Declan Lynch, the one-time enfant terrible of Irish journalism now turned middle-aged establishment terrier, has taken to the pages of the Irish Independent newspaper to bewail the challenge offered by the resurgence of progressive republicanism at the ballot box to the decades-old political consensus of our nouveau Ascendancy. He makes a typically jaded attempt to link the rise of Sinn Féin to the support of Far Right nationalist parties across the European Union during the recent parliamentary elections. No matter that SF is a centre-left party with a strong anti-racist record or that other groupings and candidates on the Left scored significant victories at the polls. No, in the tale of rebellious peasants penned by Lynch to appease the prejudices of his like-minded peers in the Big House (with or without Spanish-style arches) all of Europe’s plebian masses, and their electoral expressions, can be lumped together into one unpleasant outpouring of something called “populism”. However, as always with Lynch, one must read the code that runs through his words to understand his real targets, certain terms and phrases that those who think the group-think will readily understand:
“In recent weeks Sinn Fein fielded candidates who came across like gaelscoil teachers…”
What, a Dheagláin, you mean they had Irish language names and surnames? And they dared to speak the Irish language too? Hmmm. Forget about Europhobes. In Ireland we have our very own Hibernophobes.
Meanwhile elsewhere in the pages of the Irish Independent another middle-aged journo-writer-RTÉ-insider Pat Fitzpatrick has his go on the anti-Irish merry-go-round with his division of modern Irish society into “hilarious” categories for the amusement of the prejudiced:
“AN SLUA NUA
A sub tribe for our second most popular language. (If you exclude Polish, Mandarin Chinese and probably Spanish.) The gaeilgeoir tribe is now split in two. There is the old hard-core crowd, who still scour the trad music scene in west Clare. They are cultural purists, who find something deeply erotic in a black-haired beauty working her magic on the squeezebox.
The new gaeilgeoir tribe, An Slua Nua, is made up of subtle snobs and rugby fans. (There is a crossover here, as you can well imagine.) The snobs (Na Snobi) are those who reckon that sending their kids to a gaelscoil is the only politically correct way to keep their kids away from the lower classes. (They are not wrong.) Na Snobi are usually members of the Quite-Well-Off Complaining Class who can’t afford to send their kids to a fee-paying school.
Of course, sending your kids to a school where the parents must speak Irish could be seen by some as a form of racial segregation. Na Snobi are at pains to point out they are not racists.”
No, Irish men, women and children who speak the Irish language are not racists. However those who attack those men, women and children for speaking the Irish language? That is a different matter. For what category of human beings have we previously seen in European society presented as an affluent, influential and self-segregating community allegedly recognisable through certain cultural and linguistic traits? Oh the irony…