No Speak The Irish!

Gunmen of the UDA-UFF, a legal British terrorist faction in Ireland, pose for the cameras

As if the precarious position of Irish-speaking citizens and communities in Ireland was not difficult enough living under the authority of a state hostile or indifferent to their needs, in the north-east of the country they must also face the threat of violence too. From the Belfast Telegraph: “A community centre has suffered a wave … 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

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

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

The Irish State Versus The Irish Language

English versus An Ghaeilge

More on the controversial decision by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to appoint two government minsters to departments dealing with Irish-speaking communities and citizens both of whom have little to no ability in the language despite the fact that a number of their colleagues are fluent speakers. The now familiar hostility and apathy towards our indigenous language … 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

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

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

Irish In Ireland? Oh The Humanity!

Ireland in chains

Richard Haass, the latest diplomatic envoy from the United States to the permanently ailing Irish-British peace process, has offered the tentative proposal that the Irish language be granted some form of “official” recognition in the north-east of Ireland. Predictably we are told that politicians from the British Unionist minority in the region will react with … Continue reading

In Support Of A Reunited Brittany

In 1941 the Vichy regime in France ordered the partition of the north-western Celtic nation of Brittany as part of administrative restructuring during its collaborationist rule with the Nazis. Nearly a fifth of the territory of the Bretons, including the historic capital city of Nantes, was incorporated into an artificial region called Pays de la … Continue reading

British Unionism, Nationalism In Denial

In a glorious example of the Irish political rhetoric known as “whataboutery” the columnist N.R. Greer takes to the pages of the Newsletter to attack the critics of the sectarianism and racism that is at the heart of the ideology of British Unionism in Ireland (and perhaps inevitably so given the origins of political Unionism … Continue reading

The Threat Of The Gaelic Ail-Caoíde

Talking of petty bigots whose anachronistic opinions are derived from centuries of colonial supremacism here comes another tirade against one of the indigenous languages of these Celtic Isles. Drew Cochrane, editor of the Largs & Millport Weekly News, spouting some ripe Daily Mail-style rhetoric for his Anglophone (and -centric) readership. Funny how people who complain … Continue reading

British Reformation Politics

  The legacy of British faith- and race-based colonialism right here in Europe, right here in Ireland. From The Impartial Reporter newspaper: “THE new Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Bert Johnston believes First Minister Peter Robinson “has shown good leadership” despite his remarks on Muslims sparking controversy… Mr. Johnston, a long-standing member of the Democratic … Continue reading

Speaking In Code

  Declan Lynch, the one-time enfant terrible of Irish journalism now turned middle-aged establishment terrier, has taken to the pages of the Irish Independent newspaper to bewail the challenge offered by the resurgence of progressive republicanism at the ballot box to the decades-old political consensus of our nouveau Ascendancy. He makes a typically jaded attempt to link the rise of Sinn Féin … Continue reading

The Great Irish Paradox

From the Daily Beast: “Here in Odessa, the conflict has nothing to do with a linguistic divide. Everyone speaks Russian. As one pro-Maidan activist explained by analogy, “Irish terrorists speak English but fight for Ireland.”…” That they do. And that, a chairde, is the problem in more ways than one.

Ireland Spends More Money On Non-Irish Translations

In case you missed it (because you know the newspapers aren’t going to report this one), from RTÉ: “New figures show that Government departments spent more than €1m on translation costs last year. However, less than half of this was spent on translating documents into the Irish language. The figures show that the Department of … Continue reading

Three Welsh Rights Activists Arrested

Three activists fighting for Welsh language rights, two women and a man in their twenties, were arrested today by police in Wales after they painted slogans on a local government building demanding greater equality for Welsh-speaking citizens from the devolved government in Cardiff. From the Daily Post newspaper: “Three campaigners have spray painted the Welsh Government offices … Continue reading

Doctor Orders Child And Parent Not To Speak In Welsh

From a report by the Daily Post newspaper in Wales: “A hospital has apologised after a doctor asked a mum and her daughter to stop speaking Welsh. The North Wales mum had taken her 15-year-old daughter to the emergency department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd,  Bodelwyddan on Tuesday. She said the doctor had made the comment … Continue reading

Five Thousand March For Irish Rights In Belfast

Last Saturday up to five thousand people took part in An Lá Dearg i mBéal Feirste, a march through the city of Belfast in support of Irish language rights in the north-east of Ireland. Despite the disruptive presence of a small crowd of protesters from the British Unionist community (who waved British flags while making … Continue reading

An Lá Dearg I mBéal Feirste

Following on from the mass demonstration held in Dublin eight weeks ago during which 10,000 people marched across the capital in support of Irish language rights another demonstration is planned for Belfast this Saturday, the 12th of April 2014. Gathering at 2pm outside Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiach, the Falls Road, in the west of the … Continue reading

Arrested For Speaking Irish In Europe’s Darkest Corner

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, is on an official state visit to Britain, the first by an Irish head of state in some nine decades of independence. This follows the first official visit by Britain’s head of state, Elizabeth II, to Ireland and is yet another step in the ongoing choreography of the … Continue reading

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

No Aboriginal Culture In Trinity College, Please!

