Dearg Le Fearg

Putting The Irish Language Down

 

Fine Gael - No Irish
Fine Gael – No Irish!

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…

A Fine Gael election policy from fifty years ago. Irish-haters in 1965, Irish-haters in 2015!

 

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51 comments

  1. The State does indeed appear to be in the process of disengaging from institutional support for the Irish language. It’s also a sorry reflection on the Irish education system that so few politicians can even converse in Irish meaningfully…

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that opposition to compulsory study is the same as hatred for Irish, however. That sort of simplistic rhetoric is counterproductive, and if there is one thing Irish needs less of, its rhetoric, both by its supporters and detractors.

    I would also suggest that the day is approaching when the status of Irish in the Constitution will be changed. Its continuing position as the “national and first official language” merely reinforces its symbolic, marginalised position in Irish society, and reflects the aspirational feelings of Dev and arguably a minority of Fianna Fáil and the general populace back in 1937.

    I believe having two co-equal official State languages would be best at this stage, and would help normalise the discourse surrounding Irish. I used to say that a “national conversation” was urgently required, about the place of Irish in national life, in education, in the Constitution etc….but then I realised most people don’t really care, so things will continue to limp along as they are, until perhaps it’s too late and Irish slips out of the fingers altogether.

    1. Níl sí imithe fós a mhac. Tá an teanga beo agus ag fás i mBaile Átha Cliath agus áiteanna eile. Beidh mé ag caint trí Gaeilge ag tae i gcúig nóiméad!

      1. Càirt gu leòr, ‘ille, agus comhthrom na Féinne dhuit. Ach mur eil thu ‘ga bruidhinn taobh a muigh na taighe agad fhéin, cha bhith daoine eile ‘gad chluintinn. Cha bhi i “imithe fós” gu dearbh, ach cha bhi i ‘na pàirt de’n saoghal follaiseach tuilleadh.

        It’s like me telling you that I speak to the cat ‘sa Ghàidhlig, or that some folk down the road speak Breton at home, or some other friends use Swedish when they phone home, and there are no doubt many more cases I don’t know about. None of these are local languages where I live, because none are used publicly and visibly. Jānis and others here do not hear Irish spoken in Dublin or wherever, so in their perception it has already disappeared. So they’ll have no motivation to learn it or support it.

        This is the big problem. Once you become a minority it’s only natural to adopt a siege mentality, but that then cuts you off from outsiders and makes you pretty much irrelevant to everyone else. Once that stage has been reached reversing the process is extremely difficult, even with willing government support.

        1. Yes, It’s possible to hear many different languages in Dublin without specifically looking for their speakers.
          I hear Polish occasionally, for example, but I’ve never heard Irish despite the fact that the author of this blog says that it’s more widely spoken than Polish.

  2. This post raises several questions: Why is the government pursuing this policy?
    Why is it antagonising its native speakers?
    How/What does it gain from it?
    Who gains from it?
    How do the people of Ireland benefit?
    What’s so “dangerous” to the State about the Irish language that it has to be downgraded by the current government?

    pre-1916 it could be argued English was more useful if an individual wanted to emigrate or have a government job e.g. policeman, soldier, clerk and so on
    post-1916 the catholic church controlled education and created an irish education system that alienated most school-kids.
    Why were they so profoundly anti-Irish language and culture? We’re back to the question – Who gained?
    I don’t know enough to answer any of these questions but surely some people can.

    1. The number of native speakers is so small they aren’t considered a political risk, I would suggest. There are few practical reasons to speak Irish in 2015, so arguments in favour of its revitalisation are harder to make than they were when a new state was coming into being almost a century ago.

      Regarding disengagement… One question which people seem to want to avoid is whether it’s even possible to provide gov. services in Irish to a high standard? Are there enough fluent bilinguals in the general population who can be recruited to the civil service, for example? (we already know the numbers are very low currently, partly due to changes brought in in 1973/74). Secondly, is there enough demand? Certainly some people have given up trying to use Irish with public bodies, and others continue to seek services through the official language of their choice. but even when combined, does this segment of the population make up a large enough group to justify the sheer scope of the Official Languages Act 2003, which is under review as we speak? These sorts of issues were predicted by some Irish-speaking academics way back in 2002 when the bill was working its way through the Dáil. My own view is that language planning and language legislation must be significantly reformed and made more efficient and targeted. A one size fits all approach has not worked.

