Tag: Irish language
Exploring the role of Youth Workers in Northern Ireland loyalist working-class communities: Sectarianism, Education and Languages.
By Giada Lagana– The division between Protestants/loyalists/unionists and Catholic/republicans/nationalists in Northern Ireland, regarding the nature and meaning of the conflict, encompasses all levels of society and all generations. For nationalists, their relationship to the British and Irish states remains primary, whereas for loyalists, the conflict with the other community is acknowledged as being of greater […]Exploring the role of Youth Workers in Northern Ireland loyalist working-class communities: Sectarianism, Education and Languages.
Accommodating Unionists/Loyalists in a republic is simply not possible
I DON’T agree with most of it but I still think Paul Gosling’s book, A New Ireland, A New Union, A New Society, A Ten Year Plan (the 2nd edition has just been published) is one of the best made cases for a united Ireland.
It’s also worth noting that my engagements with Paul – on social media or at panel events – have always been very civil: and it’s worth noting because civility isn’t always given when it comes to people who support Irish unity. Mind you, it isn’t always given with people who oppose Irish unity. Anyway, my primary problem with Paul’s case (although, in fairness, he has included the opinions of others too, including some from a pro-Union background) is that it still doesn’t address the concerns of those who believe that unionism cannot survive in a united Ireland. Unionists support the United Kingdom. Unionists believe that the North of Ireland will always be better within the gravitational pull of the Parliament based in London. Most unionists fear that their beliefs, political values and very specific identity and sense of belonging cannot be accommodated outside the United Kingdom. Some nationalists argue that in the event of unity unionists would find themselves in the same position as nationalists who found themselves on the ‘wrong side of the border’ in 1921. That’s not so.
If it is an independent republic then unionism will have lost and indeed cannot exist. If that is so, what is the point of recognising British identity?
Nationalists were always able to carry the flaming torch for ‘a nation once again’ and campaign on the premise that a mix of circumstance and demographic shift would maybe deliver a united Ireland. Unionists would have no flame to carry (unless there was a provision for post-unity polls in what was the North of Ireland; and the possibility of rejoining the UK). A United Ireland kills off electoral/political unionism in its present form: a form which prioritises the constitutional link with the United Kingdom. So, how do you ‘accommodate’ unionism if the North of Ireland no longer exists? How do you accommodate a political/electoral strategy if the purpose and intended outcome of that strategy has has been removed? Offering to recognise The Twelfth as a public holiday; or allowing people from what was the North of Ireland to be eligible for membership of the House of Lords; or having elements of the Union Jack included in a new flag; or writing a new national anthem; or recognising Scots-Irish; these have all been mentioned as forms of accommodation. But none of them is. At best they represent mere tokenism.
There’s an interesting appendix from Desmond Murphy QC: ‘However, in all texts considered, hard questions are avoided: What will be the form of the state. If it is an independent republic then unionism will have lost and indeed cannot exist. If that is so, what is the point of recognising British identity? The essence of unionism in the North of Ireland is loyalty to the crown and monarchy and to historical sacrifices on their behalf. If those links are snapped, fuzzy promises about holding British passports will be meaningless. Where would power lie in the new state, and more importantly what would be the distribution of such power. Unionists/Protestants could not exercise effective resistance in a new state unless there were artificial protections at the centre of power.’ At this point unionists are not engaging in a debate. Let me make a point here (and I mean no disrespect to those concerned, who are clearly following their consciences): some who are self-described or viewed by others as ‘civic unionists’ are taking part in a conversation with elements of nationalism.
But they they are a small minority and, generally speaking, have little input to or influence within mainstream unionism. I make the point because the assorted ‘accommodations’ which would be acceptable to them would not be acceptable to them would not be acceptable to the much broader swathe of mainstream unionism/loyalism. That’s why I agree with another point made by Desmond Murphy:’…it would appear impossible for any unionist to negotiate on any form of Irish unity prior to a referendum.’ But that doesn’t mean that mainstream unionism shouldn’t have an internal just-in-case discussion on the subject: and they could do a lot worse than beginning with Gosling’s book. A border poll may never come (which strikes me as unlikely), or it could come within a few years. Unionism must be ready to fully engage if the moment comes: ensure beforehand that the arguments for the union are thought-through and ready to be rolled out; and that unionists are thoroughly briefed well in advance.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Alex Kane for the original story
The Battle To Preserve Irish Is Far From Over
“WE CAN’T FORGET THE SACRIFICES OF OLD GENERATIONS”
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.
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.
