Current Affairs Politics

Settler Versus Native – Culture Wars In The North Of Ireland

Thanks to Daithí for drawing my attention to this latest bit of nonsense from TUV leader Jim Allister, as he yet again rails against any attempt to implement linguistic or cultural equality between the Untermenschen Irish and Übermenschen British communities in the North of Ireland:

‘…Jim Allister has challenged the launch of an Irish language promotion campaign…

“Unlike their timid counterparts in government, Sinn Fein takes every opportunity to peddle their own political agenda. From the moment they politicised Irish as a cultural weapon of war – by describing every word spoken as a bullet in the freedom struggle – they have set about ramming it down our throats.

“Now, the latest phase in this divisive anti-British vendetta is to use departmental office, money and facilities to promote their language agenda. In historical culture Irish has its place, but as a living and working language it is a non-starter in the 21st century, whether it be the Long Kesh variety that the minister speaks or the real thing which she and her Sinn Fein colleagues emasculate every time they fumble and mumble through the mantra they have adopted as the introduction to everything they say.

“Making promotion of the Gaelic culture a policy priority is something with Section 75 ramifications and, therefore, I am asking the department to clarify when this policy was equally proofed and how much its one-sided implementation will cost.”’

The cause of wee Jimmy’s ire is a new campaign, Líofa 2015, launched by the North’s Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, to encourage people from both communities in the north-east of Ireland to speak the Irish language. As reported in the Irish Independent:

‘The North’s Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín will ask high-profile figures, plus members of the public, to agree to try to become “liofa”, Irish for fluent, by the target date.

The Sinn Fein minister said she hoped “Líofa 2015” would attract people from across the political divide and said the Gaelic language should be seen as belonging to all communities.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie is among the public figures set to attend the Stormont launch of the project on Monday.

While the language has sparked rows between unionists and nationalists at the Assembly, the minister said Liofa 2015 was a bid to get away from political divisions.

“At times the Irish language came up for debate in the Assembly and, because of the conduct and the remarks that were made, members of the Irish language community felt very hurt and offended,” she said.

“They felt that there must be some way that we can deal with, and promote and advance, the Irish language without it becoming a divisive political issue.”

Ms Ní Chuilín added: “We want learning Irish to be a natural and normal thing that people do without any comment.

“I was conscious of the fact that the language seems to be viewed by some as the preserve of the nationalist and republican community, and that’s not the case. The Irish language belongs to everyone.”

A wide variety of people have been asked to take part in the project.

The minister said: “We have been speaking to people from all walks of life.

“We have been speaking to people from the PSNI, from cricket, from rugby, from soccer, speaking to people from the Fire and Rescue service. I have asked their support for Líofa.

“We want to speak to people, wherever they come from, wherever they hail. Whatever townland, city or borough, they live in. If they are interested, then we are keen to help them.”

The Department of Culture’s website will offer details of where classes are available. Support may also be on offer to learners in need of advice but the minister said she did not foresee any major expenditure.

The minister denied republicans had used Irish as a political weapon.

Referring to the historic attempts to force the demise of the language, she added: “You could go back, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”

Ms Ní Chuilín said people had a right to raise legitimate concerns over how the language had been dealt with.

But she said the decision of the Queen and US President Barack Obama to use Irish during their recent visits to the Republic of Ireland had helped break down barriers.

“I think those initiatives have done a lot to help build good relations between the communities around the language.”‘

Ah yes, no wonder poor Jim is fairly frothing at the mouth. The deputy head of the PSNI, the British paramilitary police force in the North of Ireland, attending an event promoting the language of the Natives? Its enough to send any decent, God-fearing British colonist Unionist into apoplexy. What next? Good, honest Scots-Irish Ulster-Scots folk breeding with the Celtic/Gaelic/Irish?

You could end up with wee Jimmy Allister becoming Séimí Mac Alasdair!

Where then the last remnants of Britain’s colony in Ireland?

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