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.

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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.

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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

for the original story

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One of the secretaries to the Irish delegation at the 1921 Treaty talks described the excitement in Downing Street as Collins arrived.

“The paths were lined along the route with Irish exiles, including nuns and clergymen reciting the rosary, singing hymns, exclaiming good wishes… There were tri -colours, banners, flags lengths of cloth and cardboard with wishes and slogans in Gaelic.”

The Irish Independent described his send-off from Euston station after the talks in December: “Collins was a particular favourite of the women”.

“The police were powerless to check the wild stampede… and one young woman succeeded in embracing him and kissing him heartily on both cheeks. ‘God bless you Michael!’ were the last shouts of a few hundred of his women admirers.”

There were similar scenes in Dublin when he returned home. Collins was offered $25,000 – a vast sum at the time – to write his memoirs, but he died too early to take up the offer.

With many thanks to: Life And Times of the the “big Fella”.

More RUC/PSNI harassment of parents and children in Newry today

More RUC/PSNI harassment of parents and children in Newry today. A local man was taking his 7 year old son to gaelic this morning, he plays for one of the local youth teams, the child was due to have a photo shoot with his young team mates. The RUC/PSNI stopped and searched them on the Camlough Rd under section 21 & 24, searched for ammunition, wireless apparatus etc. They were held for half an hour resulting in the young child missing his GAA photo. The wee lad was gutted

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Stephen Murney


This need taken up before the EU Committee of Human Rights: Justice & Security Act 2007Section 21 – Stop to ascertain identity and account for movements. … This can be done for as ‘long as necessary’ – Re Mooney as long as 1hour 25 minutes was deemed necessary by the Court. Includes whilst in a vehicle or in person. It is an offence to fail to stop or to answer the relevant questions. Questioning includes: – in regard to identity (name, address, DOB  and movements (coming from and going to) Only British Army can ask anything in relation to a recent incident (explosion or shooting). Section 24 – Search for items such as transmitters, ammunition & wireless                   apparatus. Allows for search of person, vehicle or premises In a person search there is no power to remove any clothing other than outer coat, jacket or headgear. Reasonable grounds are NOT required in a public place but ARE REQUIRED in a private place.


The fire service has said that the Fire at Sean Dolans was accidental. Yesterday, members of Provisional Sinn Fein openly named a republican saying he was responsible. Elisha Mc Laughlin also named this man. The 32csm went to the scene of the blaze in solidarity with the Club and were greeted by insults from Provos who told a life long Republican in his late 60s from Creggan that he was not welcome. Provisional Sinn Fein has attempted to create a fued mentallity in Derry and failed. (Plz copy and paste the Truth)

Fire at Derry GAA club ‘not suspicious’

A fire which caused extensive damage to a GAA club in Londonderry is not being treated as suspicious.

The blaze broke out at Sean Dolan’s in Creggan in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Police have said they believe it started accidentally.

Club chairman Hugh Wilkinson said the roof of the building “had gone”.

“We are absolutely shocked. The community can’t believe what’s happened here,” he said.

Sinn Fein Deputy Mayor of Derry Kevin Campbell said the venue was used by many in the community and it was hoped the clubhouse would be rebuilt as soon as possible.

“As well as being a focal point for the local Gaelic club, this building also provides employment for local people,” he said.

“As a club they are totally embedded within the Creggan community and have built up an excellent infrastructure, particularly at youth level, a policy which has borne fruit with a number of successes in recent years.”


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