      1. Ireland is a democratic country and the government doesn’t come from Mars, but is elected by the people. If the people doesn’t care about the Irish language – so will the government.

        Not only the native speakers aren’t a political risk, but politicians can also LOSE votes by supporting the language too much because many people think that the state is wasting too much money on Irish already.

        There’s no point in wasting money in areas where people don’t want to speak Irish.
        The language should be supported only in areas where it’s actually spoken.

        1. “Ireland is a democratic government and the government doesn’t come from Mars”.
          Both of these statements are very much open to debate. Leaving aside the suspicions some folk have about the conduct of elections and referendums in this country, true democracy pre-supposes accountability and transparency – neither of which characterise the conduct of modern politics, not just in Ireland, but in most western states. That mega-bankers can effectively hold the Irish nation to ransom – as they have done since 2008 – makes a nonsense of any notion that Ireland is a properly democracy.

    2. Perhaps a partial answer to your question may lie in something Justin Keating, a Labour Minister in the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition, said in the Dail in the 1970s – that the British had very deliberately left many “sleepers” in positions of power in Ireland to advance British interests by remote control. Keating was no Provo, or even a Provo-sympathiser, so I think his words, spoken from a position of extensive knowledge, should be taken very seriously. Incidentally, the late John Kelly, a Fine Gael politician who was deeply hostile to the Republican movement, made surprisingly similar comments in the 1980s.

      The attendance of many senior Irish politicians, past and present, at the Mi6 affiliated Bilderberg gatherings indicates that Keating and Kelly were both getting to the heart of the matter. And of course very senior figures in the Irish media have also attended these gatherings. Then there’s the small matter of the former owner of Ireland’s most rabidly Anglophile and Hiberno-phobic newspaper receiving a knighthood from the British royals – an explicit admission that his first loyalty (and by extension that of his newspapers) was to the British crown.

      1. Conspiracy theories!?

        99% of those born in Ireland are raised with a language other than Irish. And many of those who speak Irish speak English with greater ease and idiomatic range! That’s the reality today.

        Fine Gael first proposed the abolition of ‘compulsory Irish’ way back in 1961, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of its members do not have a romantic view of Irish or regard it as the essential element or defining characteristic of what it means to be an Irish person in the 21st century. Can we please get away from blaming the Brits and MI6 ffs!

        Irish occupies a peripheral, marginalised position in Irish life because most Irish people are content with it being so. The question is whether there is a SPACE for Irish to carry on and maybe even grow again in the future. Hopefully there is, but if not…let’s place the blame where it belongs, on the Irish populace.

        Consider these provocativd words of Máirtín Ó Cadhain in the latter years of his life…. arguably Ireland’s greatest modern writer in Irish, as well as a Gaeltacht man, patriot, socialist, and republican…

        1. Which parts of my comment were “theoretical”, pray tell? Did Sir Anthony O’Reilly not accept a knighthood form the British crown? Did Garret Fitzgerald, Michael McDowell, Conor Brady, Michael Gallagher, Michael Noonan, Dermot Gleeson, and several other members of the Irish media and political establishment not attend Bilderberg gatherings? Please feel free to refute anything I have said with hard facts, instead of hackneyed waffle about “conspiracy theories” and “blaming the Brits” (those poor persecuted Brits – we blame them for everything don’t you know) And by the way, the last time I checked all the folk I mentioned were members of the “Irish populace”.

          1. Your post was a lot of nonsense, to be fair. Are you suggesting the Government of Ireland is disengaging from Irish at the behest of the British? Honestly, re-read your post. Bizarre. I don’t even know exactly what you’re getting at, that’s how absurd your post comes across. Either way, Ireland was overwhelmingly English-speaking before any of the individuals you named were even born.

