nearest rival, Labour’s Michael D. Higgins; so much so that the Higgins’ campaign came up with a rather slick trick to downgrade the other … Continue reading

Nuacht1 – And A Real Irish Script

    Irish news aggregator Nuacht1 is available in both the Irish and English languages but the most interesting version is the third option, one in the Irish alphabet Seanchló. It’s really nice to see this version and what may have been had we not made the move from our traditional alphabet to the (boring!) Western Latin one in … Continue reading

A Majority In Scotland Now Favour Independence?

A newspaper poll in Britain has shown an astonishing increase in support for Scottish independence, with up to 49% of voters in Scotland favouring the drive for autonomy (however these percentages do come with a hefty caveat). The London-based Independent on Sunday commissioned the survey of voters in Scotland and across the island of Britain: “Alex Salmond’s … Continue reading

Michael D. Higgins: “Hamas Is More Advanced Than The IRA”

What a week it’s been in the race for the Áras. We’ve had a mystery whodunit (Dana), a shocking televised trial (McGuinness), an uncomfortable tragicomedy (Norris), a disturbing authoritarian drama (Mitchell), some touchie-feelie fuzziness (Higgins), an Irish version of The Hills-meets-The Kardashians (Davis), and a really bad memory act (Seán Gallagher). Indeed it is to the latter candidate … Continue reading

Labour Versus British Unionists – A Snapshot Of Irish Political History

The wonderful Irish Election Literature blog carries a 1938 anti-Fianna Fáil leaflet from the Irish Labour Party, that also targets the remnants of the British Unionist minority in the South. It is a timely reminder of the political forces that were still extant in the early days of an independent Ireland when the British ethnic minority formed an … Continue reading

Slugger, McGregor And Moloney. Controversy In Bloggerdom

Well, it’s all kicking off at the well-known Irish news and current affairs blog Slugger O’Toole. Long term writer Mark McGregor has quit the site in a disagreement over its editorial line administered by owner Mick Fealty, with a statement posted on Wednesday: “Due to an editorial stance I cannot agree with that may leave readers assuming my integrity is open … Continue reading

Playing The Race Card In Ireland

Poor old Kevin Myers is at it again: propagating his “race theory” of Irish politics (and society) thanks to the platform provided to him by his acolytes in the Independent group of newspapers. His latest attempt to whip up some “ethnic tensions” centres on an old and cherished theme of his: that Fine Gael, Ireland’s … Continue reading

Gay Mitchell: Blue Shirts And Blue Bloods

Way back in the 1960s a question was famously asked: “Is Fine Gael really Irish?” It has subsequently become a part of the lexicon of Irish politics and looking at the latest headlines one wonders if it needs to be asked again. From a report in the Irish Independent: “FINE Gael last night moved to limit the fallout from Gay Mitchell’s latest … Continue reading

Liberal Britain, Or Don’t Mention The War. The Irish One, That Is.

The British left and the issue of Britain’s continued colonial presence in Ireland. A natural match you may think? Er, think again. In fact Britain’s liberal and socialist groupings (and voters) have been just as virulently nationalistic when it came to the issue of Ireland as any on the right. Introduce the word “Irish” into a conversation with even the most ardent left-wing, Palestinian-loving, class … Continue reading

Eoghan Harris, Free Speech And The Art Of Dissemblance

So, the Anglomedia’s “Anyone But McGuinness” campaign has taken a bit of a twist with claims that ex-Workers Party apparatchik and Sindo columnist Eoghan Harris has been threatened in an anonymous phone call to the Independent News and Media offices. According to the report from the organisation: “A caller to Independent News and Media, purporting to be … Continue reading

RTÉ Versus TG4

Ireland’s Anglophone media establishment has never been comfortable with the Irish language. Or indeed Irish speakers. The existence of both is too much of a challenge, too much of a threat to its assumed identity: not quiet Irish, not quite English, not quiet anything really. That is why so many Irish journalists and commentators ape … Continue reading

Lies, Damned Lies And The War In Ireland

Journalist Martina Devlin sets the readership of the Irish Independent (and others) fairly hopping with outrage over her latest opinion piece. Can she be long for the Indo Group? One suspects not. In Ireland’s news media élite being More-British-Than-The-British is considered de rigueur. But it’s fun while it lasts: “It’s the blatant revisionism that gets my goat: the deception … Continue reading

Stephen King. Ireland’s Very Own “Harigate” Scandal?

It seems Irish journalism is about to have its very own “Harigate” scandal. This time the focus is on the Irish Examiner’s resident columnist and tame Unionist politico Steven King. King, a former aide to one-time UUP leader David Trimble, has been a regular contributor to the Examiner for many years and has carved out … Continue reading

Gay Mitchell And The Ukrainian Businessman

Politico reveals Gay Mitchell’s representations to the EU on behalf of a Ukrainian military dealer. “Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell made a representation to the EU Commission in 2009 on behalf of a controversial Ukrainian aviation businessman who supplied Congolese armed forces with military aircraft. The businessman is attempting to reclaim planes confiscated by Ukraine’s government in 2001. Of … Continue reading

David Norris – One Revelation Too Many?

The sheen has certainly gone off Senator David Norris, someone I used to have enormous respect and admiration for (even if his bonhomie demeanour and scattershot approach to politics did at times did grate on one’s nerves). We’ve had the scandal over his much debated opinions on paedophilia, pederasty and the age of consent expressed … Continue reading

McGuinness Won The Audience But Did He Win The Debate?

The audience poll results are in from Vincent Brown’s Presidential Debate on TV3, and though entirely unscientific, they show Martin McGuinness way out in front, leaving the rest as also-rans. It remains to be seen whether the same will be true at the ballot box in a few weeks time but undoubtedly some optimistic news … Continue reading

Anyone For Some Apartheid? Anglo-Irish Style!

Yesterday’s Irish Independent featured a letter pleading for support from readers for a new campaign to remove obligatory Irish language teaching from the education system. Thereby, presumably, creating a two-tier education system, one for English speakers and one for Irish speakers (didn’t we have something like that before? I thought, in part, we fought a revolution over it? Oh … Continue reading

More News From The Basque Country. Politics And Poetry

Following on from the surprise success of Bildu, the centre-left Basque nationalist coalition, in the regional elections held earlier this year in Spain and the Basque Country, a new alliance has been announced to contest the upcoming general election. EITB carries a report on the initiative: “Basque left-wing nationalists have launched a new political party aimed at … Continue reading

English Ireland. A Nation Without A Soul?

Wonderful article in the Irish Times by Lucille Redmond on language and identity. “According to linguist Mark Abley, a language dies every 14 days, never to be heard again. Pádraig Pearse’s “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam” echoed linguistic pioneer Johann Gottfried von Herder, who wrote “The breath of our mouths is the picture of the world”, … Continue reading

Scottish Tory Blues

With the SNP emerging triumphant from the most recent electoral contests to become the dominant force in Scottish politics the British Conservative Party is joining its Labour Party peers in an increasingly desperate search for a panacea to cure its many ills. The latest, a proposed split from the London-based party HQ, seems likely to … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014