Monday, February 19, 2018

"But all these charms are fled "... maybe not?

Thousands of people have fled the area of Iorras Aithneach area due to unemployment.

This area is in the largest Gaeltacht District in the country, Conamara, and is situated on the western shore of Cill Chiaráin Bay stretching almost from Doire Iorrais in the North to Carna and its environs and islands in the south. The whole area is often referred to as the Carna/Cill Chiaráin area (See map at bottom of page). People in this area look with askance, if not with out right cynicism, at boasts from the Dublin government of rising employment rates. This area is looking at abysmal to non-existant figures of employment.

It appears that the words of the Anglo-Irish poet, words from who's famous poem on "Sweet Auburn," entitle this piece, are to ringing true once more:

"Far, far away, thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey..."
as does his warning:
"...a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied."

But this community is fighting back. This community is looking for sustainable jobs to keep their children from emigrating.

Páirc na Mara, Cill Chiaráin
The complexity of the way things are not really helping. Údarás na Gaeltachta, the cash-stretched development for the Gaeltacht has however instigated a Marine Park at Cill Chiaráin. Planning for such an enterprise must be submitted to the Local Authority and during the planning process people not from the area are opposing the initiative.

The local community have set up a committee recently, Jabanna do cheantar Iorras Aithneach (Jobs for Carna). This committee has a facebook page to support the Údarás plans.

The committee is two months old and one of the first steps decided upon was to implement a support petition for Páirc na Mara (Marine Park) in Cill Chiaráin. This was both on paper (for those many people in the area who are unable to get broadband cover) and on-line.  If you haven't signed already your signature would be appreciated. Tacú le Udarás na Gaeltachta & Páirc na Mara i gCill Chiaráin! (Support Marine Park!)

The committee has achieved the goal of 1000 signatures to support Údarás na Gaeltachta’s development of a Marine Park in Cill Chiaráin, Co Galway by getting over 1250 signatures. According to a report carried out by the local secondary school Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara in Carna and the Carna/Cashel GAA club, 70% of the young people from our area have left in the last 30 years and this loss has to stop for the Iorras Aithneach (Carna/Cill Chiarán) area to survive.

The committee chairman Mícheál Ó Cadhain says, “I see the Marine Park as one aspect of creating local employment and I very much welcome it”.

Colm Ó Neasa, committee secretary, sees the amount of signatures for the proposed Marine Park and the plans that Údarás na Gaeltachta have, as a positive sign that the local community strongly endorse these development plans.

"In the upcoming weeks we will be looking at ways to increase employment in the area and will want to meet with Údarás na Gaeltachta, Galway County Council and local politicians to determine the best method to move forward. It is extremely important that the petitions do not go unnoticed and the committee will make every effort that this is so."

The committee is grateful all the people who signed the petitions, whether on paper or online. This is proof that there is support for the Marine Park and the vision to create more local employment.

John Healy, the incomparable "Backbencher" in the Irish Times wrote a book on his home place in the Eighties. It is an instructive read and indeed tragically "No one shouted Stop!' is relevant  of many places in rural Ireland. In Iorras Aithneach the local people ARE shouting stop.

Is anybody willing to listen and act?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

No impinging on English speakers? At what cost?

The Right Honourable Arlene Isabel Foster MLA has said: "There won't be a stand-alone Irish Language Act ... What we are trying to find is an accommodation and a way forward that values those people who are Irish speakers but doesn't impinge on the lives of those who aren't Irish speakers and I think that's important." (See Video)

It would appear that a long long history of impinging those who are Irish speakers is to be defended by the Right Honourable Lady.

This is a list shared on social media. It will indeed be interesting to see how the new Sinn Féin leadership plan to remove the centuries of impingment on the lives of Irish speakers. The fact that the party has elected a leader who is not an Irish speaker (A first for this party?) hardly fills one with hope.

"People who support the call for an Irish Language Act have been asked to copy and paste these facts on their Facebook page, given that some sort of compromise deal looks likely to happen in the coming days. It is well worth looking at these facts to remind ourselves how the state has dealt with the Irish language historically and to realise why the Irish language community are wary, to say the least, of trusting the Unionist establishment to do the right thing about anything that concerns the language.

1893: Thomas Lea, Unionist MP, South Derry – Proposes that Irish should be banned in National Schools and in Courts.

1899: Dr John Mahaffy, Unionist based in Trinity College – Discourages teaching of Irish in Palles Report, suggesting it a mischievous waste of time and that Irish language literature had no academic or education value

1900: James Rentoul, Unionist MP for South Down – Expresses Irish has no value, opposes bilingual signage, and expresses a desire for Irish to die out.

1906: John Lonsdale, Unionist MP for Mid-Armagh, describes Conradh na Gaeilge as ‘inspired by hatred and all things English.’

1912: Unionist politicians bring forward a proposal that only English be used in any new parliament, in the courts, and in the Civil Service.

1922: New Unionist Government post partition states: “What do we want with the Irish Language here? There is no need for it at all.”

1922: Department of Education removes post of Irish Language Organiser: “There is no such thing as an organiser of Irish Language.”

1922/23: Grants paid to the Irish Teacher Training Colleges in Belfast removed; bilingual programme ceased in the Tyrone Gaeltacht.

1923: Lyn Report: Irish restricted to 90 minutes per week teaching in Primary School: “Irish occupies a preferential position for which, in our judgement, there is no justification.”

1923: New Education Act for Northern Ireland: Irish banned as an optional subject in 5th Standard. Numbers studying Irish decline by 50% within two years.

1926: Irish banned as an optional extra in Standards 3 and 4, 70% of students studying Irish have to cease their study of the language.

1927: Comhaltas Uladh told: “Lord Charlemount is a Minister of firmness and backbone and the members of the Gaelic League have found he is neither to be cajoled nor threatened into doing something which would be subversive of the true educational interests of the Province”.

1933: All payment towards the teaching of Irish in Primary Schools ceased. Would remain so for over 80 years.

1936: Lord Craigavon:What use is it here in this progressive busy part of the Empire to teach our children the Irish Language? What use would it be to them? Is it not leading them along a road which has no practical value? We have not stopped such teaching; we have stopped the grants – simply because we do not see that these boys being taught Irish would be any better citizens”

1942: Grand Lodge of Ireland (Orange Order): “That the Government of Northern Ireland be asked to remove from the Curriculum of the Ministry of Education the Irish language, and that no facilities be given in public, secondary or elementary schools for the teaching of such.”

In 1965 Irish speaking parents asked Dept of Education for a meeting to discuss opening the 1st Gaelscoil in Belfast. They were threatened with prison. Here is their request and the response:

"A deputation from the Gaelic speaking families in Belfast would appreciate a meeting with you (Dept. of Education, Dundonald House), to discuss the possibility of founding a primary school for their children."

Reply from John Benn, permanent secretary: "The Ministry would regard the fact that instruction was given entirely through the medium of "Gaelic" to constitute a ground for "complaint". I can now let you know that instruction given entirely through Gaelic would not constitute efficient and suitable instruction for the pupils". A complaint would therefore be served by the Ministry. If the proprietors do not remove the deficiency complained of, the ministry will formerly strike the school off the register. It is an OFFENCE against the law to conduct an unregistered school."

2016: A fisheries protection vessel had its Irish name replaced with its English translation because the executive department which owns it has a "single language policy".

2017: Arlene Foster:  'If you feed a crocodile it will keep coming back for more'

2018:  Queens LOL 1845 - "There is no price at which the Irish Language Act can be allowed into law."

The crocodiles are anxiously waiting.