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
for the original story -firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow this link to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-northern-ireland-51215199
Foster’s Rich Gaelic Heritage
Arlene Foster, Leader of the DUP, has a family tree dominated by two august Irish surnames – Doonan and Kelly.
Arlene Foster, Leader of the DUP, has a rich and ancient Gaelic heritage with a family tree dominated by two august Irish surnames – Doonan and Kelly. Her more distant ancestors, who spoke Gaelic, would have considered themselves part of the Ó Dúnáin and Ó Ceallagh clans, not Doonans or Kellys. Her family tree also demonstrates how the overwhelming majority of her ancestors lived and died in the Barony of Clankelly in Fermanagh.
They were appointed by the local Catholic bishop and spoke Gaelic.
The Irish language act has amounted to an impasse which continues to be a stumbling block to the reinstatement of the Northern Executive and Assembly at Stormont. To her credit, Foster has shown leadership on the issue. At the launch of the DUP’s Westminster general election manifesto she declared: “The Irish language has been made a key block by Sinn Féin. I would regret that because I do think there is a way forward through those issues, because there are those in Northern Ireland who love the Irish language.”
While she was not in favour of ‘a full-blown costly Irish language act which would bring about discrimination against those of us who don’t speak the Irish language’ she did say that there ‘is a way forward – I absolutely believe there is a way forward – but there has to be a willingness on all sides to find that way forward’.
The Ó Dúnáin Connection
Arlene’s Doonan connection is fascinating. Doonan or Ó Dúnáin is a rare name in Ireland. According to the leading authority on Irish names, The Surnames of Ireland, by Edward MacLysaght, the Doonans of Fermanagh were ‘Erenagh’, or hereditary stewards and guardians of Roman Catholic church lands. In old Irish they were known as ‘airchinnech’. The translation is ‘head of an ecclesiastical settlement’.
Hereditary stewards and guardians were nominated by the local Catholic Bishop.
The Plantation of Ulster in 1609 saw the Doonans completely dispossessed by the English.
The Roman Catholic church was taken over and the congregation was denied the right to worship.
The Doonans never recovered their earlier status, yet the family still survives in Fermanagh as Arlene’s family tree demonstrates. Further research is required to pinpoint when the Ó Dúnáin branch in Foster’s family tree converted to Protestantism.
The Ó Ceallagh Connection
According to MacLysaght, the surname Kelly (Ó Ceallagh) is the second most populous name in Ireland. It is not certain where the name hails, however the most probable suggestion is that is comes the word ceallach, meaning ‘strife’ in the Irish language.
The Barony of Clankelly (from the Irish: Clann Cheallaigh meaning ‘Clan Kelly’) is in Co. Fermanagh. Clankelly takes its name from Cellach, son of Tuathal, a king of the Ui Chremthainn who was killed in 731. The ruling family of Clann Cheallaigh in the late medieval period bore the surname MacDomhnaill – from Domhnall, a grandson of Cellach, whose death is recorded in the year 791.
Further research is also required to pinpoint when the Ó Ceallagh line in Foster’s family tree converted to Protestantism.
Arlene Foster’s Family Tree.
Whilst the documented evidence traces the roots of the Kelly branch of Arlene’s family back to the early 19th century, the surnames involved establish that the roots indeed go much deeper and their respective links to the history and culture of Gaelic Ireland is well documented.
Her grandparents on her father’s side were Nathaniel Kelly (born 1881), a farmer, and Alice Jane Doonan. They married in 1924 in St. Mark’s Church of Ireland Parish of Aghadrumsee and lived in Derawilt, County Fermanagh. This townland is in the Civil parish of Clones and the Barony of Clankelly.
Her great grandparents were John Kelly (6 May 1851) and Alice Doonan who were married in the Church of Ireland Parish of Clones on 18 May 1873. The marriage confirms that John’s father was also a John Kelly while Alice was the daughter of Nathaniel Doonan of Drummans, Clones, County Fermanagh.
Her great-great grandfather was yet another John Kelly who married Sarah Ferguson on 4 December 1846 in St. Mark’s Church of Ireland Parish Aghadrumsee. This marriage record did not note the father’s names only to say that both were deceased. However, it confirmed that John Kelly was living in the townland of Drummaw in the civil parish of Galloon, also in the Barony of Clankelly. The townland is not far from Derawilt where the family ultimately moved. The land in Derawilt came into the possession of the Kelly family in 1892 when John Kelly took over the 47-acre plot from a John Richardson. He bought the land outright under the Land Act Purchase in 1908.
