S4E4: Elaine Ní Bhraonáin PhD – Irish Language, Irish In NYC & A Mother With A Story To Tell — Irish Stew Podcast — Overcast


Irish language and Ulster Scots bill clears House of Lords – BBC News



Microsoft translator adds support for Irish language


The Battle To Preserve Irish Is Far From Over


THE welcome meeting of minds at Stormont last week set a train in motion which will see the last vestige of the Irish Penal Laws disappear.

GAEL FORCE: Irish-speaking schoolchildren bring their protest to Stormont last year

For the first time, Irish will be legally recognised in the courts in the North of Ireland. The historian Eamon Phoenix informs us that some years ago, Sir Patrick Mayhew – a former Secretary of State for the North of Ireland and an eminent barrister – attempted to do away with this anachronism, but his efforts were blocked. Under Penal Law, Irish people weren’t allowed to speak or read Gaelic or even play Irish music. These ludicrous laws were scrapped after Irish Independence. But the ban on Irish in the courts was allowed to continue in the North of Ireland until now.


To most observers, the agreement reached last week looks very like the one the DUP was unable to get over the line two years ago. This was because of a threatened backlash from strong anti-Gaelic elements in the Orange Order. The DUP may yet rue the day it decided to move forward this time without the rednecks. Certainly those connected to loyalist Paramilitaries who voted for the DUP are furious at the speed with which the party signed up to accommodating the Irish language. But my advice to Irish language activists is do not be lulled into thinking you can now rest on your laurels. Because it takes much more than mere legislation to preserve a language. It’s a never-ending battle. That said, last week was a magnificent step forward.


But the herculean efforts and sacrifices of previous generations should never be forgotten. One such incident in Derry stands out, when several young men ended up spending four years in prison for the crime of speaking Irish. For the Catholic/Nationalist majority in Derry, St Patrick’s Day 1951 was a milestone. Members of the Nationalist Party and the Anti-Partition League joined forces and marched into the walled city centre behind an Irish national flag. The RUC used this as an excuse to baton-charge the parade which was soon scattered.

Follow this link to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Anti-Partition_League

But in July of the same year, nationalist hearts lifted with the arrival in the city of Eamon de Valera to help celebrate Gaelic week. Tricolours festooned the Bogside and Brandywell areas as nationalist Derry welcomed the great hero of the independence movement. Local republicans submerged their opposition to Dev, hoping unionist attitudes had changed. But on 17th March 1952, the RUC once again baton-charged marchers displaying Irish flags. A schoolgirl, Helen Kelly, was photographed marching along Sackville Street seconds before she was hit over the head by a police truncheon.

LAW CHANGE: Sir Patrick Mayhew

The image was published in an English newspaper, causing at least some British politicians to ask questions about exactly what was going on inside the unionist North of Ireland. But it was the 1954 St Paddy’s Day march which really stood out. As the parade made its way down Shipquay Street to Guildhall Square, the RUC once again laid into marchers with batons. Among those injured were Brendan Duddy, later to become a hero in the back-channel negotiations which lead to the 1994 PIRA ceasefire. Irish Language activists Proinsias O Míanáin and Pat Leo O’Donherty also felt the ferocity of the police violence. Three years later, as the same lads were making their way home from an Irish-speaking céilí, they were accosted by three armed RUC officers demanding their names and addresses. At gunpoint, the boys duly obliged. But because they opted to do so in Irish, they were immediately arrested and taken to Victoria Barracks.


And within an hour, they were on their way to a Belfast Prison where they spent the next four years as internees under the Special Powers Act.

Follow this link to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Authorities_(Special_Powers)_Act_(Northern_Ireland)_1922

As the lads had failed to return home, had failed to return home, their parents were seriously worried about them. And it was only when a bread delivery man called at the O’Doherty home they got some kind of indication about what had happened to them. The bread man had allowed a police vehicle to emerge onto Strand Road. And he spotted Pat Leo inside with both hands raised, revealing he was in cuffs. A duty sergeant later told Mrs O’Doherty he wasn’t obliged to inform her that her son had been interned! From a purely cultural point of view, I’ve never understood unionist hostility to the Irish language.

The writer Brian O’Nolan – a native of Strabane and a fluent Irish speaker – once claimed many English people have a limited vocabulary of around 400 words, while the average Irish-speaking peasant in the west of Ireland has at least 4,000. And he further claims that in some parts of Donegal, it’s a matter of family pride to use a Gaelic word only once in the course of a lifetime! Now I don’t care what you say, that’s impressive!

