Another year, another dire record of public services for Irish-speaking citizens and communities by the supposedly bilingual Irish state (note the word “Irish” in that description. Ah, the irony…). From a report by the Irish Examiner newspaper:
“The Irish-language commissioner has questioned the effectiveness of the Government’s efforts to promote the use of Irish language in the public service.
An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, said there was “a fundamental flaw” in the language scheme system which details which services will be provided through the medium of Irish.
Mr Ó Domhnaill said that such a system depended to a large degree on what a public body was offering at a particular point in time rather than working towards recognised standards of services through Irish.
He pointed out that one government department was promising to publish 25% of its press releases in Irish but that these might not be issued up to 24 hours after the English version.
Another department, which uses its website as one of its major means of communication, is only committed to publishing corporate documents in Irish online, Mr Ó Domhnaill said.
The primary role of An Coimisinéir Teanga is to ensure state bodies comply with their obligations under the Official Languages Act to making public services accessible through Irish.
Mr Ó Domhnaill claimed there were “substantial gaps” between the legislation and its practical implementation. He said it was his firm view that the system of language schemes must be fundamentally altered.
Mr Ó Domhnaill said the weaknesses which were identified in a recent review of the Official Languages Act regarding the language rights of citizens were still noticeable.
However, he said that the heads of an Official Languages (Amendment) Bill which were published as part of the 10-year review were incomplete and did not tackle the difficulties identified in the document.
Mr Ó Domhnaill also expressed disappointment at the lack of posts identified by government departments with an Irish-language requirement.
Among the bodies that were found in breach of regulations governing use of the Irish language during the course of last year were the Railway Procurement Agency, Dublin Bus, and the HSE.”
The facts are simply this: twelve years after the introduction of legislation guaranteeing the rights of Irish-speakers to the same levels of service from the government as their English-speaking peers such rights remain half-hearted at best, tokenistic at worse. Continuing to foster a decades-old culture of institutional discrimination against Hibernophone citizens while claiming to do otherwise is the lowest form of chicanery. That is especially true when the present Fine Oibre coalition government, FG and Labour, has established an unenviable record on the issue of our indigenous language. It has become one of the most hostile administrations to take power in Ireland since the winning of independence in the 1920s. It is hardly surprising that prejudice – for that is what it is – is second-nature in some departments and agencies when some staff view Irish-speaking men, women and children as an alien and unwelcome minority. In light of such attitudes, carefully cultivated by elements of the state and reflected in the popular Anglophone media, it is inevitable that incidences such as this arise, as featured by the Irish Times:
“A complaint against a radio presenter who described some supporters of the Irish language as being “nutters”, “mad” and “insane” has been upheld by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).
An Irish language speaker, Muireann Ní Mhóráin, had claimed the FM104 Phone Show broadcast last June that included these statements had caused her great offence.
She also objected to a contributor who said that Irish parents sending their children to Gaelscoileanna was a “middle class thing to do . . . they think they’re higher than other people”.
Ms Ní Mhóráin said that this statement was untrue in her case, as her first language was Irish.
The station said that Mr Barry also used the words “mad” and “insane” to describe some Gaeilgeoirí, but that he had meant a certain type of Irish language speaker.
He also suggested that if an Irish language speaker insisted on accessing state services through the language, he could be characterised as an “awkward son of a bitch”.
Ms Ní Mhóráin also objected to the use of the word “Taliban” to describe those involved in promoting the language on the programme.
FM104 stated that this was a phrase commonly used to describe Irish language lobbyists.
…the committee held that presenter Chris Barry had “consistently interrupted contributors who did not agree with the editorial position of the programme on the Irish language and he had characterised one of the contributors as an ‘awkward son of a bitch’”.
The authority found that the tone and manner of the presenter’s contributions were therefore “unfair and contrary to the BAI’s code”.”
When obvious prejudice can pose as fair comment then you know that there is something rotten in the state of Ireland. The problem here, amongst many others, is that those who promote such vile attitudes believe them to be so widely held as to be the norm, thus they cannot believe that others would object to them or that their right to engage in the promotion of such biases might be curtailed. It is like the Orange Order being denied the right to march through certain communities beating out their sectarian and racist chants, or the supposed right of the KKK to promote their petty hatreds and jealousies in African-American or Jewish-American neighbourhoods. Bigots will inevitably act with outrage when their bigotry is denied expression.
However, regulatory judgements aside, it seems that little will change, as the tabloid Herald illustrates:
“IRELAND was home to a thriving branch of the German Nazi party in the 1930s, including a number of members who held positions in the Civil Service.
There were up to 75 Germans and Austrian Nazi Party members here led by archaeologist Adolf Mahr, who was appointed director of the National Museum in 1934.
He ended up working on Nazi propaganda broadcasts into Ireland. Many of the broadcasts were in the Irish language because the Nazis believed Gaelic speakers might be more inclined to be anti-British.”
Yes, of course they did.
More here on the realities of being second-class Irish and the biggest reality of all; extremist Anglophones do not dislike or hate the Irish language: they dislike or hate those who speak the Irish language. Every Irish-speaking man, every Irish-speaking woman, every Irish-speaking child.