The Limerick Leader carries an opinion piece by conservative columnist Patricia Feehily that plumbs the noxious depths of Anglophone intolerance as she attacks the Irish-speaking communities and citizens of Ireland, and their desire for full equal rights with their English-speaking peers. As usual we find the anachronistic terminology of anti-Irish racism which is rooted in the history of Britain’s colonial rule in Ireland given full expression as Hibernophones are labelled as “fanatics”. For only in Ireland could men, women and children who speak the language of their own nation be subject to victimization and hatred for not wishing to speak the language of another nation.
Here are some of the article’s dubious highlights:
“SOMETIMES I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming – or hallucinating, as the case may be. It happened again at the week-end when I saw the first pictures of an angry protest march through the centre of Dublin…
Over 5,000 ‘gaeilgeoiri with a grudge’ were marching from Parnell Square to the Dail to demand their civil rights in what sounded like an angry ‘gael’ force wind. Most of them were incandescent with rage, their faces painted red to indicate varying stages of apoplexy, and, no doubt, to put the fear of God in the rest of us. As I’ve said, I had to pinch myself.
But is this a new departure in the campaign to restore the Irish language? If it is, I’m petrified.
The protesters claimed that Irish language communities were sick of being treated like “second class citizens”. Well, maybe they should try living like the rest of us then, without the industrial grants, the rent subsidies, the special housing aids and the employment grants, not to talk of the extra points in the Leaving cert and the reserved places in primary teacher training colleges. Far from being disadvantaged, Irish language speakers are the most pampered and the most indulged minority group in the whole EU and I think it’s time someone had the guts to tell them that they are not, by any means, the biggest priority facing the country at the moment.
…there are many others, like myself, who chose not to define either our identity or our Irishness by the tongue we speak. Seeing that we are in the majority, do we not deserve a break now and then from the incessant whinge that emanates from the ranks of the gaeilgeoiri claiming that the country is not doing enough to restore the language? Short of beating the English out of us with whips, I don’t know what more the Government can do with limited resources to satisfy the unreasonable demands of the fanatics. I was force fed Irish as a child. Now it’s being forced on my consciousness. Everywhere I go, it’s in my face, from road signs with dumbed down Irish place names to ballot papers with confusing options. It seems to me that there is no public service now that isn’t available in both Irish and English.
…even if we did strike gold or oil in the morning, it would be impossible to satisfy the demands of the gaeilgeoiri who I suspect, want nothing less than a fully staffed alternative administration for themselves – all 70,000 of them.
On the other hand, I think they’d get a right shock if their plan succeeded and we all abandoned the English language and started spouting a cupla million focail in the morning.
What would happen then to the elite status they currently enjoy? What would become of the righteous superiority that sustains many of them in a nation where they are vastly outnumbered by people with lesser Irish credentials, like me?”
Is there any part of this opinionated piece that could be labelled fair commentary or an analysis of current affairs? When a newspaper columnist must resort to untruths and the propagation of conspiracy theories about Irish-speaking “elites” to prove her or his point then we have entered dangerous times. This is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the Anglophone extreme but with Hibernophones in the role of the “rats” scurrying furtively in the shadows.
If you wish to protest the dissemination of this anti-pluralist poison then can I suggest that you contact the Limerick Leader and its editor, Alan English, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can report the publication to the Press Ombudsman using the complaints process outlined here. Alternatively you can log the event here.