Irish Ways And Irish Laws

Dearg Le Fearg, Irish Rights Are Civil Rights!

It seems that even the most reactionary dung-hill can produce the odd progressive rose. Here is Clare Cullen in the Irish Independent with some entirely sensible points in relation to Irish language education and the (constitutional) obligations of the state towards its citizens following the news that several TDanna were availing themselves of free Irish … Continue reading

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Better Together Star: Catholics Look Better Hanging From A Tree

British Unionism or British Nationalism the English Defence League

The British Unionist parties heading the “Better Together” or No (surrender?) campaign in Scotland’s upcoming referendum on independence seem to have all but abandoned their scruples when it comes to defeating the SNP-led Yes side. Their language and rhetoric has become increasingly vitriolic with oblique references to verbal and physical violence littering their speeches as … Continue reading

Analysis Of ÓnaÉ Video

Volunteer of the Real Irish Republican Army armed with an AKM assault rifle

There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the news media over the weekend caused by the military funeral of Tony Catney, a former senior veteran of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army. His funeral cortège in Belfast was escorted by uniformed Republican activists, possibly Volunteers of the militant grouping Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, through … Continue reading

Fingal Irish

Scary Eire

  I’ve discussed before the truly excellent blog Dublin Gaelic which discusses the history of the Irish language in the capital and its hinterland, focusing in particular on the historic dialects of Irish in the region (now essentially lost; the contemporary version of Dublin Irish is based upon dialects from the west of Ireland mixed … Continue reading

Scotland Votes No, Scotland Gets Tory/UKIP (DUP/UUP/TUV) Rule?

Scotland's First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond adresses independence rally, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

Some interesting polling in Britain which shows that the centre-left Labour Party is still in the lead over the governing centre-right Conservatives and right-left Lib-Dems. However despite all the adverse publicity of recent weeks and concerted media criticism the right-wing England-centred UKIP movement under Nigel Farage is not just holding its own with potential voters … Continue reading

No Time For Irish – Government Policy In Ireland

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A few weeks ago the appointment of two ministers by the government of Ireland with responsibilities directly effecting the interests of Irish-speaking communities and citizens was mired in controversy when it became clear that neither appointee could actually speak the Irish language (despite the presence of several other fluent candidates in the government parties). Both … Continue reading

The Wee Blue Book

Albain (Scotland)

Like myself many readers of An Sionnach Fionn are interested in the upcoming independence referendum in Scotland so I thought I’d post some links to the “Wee Blue Book”, the much anticipated pro-sovereignty fact-guide by the excellent website Wings Over Scotland. By all accounts it has already been a great success and certainly judging by … Continue reading

A Stranger In A Strange Land

Stephen King and wife Tabitha make their cameo appearence in 1981's Knightriders

One of the worst aspects of occasionally working night-shifts is being forced to listen to the talk-radio stations that pollute the airwaves of BÁC during week-nights (the listening choice of others in my workplace, believe me). First off, why on earth would anyone want to listen to the opinions of strangers on a range of “controversial” … Continue reading

The Rise Of The Islamic State

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Reading Tom Holland’s stupendous (if controversial) history of the foundations of Islam, In the Shadow of the Sword, I was struck by how current events in the Middle East can find distant parallels in the political and religious convulsions of the sixth and seventh centuries. In particular the rise and spread of the Islamic State … Continue reading

The Politics Of Brutal Bruton

John Redmond The British Ventriloquist

Former Fine Gael leader and arch Euro-federalist John Bruton is generally regarded as the most economically right-wing Taoiseach Ireland has had in living memory. His term of office in the mid-1990s was pretty poor even by the mediocre standards of Irish politics, not helped by his obvious pro-British sympathies and antipathy to the emerging détente in … Continue reading

Hold Your Tongue

The National Library of Scotland, Early Gaelic Book Collection

Karen Matheson, the lead vocalist with the popular Scottish folk band Capercaillie, recounts something that was once very familiar to speakers of the two main Gaelic languages, Irish and Scottish. From the Herald Scotland: “WHEN Karen Matheson was growing up in the small Argyll village of Taynuilt, her mother refused to speak Gaelic to her. She herself … Continue reading

Vote An Sionnach Fionn

Reynard the Fox

Nice to hear that An Sionnach Fionn has been nominated for three separate categories in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 (the same number as last year, so I must be doing something right!). The categories are “Best Political/Current Affairs/News”, “Best Mobile Compatible” and “Best Blog Post” (for the article “Chief Superintendent Harry Breen, What You … Continue reading

