For the last three years I have argued that when it comes to the linguistic and cultural rights of the Irish-speaking minority on this island nation the present Fine Gael-Labour coalition is one of the most antipathetic governments to have taken power since the achievement of independence in the 1920s. Few other administrations have displayed such open contempt for what is still the national and first official language of the state, presiding over a series of iniquitous actions against Irish-speaking citizens without precedent in the modern era. Or at least since the overthrow of the one-party Unionist regime in the old Stormont Parliament. Whether it is undermining the status of the Irish language in our education system or attacking the provision of bilingual services to the general public no government in recent memory has acted with such collective aggressiveness as has the Anglophone axis of Fine Gael and Labour. Rather than tackling the decades-old culture of institutional discrimination against Irish-speakers within the state (and judiciary) the FG and Labour leaders, Kenny and Burton, and Gilmore before her, have surrendered to the latent bigotry, appeasing the self-interests of the Hibernophobic lobby behind the false flags of austerity or “reform”.
From the Irish Times:
“Preparations for the much-criticised official launch of the 1916 commemoration programme in November were rushed, and were undertaken under considerable time pressure, internal correspondence in the Department of Arts has disclosed.
In addition, a note from the office of Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys the weekend before the launch requested the Irish language be relegated to nearer the bottom of the list of principal themes and issues of the commemorations.
The Government had earlier been accused of downgrading the status of Irish with the appointment of two non-Irish speaking Ministers to the Department which has responsibility for Irish language and Gaeltacht affairs.
The official video for the launch ‘Ireland Inspires’ was widely criticised for making no reference to the Rising other than a fleeting image of the proclamation at the beginning. Professor Diarmuid Ferriter, a member of the Government’s advisory committee on centenary commemorations described it at the time as “embarrassing unhistoric sh**”.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht also admitted that the Irish version of the programme on the 1916 website, Ireland.ie, came from Google Translate. The translation described as “gibberish” was quickly removed and replaced by the correct version.
In a flurry of correspondence between the Departments of An Taoiseach and the Arts that week, there were further refinements of the programme that would be announced.
Later that day a final revised document of the main themes was circulated. It had eight headings, including Remembering the Past, Relatives, Commemorative Stamps, Culture Programmes, Irish Language, Our Young People, Community and Diaspora. A further heading, Reconciliation, was added the following day.
In a note responding to the draft plan, the media adviser to Ms Humphreys wrote: “In the second document I think the stamps should come further down (perhaps last). I would also be inclined to put the Irish language further down the list.”
In the event, Irish was relegated by only one position and featured prominently in the launch material.”
The insurrection of 1916 was as much a Gaelic rising as a Republican one. The indigenous language and culture of Ireland was central to the political philosophies of the revolutionaries who took to the streets and roads of Dublin, Meath, Wexford and Galway. In this matter at least the 1916 revolution is very much unfinished business…