No Value In Welsh For Tory’s English Candidate

An Bhreatain Bheag - Cymru - Wales

Over the last few decades our Celtic neighbours in Wales have seen the emergence of something approaching a national consensus on the importance of the Welsh language. Though there is still much progress to be made and lots of wrongs to be righted, relatively few people would now challenge the need to facilitate and encourage … Continue reading

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Ireland Of The Apes

Speak English! Not Irish!

Are we really so enslaved to our post-colonial neuroses, so malformed by centuries of external domination, that even after ninety years of independence we are still unable to contemplate giving equal prominence to our own language on our own road signs alongside the language of our one-time masters? And what excuses do we cushion our own pathetic feelings of … Continue reading

The Problem With Irish? Not Enough Politics!

Labhair Gaeilge

There is a great article over on Diaga on the importance of persecuted communities with distinct languages and cultures achieving some form of political autonomy if their identities are to survive. I recommend that you read the whole thing but here are some highlights: “Mulling over the Scottish ‘no’ vote last week, it occurred to me just … Continue reading

Victory For Navajo Nation In US Settlement

The Native American Nations In The United States - Trapped In The USA

With good news an all too precious commodity this is very welcome indeed. From the Independent newspaper: “When senior figures from the US Government sit down with the President of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona on Friday, their meeting will mark an historic moment in the relationship between native Americans and the country … Continue reading

The Embarrassment Of Being Irish

The BBC can do Irish but RTÉ can't

So after eighteen years of an online presence our self-proclaimed “national public service broadcaster”, RTÉ, has finally got around to providing a web-based Irish language news site (though you might have to search through the RTÉ homepage to find it). I suppose one should welcome the move as a sign of more demand driving more … Continue reading

An Leabhar Beag Gorm, The Little Blue Book

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

Last week Wilson McLeod took to the website Bella Caledonia to criticise the glaring absence of the native Scottish (Gaelic) language from the referendum on independence in Scotland. In a well argued piece he attacked the off-hand treatment of Scottish-speaking communities and citizens by the SNP-led “Yes” campaign and the dismissal of their requests for … Continue reading

Australia’s Shame

Protesting Aboriginal or Native Australian rights in Australia

Native Australians make up just 2% of Australia’s population but form an incredible 26% of the national prison population, rising to 90% in some regions. That is a shocking indictment of the continental nation’s relations with its indigenous peoples. Something is very, very wrong in the land down under and Vice magazine highlights one particular … Continue reading

The Irrational Nature Of The Anti-Irish Bigots

English versus An Ghaeilge

Have some indigenous Gaelic moles crept into the hallowed Hibernophobe halls of Independent House, publishers of the Indo stable of newspapers? A couple of weeks ago we witnessed some atypically discrimination-free commentary on the rights of Irish-speaking citizens from Clare Cullen in the Irish Independent. Now we have radio reviewer Darragh McManus offering some more sane opinions in the same … Continue reading

A Republic Of Equals

Photo of Mae Burke, Eithne Coyle and Linda Kearns, Irish Republican revolutionaries, standing on a British flag in an image taken shortly after they escaped from a British POW camp, Ireland 1921

There is an old saying in the history of Ireland that relates to the waves of immigration our island nation has witnessed, a saying that many Irish people take a quiet pride in. Describing the invaders, colonists and settlers that have made our country their home it is said that they became, Níos Gaelaí ná na Gaeil féin “More Irish than the … Continue reading

Irish-Medium Education Overcoming The Odds

Labhair Gaeilge

Over the last decade the devolved government in Wales, with near cross-party unanimity, has used its growing powers over education to encourage Welsh-medium education by facilitating the growth of existing and new Welsh-speaking schools across the country. In 2013 nearly 24% of primary and 21% of secondary age students attended Welsh-medium schools, a rise from … Continue reading

Second Spoken Languages Of Contemporary Europe

Map showing the second most spoken languages in Europe by nation state, revealing historic regions of invasion, colonisation and modern immigration, 2014

Interesting charts from the folk at (the anglocentric) Move Hub: “This map shows the second most common first language in (nearly) every country in the world. These are people who speak it as a first language, we decided this was a more revealing metric as it illuminates the ancient furrows of conquest, colonisation and recent … Continue reading

The Irish Republic

Photo of Mae Burke, Eithne Coyle and Linda Kearns, Cumann na mBan revolutionaries, taken shortly after they escaped from a British POW camp, in Carlow, Ireland 1921

I remember writing an essay many years ago where I stated that the Irish revolution was the making of Ireland’s language revival and the Irish counter-revolution was its breaking. Nothing in the last ten years has altered that opinion. The internecine victory of the reactionary forces of the old Catholic Nationalist bourgeoisie in 1923, with … Continue reading

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

    Nominated 2014: Best News, Current Affairs, Politics, Mobile Blog Categories; Best Blog Post

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