Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins, has made a telling point in relation to the Irish language, a point that An Sionnach Fionn has highlighted repeatedly for the last two years and more. From RTÉ:
“President Michael D Higgins has said that to prevent people from speaking their own language is a denial of human rights.
Addressing an international conference, President Higgins said rights are denied when people are discouraged from speaking a language or when a language is allowed to become subordinate in usage.
He said that the importance of protecting Gaeltacht areas was widely recognised and although this was a matter for government he would do his best to encourage it.”
I wonder whether Michael D Higgins would have signed into law the now infamous Gaeltacht Bill of 2012? A piece of legislation from the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government that gives form to those parties most egregious discriminatory attitudes towards the Irish-speaking citizens and communities of Ireland. Attitudes that can find a parallel in that most supposedly egalitarian of institutions, the European Union, as this report from the Donegal Democrat newspaper proves:
“The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has agreed to give the go-ahead for an Irish language version of the parliament’s official website, following intensive lobbying by Irish MEPs.
The website, http://www.europarl.europa.eu, is currently available in 22 out of the 23 official EU languages, excluding Irish.
Fianna Fáil MEP for the North West Pat the Cope Gallagher, who has been pushing for years for the site to be accessible ‘as Gaeilge’, said the decision will reverse what has been “a matter of discrimination” against the Irish language.”
Discrimination that lasted for six years despite repeated demands that the European Parliament’s cursory and unique bigotry towards the Irish-speaking population of Ireland be reversed and that Irish-speakers be granted recognition as full citizens of the European Union too.
Of course our fellow Gaels in Scotland still face prejudice and a system of cultural apartheid. Even the appearance of their language on public signage is an offence to the Anglophone supremacists that permeate both our nations. While some shy away from naming these views for what they are, I do not. They are racist and those who espouse them are likewise racist.