Great-great-grandmother Alice Doonan was born circa 1843 to Nathaniel Doonan and Eleanor. Eleanor’s maiden name is unknown. Her father, Nathaniel, was born in 1812 to James Doonan and Jane Moore. Sadly, her mother, Eleanor, died prematurely in 1849 and Nathaniel married again, to Jane Forster in 1850 and went onto have a second family. One of his sons from this marriage, John Doonan, was the father of Alice Jane Doonan (mother of John William Kelly, Arlene’s father).
While Arlene Foster may not speak Irish herself, it is surely lurking in her DNA. Perhaps she can now navigate her way through the Irish language act impasse at Stormont and make her ancestors proud of her nonetheless.
With many thanks to the: Village Magazine and Joseph de Burca for the original story
How Irish Language activists created a thing of real beauty in Belfast
Today we celebrate 50 magnificent years of Bothar Seoighe
THE story of Belfast’s urban Gaeltacht is a remarkable one.
It is truly inspiring to think that in the worst of times – as ‘normal’ life in the city was falling apart – Irish language activists came together to create something beautiful and long lasting. And they did it in the heart of West Belfast, the cockpit of the civil unrest making news headlines around the world. In 1969 – five families with a passion for the revival of the Gaelic language and culture – acquired land and built houses at Shaw’s Road. Against all odds, Bothar Seoighe Gaeltacht – Shaw’s Road Irish-speaking area – was born. And two years later, the first Irish-medium school was established. I realise some of those from a unionist background have difficulty comprehending the great love there is for Gaelic in Belfast. But the language was once spoken right across the island of Ireland.
It was also dominant in the western highlands and islands of Scotland. It’s in the people’s DNA, no matter their religion or tribal background. And as Art Hughes, the prominent Gaelic scholar and writer has often pointed out, the most Gaelic church in the world today is the Free Presbyterian Church in the Western Isles. The truth is, Gaelic belongs to us all and threatens no one. This is evidenced by the large numbers of Protestants attending learner classes in East Belfast.
McMILLEN DESERVES PLACE IN HISTORY
My friend Aodan Mac Poilin, who passed away three years ago, insisted, Irish is the common heritage of everyone and we should all be comfortable with that. As a young couple, Aodan and his wife Aine, were among the founders of the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht community. And later as a director of the Ultacht Trust, Aodan’s main motivation was to address the need to reach out to people from the Protestant and Unionist community, in relation to the language. “It should be accessible to anyone who wish to engage with it.” he said. Aodan was also the founding member of Sli Colmcille, an organisation which continues to foster cooperation between Gaelic Scotland and Ireland. A few years ago, it produced The Great Book of Gaelic – a beautiful collection of Gaelic poetry with English translations and art illustrations. And the group also researched Scots and Irish Gaelic. They discovered as little as 200 words separated the languages. And the differences were largely accent and dialect.
These days Gaelic in Belfast is vibrant. It is heard in the streets, cafes and pubs and that has to be a good thing. But it wasn’t always like that. People made it happen. Men like Albert Fry and brothers Seamus and Sean Mac Sean – also founders of the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht – who had the skills to turn their vision into reality. One man who played a lesser known role in its establishment was Liam McMillen, leader of the republican movement in Belfast, when it was neither profitable nor fashionable. Liam Billy McMillen has his own place in Irish history. In 1964, he stood as a republican candidate in the General Election. His supporters had placed an Irish tricolour flag in the window of the campaign HQ, a disused shop in Divis Street. A little known rabble-rousing preacher by the name Ian Paisley informed the police, that if they didn’t remove the flag, he would do it personally. The stand-off sparked three days of rioting. But McMillen also had a deep love of the Irish language. And he had even visited the home of the great Gaelic story teller Mici Shean Neill at Ranafast in the Donegal Gaeltacht.
He witnessed Mici Shean telling a story in Gaelic which lasted three nights. I’m told McMillen’s brush with old Ireland in the natural setting of west Donegal had a great influence on him. And when he heard a group of language activists were trying to establish a Gaeltacht in west Belfast, he made a generous donation of £10,000, a huge amount at the time. Liam Billy McMillen was shot dead on the Falls Road (during the INLA feud) in 1975 by a teenage gunman. Today as we celebrate 50 magnificent years of Bothar Seoighe, we should also spare a thought for Liam Billy McMillen – An Fear Beag – one of Belfast’s grandest Gaels.
With many thanks to: Hugh Jordan and the Sunday World
for the original story –hJordan.email@example.com
Follow these links to find out more: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_McMillen
‘English only’ council installs Ulster Scots planters
A row has erupted after a council voted for a strict ‘English only’ road sign policy – before installing plant pots decorated with Ulster Scots.
