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Sinn Féin – Missing The Real Irish Revolution

Following on from my criticism of Gerry Adam’s speech at the 2012 Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis in Cill Airne for failing to address in any meaningful way the specific equality needs of Ireland’s Irish-speaking communities and citizens I’ve had a look through the motions passed at this year’s convention searching out those relating to the Irish language (yes, I know, but someone had to do it). Out of 176 motions debated on the floor a grand total of 9 (that’s nine) related to the Irish language. And even a couple of those were fairly tangential. The details are as follows:

Motion 9

This Ard Fheis commends:

a) The work of Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilin in the promotion of the Irish language and the Irish-language strategy which is currently being brought forward by her department;

b) Her intent to pursue the creation of an Irish Language Act as a priority and the provision of resources necessary for its full implementation;

c) The minister for bringing forward the Líofa 2015 initiative which aims to create more Irish speakers by 2015 and calls on Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan to bring forward a similar initiative in the 26 Counties.

Motion 10

Go gcreideann an Ard Fheis seo gur cheart Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga a choinneáil ag feidhmiú go neamhspleách mar atá, gur chóir don Rialtas na moltaí a rinne sé ina thuarascálacha bliantúla a chuir i bhfeidhm agus acmhainní cuí a chuir ar fáil do chun sin a dhéanamh. [ASF: “This Ard-Fheis believes that the Office of the Language Commissioner should continue to operate independently and that the Government should implement the recommendations made in his annual reports and sufficient resources should be put in place for that.”]

Motion 11

This Ard Fheis:

a) Supports the community campaigns to promote the Irish language by erecting Irish-language street signs and promoting Irish placenames and congratulates councillors and party activists on work done on this to date;

b) Calls on all Sinn Féin councillors to promote a bilingual street signage policy in their area and local cumainn to work to ensure that residents are surveyed in areas where there is a demand for Irish-language street signage.

Motion 12

This Ard Fheis proposes that Sinn Féin works to facilitate the development of larger geographic radio licences for Irish-language radio stations and seeks to develop a new all-Ireland, Irish-language radio station.

Motion 21

This Ard Fheis calls for the promotion of our Celtic heritage at national and European level for the following purposes:

a) Uniting the Celtic people;

b) Promoting an understanding rural Celtic settlement patterns and the rural way of life.

c) Promoting tourism and organic farming;

d) Defending rural communities under sustained attack.

Motion 73

This Ard Fheis calls on Sinn Féin to use the parallel text format when printing bilingual documents, including the Clár for the Ard Fheis. (This means that text in Irish is printed on the left and English text is printed on the right.) The advantage with this format is that it facilitates the learning of Irish and allows easily-read comparisons between both languages. 

Motion 74

This Ard Fheis regrets the absence of the fada in many official publications. It urges Sinn Féin at all party levels to set an example in the correct use of the fada in all written and printed communications.

Motion 75

This Ard Fheis proposes that all departments or units in the party adhere to Sinn Féin policy of acknowledging the importance of the Irish language when naming the various units or departments so that we are seen to be Gaelicising the party.

Motion 126

This Ard Fheis notes that:
Cuts to the education system have had a detrimental effect on those children who are most at risk of educational disadvantage. These are children from disadvantaged urban areas, isolated rural communities or children with a special need;
Changes to the staffing schedule in schools with less than 86 pupils will result in the loss of 250 teaching posts and will further increase the pupil/teacher ratio. This will disproportionately affect small rural schools, Gaelscoileanna and schools in the Gaeltacht;”

Hardly earth-shattering stuff this, and the average Plaid Cymru or Parti Québécois activist would probably shake their head in amusement.

A Gaelic Revolution it is not.

[ASF: Gaelport has some more news on Irish-related matters from the 2012 Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis here]

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