Saturday, March 8, 2008

A "Depoliticised" Language?

Just last May, Francie Brolly said the debate around an Irish language act should not become a "political football".

"This issue is much too serious to become a bone of contention between the parties," he said.

The education minister Caitriona Ruane has also accused unionists of treating Irish-medium education as a political football.

And how could they best avoid the Irish language becoming a "political football"?
Party president Gerry Adams announced that it would name an Irish language group after Caoimhin Mac Bradaigh, who was killed while pursuing Michael Stone at Milltown Cemetery in March 1988.

Mr Mac Bradaigh, from west Belfast, was a fluent Irish speaker who joined the IRA in 1975 at the age of 17.

That’s right, name an Irish language group after a provo terrorist.
Pobal, an Irish language umbrella group which campaigns for an Irish lanaguge act, declined to comment on the Sinn Fein move.

Yeah, I bet they didn’t, the cowards.

11 comments:

typhoo said...

Oneill Sinn Fein cowards? Nay say it ain't so!!!!

Nice blog btw.

O'Neill said...

Actually I should have meade that a bit clearer, I meant Pobal rather than Sinn Fein. Pobal is supposedly non-political, so I would have thought they wouldn't have been that happy with SF degrading the language in this way.

And thanks for the compliment!

kensei said...

Sinn Fein have an Irish language branch
Sinn Fein called the branch after an IRA man
Ergo the Irish language is politicsed

Sinn Fein have an English language branch
Sinn Fein called the branch after an IRA man
Ergo the English language is politicsed

I mean, really, please, what kind of fucking argument is this? What SF do or don't do has dick all to do with a language that is used Island wide, and whose importance extends way past merely SF voters.

What has politicised the Irish language is Unionism with its unrelenting hostility.

O'Neill said...

Irish is a language, no more or less, a language in itself is obviously an abstract, non-political object; second point how Unionists regrad and treat the language will not it lose it one speaker, how it's its supporters decide to promote it can and does.

Sinn Fein argue, not me, not Poots, that Irish is a language for all,a "depoliticised" language. They then prove it by naming an Irish language branch after a provo terrorist- what signal does that send out to those outside their "traditonal voter base", everyone welcome?

Pobal, a "non-party" lobbying group who are no slouches putting the boot into Poots and Co, make "no comment" on the matter, why's that do you think?

Gael gan Náire said...

This story is inaccurate.

No 'Irish Language group' has been established, Sinn Féin has merely (finally) started to take things seriously and to use Irish as a working language. They set up a Cumann (local branch). That is the fact.

I think it is very positive. I mean if you arent a republican you dont join Sinn Féin, full stop.

Again, it is not an Irish language group so like all political parties, it is exclusive to those who share the views of the party.

Non-Story to my mind anyway.

Ignited said...

Caoimhin Lenny Murphy.

But hey it doesn't matter what message is sent out as long as the Irish language is respected.

Unionist outreach?

O'Neill - an important observation.

O'Neill said...

"This story is inaccurate."

Do you have an alternative English-language source?

I think it is very positive

I think you've missed the point.SF can have an Irish-language Cumann (if that is indeed the case as you state), its their choice of name for this "branch" which is the crux here.

In your opinion is it important that Irish is regarded as a language for all and in your opinion, has that choice of name helped or weakened the idea of Irish being regarded as an inclusive language?
Or should I just shut up and accept that it's none of my business?

Gael gan Náire said...

Frankly, as most SF cumainn are named after IRA men it would be difficult not to do so in this case. The fact that the individual in question was a native speaker would also have been a factor.

"In your opinion is it important that Irish is regarded as a language for all"

Important yes, but not at the expense of its users as a primary language. In a paralell universe a unionist party did the same I would still think it was positive.

"has that choice of name helped or weakened the idea of Irish being regarded as an inclusive language?"

Language in my view is mostly exclusive to those who speak it, unless you can have simulataneous translation.

"Or should I just shut up and accept that it's none of my business?"

No. I read your blog. But I wouldn't myself express an opinion on what my local orange lodge calls itself, none of my business.

O'Neill said...

Frankly, as most SF cumainn are named after IRA men it would be difficult not to do so in this case.

They do have a choice who they name their cumainn after; they have made a deliberate choice in this case and you'll know better than I do of many alternative, more positive role models for the Irish language they could have used- they're playing politics with your language.

"In your opinion is it important that Irish is regarded as a language for all"

Important yes, but not at the expense of its users as a primary language. In a paralell universe a unionist party did the same I would still think it was positive.


In NI, it remains very much within a cultural and political ghetto and if I were an Irish language activist my primary aim would be to move its present horizons and have as many people speaking the language as possible. That's the key to its future surely, not handouts, symbolic gestures, or even protecting what you already have?

"has that choice of name helped or weakened the idea of Irish being regarded as an inclusive language?"

Language in my view is mostly exclusive to those who speak it, unless you can have simulataneous translation.


With respect, that wasn't my original question. I'm talking about the promotion and development of the Irish language "market" (for want of a better word), not the problems non-speakers have with the comprehension or translation of the language .

"Or should I just shut up and accept that it's none of my business?"

No. I read your blog. But I wouldn't myself express an opinion on what my local orange lodge calls itself, none of my business.


A strange comparison and if you're modelling the Irish language's outreach programme on the OO's PR tactics, then you're in big trouble. The OO is rather insular with regards who it wants to attract to its cause, as I've said before, I would have hoped that is not the case with the Irish language lobby.

kensei said...

Sinn Fein argue, not me, not Poots, that Irish is a language for all,a "depoliticised" language. They then prove it by naming an Irish language branch after a provo terrorist- what signal does that send out to those outside their "traditonal voter base", everyone welcome?

Same argument. Still completely fucking stupid. Same response.

O'Neill said...

Why did you spend the 30 seconds, or whatever it took, making that comment?