With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Hugh Jordan

Hugh Jordan The Sunday World-hjordan.media@btinternet.com

for the original story -hjordan.media@btinternet.com

Follow this link to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-51215199


The Late Bro Rev RR Kane LLD

◾ONE of the more interesting graves in the guide Dara Barrett’s Memory Lane Tour of Belfast City Cemetery is that of Reverend Rutledge Kane.

Kane was Church of Ireland rector of Christ Church on Durham Street and County Grand Master of the Orange Lodge in Belfast.

But he was also a fluent Gaelic speaker and, as a strong advocate of the Irish language, he was an active member of the Gaelic League.

Born in Omagh in the years preceding the Irish famine, Kane followed in his father’s footsteps in choosing the ministry as a profession. As rector of Christ Church, he served the staunchly loyalist people of Sandy Row who regularly fought pitched battles with the Catholics of Durham Street.

The Kane Memorial LOL 890 (pictured) is based in Sandy Row and is named in his honour

His memorial stone (pictured in the featured image) which was paid for by the Orangemen of Belfast, describes Kane as a ‘loyal Irish patriot’. Unlike their present day counterparts, the Orangemen of 100 years ago didn’t see the Irish language as a threat.

With many thanks to: The Sunday World and Hugh Jordan 

Hugh Jordan The Sunday World-hjordan.media@btinternet.com

for the original story –hjordan.media@btinternet.com

Follow these links to find out more: http://www.manchesterorange.co.uk/History/manchester-great-protestant-mtg

(2)-: https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/01/12/the-orange-orders-complex-relationship-with-the-irish-language/

Council’s erection of Irish language street signs ‘an attempt to divide harmonious communities’ says UUP representative

Ulster Unionist Slieve Croon Councillor Alan Lewis said two dual language signs placed on the Nutgrove Rd at Annadorn were ‘utterly ridiculous’.

A UUP councillor has described the erection of bi-lingual street signs near Downpatrick have annoyed residents and is “an attempt to divide communities who otherwise live in harmony”.

Slieve Croob Councillor Alan Lewis branded two dual language signs on the Nutgrove Road at Annadorn, east of Downpatrick, as “utterly ridiculous”.

UUP representative Alan Lewis seems to be backing the UDA who are intent on attacking our Irish heritage/culture and language

He added: “I understand why people wish to speak Irish, I’ve nothing against any person or group who wish to further their understanding of Irish Language through cultural activities but there is absolutely no need for road signs randomly doted across the countryside effectively marking out territory”.

Ulster Defence Association (UDA)

“It’s unnecessary territory marking tribalism. Most right-thinking residents are rightly annoyed. This is an attempt to divide communities who otherwise live in harmony, I do not understand why one side is determined to force Irish down the throat of their unionist neighbours”.

UDA orchestrated campaign against anything Irish including road signs our language and our culture

He also queried why Irish had been placed at the top of the sign with the English “downgraded” below.

“RESPECT THE IRISH LANGUAGE” – Linda Ervine: Image copyright Slugger O’Toole

This would lead one to ask the point of the design, he said.

“A car going at normal speed would read the Irish before they read the actual road name.”


He added: “The impression given by some supporters of the Irish Language lobby is of a language that has been forced underground, denied rights, oppressed and starved of funding. Figures contained within the Flags, Identity, Culture & Tradition (FICT) commission demonstrate that the facts simply do not bear out the repeated claims of discrimination, many people will be amazed to learn that £190m has been spent on the Irish Language in Northern Ireland in just over 7 years, Nobody is prevented from learning and speaking Irish, it is well provided for in terms of public funding. I do not believe there is the need for an Irish language act but that does not mean we do not support the language community.”

Part of the jointly orchestrated Loyalist campaign by the UDA/UVF against the Irish Language Act

“Given the regular painting out of Irish language signs in mainly unionist areas where the language is not spoken or understood, and where it is seen as political, it is very clear that adverse equality and good relations implications should have been anticipated.”


“I reiterate that I’ve Nothing against Irish or those who wish to speak it however it his continued obsession with dual language signs is furthering and reinforcing a negative image of the Language across our district.”

Mr Lewis said that most people living on the road would be nationalist but that the wider area would be mainly unionist.

“This is just marking out territory,” he added.

He also queried the level of ratepayer expenditure by the council on such signs.

But Sinn Fein MLA Sinéad Ennis described his concerns as “utter nonsense”.

She added: “The Irish language is for everyone in society and it doesn’t belong to any one section of the community.

“Sinn Féin would like to point out to Councillor Lewis that a car cannot read road signs at normal or any other speed.”

Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge said it was important to “unlock” the Irish language across the country.

“The Irish language is all around us, it is to be found in our places names and indeed in our surnames,” he said. “95% of placenames here come directly from Irish. That shared history needs to be unlocked and promoted.

