Ireland’s English State

Another year, another name-and-shame report from Ireland’s Language Commissioner, the independent ombudsman tasked with overseeing the implementation of the country’s Official Languages Act of 2003. This legislation guarantees limited rights for Irish-speaking citizens alongside their English-speaking peers (emphasis on the “limited”). However since its inception the profound levels of institutionalised discrimination in Ireland’s Anglophone public … Continue reading

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Saving The Language Commissioner

It’s been a hard struggle, and a long one, but the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government has finally succumbed to public pressure and agreed to retain the independent office of the Language Commissioner, the state official who oversees the implementation of the Official Languages Act. In Ireland the default language of government is English meaning that … Continue reading

An Invisible People With Invisible Rights

An Coimisinéir Teanga or the Language Commissioner is a legal officer of the Irish state who’s role under the Official Languages Act of 2003 is to ensure the equal provision of public services to the nation’s Irish-speaking and English-speaking communities. This is in line with the constitutional imperative placed upon the Irish government to protect … Continue reading

Ireland’s Apartheid Republic

In response to yesterday’s surprise resignation by the Language Rights Commissioner Seán Ó Cuirreáin, an act of protest against the culture of Anglophone discrimination towards Hibernophones that pervades the Irish state and government, this comment left on the website of the Irish Independent newspaper sums up the reaction of many English-speakers in Ireland. The message is … Continue reading

Arrested For Speaking Irish – Welcome To Anglo-Ireland!

Seán Ó Cuirreáin, an Coimisinéir Teanga or the Language Commissioner, released his Annual Report for 2012 at an event in Galway yesterday and it has proven to be yet another dreadful year for the advancement of civil rights for Irish-speaking citizens in Ireland (you can read last year’s 2011 Report here). 2012 saw the highest number of complaints yet, 756 in total, the … Continue reading

Shining A Light On Institutional Discrimination?

Following on from the revelations of serious breaches by a significant number of public bodies in relation to their legal obligations under the Official Languages Act of 2003 (contained in the 2011 Report by An Coimisinéir Teanga), an Oireachtas committee is to bring a number of civil servants before it for questioning. While the deliberate obstruction of … Continue reading

Institutional Discrimination In The Irish State – The Culture Of An “Anglophone Stormont”

If you’ve been wondering just exactly why the Fine Gael – Labour coalition government seems so utterly determined to scrap the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga or the Language Commissioner, despite a torrent of criticism and opposition both at home and abroad, read on. Seán Ó Cuirreáin has released his 2011 Annual Report on the adherence to the regulations governing the Official Languages Act of 2003 … Continue reading

Speak English! Or Else…

On Tuesday I discussed the slow but steady linguistic change currently taking place in Wales, with increasing numbers of Welsh people returning to their native language, largely due to a positive political environment in which equality legislation and clearly defined language policies have shaped the cultural landscape of the nation. Over the last two decades … Continue reading

If It’s Good Enough For The Welsh, Why Is It Not Good Enough For The Irish?

In Ireland, after eight centuries of foreign colonial rule and despite nearly a century of independence, some of the population have been so thoroughly anglicised in their language, culture and thinking that an Anglophone minority continue to believe that it is their absolute right to hold undisputed sway over this country. This small but militant … Continue reading

The State Of Irish – In The Irish State

In today’s Irish Times (following on from yesterday’s bizarre anti-Irish rant by Ann Marie Hourihane) Finbar McDonnell examines the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government’s attitudes to it’s Irish speaking citizens in these economically straitened times: “THE VIBRANT Seachtain na Gaeilge festival runs nationally until March 17th, with tomorrow a Lá Gaeilge in the Dáil. At the same time, Irish language groups are campaigning against the … Continue reading

Speaking In Two Tongues

Do you know that you live in an officially bilingual Ireland? Believe it or not but the Government of Ireland committed itself to a policy of “official bilingualism” across the country way back in 2006. In a statement issued six years ago, and supported by all the major parties in Oireachtas Éireann, the government pledged itself to … Continue reading

The Pettiness Of Casual Discrimination In Ireland

From the Irish Times, a story about a seemingly causal act of unthinking discrimination that actually reveals quiet a lot about the thinking of those who regulate and govern our lives: “NEW INFORMATION signs provided to taxi drivers to display in their vehicles could be in breach of the Official Languages Act, Foras na Gaeilge has said. The signs, … Continue reading

Irish Rights Are Equals Rights – So Fight Back!

Over the last several months I have regularly highlighted the alarm felt by many in Ireland and beyond over the Fine Gael-Labour government’s attitudes to the Irish language and the Irish-speaking population of Ireland (and those who identify with both). It has become clear that the discriminatory policies adopted by Fine Gael in opposition have been carried over into government and with the connivance of … Continue reading

Fighting For The Truth

There is a letter in The Irish Times from a host of Irish civil rights campaigners, journalists, businesspeople, academics and student leaders protesting the decision by the Irish government to abolish the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga (the Language Commissioner) through the amalgamation of his agency with that of the Ombudsman. Ostensibly made to meet budgetary restrictions imposed by the … Continue reading

An Anti-Irish Free State?

I’ve written several pieces here about the shock and dismay felt by many Irish-speaking citizens across Ireland at the decision by the current Fine Gael-Labour coalition government to abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga or the Language Commissioner; a decision justified as a necessary requirement of the hack and burn austerity measures dictated by the IMF-ECB. However … Continue reading

Fight The Power!

From Galltacht, the Hidden Ireland blog, Eoin Ó Riain brings the latest news on the campaign to defend the office of the Language Commissioner, An Coimisinéir Teanga, from the government program to roll back Irish civil rights legislation. “The rain was coming down in sheets last Friday in Galway city. The Pillo Hotel was the venue for a meeting called to … Continue reading

Tá An Réabhlóid Ag Teacht!

Inspired by the images emerging from the Occupy movement here are some more adaptations of my own, this time in the style of classic activist posters. I have two versions of the same graphic for you to check out with two messages.

Sábháil Ár dTeanga

The outrage sparked by the Fine Gael-Labour government’s controversial decision to abolish the office of An Coimisinéir Teanga continues to grow. The Irish Times carries the latest news: “ACADEMICS, IRISH language organisations and former minister for the Gaeltacht Éamon Ó Cuív have criticised the decision to merge An Coimisinéir Teanga’s (the Irish Language Commissioner) office with … Continue reading

Agóid Tobstailce @ Dáil Éireann

Some photos of the student demonstration held outside Dáil Éireann yesterday evening, a couple of hours after the shock government announcement of the abolishment of the office of the Language Commissioner.          

Second Class Citizens With Second Class Rights

Two weeks ago I predicted that the Fine Gael led coalition government would use a review of the Official Languages Act of 2003 to reverse a decade’s worth of progress on equal rights for Ireland’s Irish speaking communities. And, hey, guess what news was announced today? The Irish Times carries the story: “The decision to close the office of the Irish Language Commissioner has led … Continue reading

Language Rights Are Civil Rights

Seán Ó Cuirreáin, An Coimisinéir Teanga or the Irish Language Commissioner, is the person tasked with ensuring that our public services are available to the Irish speaking population in their own language (and given the hostility of some English speakers to their Irish speaking peers a monumental task it is). On Tuesday he announced the launch of a new … 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