The Metro Herald is a free newspaper published in Ireland with both print and electronic editions, and distributed principally in Dublin city. On the 4th of November 2013 on page 11 of the newspaper under its “Mailbox” section it published a letter from a correspondent where he described the Irish-speaking community of Ireland as “Nazis“.
“Having moved house recently, I found myself at the unfamiliar bus stop checking the times and route. Guess what? All the bus stops were listed in Irish. It’s the same for the 15 other Dublin Bus ‘information’ boards I’ve since checked. So much for the majority of users who either don’t speak the language, or those who don’t know every placename in Irish. Talk about bowing to the Gaeilgeoir Nazis.
There are extensive laws in this country covering discrimination and incitement to hatred. I’m calling on all readers of An Sionnach Fionn to make an official complaint as stated in the procedures outlined here by the Office of the Press Ombudsman. The first action is a letter directly to the editor of the Metro Herald asking for a printed apology in the newspaper for the publication of a reader opinion liable to incite hatred towards Irish-speaking citizens and communities in Ireland. The address to send the letter to (marked “Confidential – not for publication“) is:
“The Editor, Metro Herald, 1st Floor, Independent House, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1”
I am further asking for emails to be sent to the Herald Metro at “firstname.lastname@example.org” with the following text:
“To The Editor,
Is it the policy of the Metro Herald to publish letters from individuals inciting hatred or discrimination towards Ireland’s Irish-speaking community as appeared in your publication in the 4th of November 2013 edition under the “Mailbox” section on page 11? Does the Metro Herald agree with the description by the letter-writer of Irish-speaking citizens or Gaeilgeorí as “Nazis”? What steps do the editorial team of the Metro Herald intend to take to rectify the publication of a statement expressing bigotry towards a sizeable minority of the nation’s population? Will you be issuing and publishing a formal apology to your Hibernophone readers while reviewing your editorial guidelines?
Furthermore does the Metro Herald support the provision of bilingual public signs in Dublin in accordance with the Official Languages Act of 2003? Does the Metro Herald accept that this is a legal requirement that Bus Átha Cliath is obliged to fulfil, along with many other regulatory requirements? Does the Metro Herald have an editorial position that opposes equality of treatment for Irish-speaking citizens with their English-speaking peers?
I await your answers with interest.”
Please, I urge as many people as possible to help put a stop to the petty and casual bigotry that Irish-speakers and their families experience in Ireland both through the local and national news media. If we act we can stop it – if we fail to act then we will continue to allow ourselves or others to be victimised in this manner.
(With thanks to An Lorcánach)