Calling It Like It Is

English versus An Ghaeilge
English versus An Ghaeilge

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.

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8 comments

  1. It was interesting on Question time last night on the BBC that, on a separate subject, one of the commentators called out Ian Paisley Jr for what he obviously was, a Bigot.
    Paisley then went on to completely lose the plot and make a complete ass of himself. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy it.
    Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01xq3n7/Question_Time_23_05_2013/
    Watch at: 23:50
    It was unambiguous and clear. Perhaps we need to call others out as clearly?

    1. I caught the first half of that on TV last night but I had to turn it off. David Dimbleby’s pointed references to the “this part of the United Kingdom”, “here in the UK” and the “mainland” just began to grate. The pseudo-Finchley spin was ridiculous. Why SF appeared on the show is beyond me. The very embodiment of “normalisation” complete with British guests parachuted in to give an air of all Brits together.

      The attempt to make John O’Dowd squirm on-camera by reference to the dreadful murder of the off-duty British soldier in London viz. the military actions of the Irish Republican Army was rather petulant. At least SF know how to handle the would-be toughs of British journalism.

      Paisley Jr. did us a favour with his narrow-mindedness though again Dimbleby tied to lump SF and the DUP into the same anti-Gay faction via reference to the Stormont assembly.

      If anyone wanted proof that Britain really is a foreign country that show proved it.

      I agree about a little more honesty in our discourse. Simply stating it like it is without recourse to abuse. Letting people away with objectionable views out of politeness or tolerance can only go so far. Sooner or later there must be a line that should not be crossed. As we saw in Britain free speech is one thing but hate speech quite another.

  2. I think Sinn Fein were right to go on and O’Dowd acquitted himself well. Dimbleby’s prejudice has been amply proved by the cameramans notes. Villiers was incredibly poor and visibly out of her depth, Vernon Croaker did better

  3. y que pasa con el pais de gales? la lengua galesa tambien ha sido callada bajo castigo en los niños que la usaban en la escuela durante la revilucion industrial. los galeses estan dormidos?? luchen por la libeertad!

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