Sir John Pentland Mahaffy GBE CVO, the late 19th and early 20th century Anglo-Irish classicist, was one of the most widely despised figures in the Unionist intelligentsia of pre-revolutionary Dublin. That is hardly surprising given his unremitting contempt for those he described as the “…aborigines of this island“. As well as serving in Britain’s colonial regime in Ireland, first as a High Sheriff and … Continue reading

Welsh, A Foreign Language In Britain

Substitute “Ireland” for “Wales” and “Irish” for “Welsh” and the discrimination revealed below would be pretty much the same. From a report in the Daily Post newspaper: “After receiving a form in English from National Savings and Investments, 72-year-old Arfon Rhys sent it back and requested either a Welsh or bilingual form. The letter he then received from … Continue reading

Some Irish Are More Equal Than Others

Forgive the “Animal Farm” paraphrase in the title above but it seemed appropriate when contemplating some recent articles written on linguistic equality by Anglophone journalists in Ireland and Canada. The first comes from the newspaper columnist Catherine O’Mahony in the Sunday Business Post where in two pieces she both praises and criticises the Irish language … Continue reading

Support From New York City For Irish Language Rights In Ireland

Well done to everyone who gathered at the famous Rocky Sullivan’s Pub in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to show their support for the constitutional and legal rights of Irish-speaking communities and citizens in Ireland. These rights are under renwed assault from the current coalition government in Dublin supported by a hostile Anglophone media. [ASF: With thanks … Continue reading

The Ultimate Irish Joke

It’s that time of year again when Ireland’s political establishment trots out its bit of lip-service and tokenism in relation to the country’s national and first official language. Except this year, in line with the increasingly discriminatory policies of the Fine Gael and Labour Party coalition government, they couldn’t even be bothered with that much. … Continue reading

Ireland’s Citizens And Version-Citizens

The Official Languages Act of 2003 is one of the few pieces of legislation in Irish law that guarantees the (deliberately limited) rights of Irish-speaking citizens when dealing with the government of Ireland. It ensures that a minimum standard of Irish language and bilingual services are provided by most (though not all) public bodies. In … Continue reading

The Times They Are A-Changin’

While some have tried to reprimand An Sionnach Fionn and its readers for our assertive contribution in redefining the debate around around Irish language rights in Ireland it is clear that we are merely in the vanguard of a far greater movement. From an article by Maitiú de Hál featured on thejournal.ie: “FOR THE PAST number of weeks, … Continue reading

Irish Rights Are Indigenous Rights?

The biggest deterrent to speaking Irish in Ireland? The hostile or derisory responses it elicits from a handful of chauvinistic English-speakers who believe that the indigenous speech of this island nation is actually is a “foreign” or “minority” language and should be treated as such (which says much for how they view both foreigners and … Continue reading

An English Ireland Fears An Irish Ireland

For over two-and-a-half years An Sionnach Fionn has been reporting on the rising levels of public antipathy towards Irish-speaking citizens in Ireland and the heightened culture of discrimination within the country’s departments of government. Since 2011 we’ve examined the reduction or blocking of services through the Irish language by large sections of the state, even … Continue reading

Medieval Discrimination In A Modern Ireland

The 14th century Statues of Kilkenny are generally remembered as one of the poorer attempts by the British state in Ireland to maintain its authority over this island nation during the Medieval period. They were a body of laws passed in 1366/7 to prevent the erosion of the distinctive identity of the Anglo-British colonists in … Continue reading

Ireland’s Supreme Court, Rights Of Irish-Speaking Citizens Are Conditional

Several writers and activists have protested recently at my characterization of Irish-speakers in Ireland as second-class citizens with second-class rights. They say it goes too far and misrepresents the true political and legal situation for Hibernophones in this country. So, in answer, from a report today by RTÉ: “A native Irish speaker who is due … Continue reading

If You Tolerate This

The Limerick Leader carries an opinion piece by conservative columnist Patricia Feehily that plumbs the noxious depths of Anglophone intolerance as she attacks the Irish-speaking communities and citizens of Ireland, and their desire for full equal rights with their English-speaking peers. As usual we find the anachronistic terminology of anti-Irish racism which is rooted in the … 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