A couple of days ago I was helping my sister complete her online application form for the driver theory test when we encountered a drop-down menu that offered several different language options, including one for “Gaelic“. I was surprised to see this term substituted for the word “Irish” (or “Gaeilge“) on a website serving users in Ireland. While Irish is a Gaelic language, one of the… Read More The Irish Driver Theory Test – In Gaelic?
Yanky Fachler, author and member of the Jewish Historical Society of Ireland, with an interesting two-part lecture on the contribution of the Jewish-Irish community to revolutionary republicanism and the War of Independence. Well worth a watch if you can forgive the odd mispronunciation or occasional poorly chosen word. Local and community histories like this are excellent.
Over the last three years of writing the Sionnach Fionn blog there have been a number of subjects that have drawn vigorous responses from readers, both regular and passers-by. The continued British occupation of the north-east of our island nation, and the conflicts it has engendered. The place of the Irish language and Irish-speakers in modern Ireland and… Read More Opposing Abortion Based On Fact Not On Faith
What is the real attitude of Sinn Féin to the imposition of water charges in Ireland? Are they wholly opposed to them or are they, to borrow a phrase from elsewhere, sneaking regarders? Certainly the party took a curiously cautious line in the press following the creation in 2013 of a public service utility company, Uisce Eireann – Irish… Read More Sinn Féin And Right2Water
In recent weeks the right-wing Fine Oibre coalition and much of the equally right-wing press have confidentially asserted that the protests against water-charges and other forms of punitive taxation have largely dissipated in the face of government determination to pursue its programme of state-sanctioned “austerity”. The visible back-slapping of Fine Gael and Labour ministers and TDanna, not to mention the praise of sycophantic… Read More No Taxation Without Representation
In November of 2014 the Tánaiste and Labour Party leader, Joan Burton, was greeted by several dozen local residents protesting the imposition of water taxes via the establishment of the public service company, Uisce Éireann – Irish Water, during a visit to An Cosán in Jobstown, Tallaght. The demonstrators delayed Burton’s exit from the area by staging… Read More Sinister Policing In The Ireland Of Fine Gael And Labour
The Economic and Social Research Institute, the well-known independent think-tank, has released a new, one hundred page study titled, “Attitudes towards the Irish Language on the Island of Ireland, August 2015”, edited by Dr. Merike Darmody of the ESRI and Tania Daly of Amárach Research. The document outlines the current status of our indigenous language and… Read More Attitudes Towards The Irish Language On The Island of Ireland 2015
In an interesting if factually flawed article the surprisingly authoritarian newspaper columnist Victoria White, the eco-activist wife of the Green Party’s lame duck leader Éamon Ryan, takes to the pages of the Examiner to express a degree of resigned sadness at the passing of the Gaeltachtaí, the traditional and supposedly state-recognised Irish-speaking regions of the country. The chief culprit for the… Read More The Irish Language Deniers
In the general election of December 1918 the revolutionary Irish republican and nationalist party, Sinn Féin, took 73 of the available 105 seats allocated to Ireland in the House of Commons, the parliament of the so-called “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland”. The Irish Parliamentary Party, a nationalist-regionalist grouping favouring some form of quasi-autonomy… Read More Ireland And Catalonia, Some Historic Parallels
Consumed with matters closer to home I have had little chance to highlight some important political developments in Catalonia, in particular the emergence of Junts pel Sí “Together for Yes”, a new alliance between the major nationalist parties and organisations in the region. From a report by the informative ara.cat: “”What we are doing here is far from ordinary,… Read More Unprecedented Times In Catalan And Irish Politics
One of the more remarkable phenomena of modern Ireland has been the slow deculturation of the Irish people, a process ongoing since the 1970s (though initiating much further back than that). Of course all nations go through a crucible of continuous change and development, and it would be problematic for things to be otherwise. However some changes are… Read More Barbarians At The Gate
