i Measc na nDaoine

February 25, 2008

I have discovered the existence of a group (amazing what you can find on the Internet, with a bit of time on your hands) called iMeasc, which is basically a group of Irish immigrants and those coming from an ethnic background, now living in Ireland, with fluency in the Irish language and wishing to get more involved in promote the language, etc. Lobbying campaigns include gaelscoil places for immigrant children and distribution of trilingual phrasebooks, as recounted by John Waters in a particular article on Gaelport.com.

In fact, the above group has expressed its dismay at the removal of the Irish language requirement for entry to An Garda Síochána. I agree with this opinion. In our attempt to be “politically correct”, we are destroying our own culture to please those who have not even been included in the Irish language debate, a move which is patronizing and simply bad-mannered. Do the Irish feel it is beyond the capabilities of immigrants (many of whom already speak a number of languages) to learn the Irish language? Or maybe we are just afraid that they may show up our poor language capabilities. Imagine if they actually ended speaking Irish better than us! Which wouldn’t actually be very difficult…


Gaelscoil commitment to language needed

February 18, 2008

A student of mine who is struggling with the curriculum and who previously attended a gaelscoil, informed me that her mother cannot help her with her Irish homework, since she does not have a word of Irish. This amazed me. How can a parent send a child to an Irish-medium school for EIGHT years and (i) not make it a personal ambition to acquire enough Irish to help the child with homework, study, etc. (ii) not be expected by the school itself to make some sort of reasonable attempt to get a basic grasp of the language, since their child is using it daily and is gaining an education through that language. I think it should be obligatory for parents who send their children to gaelscoileanna to learn the language, otherwise it suggests that they are not taking their child’s education seriously. It is as though they wish for the trappings of the Irish language (perhaps as a talking point for their friends, etc.) but are not willing to assist the language in its development and survival. They expect an Irish language education for the child, but couldn’t be bothered doing anything more for Gaeilge. I certainly think eight years was long enough for this mother to learn a few basics, as her daughter progressed through the bunscoil. She could have learnt the language as her daughter did, studying the books brought home on a daily basis. Sadly, this seems to bring me back to the age-old “reasons” why the Irish seem to refuse to learn the Irish language (as well as the obligatory ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’). At the end of the day, when you get back to basics, the excuses revolve around (i) laziness and (ii) a fear of seeming inferior to Gaeilgeoirí / those who actually make an effort, however little Irish they have, to take pride in it and use it.

Ó Searcaigh Scandal

February 17, 2008

In an era where the Irish language makes few headlines, it seems a great pity that one of them has to be for negative reasons. According to the Evening Herald (12/2/08) the Irish language poet Ó Searcaigh has supposedly fled his Donegal bungalow, in the light of the recent allegations regarding his under-age sexual relations with Nepali boys. The director, Neasa Ní Chianain was “supposedly” forced to contact the police when Ó Searcaigh went into details on his “relationships” with these boys in her documentary “A Fairytale in Nepal”. What makes the allegations even worse are the other writers/artists (including the renowned Máire Mac an tSaoi) who have leapt to the poet’s defence, in the light of his clearly criminal actions. Both of the above writers are on the Irish Leaving Certificate and I can only hope that Ó Searcaigh’s work is removed from the curriculum ASAP. This man does not deserve to be associated with the beauty and history of the Irish language.

No Irish for Aer Lingus

February 14, 2008

The former national airline has decided to ban the use of the Irish language on Belfast flights, in a bid to appear politically correct. The Irish government still has a 23% stake in Aer Lingus, so why there is no pressure being applied to retain the traditional greetings and farewell as Gaeilge is a mystery. Conradh na Gaeilge has also expressed its disbelief. According to the airline, the ban was introduced because otherwise Scots Irish would also have to be used in addressing passengers and making three separate announcements was “unfeasible”. In a time where the North is becoming more solidified, it seems very odd to make such a decision that divides, instead of unifies the people of both the North and the Republic of Ireland.

Source: Daily Mail

Gaelscoil Nua i Ros Eo

January 28, 2008

Congratulations are in order to all gaelscoileanna who have persevered against all odds and have managed to establish an Irish-language school in their area, despite the growing indifference and frequent hostility of the Irish government. I am delighted to welcome one of the newest additions in my own locality: Gaelscoil Ros Eo (Rush, North County Dublin). I have been informed that the school is set to open in the coming September and is currently taking names for the approaching school year. Further info can be obtained by phoning: 086-3040840 or e-mail: gaelscoilroseo@yahoo.com

Before you cast your next vote…

January 28, 2008

A recent article in Lá Nua revealed the lack of Irish on the official website of Fianna Fáil (11//1/01). Despite the legal obligation required by the Official Languages’ Act to provide documentation in English and Irish, most parties are failing miserably. Fianna Fáil has a side-bar in Irish, but none of the information is actually in Gaelic (and the web erroneously continues to call an Daingean “Dingle”). To think this is the government currently “running” the country….

What’s happening to Scots Gaelic TV?

January 13, 2008

Despite the launch of the Welsh TV station S4C in 1982 and Ireland’s TG4 in 1996, it seems that Scotland’s plans to follow suit have been thwarted – yet again. The summer edition of Carn magazine discussed the launch of a dedicated Scottish language TV by the end of 2007, with non-satellite users receiving broadcasts by 2010 – disgracefully late, but better late than never. Latest updates inform that the launch is not considered viable, because there are supposedly not enough Gaelic speakers to merit the financial costs of a new TV station. But how can the language be promoted in the twenty-first century without the very medium that has become essential to the lives of most people? And how can speakers in the remote parts of the Highlands keep in daily contact with the language otherwise? The language needs urgent attention, with 1.2% of the population speaking Gaelic, according to the 2001 Census, as recorded on Bòrd na Gàidhlig. And we want a future for Irish here in Ireland, it also means promoting all Celtic languages and defending them, accordingly, as their histories are all interlinked.