            Whatever British interests there may be are being advanced through English, I doubt the Irish language even enters the equation one iota.

            1. “I don’t even know exactly what you’re getting at”. Really, why did you reply then? And why did your reply contain no questions to elucidate what I really was “getting at”? You seemed to have had a fairly strong idea of what I was getting at when you posted your original reply. That only changed when I challenged you to refute what I’d said with facts – and you were forced to resort to more completely unsubstantiated waffle – topped up with some unimaginative insults.

              1. I responded because your post read like vague, paranoid conspiracy theory and I’m trying to figure out what it is has to do with the place of Irish in the upcoming Easter Rising centenary commemorations.

                Refute what!? You were rambling about MI6, Michael McDowell and some TD from the 1970s!

                What does any of that have to do with the topic? Can you clarify?

              2. Do try and make up your mind which tack you’re going to take. Your original comment accused me of “blaming the Brits” It said nothing about “vagueness” for the simple reason that my comment was not in the slightest vague. Its import couldn’t have been clearer: that the British have retained agents of influence in Ireland and that this goes a long way towards explaining the curious hostility of many establishment/media figures in Ireland towards cultural nationalism of any kind. The fact that a former senior minister and respected intellectual (not “some TD from the 1970s”), with no brief whatsoever for the Republican Movement, said this, lends extra weight to the argument, and renders the charge of “conspiracy theory” completely absurd. And once again you haven’t refuted one word of it. As for the Irish populace being to blame for the decline of the Irish language or (any other form of our native culture) this is at best banal, and at worst, a meaningless observation. It goes without saying that Irish people must take responsibility for not supporting their own culture, but that’s precisely the point. If nationalists didn’t think there was something ignoble in surrendering to a one size fits all homogenized Anglo-American trash culture they wouldn’t complain about it in the first place. But to couch this as an either/or scenario, where, because the Irish are blameworthy, “the Brits” must be wholly innocent, or even irrelevant to the issue, is ludicrously simplistic – akin to arguing that because drug users must take personal responsibility for buying the heroin they inject, one is therefore precluded from investigating those who sell it to them.

              3. The world doesn’t revolve around Ireland.
                What’s your solution then?
                A soviet style ban on the British and American cultural products?
                They’re free to spread their culture and you’re free to ignore it – what’s the problem?

                It’s not their problem that the Irish prefer Anglo-American language and culture over their native one.

        2. There’s a lot of truth in what he says.
          I don’t think of all the English speaking nations as truly separate nations anyway, because they all have a common ancestor – England.

          Ireland really feels a lot like little England to me, because like or not – if you adopt a language, you adopt the culture of its speakers as well.
          Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the UK is a civilised country and if the Irish want to be like the English – so be it – I respect their choice.

          At least they don’t want to be like the Russians. 😀

          That’s why I also think that it’s silly to argue about the term “British Isles” or the name of “Derry/Londonderry”, because if you’re already speaking British English, then those things doesn’t make a damn difference – it’s like arguing about a parking ticket at a murder trial.

          1. Ireland has distinct identities (note the plural) which are separate from England. Hiberno-English is a distinct form of English heavily influenced by Irish, for example. There are plenty of cultural similarities but plenty of differences as well. Ireland is quite an interesting case because there was not a major population replacement. Most Irish people have Celtic or Gaelic cultural roots (I’m hesitant to use terms like genetic because most people in the British Isles have markers in common which date back to the neolithic period, well before Celtic or Saxon civilisations existed)…yet there was a massive language shift amongst a mostly Irish-speaking population in just a few generations, compounded by the Irish potato famine. Ireland is clearly part of the Anglosphere but it’s not a replica of England!

            1. I’ve never said that Ireland doesn’t have it’s own identity. But it’s ultimately based on English, because most Irish people can’t speak Irish and that’s why can’t access the culture of their ancestors directly.
              And that’s why there’s a lot less difference between Ireland and England than, say Estonia and Latvia.
              It’s more like the difference between Texas and California.