“Visibility of that common heritage is hugely important for minoritised indigenous languages. That is a concept supported worldwide, and indeed by the council of Europe who oversee the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.

“The British Government ratified that Charter in 2001 and local councils have duties according to that treaty. If we are sincere about a truly shared society then the Irish language has to be recognised as a central part of our past, present and future. The days of Irish being unheard and unseen must end. That exclusion has gone on for far too long. From Sliabh Crúibe (Slieve Croob), to Áth na nDorn (Annadorn), the language is all around us, and belongs to us all.”

Daniel Holder, Deputy Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, contacted the News Letter to say that Conradh na Gaeilge had suggested it also forward comment on the matter.

Mr Holder said that no human rights are breached by having to look at Irish language signs.

“The suggestion that community ‘harmony’ can only be maintained by an ‘English-only’ policy of blanket exclusion of the Irish language from public space is alarming,” he told the News Letter. “Nobody’s human rights are being breached by having to look at Irish (or English) on a street sign. Both the Belfast Agreement and the human rights treaties the UK signed at the same time commit to ‘respect, understanding and tolerance’ for the Irish language, we are still clearly some distance from that.”

SDLP Slieve Croob councillor Hugh Gallagher described Mr Lewis’ comments as “disappointing rhetoric” and called for legal protection for the Irish language.

He added: “Nobody has anything to fear from the Irish language. It belongs to everyone. This outdated narrative, and indeed the increase in vandalism of Irish language signs, are another reason why we must ensure legal protection for the Irish language in legislation. Residents were contacted and asked to voice any objections before the signs were put up and there was broad support from the local community for the Irish signs.”

Newry Mourne and Down District Council and the SDLP have been approached for comment.

With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter and Philip Bradfield for the original story 

Ciaran Boyle: Irish Language Act, Not About Road Signs or Courtrooms – it’s About Certainty


How the Stormont deal tackles language and identity issues

LANGUAGE and identity form a significant part of Stormont’s new power-sharing deal – but the compromises face a mixed reaction.

The agreement does not deliver on a standalone Irish language act, which had long been a key demand of Sinn Féin and Irish-language campaigners. Instead, the legislation is introduced as one of three bills amending the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Of course, whether or not the legislation would be ‘standalone’ was always immaterial compared to the more important part of the deal – its content.

The measures are described by the British government as a new “cultural framework” which will “promote cultural diversity and inclusion across all identities and cultures”.

The main provisions are the creation of an Irish language commissioner, an Ulster Scots/’Ulster British’ commissioner and a new Office of Identity and Cultural Expression.

It also gives official recognition of both Irish and Ulster-Scots languages in Northern Ireland.

MLAs will be able to speak in the assembly in Irish or Ulster Scots with a “simultaneous translation system” for non-speakers.

People will also be able to register births, deaths, marriages and wills in Irish, and “when deemed necessary” speak Irish in court.

The Irish language commissioner will work to “recognise, support, protect and enhance the development of the Irish language”.

Its main function will be to “protect and enhance the development of the use of the Irish language by public authorities” by providing guidance and introducing best practice standards.

The guidance will include looking at Irish-language translations for websites of public bodies and for them to respond in Irish “where practical” to correspondence from Irish-speakers.

However, these standards must be agreed by the First and Deputy First Ministers – effectively meaning a veto for the DUP.

The reaction so far has been mixed, from both campaigners and those opposed to changes.

Conradh na Gaeilge activists hailed official status for the language as “historic” but said the proposals “fall far short of the commitments made in the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement”. Irish-language activist Janet Muller, former director of Pobal, said the proposals are “weak and will not adequately protect and promote the Irish language”.

On the other hand, the Orange Order feels the Irish-language provisions go too far. It said it has “very serious concerns” and cannot support the deal.

In 2018’s abandoned deal, unionists sought to counterbalance acceding to Irish-language provisions by creating an Ulster Scots commissioner.

The new agreement expands on this to include the “Ulster British tradition”, saying the new commissioner will work to “enhance and develop the language, arts and literature associated with the Ulster Scots/Ulster British tradition”.

Legislation will also be introduced to place a duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate the use of Ulster Scots in the education system.

However, the Orange Order remains unimpressed. It said the “references to Ulster-Scots/Ulster-British culture are ambiguous – lacking meaningful detail or delivery mechanisms”.

The Office of Identity and Cultural Expression, a new statutory body, will aim to “celebrate and support all aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich cultural and linguistic heritage”.

Although ambitious and positive in its aims, many will remain sceptical at Stormont farming out its unresolved issues to another quango.

