Is it just me or have you noticed that racists and homophobes tend to share the same political and ideological fixations? I mean, you rarely find a racist who is not a homophobe, or a homophobe who is not a racist. It seems that prejudicial views attract bigots like excrement attracts flies. The flies aren’t terribly concerned about the specific origin or composition of the bodily waste they are attracted to and neither are the bigots. It is just enough that the prejudice exists and they must be a part of it. Talking of which here is Jim Allister, leader of the TUV (the ultra British and Unionist party in the north-east of the country), bewailing the public funding of organisations from within the Irish-speaking and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities, as reported by the Newsletter:
“TUV leader Jim Allister has claimed that almost £3 million has been “squandered on many undeserving projects” by the Department of Social Development (DSD).
Mr Allister made the claim as he published the response to a series of Assembly Questions he had posed to the department, asking for details of spending from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund under DUP ministers since 2011.
…in another question tabled on December 3 and answered on December 19, he asked the DSD minister to detail “how much funding has been supplied by his department to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups since May 2011”.
The answers received revealed that amongst the spend: £1,064,546.17 was spent on GAA clubs, with £273,000 spent on one club alone in Strabane, Strabane Sigerson’s Club; £1,134,100.33 was spent on Irish language groups; £138,997.78 was spent on a republican ex-prisoners group, Tar Anall; £83,176.18 was spent on the Bloody Sunday Trust; £259,087.93 was spent on Carrick Hill Residents Association; and £231,681.00 was spent on LGBT projects, including £170,000 to support the Strabane & Lifford LGBT group alone, and annual subventions to Belfast Pride.
Mr Allister said: “With so many areas needing real help to tackle deprivation, I am angered to find so much money, supposedly for tackling disadvantage, is being squandered on such irrelevant projects.
“This extravagant feting of GAA clubs, Irish language groups, ex-prisoners’ groups and LGBT campaigners is all the more surprising considering it is happening under DUP ministers at DSD.
It seems the Sinn Féin wish list is not as disdained as some would like to pretend.”
One can only imagine the horror the average TUV member would experience if he
or she ever met a hurley-playing, Irish-speaking gay man. It would probably require several days of self-flagellation, human sacrifices and fervent praying to a wrathful Old Testament god for the wretched TUVer to purify himself after an encounter with a minion of the Gaylick Satan. Such is the legacy of colonial racism and intolerance that several centuries of British occupation have bequeathed to our island nation.
Meanwhile, mention a Gael and who shall appear but the Irish Independent’s very own pipsqueak-demagogue, Ian O’Doherty, with his latest sermon from the mount:
“…it was interesting to see that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht issued a report this week which, quelle surprise, called for more money to be flushed down the endless toilet that is the Irish language industry. The cause for concern is the fact that, apparently, only 2pc of Irish civil servants can speak Irish “to the required level”.
So, with dreary inevitability, we were told that we need an “even more radical and systematic overhaul to ensure the State could deliver on Irish citizens’ rights”.
The apparent crisis caused by the lack of fluent Irish speakers in the civil service is a result of the farcical 2001 Supreme Court decision which decreed that anyone who wanted to conduct official business as Gaeilge should be facilitated. That, in itself, is a classic example of Irish illogic. Sure, people might like to think that we are a bilingual country and the aspirational notion of everyone being able to switch effortlessly from English to Irish and back again is something which appeals to some, if not necessarily all, of the population. The problem is that all of the population, regardless of their opinion on the matter, will now be expected to fund more expensive language training courses for civil servants, simply to cater for cranks who could, but won’t, speak English.”
Imagine that, Irish people in Ireland wanting to speak Irish? Next thing you know Danish people in Denmark will want to speak Danish or German people in Germany will want to speak German. And we all know that the citizens of those nations have high levels of English language fluency so those who decline to use the Queen’s speech must also be “cranks”.
“The exact figures for Government spending on Irish are as mysterious as those dreaded Irish noun declensions we had to learn in school, but most sources accept that it is somewhere in the figure of a billion euro a year. A billion euro, there or thereabouts, to keep a dying language on artificial life support is not just intellectually counter-intuitive, it’s morally bankrupt.”
Actually it averages around 100 million euros per annum, which is somewhat less than a billion euros – or even thereabouts.
“It was interesting to note that the same day this report came out, there was another Government press release trumpeting the fact that we spent €600m on foreign aid in 2014. Combine the two and that’s roughly €1.5bn of our money that this Government just splashed against the wall for absolutely no benefit.”
Irish-speaking men, women and children, and impoverished foreign men, women and children? Surely these two categories of recidivist are the twin evils threatening the prosperity of modern Ireland. However, despite his hatred of all things native the Keeper of the Anglophone Flame on the island-that-is-not-West-Britain cannot help but admit that:
“More people have developed an interest in Irish as a result of TG4 – the most innovative TV station in this country – than they ever did from their time at school.
After all, TG4 manages to present the language as a living, breathing, vibrant and sexy beast.”
The most “innovative TV station” in the country, Ian? But you have scolded us week after week with the admonishment that Irish is a “dead language” spoken by no one. So how can it have a television station? Is it staffed by the living dead? And watched by them too? For what have we also learned this week but that (Hibernophone) TG4 surpassed (Anglophone) RTÉ 2 in the audience ratings for New Years Day, making it the third most-watched TV channel in Ireland, just behind (Anglophone) TV3, and well ahead of (Anglophone) television channels like UTV and Channel 4.
Then again, who ever said bigotry and prejudice needed to be based on sense or logic?
[ASF: With thanks to