Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unionists and the Irish Language

This week, the official website of the DUP and the personal websites of party leader Peter Robinson and Lagan Valley MP Jeffery Donaldson were the victim of an amusing pranks by self professed Irish language 'hactivist' 'Hector O'Hackedatdawn'. The prankster ran a fake story on the DUP website as Gaeilge titled “Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir”, or ‘Happy new year to you all’ which purported to claim that the party was embracing the Irish language. He also displayed Irish language messages on the sites of Peter Robinson ("Is mise Peadar Robinson, agus tugaim tacoíocht den Acht na Gaeilge" or 'I am Peter Robinson and I support the Irish Language Act') and Jeffery Donaldson.

The prankster claims his motive was to draw attention to the "nonsensical attiude" of the DUP towards the Irish language.

If this gag does nothing else (beside give thousands of people a giggle) it will highlight the bigotry of the DUP towards the Irish language or anything remotely Irish or of Irish culture for that matter.

Earlier this week, minister for the Dept of Regional Development proposed the introduction of bilingual traffic signs in both Irish and Ulster-Scots. Now to most people this would be seen as a good way of promoting minority languages, which the Dept is obliged to do under the European Charter of Regional and Minority languages. However the DUP are not like most people. They can hardly hide their hatred of anything remotely Irish. They could not of course say we are against this because they are anti Irish culture so someother excuse was to be expected. Their excuse is usually to do with the cost of implementation. However under this scheme the costs will be bourne by the promoter of the signs. So what other excuse could the DUP come up with? Read this little gem by DUP Strangford assembly member Michelle McIlveen

"Given the range of problems on Connor Murphy's desk he should be focusing on more important matters rather than a pointless political exercise about bilingual signage".

Of course there is nothing new or unexpected here from Unionists. The Irish Language Act has always been a bone of contention for the DUP and fellow unionists. Despite signing the St Andrews Agreement in 2006 which included that an Irish Language Act would be passed giving the Irish Language equal status in Northern Ireland, the DUP has vetoed every attempt Nationists have made to bring about it's introduction.

So fair play Hector for highlighting this bigotry and as you say yourself

 “My attack is against a political party which refuses to respect my culture and my language.”