Current Affairs

A Red Day For Irish

Lá Mór Na Gaeilge
Lá Mór Na Gaeilge

More views on Lá Mór na Gaeilge, the demonstration to be held in support of Irish language rights starting at 2pm on Saturday the 15th with a march from the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square, Dublin, to Leinster House, the home of Ireland’s national legislature Dáil Éireann. From the Irish Independent newspaper an opinion piece by Siobhán Seoighe:

“ON SATURDAY I’ll be taking a walk through the streets of Dublin’s fair city.

It won’t be my usual stroll down Grafton Street or a regular meander around Henry Street, popping in and out of shops and drinking coffee (these days I’ve even become partial to cup of hot chocolate).

I’ll be walking to protect and to promote what little language rights I have left as an Irish citizen. Yes, you have read that truly convoluted sentence correctly.

I could give you the long list of facts and figures regarding the erosion of the State’s services for the Irish language and Irish speakers. I could go on about cultural diversity, our Irish identity, the million and a half people who have a love for the Irish language and the 80,000 who speak it daily. But I won’t because I don’t want to bore you and I’m not really all that interested in the facts and figures.

I will give you my own honest opinion of why I will be taking part this coming Saturday: I believe that we are at that pivotal moment in time where the Irish language is on the verge of extinction within its natural habitat.

Yes, you heard me – extinction.

Irish speakers now find themselves faced with an impossible, unfortunate situation. Cuts to services and provision in the Gaeltacht areas are directly forcing the language’s decline.

Children and parents in the Gaeltacht have no guarantee of State services through Irish. Think about it – children being raised through Irish in the Gaeltacht not being able to speak to the local doctor, speech therapist, librarian or Garda in their first language, the first language of the State.

It seems now attending a Gaeltacht school is no longer synonymous with receiving a complete education through the medium of Irish.

There is also another aspect to this debate and to why I’ll be walking on Saturday – inaction. Nobody is making decisions. No action. Nothing.

There is this awful feeling on the ground that current and previous Government’s have sat on the proverbial fence rather than taking some bold and positive actions towards the language.

We need a positive and realistic vision for the future of the language. We also need some hope that action will be taken to save the language. I’m just looking for some positive steps and hope for the future. I could go on but I won’t. So this Saturday, I’ll be going for a walk and maybe I’ll see you there.”

For anyone in Ireland who identifies with or supports the Irish language as the national and indigenous language of this island nation, whether you are a speaker of Irish or English, the place to be this Saturday is Parnell Square in Dublin. For anyone outside of Ireland who wishes to demonstrate their support the place to be is the nearest Irish diplomatic mission, be it an embassy or consular office. Remember, let’s make the 15th a Lá Dearg “Red Day” on your social networks by changing your profile images, banners or pages to the colour red.

9 comments on “A Red Day For Irish

  1. Jack Delaney

    Beidh mé ansin!


  2. Tá mise ag dul cinnte… but maybe you could use a more appropriate image a chara?


    • @Cuaireoir, the image is taken from the US Occupy Movement, part of a series of activist artworks produced by Shepard Fairey based upon original photos taken at various demonstrations. It was featured by Time magazine and widely circulated in print and online media (“Year of the Protestor” Time cover). Though given an Irish gloss the image would be recognisable to most young people around the world as a symbol of protest along the lines of the “Guy Fawkes” mask. Unlike some claims today on Facebook and Twitter it has nothing to do with Islam or the Taliban. It does not represent a Moslem woman. It is part of the cultural zeitgeist of protest at the start of the 21st century. It may be striking but that is the point, I believe. Incidentally the image is not mine but was emailed to me so credit goes elsewhere. The person who produced it wishes to remain anonymous. So far popular opinion as expressed to me seems almost overwhelmingly in favour. People recognise it, like it and are sharing it.

      Love-hearts are all very well but perhaps it is time for some other symbolism too? The right of people to stand up and be counted?


  3. Those of us who are unfamiliar with this image feel it is inappropriate and insensitive! Now that you have explained it I must confess I remain doubtful about it.

    Maybe one of the images of people with sticking plaster over their mouths might have been more suitable, or of somebody with a gag! I’ve expressed my opinion. Beidh mise ann ar an Sathairn, ar bhus ó Chonamara LCD agus beidh mé Dearg le Fearg!

    Beir bua!


    • That is fair commentary, Eoin. The image grabs the attention, sparks debate, and generates (as they say in the media) “heat”. Criticism good or bad is welcome. I know it is not for everyone, nor would I expect it to be. On balance how likely is it that this image will put off some people from attending the demonstration? Very, very unlikely. Almost certainly not at all. However if its familiarity in an unfamiliar cause leads a few more young people to rethink their attitudes to Irish language rights, to see them in a global context, and then attend the rally then it has done some good.

      Thank you for the Comment. Let’s hope the weather improves for all of us on Saturday. Beir bua 😉


  4. an lorcánach

    ‘Rud nó dhó a d’fhéadfadh pobal na Gaeilge a fhoghlaim ó léirseoirí na Brasaíle’


    • an lorcánach

      maith an fear, sionnach – fantastic art work: had me thinking strangely of an Ghaeilge mar spéirbhean, Aisling mar theanga dhúchais sacrificed on the cross of modern Ireland!


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