It’s a battle a day for the News Letter these days it appears.
Now, based on your Morning View of May 4 (Irish language vote in Belfast is a clue as to what awaits NI), the newspaper based in the city at the vanguard of the Irish Language revival, is waging war against the ‘deBritishisation’ of this little corner of the former empire with a plaintive and plainly obvious party political swipe at the Alliance Party over that party’s support for the appointment of an Irish Language Officer in Belfast City Council.
It’s really sad how narrow minded and petty this objection is and the way that it forces Irish speakers to prove we’re not ‘republicans’ before being accorded the respect of being genuine lovers of the language we speak every day.
It’s also notable that the newspaper instead of celebrating the Union as a haven of diversity which would celebrate the Irish language and its community wishes to minimise as much as possible the number of Irish speakers in the north, referring to a recent ‘survey’ whose provenance is as unspecified as its results are dubious.
The notion that people are forced to speak Irish anywhere is also ridiculous – it’s not compulsory to speak Irish in the south. It is an essential subject in the Leaving Certificate but then again so are English and Mathematics.
An Ghaeilge is part of the cultural fabric of the Irish nation and is a living, vibrant language. Irish people should know it.
An Ghaeilge is also part of the British nation in so far as our history and culture are intertwined. Those who consider themselves British in Ireland, north or south, won’t have that identity diluted one iota by learning or speaking Irish.
It’s only the purveyors of a petty and insular “Morning View” of British culture would consider the greater inclusion of Irish in this part of a Union, which protects with legislation to varying extents Scots Gaidhlig and Welsh, as some sort of threat to their Britishness.
Is speaking Irish in Northern Ireland to be less protected than speaking Gaidhlig in Scotland or Welsh in Wales?
Should true unionists be happy and satisfied with second class status for an indigenous language in this nation of the UK in comparison to the indigenous languages in other nations of the Union?
Or has petty bigotry blinded some, including the writer of the Morning View, to the duty of those advocating the cause of the Union to promote its inclusivity of indigenous languages and cultures and its celebration of diversity, be that cultural, sexual, religious or racial?
Is mise le meas, Concubhar Ó Liatháin, Béal Feirste, Aontroma (Co Antrim)