An Irish language group is to lodge a complaint with the Equality Commission after Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council refused a request by residents for a number of streets to have signs in Irish.
It then installed the controversial ‘planters’ bearing an Ulster Scots greeting in Antrim town centre. Sinn Fein has also hit out at the decision and accused the council of hypocrisy.
In February, the council voted for a strict ‘English only’ policy after residents from Abbeyville in Newtownabbey petitioned for signs in five streets to also include Irish. The predominantly unionist council voted against the request by 27 votes to eight.
However, within a matter of weeks, the council installed large decorative planters at the junction of Church Street and High Street in Antrim inscribed with the greeting ‘Fair fa’ ye tae’ and including the Discover Ulster Scots logo.
The planters are designed to welcome visitors to the town’s Scotch Quarter, which has undergone a recent facelift.
Sinn Fein councillor Anne Marie Logue said the current situation is the latest slap in the face for Irish speakers.
“We believe that what has happened is wrong and a breach of equality legislation,” she said.
“It is hypocrisy in its rawest form.”
Cait Ni Ruanaidh from Ionad Teaghlaigh Ghleann Darach, an Irish language family centre based in Crumlin, said: “Congratulations to the Ulster Scots speakers in Antrim.
“It’s fantastic to see their language being promoted by the council. However, it is an absolute disgrace that gaeilgeoirs within this council are denied the same rights.
“This is hypocritical at best and in reality, downright sectarianism.
“The Irish language is spoken by people from all political backgrounds and this behaviour by Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council politicises the Irish language.
“It also diminishes community relations by creating double standards and demonises our Irish language community,” she added.
“We are not out to attack or censor anyone else’s language, however, we will be lodging a complaint with the council and the Equality Commission.
“We believe the council is in breach of equality regulations.”
A council spokeswoman said a decision to brand a part of Antrim Scotch Quarter due to its historical context was approved in March 2017, prior to the decision to implement an English only sign policy, which was made on February 26 this year.
“There was no vote or objections raised at the March 2017 meeting, in relation to the matter,” she said.
“The proposal was to be implemented by the Ulster Scots Agency, however, due to some delays it wasn’t implemented until earlier this month.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the origional story.
IS THERE ANY POINT TALKING TO ARLENE AGAIN?
There is a pattern to the politics of this place; a pattern that tells us that the process is bigger than any one individual.
David Trimble did the heavy lifting of the Good Friday Agreement, but could not carry the Ulster Unionist Party – not all of it and not enough of it.
Ian Paisley took the once unthinkable step into government with Martin McGuinness only to be replaced by Peter Robinson as DUP leader a little over a year later.
Now, there is a focus on Arlene Foster; RHI, that ‘crocodile’ comment, the Assembly Election of 2017 when unionism lost its overall Stormont majority, the negotiation that could not be closed a few weeks ago and the issue of legacy inquest funding.
BAD HEADLINES – TOO MANY OF THEM
Think about a question posed by a senior republican in recent days: “How do you deal with these people in the future?”
It relates specifically to that latest negotiation – the “draft agreement text” of February 9th that Arlene Foster and the DUP negotiators could not deliver.
It is just nonsense to suggest this negotiation was still in a phase of exchanging papers and ideas.
It had moved to fine detail, decision time: “It was down to presentation at this stage,” a talks insider insists.
The visit of Theresa May on February 12th was viewed by Gerry Adams as a clumsy intervention and, by others, as a distraction. May’s visit also forced Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to be present at Stormont.
The deal was not yet ready, but it was very close. Perhaps the NIO was trying to rush and push things – keep the momentum in the process.
By February 9th there was not only a draft agreement text, but draft legislation also.
Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann, writing elsewhere on this website, commented: “The accommodation that has been produced is significant and detailed. The fact that we have been informed that both parties had access to the Office of the Legislative Counsel during the process suggests that the yet unseen legislation contained within the annexes is not simply a wish list but has had legal testing.”
Think also of a legacy agreement on paper. Yes, in writing, and set in the context of “overall agreement”.
Funding for legacy inquests at £7 million a year for 5 years.
The consultation on the legacy structures agreed at Stormont House in 2014 – including the new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) – to begin within two weeks of the formation of a new Executive.
Within that consultation, a controversial question on a statute of limitations for armed forces was to be removed.
These are not ideas; not part of some wish list, but commitments “on-the-record” that, I am assured, can be proven.
The above detail on legacy was worked out in separate discussions involving the NIO and Sinn Fein.