From a quote in an article by the Huffington Post examining the institutionalised discrimination faced by Irish-speaking citizens and communities in Ireland, which I featured last week: “In February 2014, at an Irish language rights march and protest in Dublin, Brenda Ní Ghairbhí, a manager at Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language Week), remembers a speech… Read More It Is No More A Sin To Kill An Irishman Than A Dog
Over the last few weeks I have been receiving unusually frequent and comprehensive PR releases from the Green Party’s press office, sometimes on an almost daily basis. What makes the emails so different in the context of party politics in Ireland is the language they are written in: namely the Irish language. Press statements from our other parties… Read More Killing The Irish
Eircode, the controversial, multi-million euro postal code system for Ireland, has been launched by Alex White, the coalition’s minister for communications, and as expected the service comes with a host of issues. Topping these is the revelation that at least fifty thousand placenames across the country in the Irish language have been excluded from the new database. This of… Read More The Eircode Controversy Or Screwing The Irish In That Other England
When the greater part of Ireland won its independence from the United Kingdom in the early 1920s the number of native Irish-speakers across the island, north and south, was close to 6% of the total population (a figure which excludes fluent non-native speakers of Irish, perhaps another 3%-5%). This represented over 250,000 men, women and children, the vast… Read More Irish Is Not Dying, Irish Is Being Killed
Coincidental to the temporary silencing of a compliant Irish press by a billionaire businessman whose past dealings have become mired in controversy, the Irish Times reports on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition’s new rules on media ownership which will give: “…the Minister for Communications power to decide if a proposed media merger is in the public interest in terms of… Read More Irish Language Rights Are No Rights At All
On Thursday the 28th of May the independent TD Catherine Murphy, a recent campaigner against fiscal impropriety and corruption in Irish society, made a contribution to Dáil Éireann questioning the business dealings of Denis O’Brien, the influential Ireland-born entrepreneur and overseas tax-resident, following several weeks of public disquiet. Her actions were widely regarded as a response to the temporary injunction against the public service broadcaster RTÉ that the billionaire’s legal team had sought and… Read More He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named
My family has been dwelling in Dublin city and its environs since the mid-1800s, part of the mass rural exodus to Ireland’s towns and cities in the wake of An Gorta Mór. In the earliest period, as far as one can tell, the Foxes/ Sionnacha existed amongst the capital’s urban working-classes. At the start of… Read More Fianna Fáil, A Party Without A Cause
We are in the last week of the referendum campaign debating the addition of a new sub-section to Bunreacht na hÉireann defining marriage as a gender-neutral institution. In other words, permitting hetero- and homosexual marriages under the Irish constitution (with specific legislation to follow). For the last 48 hours the moronically-named grouping “Mothers and Fathers… Read More Fathers And Mothers Matter, Respect And Understanding Not So Much
If you and your family are native Irish-speakers and you live in an Irish-speaking region, it seems not unreasonable to expect that your children will be educated by an Irish-speaking teacher when they attend the local Irish-speaking school. However in Ireland there is nothing reasonable about the institutional discrimination towards Hibernophone communities that permeates parts of the state, notably the… Read More Did You Hear The One About The Irish Name Spelled With Chinese Letters?
Buzzfeed, the popular American click-bait site which has recently acquired a serious case of the journalistic respectables, has a fairly lengthy article on the upcoming referendum in Ireland which proposes adding a clause to the constitution defining marriage in a gender-neutral manner (or as the opponents to the amendment would have it: imperilling heterosexual relationships and families, inculcating homosexuality into our schoolchildren… Read More The Super Scary, Quite Contrary Equal-Marriage Referendum In Ireland
As you may have guessed An Sionnach Fionn fully supports the proposed amendment to the definition of marriage as outlined in Article 41 of Bunreacht na hÉireann. The addition of a new section will state that Féadfaidh beirt, gan beann ar a ngnéas, conradh pósta a dhéanamh de réir dlí or literally “Two persons may, without regard to their sex, make… Read More Tabhair Dom Do Lámh