I am a 22-year-old woman living in Co Donegal close to the border.
I didn’t experience the Troubles, nor was I aware of such a thing as sectarianism growing up.
Both communities in my local area live and have lived in harmony and always have done as I am told.
In fact, I have both Protestant and Catholic ancestry. It is not an issue.
As a child, we were encouraged to be proud of where we came from, “Donegal”, “Ireland” and our great heritage of stories, songs, dance, poetry and the Irish Language.
It is with deep disappointment and hurt that I listen to politicians in Northern Ireland, totally disregard and disrespect the Irish language in such the manner that they do.
The Irish language is the native language of this Island, irrespective of the current political system. Independent Councillor, Maurice Devenney, states that “Irish is being shoved down our throat” and Gregory Campbell’s famous statement “Curry my yoghurt”, cause great personal insult.
I would not stop to say such statements are racist.
Why have such narratives been tolerated by the public within Northern Irish politics? I cannot understand why people would try to oppose it at all costs. It is of major disservice to the people, “your ancestors”, who worked, farmed and lived in the lands of Belfast and beyond before you.
Our children should not be set an example that it is okay to cast off and shun the traditions of the past.
Children in Northern Ireland should be aware that all of Ireland including Northern Ireland was an Irish speaking country and be proud of the fact that we had a national language.
It should be celebrated with pride along with the records and stories of the inhabitants of previous centuries. History cannot be deleted or edited.
We cannot ignore parts of history that do not fit with our ideals, morals or mind-set. The Irish language should be embraced. It is as much a part of the national identity of Northern Ireland as it is of the Republic.
Mary Smith, Buncrana, Co. Donegal