Current Affairs

Dragging Ireland Back To The Middle Ages

The TUV Goes Irish! Ah, Those Were The Days…

Oh please…

Jim Allister, that infamous throwback politician from the British Unionist minority in the north-east of Ireland, is kicking off again at the thought of those who speak the indigenous Irish language being granted equal rights under the law with those who speak the English tongue. From the Newsletter:

“AN Irish language strategy published by a Sinn Fein minister could disadvantage Protestants from government jobs, TUV leader Jim Allister has said.

The document, produced by Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin’s department, proposes that Irish language speakers should have “the right” to conduct all their business in Irish with the government.

Mr Allister said that meant that if the law was implemented it would seriously disadvantage Protestants attempting to gain employment with virtually any public sector body in Northern Ireland.”

His evidence for this? More “Roman Catholics” speak Irish than “Protestants” in the north of Ireland. Given the anachronistic 16th century bigotry and apartheid attitudes of people like wee Séimí Mac Alasdair is it any bloody wonder?!

“The document also sets out plans for substantial changes to Irish medium schools, making it easier to get government funding for an Irish-only school even if there is no need for one because there are English-speaking schools in the area.”

And who decides if there is no need for an Irish-speaking school? The community that speaks English? What about the one that speaks Irish? Should they be forced to send their children to an English-medium school because the other community declares “there is no need” for an Irish-speaking one? Oh, but that is not disadvantageous at all, is it Séimí?

In fact look at the real evidence for Protestant attitudes in the North of Ireland to the Irish language from the ‘Public Attitudes towards the Irish Language in Northern Ireland: Findings from the Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey January 2012’ which are a lot more hopeful than Jim Allister would ever admit:

“Of all respondents surveyed:

35% in favour of Irish language usage in the North of Ireland.

29% against.

35% no opinion.

A considerably higher proportion of Catholics than Protestants were in favour of Irish language usage (66% and 14% respectively). However, two-fifths of Protestants (40%) and around a quarter of Catholics (27%) were neither in favour nor against the usage of the Irish language in the North.

44% would like to see and hear more Irish being used in the North of Ireland.

46% would like to see and hear less.

Around three-quarters of Catholics (76%) and a fifth of Protestants (21%) would like to see and hear more Irish being used. Around two-thirds of Protestants (67%) and a sixth of Catholics (16%) would like to see and hear less Irish being used.

56% thought that Irish should be offered as an option on documents, leaflets, notices etc. where other languages are offered.

Three-quarters of Catholics (75%) and just over two-fifths of Protestants (41%) said they would like to see Irish offered as a language option in documents, leaflets, notices etc. where other languages are offered.

24% felt Irish was important to personal identity.

52% felt that it was not important.

23% no opinion.

Around one out of every two Catholics (52%) said Irish was important to their personal identity compared with one out of every twenty Protestants (5%). Almost three-quarters of Protestants (74%) and a fifth of Catholics (21%) said that Irish was not important to their personal identity; while a fifth of Protestants (20%) and a just over a quarter of Catholics (26%) said it was neither important nor unimportant.

49% agreed that Irish is important to regional culture of the North of Ireland.

32% did not agree.

19% no opinion.

Three-quarters of Catholics (75%) and almost three-tenths of Protestants (29%) agreed that Irish is important to culture in the North, while a half of Protestants (50%) and a tenth of Catholics (10%) disagreed. However, around four in every twenty Protestants (21%) and three in every twenty Catholics (15%) neither agreed nor disagreed.

46% disagreed with the statement: “Irish is not relevant for Northern Ireland today”.

32% agreed.

21% no opinion.

Around three in every twenty Catholics (16%) and nine in every twenty Protestants (45%) agreed with the statement “Irish is not relevant for Northern Ireland today”. Just under a third of Protestants (31%) and two-thirds of Catholics (66%) disagreed with this statement, while 24% of Protestants and 18% of Catholics neither agreed nor disagreed.

52% agreed that it is important that the North of Ireland does not lose its Irish language traditions.

26% disagreed.

22% no opinion.

More than eight in every ten Catholics (83%) and almost three in every ten Protestants (29%) agreed that it is important that the North does not lose its Irish language traditions. Four-tenths of Protestants (40%) and under a tenth of Catholics (7%) disagreed, while three-tenths of Protestants (30%) and just over a tenth of Catholics (11%) neither agreed nor disagreed.

42% agreed that Irish makes a valuable contribution to promoting the North of Ireland’s identity overseas.

36% disagreed.

21% no opinion.

Just over two-thirds of Catholics (68%) and a fifth of Protestants (22%) agreed that Irish plays an important role in promoting the North abroad, while around eleven out of every twenty Protestants (54%) and three out of every twenty Catholics (14%) disagreed. There were similar proportions of Protestants (22%) and Catholics (17%) who neither agreed nor disagreed.

24% disagreed with the statement “Irish is only relevant in certain parts of Northern Ireland”.

56% agreed.

18% no opinion.

Around a half of Catholics (51%) and three-fifths of Protestants (62%) agreed that Irish is only relevant in certain parts of the North, while two-tenths of Protestants (20%) and three-tenths of Catholics (30%) disagreed. Similar proportions of Catholics and Protestants neither agreed nor disagreed that Irish is only relevant in certain parts of the North (19% and 17% respectively).

81% agreed that pupils, who wish, should be able to take Irish as a subject at school.

8% disagreed.

10% no opinion.

Around nineteen out of every twenty Catholics (93%) and fifteen out of every twenty Protestants (73%) agreed that those pupils, who wish, should be able to study Irish at school. The same proportions of Protestants disagreed and neither agreed nor disagreed (13%). For Catholics, the respective proportions were 2% and 6%.

53% agreed that there should be more opportunities for people to learn Irish across the North of Ireland.

20% disagreed.

26% no opinion.

Almost four-fifths of Catholics (79%) and over a third of Protestants (35%) agreed that there should be more opportunities for people to learn Irish across the North, while 30% of Protestants and 6% of Catholics disagreed. However, amongst Protestants, similar proportions agreed, disagreed and neither agreed nor disagreed that there should be more opportunities for people to learn Irish across the North (35%, 30% and 34% respectively).

41% agreed that the use of Irish should be supported and encouraged throughout the North of Ireland.

35% disagreed.

23% no opinion.

Almost three-quarters of Catholics (74%) and less than a fifth of Protestants (18%) agreed that the use of Irish should be supported and encouraged throughout the North. Over a half of Protestants (54%) and a tenth of Catholics (10%) disagreed, while 27% of Protestants and 16% of Catholics neither agreed nor disagreed.

The most frequently cited factor that would encourage more use of Irish was: “More opportunity to study Irish in schools and further education” (18%).

Approximately five times the proportion of Catholics than Protestants agreed that more should be done to encourage and promote Irish in the North (71% and 14% respectively). Around eleven out of every twenty Protestants and two out of every twenty Catholics disagreed (56% and 9% respectively). Two-tenths of Catholics (20%) and almost three-tenths of Protestants (29%) neither agreed nor disagreed that more should be done to encourage and promote Irish in the North.

When shown a list of nine elements which are contained in language acts in other jurisdictions, 52% selected at least one that they thought should be included in an Irish Language Act in the North of Ireland.”

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