Conservative journalist and current Irish Independent columnist Sarah Carey has spent much of her career railing against the “national language” of Ireland and those citizens and communities who speak it. Since the early 2000s she has penned numerous articles for newspapers based both at home and abroad attacking the position of the Irish language in the Irish nation, criticising the constitutional and legal rights of Irish-speakers, and fuelling the general antipathy towards those people living on our island nation who identify with our native tongue.
A particular bête noir for Carey has been the relatively recent emergence of Gaelscoileanna or Irish medium schools as an educational force after decades of languishing on the fringes of society. When such schools were confined to the territories of the rural and urban poor they were viewed by the affluent Anglophone elites as a harmless cultural phenomenon that could be ignored or indulged as one wished. In the view of the Neo-Ascendancy the “Gaeilscoils” kept the Irish “enthusiasts” and “hobbyists” safely occupied, whether tweed-wearing “boggers” or tracksuit-wearing “knackers”. However when the demand for Irish education began to expand from impoverished working-class estates and into the salubrious, hitherto English-speaking bastions of the Dublin suburbia the Hibernophobes looked up from their copies of the Sunday Independent and Irish Times and grunted in displeasure at the disruption of the familiar cultural seascape of the old Pale.
Hence the increasingly shrill and irrational protests by many in the national news media (and their brain-washed parrots in the online commentariat) at the Irish revival. As the numbers of Irish-speaking citizens have grown so too has the braying of hostile English-speakers. They have reached for every twisted and perverted form of argument to prop up the British-gifted system of linguistic-apartheid in Ireland. No matter how illogical, how counter-factual, how nonsensical the allegation at one stage or another you will have seen it the pages of an Irish newspaper or repeated on the radio of television. For if people repeat a lie often enough, and loud enough, in time it will become the accepted truth. And woe betide those who would then challenge it.
So to the latest chapter from the stale Carey missal, featured in last weekend’s Irish Independent. Here, in analysing a report on claimed “segregation” in the education system between pupils from majority and minority communities, the opinion-writer offers up a vigorous defence of religion, an implied criticism of multiculturalism, and identifies the real culprit: Irish-speaking parents, children and teachers.
“The resulting blind spot was exposed spectacularly last week in a major profile regarding the segregation of Irish primary school children. A survey showed that four-fifths of immigrant children are being educated in just over a fifth of our schools. This means there are many schools with no or very few immigrant children, while others have huge numbers.
So what’s going on there? The analysis quickly zeroed in on religion. Schools use religion as a method by which immigrants could be discouraged from attending. When they run out of places, only Catholics need apply. What’s the solution? Catholic schools need to “divest” themselves of their patronage of so many schools. Thus, free from the stifling control of priests, schools could open their gates to the Nirvana of multi-culturalism. We were reminded that this divestment process has crawled along without much progress for years.
The astonishing thing was that nowhere, no matter how many times I read Pamela Duncan’s article, could I find the word “Gaelscoil”. How could any credible analysis of segregation in primary schools be conducted without even mentioning the most substantial barrier to entry for immigrants – the Irish language? Parents have many legitimate reasons for sending their children to Gaelscoileannna, but motive is irrelevant if it’s the net effect that concerns us. The reality is that in many towns and urban centres, the immigrant kids are at the local national school under the benign patronage of the much maligned Catholic church, while up at the Gaelscoil, free from the critical eye of the Irish Times or anyone else, you’ll struggle to find a black child.
So in one Dublin national school they have a huge cross-section of children from Europe, Africa and Asia. Just 35pc of the pupils are Irish. A short distance away at a Gaelscoil 99pc of the pupils are Irish. But the commentariat can’t takes its eyes off those infernal priests and their discriminating schools, while under the radar, the self-selecting families in the Gaelscoileanna sail along blissfully free of moral challenge.
I’m not saying those families are doing anything wrong – they’re entitled to their choice – but why don’t they merit a mention?
I think a single-school policy is the correct one; morally, socially and economically. But it’s parents not priests who are the major obstacle. If you’re going to fight a war over segregation in schools, identifying the real problem is a good start.”
All of which spouting is simply a repetition of the old, thread-worn allegation by Irish-born Anglo-supremacists that mothers and fathers who send their children to Irish language schools do so because they are bigots who don’t wish their children to be associated with the offspring of immigrant families. Which is the most fucked-up form of inverted-racism you’ll find outside of a post-colonial psychosis of epic proportions. Though arguably with people like Sarah Carey around modern Ireland embodies all that – and then some. Though of course she is not alone. From the Irish Times, an anonymous writer attacking the position of the Irish language in the Irish curriculum:
“My children, for example, are half Italian, and my wife and I have spent a great deal of time and expense to ensure they are bilingual. We have succeeded, but compulsory Irish at school made this a much tougher proposition than if they only learned English in school here. I wonder how many other parents of children from “mixed” backgrounds wish their kids could just concentrate on perfecting daddy’s and mammy’s language before being forced to learn another?”
A statement so seriously fucked up in its thinking that I don’t even know where to begin with it. So I won’t even bother…