Put the pieces together – this legacy agreement, the draft agreement text and the draft legislation and you see the advanced stage of this negotiation – and the deal the DUP could not sell.
Instead of facing up to the facts, that party has engaged in an unconvincing wordplay; an attempt to downplay the standing of the elements outlined above; and, in this, there is the danger of the process moving beyond Arlene Foster and further away from the devolved space that is Stormont.
A DRAFT AGREEMENT THAT FAILED THE TEST OF IMPLEMENTATION CERTAINTY
Republicans spent the latest phase in a 13 months-long negotiation trying to make this deal – and lowered the bar to make it a much easier jump for the DUP; no certainty about a Bill of Rights, no certainty that the Petition of Concern would be changed; no certainty that marriage equality would be delivered, and accepting DUP proposals to ensure greater stability within any restored political institutions.
Sinn Fein had achieved progress on the Irish language and on legacy matters – but had not delivered the implementation certainty that was set as the test for this negotiation.
The budget of recent days is another step onto the ground of direct rule.
No one should be in any doubt about that.
Is it too late to talk to Arlene? The DUP leader is not going to get a better deal – a better chance than the one just botched.
Yes the ten DUP MPs at Westminster have considerable influence – but for how long?
At some point, they will need Stormont again and need it more than others.
Listen to what Sinn Fein and the SDLP are asking for. A meeting of the British-Irish intergovernmental conference to decide next steps, including agreeing legislation on the issues of language, legacy and marriage equality.
Stormont has become lost in its political limbo. In the here-and-now, there will be no Executive. Arlene Foster will not be First Minister. The NIO has no strategy – hamstrung by the Tory-DUP relationship at Westminster. Brexit is the bigger issue and focus.
What will Dublin and London do next?
For how long can they allow the farce of a pretend parliament?
Soon, they will have to do something.
With many thanks to: Brian Rowan & Eamonn Mallie for the origional story.
DUP’s Ian Paisley accuses The Irish News of ‘running hate campaign’
THE DUP’s Ian Paisley has accused The Irish News of running a “hate campaign” against a council chief executive following an article about an Irish language funding row.
The paper yesterday reported how Conradh na Gaeilge (CnG) said it intended to make a formal complaint against Anne Donaghy in a dispute over comments at a council meeting.
CnG strongly rejected her claims that she had contacted the group and arranged a meeting but it failed to turn up, accusing her of risking it “reputational damage”.
It also claimed her comments impacted on a vote at Mid and East Antrim council on holding events for Irish Language Week (Seachtain na Gaeilge).
The council said a meeting was arranged through a councillor last year and released a redacted email, but no messages were disclosed showing any correspondence with CnG.
Referencing the report yesterday on Twitter, North Antrim MP Mr Paisley wrote: “The Irish News appear to be running a hate campaign against Mid and East Antrim chief executive – every month or so they run ‘well placed sources’ reports attacking her.”
Responding to his comments, CnG advocacy manager Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin said it had only spoken out “because of assertions made by the chief executive that we had not shown up to a meeting arranged with her”.
He said CnG has asked for the record to be amended and the council vote on Seachtain na Gaeilge retaken because her remarks “obviously influenced that”.
Ms Donaghy’s comments were made on Monday while councillors discussed whether to hold an event to mark Irish Language Week.
CnG had written to the council in January asking it to consider providing funding for groups or organising its own event.
During the discussion, Ms Donaghy said: “I did contact Conradh na Gaeilge and had a meeting and sat at the meeting with two officers and they didn’t turn up.”
Rather than holding an event, most councillors instead backed TUV councillor Timothy Gaston’s proposal to note CnG’s correspondence and refer the group to the council’s grants scheme.
The council later said its mayor is still “committed to hosting an event to mark Irish Language Week”.
In a fresh statement, a council spokeswoman said: “Contact with Conradh na Gaeilge was made via the chief executive’s office through an elected member.
“The chief executive’s understanding was that this invitation had been extended to the group through the elected member, as requested, and as is often normal practice.
“The chief executive has always been and remains willing to meet groups from all backgrounds and communities, including Conradh na Gaeilge, and has since contacted the group to reiterate this.”
It is the latest controversy to hit the council chief executive.
Last year SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said Ms Donaghy contacted him to say she was making a complaint after a search of his emails – which Mr O’Loan claimed were searched without his consent or knowledge.
And in October Ms Donaghy faced criticism after claiming that UVF flags put on display during a loyalist band contest were “historic and not illegal”.
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes and The Irish News for the origional story.
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