          2. More waffle. The Anglomaniacs on this site perpetually talk as if the acceptance of English trash culture is some kind of spontaneous phenomenon – as if the British state is magnanimously indifferent to it all. This is absurd. No country devotes more resources to spreading its culture and its political agenda around the globe than Britain does. And by the way, if it doesn’t matter whether Derry is called Derry or Londonderry, why did British Unionists go to the trouble of changing the name in the first place – and why have they fought like tigers to keep the change? This is all an extremely childish and transparent attempt at passive aggressive emotional manipulation – attempting to wrongfoot one’s opponent by attributing some kind of diehard fanatical nationalism to him or her – when the real fanatical zeal is on the other side. It reminds me of the way, during the Scottish independence referendum, so many British Unionist commentators whined incessantly about “anti-English racism” – just as Myers, Harris, & co do over here. By the way many of these hacks who furiously layed into Salmond (and even Andy Murray!) for daring to support independence were the same ones who a few short years previously had been moaning about what a drain on England the Scots were, and how much better off England would be without them. Whatever did become of all that? Turns out they couldn’t live without the Scots after all.

            1. You’re all over the place. This is classic ‘whataboutery’.

              I clearly refuted Jānis’s claim about all English-speaking countries being essentially part of one nation.

              Be careful of accusing others of waffling. Your posts read like they are the product of a fairly erratic mind.

              And I’m pretty sure the United States devotes more resources to spreading its influence than the UK does 🙂

              1. Thanks for confirming once again my comments about Anglomaniacs resorting to feeble attempts at passive aggression, when they can’t marshal facts. By the way for someone so fond of hurling dull-witted psycho-babble insults as a substitute for argument, you seem to be hyper-sensitive yourself. As was abundantly clear my comment relating to Derry/Londonderry was in reply to Janis. Taking umbrage at comments not even directed at you is surely fairly close to the definition of paranoid.

                You appear to be “pretty sure” of many things, but the problem is you never offer one iota of evidence to back up any of this certitude, rendering it completely worthless. A global survey in 2013 placed Britain as number one in the world in terms of the exercise of “soft power”.

              2. By the way I regard the charge of “whataboutery” as a great compliment. Without “whataboutery” one gets to hear only one side of any story – which is precisely why Revisionists/Unionists use the term as an insult.

              3. The funny thing is that I probably speak Irish to a higher standard than you do! 🙂

                Your pseudointellectual ramblings don’t impress me. I’m not a unionist (what’s that about dull insults?), I just don’t think the topic at issue in the original article which ASF linked to is as complex as you seem to believe.

                Have you read work by Joe Mac Donnacha and Feargal Ó Bearra? Vicious ‘Anglomaniacs’ those two.. 😀

              4. “The funny thing is that I probably speak Irish to a higher standard than you do!”

                I’ve no idea whether this is true, and more to the point, neither do you, so I think we can file it as another of your unsupported statements. And by the way, do try to remember that it isn’t all about you.

                “Pseudo-intellectual rambling” alert: The term “what-aboutery” was coined by Unionist propagandists (the Unionist historian ATQ Stewart if I’m not mistaken) as a way of dismissing anyone who dared suggest that Irish Republicans were not the only ones guilty of serious violence during the Troubles. These folks and their southern media cheerleaders in the Sindo and elsewhere still use the word as a way of closing down all discussion of British/loyalist/Unionist violence, without having to go to the trouble of arguing their case. And that’s who I was referring to as Unionists/Revisionists. I try not to attribute views to people which they haven’t expressed. The same applies to the word “Anglomaniac” which I used in relation to and in response to Janis – a perfectly justifiable description given her/his? rather weird and quasi-religious adulation of the British state – especially in relation to its behaviour towards Ireland.

                Lest we forget, the comment of mine which provoked this, ahem, discussion was a reply to another contributor who queried what the source of the hostility to the Irish language was. I offered my own factually based views on this question – none of which have been refuted.