The Office will “work closely” with the Commission on Flags, Identity, Culture and Tradition (FICT) – a panel set up under the Fresh Start Agreement more than three-and-a-half years ago which has yet to issue any recommendations.

On the British government’s part, it has made fresh commitments relating to immigration status for Northern Ireland citizens.

Taking into account the Good Friday Agreement, government policy “should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship” and it will change the rules on how people in Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK.

Emma de Souza – who has been involved in a high-profile legal campaign after the Home Office rejected her application for a residence card for her US-born husband Jake when she identified herself as Irish – welcomed the “pretty monumental change”.

The campaigner from Magherafelt, Co Derry, said on Twitter the changes address “one of the most fundamentally flawed issues within the UK’s immigration policy”.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Brendan Hughes for the original story 

Arlene Foster backs a deal that includes major new Irish Language Legislation


DUP leader Arlene Foster speaks to media in the great hall of Stormont earlier this week, on Tuesday, as the deadline approached for the resumption of a power sharing assembly. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Arlene Foster has backed a deal involving Irish being made an official language, an Irish language commissioner being appointed and an end to the ban on Irish in the courts.

Within about 20 minutes of the 62-page draft agreement being published online late last night, the DUP leader said that the party’s MPs, MLAs and party officers backed the text, saying: “On balance we believe there is a basis upon which the Assembly and Executive can be re-established in a fair and balanced way.”

Irish Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney (left) and Secretary of State for the North of Ireland Julian Smith, outside Stormont Parliament buildings in Belfast, jointly unveil their deal. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

In an apparent attempt to rush the deal through before the weekend and before it comes under detailed scrutiny, Secretary of State Julian Smith last night moved to try to recall the Assembly today to endorse the deal and restore devolution.

Mrs Foster – who in 2017 said “I will never accede to an Irish language act” because to do so would be like feeding a crocodile with concessions – accepted that the agreement represented a compromise.

She said it was “not a perfect deal and there are elements within it which we recognise are the product of long negotiations and represent compromise outcomes”.

The agreement will involve a significant shift in how Assembly business is conducted, with MLAs able to make their entire speeches in Irish or Ulster-Scots and the provision of immediate translation – presumably through headsets, as happens in the EU parliament.

The ‘New Decade, New Approach’ deal would see the repeal of the Administration of Justice (Language) Act (Ireland) 1737 – the legislation which bans the use of Irish in court.

There will be a commissioner to “recognise, support, protect and enhance the development of the Irish language” and another commissioner to “enhance and develop the language, arts and literature associated with the Ulster-Scots/Ulster British tradition and to provide official recognition of the status of the Ulster-Scots language”.

There will be the creation of a “central Translation Hub” at Stormont in the finance department. There is no mention of Irish language road signage.

The DUP executive is scheduled to meet tonight but it is not clear whether it would be able to reverse the party’s decision to accept the deal if that is ratified at Stormont today.

The deal will also see a sudden move to implement the Stormont House Agreement on the legacy of the Troubles – something about which increasing numbers of former security force members have been concerned.

And it would see the military covenant extended to Northern Ireland.

However, the DUP has failed to secure a commitment that Sinn Fein could never again walk out of Stormont and demand political concessions – something which the party once said was key to resolving the situation.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney
New Decade, New Approach: Just what is…
And the party has also not secured any commitment on abortion, something which some senior figures believed was important.

The deal promises lots of government investment, particularly for the health service – but only if the parties return to Stormont.

Standing beside Tanaiste Simon Coveney, Mr Smith said there was a major financial package on offer from the government, which would mean health strike action would not need to go ahead if the parties restored the institutions.

Last night Sinn Fein sat on the fence with leader Mary Lou McDonald saying: “We are studying the text … the Sinn Fein ard chomhairle will meet tomorrow to fully assess it.”

UUP leader Steve Aiken said cautiously: “We will consider this complex and far-reaching document carefully and consult widely within our party before making any further comments.”

Former DUP spad Tim Cairns said that the deal seemed to be “largely the same as February 2018 [which the DUP rejected] … not much in return”. But republican commentator Chris Donnelly said he thought it “isn’t a deal that will sit well with Sinn Fein” with the language commissioner “a restricted role”.

Buried in the document is also an agreement that “RHI will be closed down”.

Given that the scheme has already been shut, that appears to mean that those who accepted Mrs Foster’s cast iron guarantee of 20-year payments will be thrown out of the scheme. It is not clear how they would be compensated.

With many thanks to the: Belfast News Letter and Sam McBride for the original story 

Orange Order opposed to ‘further weaponisation of Irish language, says Mervyn Gibson

This image was put up on a Unionist /Loyalist page concerning the Irish language. It’s very sad really


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