British Violence Good, Irish Violence Bad

The mutilated body of Patrick Loughnane, age 29, Volunteer of the Irish Republican Army, tortured to death alongside his younger brother Harry, age 22, by the Royal Irish Constabulary, Britain's feared colonial police force in Ireland, 1920

Perhaps I should change that headline to a more accurate one? “British Violence (By Irish People For Britain) Good, Irish Violence (By Irish People Against Britain) Bad” For that in essence is the argument put forward by former Taoiseach and aficionado of several right-wing think-tanks John Bruton in a number of recent speeches. Of course … Continue reading

Going, Going, Gone

Northern Ireland

Up to the 1980s the British Labour Party was generally supportive of ending Britain’s centuries-old colonial interference in Ireland by drawing down the shutters on the last remnant of the beleaguered colony in the north-east of the country. Many in Labour saw themselves as “persuaders for unity” on the island of Ireland, a mantra once as important … Continue reading

Festival Interceltique 2014

The Celtic Nations

Sometimes we need reminding that – whatever our origins – we are not just Irish but Celts too, one of the indigenous peoples of north-western Europe. From a report by the Irish Times newspaper: “At the Festival Interceltique, President Michael D Higgins was warmly received as the only head of state of a Celtic country. … Continue reading

Underground Warfare

Maev's second meeting with Fergus, illustration from The Táin by Mary Hutton, 1924

  One of the commoner settlement types to be found in Irish archaeology are the ráthanna or so-called ring-forts 40,000 of which are known to have existed during the first millennium CE (and probably many more than that). These were a class of fortified homestead normally consisting of a circular earthen bank inside an exterior ditch which together enclosed … Continue reading

This Land Is Mine, Israel And Palestine

Israeli soldiers pray before a Torah, southern Israel, 2012 (AP Photo - Ariel Schalit)

From the talented Nina Paley.

Equal In Any Language

We Are 42% - Gaeilge Anois!

In yesterday’s Guardian newspaper the journalist and political activist Ellie Mae O’Hagan argues that the Welsh language should be part of the school curriculum not just in Wales but in other parts of the island of Britain too. Since “England and Wales” are essentially treated as one constitutional and legal entity under British law it … Continue reading

The Orange Order – Enough Is Enough

British soldiers of the RIR unit with a flag supporting the anti-Catholic and Protestant fundamentalist Orange Order in Drumcree, 2002

From 1975 to 1982 a British terrorist faction nicknamed the “Shankhill Butchers”, part of the militant UVF, carried out a series of attacks designed to instil terror in the Irish Nationalist community of Belfast, randomly targeting men, women and children living in isolated enclaves around the city. Like Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the intercommunal conflict the … Continue reading

France Had Pétain, We Nearly Had Redmond

John Redmond MP presents a regimental flag to a unit of the Irish National Volunteers, the paramilitary wing of the Irish Parliamentary Party, the Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, April 1915

John Redmond is probably one of the more divisive figures in Irish history and rightly so. The patrician head of the Irish Parliamentary Party whose followers eulogised him with an almost messianic fervour while excoriating any and all critics he was the self-proclaimed “leader of Nationalist Ireland” who bullied and cajoled thousands of young Irish … Continue reading

Scottish Referendum Poll Shows Yes Vote Gaining Ground

Alba Gu Brath - Scotland Forever. Thousands attend Scottish independence rally, Edinbugh, Scotland, 2012 (Photo: Wings Over Scotland)

The latest TNS BMRB poll in Scotland is showing a small if significant rise in support for the pro-sovereignty Yes side in the run-up to the September referendum on Scottish independence. When “undecideds” are stripped out the anti-sovereignty No vote has dropped to 56% while the Yes vote has increased to 44%, a 3% jump since … Continue reading

Name The Kincora Abusers

"Belfast Fianna Fáil wish all members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland a happy 12th of July"

  For the first time an allegation long made in private has been stated in public: a senior member of the largest political party representing the British Unionist community in the north-east of Ireland and a current minister in the regional executive in Belfast was once an associate of Tara, a would-be British terrorist grouping founded in the … Continue reading

Irish-Speakers Lie Down!