              5. I’m suggesting that you’re an armchair gaeilgeoir, like most republicans.

                You have a tendency to go off on tangents. Declan Ganley, ATQ Stewart, MI6…

                What you identify as hostility, is, I believe, actually more a case of indifference. Relatively few Irish people care a great deal about Irish, and many of those who do seem to spend more time discussing it in English than actually speaking it! We can all find a few examples in this blog 😉

              6. Danny: “I’m still suggesting you’re an armchair Gaeilgeoir”…

                What’s so very terrible about speaking Irish in an armchair? And anyway why should my proficiency at Irish or lack thereof be the crux of this discussion? For the record I’d characterise myself as reasonably fluent, but I don’t speak the language very regularly, because most of my friends and acquaintances don’t either. For me, saying one can’t champion the Irish language if one doesn’t speak it on a daily basis is like saying one can’t champion classical music if one doesn’t play in an orchestra. Anyway, for the umpteenth time, I wasn’t so much arguing in favour of Irish, as expressing a view as to the source, or one of the sources, of the hostility to the language. In my view this is a much broader issue than just Irish itself. In Spain I’ve seen Irish people ignorantly assume that the locals should all speak English – simply because they do. I attended a Spanish course in Malaga around 10 years ago and one of my teachers told she’d been teaching in the school for many years and I was the first Irish student she’d ever taught. Far from the hegemony of English language and culture making the Irish more outward-looking I would say it has had the opposite effect – many of us seem to think the world begins and ends with the English Premier League and/or Coronation Street. I very rarely agree with the English Tory Michael Gove, but when he was Education Secretary in the current UK government he made the salient point that the failure of young Britons to learn foreign languages (because “everyone speaks English nowadays”) was leading to the decay of certain brain functions amongst the monolingual – and narrowing their cultural horizons to boot.

            2. Of course the Brits are promoting their culture.
              Show me a country that does not do that – the Russians also are trying to spread their shit-culture in the former USSR, but I choose NOT to accept it as my own.

              Another thing that makes the “Derry/Londonderry” dispute even more silly is that BOTH of those are English names so the Unionists have already won anyway.

              1. Yes: Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Pushkin, the Bolshoi – all “shit culture” – who ever doubted it?

                “Both of these are English names so the Unionists have already won anyway”. So to repeat my unanswered question in a different way: why do British Unionists continue to fight for “Londonderry” if they’ve already won?

              2. That’s not what they’re pushing though.

                They’re pushing their myths that the USSR was a great country, Stalin was a good guy and the Baltics were never occupied. And also that Crimea belongs to Russia and the Ukrainians are fascists.
                Of course I refuse to believe all that and don’t want to accept their worldview and language as my own.

                They don’t fight for it any more – it’s the official name of the city.

              3. Danny: “I’m suggesting you’re an armchair Gaeilgeoir, like most republicans”.

                And I’m suggesting that this revealing comment (unsubstantiated as usual) indicates that your responses to me (and to the original blog post) have very little to do with the Irish language as such, but are instead deeply political in nature. Nothing I said was remotely tangential in the context of the discussion here. My reference to Declan Ganley and the 2009 Euro elections was in reply to a direct question from Janis about whether I believe Irish elections are above board. I cited the misallocation of 3,000 votes to Mr Ganley as evidence for the prosecution, so to speak. My reference to Mi6 was a response to another contributor who queried why powerful forces in Ireland are so hostile to the Irish language (as he sees it – and as I agree). For me the fact that senior Irish politicians, senior Irish media figures, and other pillars of the Irish establishment, regularly attend Mi6 affiliated gatherings (Bilderberg), provides an important clue as to why such folk are not just hostile to the Irish language, but to Irish cultural and political nationalism generally. In fact I’d argue that the content of the Sunday Independent and the Irish Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday sometimes approach 19th century Punch levels of anti-Irish bile. As for ATQ Stewart, I’ve already explained why I brought his name up – and again it wasn’t remotely tangential. I think your problem is that, like many of your (apparent) political persuasion, you wish to keep this debate mired in airy generalities, where those who make criticisms of the neo-Unionist/revisionist tendencies of modern Irish culture can be dismissed with clichés about “blaming the Brits”. Hard facts that refute these clichés are countered with more clichés and hot air: – “whataboutery”, “tangents” etc.

