English versus An Ghaeilge - conform or die?
English versus An Ghaeilge – conform or die?

After sunset this evening we will officially be in the period of the Feis Shamhna, the Festival of Samhain, from which is derived in large part the Western World’s celebration of All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. Under the indigenous Irish, Scottish and Manx calendars Samhain was the great festival marking the commencement of winter and possibly the new year too. Nearly 1500 years after the conversion to Christianity the Gaelic nations continue to celebrate one of the most important cultural events of their Celtic ancestors, albeit in a much debased form.

So it is a sad irony and a true reflection of the linguistic regime that we live under that the eve of Samhain is the very day that the government of Ireland announces an end to its tokenistic effort to encourage the positioning or recruitment of Irish-speaking officials to the civil service. Already forced to speak English in virtually all interactions with the institutions of this state, from the highest to the lowest levels, this policy move will ensure that Irish-speaking citizens and communities in Ireland are further denied access to the resources of the state unless they surrender to anglophone conformity.

Which, given the unrelenting antipathy of the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government to its indigenous-speaking citizens, is perhaps the very purpose of the policy change.

Ireland, an Irish nation? Don’t make me laugh.

6 comments on “Monocultural Ireland – Conform Or Die

  1. an lorcánach

    The rot has set in, Sionnach: like I said before Hiberno-English speaking eurocentrics will accuse Irish language supporters of “hegemony” with state subventions contravening “cultural diversity”, ultimately allowing for the Der Engländer model of free-market “liberalisation” of the education system, where curriculum and schooling is open to continental-wide competition — unfortunately most Irish residents don’t have the same notions of financial altruism (independent of the state) that many more people had over 100 years ago at the time of the Celtic Revival!


    • Colm Ó Broin in the Comments below the Journal article states it simply: “Irish people shouldn’t be forced to speak English with their own government if they don’t want to.”

      As a citizen of Ireland I am legally and constitutionally guaranteed the right to speak the Irish language. Except of course that the right is deliberately and knowingly blocked by preventing Irish being spoken in either the public or private sectors through a host of discriminatory measures.

      Some days I wonder what is the point of it all? Of blogging, writing, highlighting, arguing, donating money and time, trying to persuade and cajole militant and hostile Anglophone fellow citizens to recognise and accept the equality of their Hibernophone peers?

      Begging and pleading for civil rights didn’t work in the north-east of Ireland under the old Stormont regime. It didn’t work in Apartheid-era South Africa under the White Minority regime. It didn’t work in the old southern United States under the Confederate regime.

      So why would it work under the Anglophone regime here?


  2. Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1 and commented:
    Do thuairim féin anseo… (más mian leat)


  3. an lorcánach

    sionnach: restoration of the irish language will only go in tandem with creation of an independent irish republic and establishment in law of the 1919 democratic programme — tragic that the debate that can’t happen here before the UK (2017) referendum has already been played out in the literature leading up to the last home rule bill – more so than the 1798 pamphlet campaign for/against the union….


    • Agreed. I find myself of late becoming increasingly disaffected with (detached from?) the state I live in. It is more and more alien to me, as alien as the 14th century Pale must have been to the resurgent Gaeil.

      In the 2013 Census of Scotland several people wrote down their nationality as “Scottish and Gaelic”. I understand that.

      My passport says “Éireannach” when I want it to say “Gael”.

      I think Samhain has me in a funny mood. My thinking is subversive 😉


      • an lorcánach

        The ‘free state’ has simply been reconstituted in a different form — our only hope perhaps is in the diaspora Irish and equally importantly the appreciation of them by many recalcitrant resident Irish who have the six counties as a blind spot



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