The Ladies of Fine Gael - old habits die hard

If there is a nation anywhere on the planet more ashamed and embarrassed of its own existence, of its very language and culture, than Ireland then I think we need to hear of it. Only the modern Irish could disdain their millennia-old identity in pursuit of some nebulous form of Anglo-Americanism. Only the modern Irish … Continue reading

Britain’s Legacy In Ireland, 800 Years In The Making

A British Unionist and Orange Order bonfire decorated with sectarian and racist messages, Ireland, July 2014

Pictured above is an “Eleventh Night” bonfire, one of many dozens erected across the north-east of Ireland by usually adolescent members of the British Unionist minority to commemorate a series of 17th century Protestant British victories over Catholic British and Irish opponents during localised conflicts in the pan-european War of the Grand Alliance. In Ireland the primary struggle, … Continue reading

The Reality Of War

Israeli soldiers pray before a Torah, southern Israel, 2012 (AP Photo - Ariel Schalit)

Philip Weiss links to a shocking and profoundly disturbing video of a Palestinian father unable to accept the killing of his young son during an Israeli military attack on a civilian population centre in the Gaza Strip. This the reality of Israel’s latest campaign against the besieged population of Gaza while supposedly countering the military forces of the … Continue reading

The Calm Before The Storm

"Belfast Fianna Fáil wish all members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland a happy 12th of July"

The infamous Ku Klux Klan had – and probably still has – burning crosses. The equally infamous Orange Order has burning bonfires. The function of both is the same: celebration, defiance, intimidation. With “only” three ethnically motivated stabbings, scattered and desultory rioting, a handful of inter-communal clashes, minimal damage to property, shorter than previous road and … Continue reading

Rhetoric Should Take Second Place To Respect

An Phalaistín (Palestine)

The ongoing military operations being carried out against the civilian population of Gaza and Occupied Palestine as a whole by the Israeli defence forces and government in pursuit of Palestinian insurgents are dreadful and may well fall into the category of war crimes. However the use of deliberately egregious language to describe or condemn those … Continue reading

A Sickness At The Heart Of Britishness

The True "Northern Ireland" In Orange

As Britain witnesses the revelations of a decades old culture of institutionalised paedophilia and sexual abuse within the heart of the state (seemingly encompassing the BBC, the lower and upper houses of parliament, the judiciary, the police and intelligence services, the “aristocracy”, and past – and possibly current – governments in London) it is worth … Continue reading

Syria’s Other War

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

As if the dreadful loss in human life and untold misery inflicted upon tens of thousands wasn’t enough the internecine struggle in Syria now rivals the conflict in Iraq for the irreparable damage it has caused to the physical heritage of the Middle East and its many peoples. A thoroughly depressing report from the BBC: … Continue reading

Gaelic Medium Education Growing In Scotland

BBC Alba

Some positive signs pointing towards growing stability in the numbers of Scottish (Gaelic) speakers in Scotland. Despite the decline caused by centuries of political, social and cultural exclusion – in particular since the 1800s –  communities are remerging in urban regions like Edinburgh and Glasgow. From the Scotsman newspaper: “THE growth of Gaelic education throughout … Continue reading

CLG Versus GAA?

The Gaelic Chieftain, Maurice Harron

Dónal McAnallen is a passionate and well regarded Irish rights activist, sports historian and writer so what is the source of the controversy that has blown up over the last few days in relation to his Irish language advocacy within the GAA? From a report by the Belfast Telegraph: “[GAA] President Liam O’Neill could be forced into … Continue reading

A Colony Cannot Be Reformed

We Shall Overcome - Civil Rights In Ireland - The 1960s

In case you missed it, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations: “Press Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing… From 29 August to 11 September 2013, I undertook an official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the invitation … Continue reading

The Irish Government’s Anti-Irishness

Agóid Tobstailce @ Dáil Éireann

The Irish-speaking citizens and communities of Ireland are under attack. They are under attack from a coalition government of two parties who seem determined to finish the ethnocide of the indigenous Irish language and culture begun eight centuries ago. For how else could one explain the events of the last three years? The rolling back of … Continue reading

Ras Yr Iaith 2014

Another quick post, this time to highlight the success of June’s “Ras yr Iaith”, a symbolic relay race organised by Welsh-speakers to celebrate their community and publicise their demands for greater equality in Wales. Inspired by similar events held here in Ireland, Brittany and the Basque Country (the latter for many years) one thousand runners … Continue reading

Foreign Teanga, New Radio Documentary

We'll have none of that Irish shite here! You're Irish! So speak English! (Íomha: An Timire)

A quick post to highlight an upcoming radio documentary, “Foreign Teanga”, examining the positive and negative experiences of seven non-nationals living in Ireland who have chosen to learn the Irish language in Dublin over the course of ten weeks. One major source of the negativity? The Irish themselves. “At the dinner table when they found out I was … 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