              4. That’s fine, I’m still suggesting you’re an armchair gaeilgeoir who cannot carry on this discussion in the Irish language. You’re content to rage against what you see as externally influenced, hostile forces. So be it. I’m more interested in the hypocrisy and tokenism that characterises so much of the discourse surrounding Ireland’s native language.

                This is an English language blog so I will respect that. (English is my native language anyway so no bother) but please get in touch and we can continue this discussion through Irish if you like.

              5. My point was that to me Doire ~ Londonderry makes a lot more sense than Derry ~ Londonderry, but since I don’t live there and there’s no likelihood I’ll ever want to go there, my opinion is rather irrelevant. I’m perfectly entitled to it, and you’re equally entitled to ignore it 🙂

          3. Janis: you appear to labour under some deeply romantic illusions about the nature of western society. Not only does Ireland not have much choice about accepting “Anglo-American culture”: neither do the English or the Americans themselves. Leaving to one side your romantic Anglomania, much of your output here reads like a Milton Friedman besotted 1970s high-school student. But the world has moved on. No serious person now believes that America is a free market economy, or that the UK is, or that Ireland or Latvia are. Not after multiple bouts of quantitative easing, bank bailouts, bank bail-ins and repeated cases of the most serious banker criminality imaginable going completely unpunished on both sides of the Atlantic. As David McWilliams put it in last week’s Sunday Business Post, we live in a systemically corrupt “bankocracy”. That makes talk of what the Irish people or the Latvian people, or any other people “want” – as if this mattered one jot to our rulers – completely laughable.

            1. The western society is not ideal, but I don’t see a better alternative anywhere.
              Russia and China are way worse.
              Latin America and India as well.
              I would not want to live in any Muslim country.
              And Africa is just one big NOPE.

              1. With respect, Janis, “western society” by which of course you mean Americanised western society would probably be all new and fresh if you’re coming from under the boot of Soviet Russian imperialism. Similarly, for many Irish people the EU is new and fresh because we are coming from under the boot of British imperialism. Your liberation is another people’s oppression. Lastly, you make a massive mistake to view “western society” as a single entity. Thatcher’s Britain and Finland or Sweden or indeed France are worlds away from each other. What you see as “western society” is just Anglophone western society.

              2. Western countries are not identical, of course. But they aren’t worlds apart.
                It wasn’t difficult for me to adapt to Ireland and integrate into the Irish society.

                I have more disposable income and can afford foreign vacations now, but other than that my life didn’t change very much after I emigrated to Ireland – the process wasn’t that much different to moving from one Latvian town to another.

                Ireland actually feels less foreign than Latvia’s neighbours – Estonia or Lithuania to me – mainly because you all speak a language that I understand – English.

      2. I don’t see anything wrong with what Ó Cadhain is saying – essentially, without Irish there is no cultural basis for the existence of a sovereign Irish state. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with it. He expresses my views perfectly.

  3. My quotation from the comment I replied to above was slightly wrong – it should have read “Ireland is democratic country..” but the gist of my reply remains the same.

    1. The last sentence of my original reply should read: “That mega-bankers can effectively hold the Irish nation to ransom – as they have done since 2008 – makes a nonsense of any notion that Ireland is a properly FUNCTIONING democracy.” On this point, American investigative journalist Greg Palast – amongst many others – has cast serious doubts on the integrity of the American voting system. It would be naïve to assume that the situation in Ireland (where the media are even more supine and unquestioning than their American counterparts) is necessarily any better.

      1. Are you saying that the Irish elections are rigged (Like in Russia, for example)?
        Do you have any proof of that?

        1. Leaving aside your unsubstantiated claims about Russian elections, I have no absolute proof that Irish elections are systematically rigged, but there have been many anomalies in Irish elections (and Irish referendums) over the years that make one legitimately sceptical – to put it mildly. To cite just one example: during the count for the 2009 Euro elections in Connacht Ulster Declan Ganly demanded a recount, since as things stood he was narrowly missing out on winning a seat. When the recount was completed it transpired that he had been misallocated 3,000 votes, taken from a young anti-EU candidate from Donegal. When I read the report on the Connacht Ulster election in the Irish Times the next day, it mentioned in passing this misallocation – as if it was just one of those things. So, for the Irish Times, the fact that 3,000 votes had gone astray in an important election, and that this had only been uncovered because a candidate demanded a recount, was worthy of just one line buried in a lengthy report on proceedings at the count in Connacht Ulster. The candidate from whom the votes were taken subsequently stated that when he took the matter to both the Garda and the media, neither showed any interest in investigating it. Needless to say, I’m not suggesting that Ganly was in any way complicit in vote fraud – far from it – he was the one who uncovered the misallocation, albeit unwittingly.

          As I say Greg Palast and others have uncovered many examples of systematic vote fraud in U.S. elections, perpetrated by both big parties. Some campaigners have made similar allegations about the conduct of British elections. I think it would be very naïve to assume that Ireland is necessarily immune from such civic corruption – particularly as we lack a strong tradition of the type of investigative journalism Palast specialises in.

  4. Northsider,
    The Brits have done nothing wrong to me or my nation.
    They helped to fight for independence of my country.
    They did not recognise the Soviet occupation and held our gold reserves until the collapse of the USSR.
    And they, together with other NATO countries, are keeping the Russian barbarian horde at bay.
    So it would be weird for me to hate them.

    1. And they forced back thousands of Eastern Europeans to Stalin’s tyranny. They may not have officially recognised the Baltic states as Soviet territory but this was a mere diplomatic technicality – since they continued to cooperate fully with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. Even the allegedly anti-communist Mrs Thatcher was happy to do business with the Soviets. Some academic researchers such as the late Professor Anthony Sutton have published compelling evidence that the Soviet Union only survived for as long as it did due to western economic aid and technical expertise – aid that came mainly from the U.S, the U.K. and Germany. I don’t wish to be boxed into an Anglophobic corner here – there are plenty of things I admire about Britain – but most Irish revisionists/Unionists will not allow for a balanced or detached view of England – for them one has to be an unqualified admirer of all things English or one is denounced as a knee-jerk Brit-hater. This kind of either/or quasi-religious dogma – never applied to any other nation, not even the Americans – tells its own story as to the real source of Irish revisionism – in its media guise anyway.

      1. The Western Allies did not deport citizens of the Baltic countries back to the USSR against their will.
        They were considered displaced people and were allowed to stay in the west.
        That’s why we have a comparatively large Latvian diaspora today.
        The only western country that did deport the Baltic soldiers was “neutral” Sweden.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_extradition_of_Baltic_soldiers

        And the West didn’t provide their tech voluntarily – most of it was stolen by traitors and spies.
        Also they looted many German factories after the WW2 and forced the captured German engineers and scientists to work for them.

        And the soviets didn’t even implement it properly – they made poorly working knock-offs instead.
        Compare the Western Concorde and the Soviet Concordski (Tupolev Tu-144) , for example

  5. I’d suggest you take up these questions with Solhenitzyn and Professor Sutton, but unfortunately both men are dead. Solhenitzyn stated categorically that British soldiers forced Eastern Europeans at gunpoint onto boats bound for the USSR. Professor Sutton, for his part, thoroughly researched the history of western aid to the Soviet Union – most of his work was based on hard documentary evidence – financial statements, bank records, invoices, export licences and so on – and has never been refuted. The British also refused to give asylum to the Romanovs even though they were closely related to the British royals. As for China, which you mentioned in your earlier post, I presume you wouldn’t argue about western capitalist collaboration with the Communist/capitalist regime in that country? From their (western capitalists) viewpoint – what’s not to like? No troublesome unions, no strikes, long hours, small wages, and constant surveillance.

    1. I know about the “Operation Keelhaul”, and the Latvians were not affected by it, because they weren’t Soviet citizens and the Western allies considered the Baltics to be illegally occupied territories.

      If the West gave any aid to the USSR then it was probably sabotaged, because the Soviets could not make a single damn product that worked properly and things imported from the West were highly sought after by the Soviet citizens (most of them available only in the black market).
      I shit you not – people treated plastic bags from the West like a goddamn treasure.

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