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August 28, 2007

Dispelling Irish Language Myths

News about Ireland and the Irish

SF 08/28/07 Dispelling Irish Language Myths - Brolly MLA
IT 08/29/07 DUP Criticises 'Hierarchy Of Victims'
RT 08/28/07 Six E. Coli Cases Investigated In Co Sligo
AN 08/28/07 Opin: Bands Hit Sour Note
DJ 08/28/07 World Class Derry Men In New TV Series
BN 08/28/07 WW II Mine Safely Detonated Off Cork Coast


Lets Dispel The Myths And Open Up A Real Debate On Irish
Language"- Brolly MLA

Published: 28 August, 2007

He said,

"Unfortunately the straightforward issue of language
rights, a non-controversial issue in Wales, Scotland, the
South of Ireland and throughout Europe, an issue which
should be judged in the same light as any other expression
of human rights, has been hijacked by the outworkings of
unionist rivalry,"

"DUP politicians are talking up their determination to
block any recognition of the Irish language in a rather
misguided attempt at demonstrating their status within
unionist hegemony,"

"It is as if the status of unionism is being inextricably
linked to the ferocity of its anti-Irish stance. Whenever
the DUP start talking up St Andrews and the UUP the
'Belfast Agreement' it's a sure sign the two rival parties
are engaging in rhetorical fisticuffs,"

"I'm not sure who the DUP and UUP hope to impress but the
issue of language rights is really a paper tiger. Unionists
have nothing to fear from Irish language legislation and
any suggestion otherwise is not only misleading but also
appeals to lowest of sectarian instincts,"

"According to the latest census 75,000 people within the
Six Counties "speak, read, write and understand Irish" with
a further 167,000 people who said they had "some knowledge
of Irish". It is also a growing language. Between 1991 and
2001 (the date of the last census) Irish speakers increased
by 18%. The increasing demand for Irish medium education is
an indication of the value attached to the language by many
families in the North."

"These are the plain facts as opposed to many of the myths
anti-Irish campaigners are currently circulating. One of
the most worrying distortions is the claim that, "more
people speak Chinese than Irish".

"This is a cynical ploy designed to obstruct the rights of
Irish speakers rather than motivated by any genuine concern
for the Chinese speaking community of which there are
around 8,000 in the North. The rights of the Chinese
community are not dependent upon the denial of rights to
the Irish speaking community. To suggest otherwise is to
create an illusion of division where none exists,"

"All languages deserve respect and all language communities
should have access to services. But the Irish language has
a very particular relationship with the island of Ireland.
It is an indigenous language with an unbroken historical
line of being spoken here for over 2,000 years."

"It is part of a common culture and language that has been
shared with Gaelic Scotland for 1,500 years. The names of
the majority of our mountains, rivers, towns and streets
are rooted in the Irish language. The issue of the Irish
language is not just a nationalist issue. The Irish
language is part of the cultural heritage of all of us,"

"There has been a deliberate attempt to inflate the likely
cost of affording language rights to Irish speakers while
measures to address the historical exclusion of Irish
speakers has been presented as an unnecessary burden on the
ordinary taxpayer. But like many of the arguments deployed
by anti Irish campaigners this is also spurious,"

"For example, it has been suggested that bilingual signage
would be very expensive but signage is routinely replaced
and a simple undertaking to introduce bilingual signage,
where there was a demand for Irish, during the normal
course of replacement would not incur any additional cost."

"But where extra costs are incurred, the bottom line has to
be that Irish speakers are also taxpayers and have been
paying towards their own exclusion for decades. All the
Irish speaking community is asking is to be treated equally
in terms of resources with the Welsh language community,"

"Another spurious argument encouraged by anti-Irish
campaigners is the notion that Irish is divisive and
exclusive. Unlike the Orange Order, which has a specific
anti Catholic qualification, there is nothing divisive or
exclusive inherent in the Irish language. The Irish
language is not confined exclusively to any religious,
ethnic or racial group. It is not religion, race or
ethnicity that defines the community of Irish speakers but

He continued,

"Not everyone wants to speak Irish or learn to speak Irish
anymore than every A level student wants to study physics.
But surely it would be strange if by exercising that
choice, a physics student was deemed divisive and
exclusive. Irish speakers aren't asking for special
treatment just parity of treatment in an environment which
respects the fact that people exercise different choices."

"The notion of 'consensus' is also being deployed as a
means of undermining the rights of Irish speakers. Attempts
to force the Irish speaking community to seek the
permission of anti-Irish campaigners is as sensible as
insisting asylum seekers win the approval of the British
National Front. Human rights, and the exercise of human
rights, transcends consensus.

"Unionists have nothing to fear from the Irish language,
Irish speakers or the Irish language community. A former
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau described language
rights as basically two things, the right to speak and the
right to learn. This encapsulates what Irish speakers are
seeking in the North. There's nothing scary about that."

"The British government has already given a commitment to
ensure language rights and there is a mechanism to go back
to the British if this is thwarted. But we'd rather not. If
unionists have concerns about Irish language rights they
need to come forward and engage with us so that we can all
work towards finding ways to resolving those concerns.
Let's dispel the myths and open up a real debate,"



DUP Criticises 'Hierarchy Of Victims'

Dan Keenan
Wed, Aug 29, 2007

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has accused the British
government of creating a "hierarchy of victims" in Northern
Ireland over its funding of investigations of unsolved
killings during the Troubles.

The SDLP has also criticised the government, calling for
the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), which is investigating
more than 2,500 "cold cases" since 1969, to receive its
full cash allocation of £34 million (€50 million) upfront.

Mr Donaldson, the Lagan Valley MP, accused the government
of failing to provide adequate funds for the HET, forcing
it to draw on some £4 million from the general policing

"It is totally unacceptable that the government should fail
to honour a commitment to properly fund the HET and it is
also unreasonable that money allocated had to be taken from
the chief constable's budget," he said.

"The government must give the issue priority. With over
3,000 unsolved murders it is totally unacceptable that the
funding of these inquiries should have to come from the
policing budget.

Comparing the HET allocation of £32 million over six years
to the £150 million spent on the Bloody Sunday inquiry, Mr
Donaldson added: "You are looking at a hierarchy of
victimhood where some victims are given priority over

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly, a member of the Assembly and the
Policing Board, said the manner of the HET's funding was

"The chief constable should not have to choose between
combating crime and investigating the past," she said.

"HET should have got the £34 million it needed upfront. The
British government promised victims truth and justice and
offered the HET as an alternative to public inquiries. It
has now crippled the public inquiry system in the name of
political expediency, and it cannot be allowed to strangle
the HET on the same grounds," she said.

The HET, established in 2005, comprises more than 100
police officers from a range of police forces. Some 693
murder files have been reopened.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Six E. Coli Cases Investigated In Co Sligo

Tuesday, 28 August 2007 19:24

Six cases of E. coli are being investigated in Co Sligo by
the Health Services Executive.

The Departments of Public Health and Environmental Health
are working to identify the source of the infection.

There are concerns about a possible association between the
infections and people who had been in Enniscrone, Co Sligo
between 20 July and 20 August, 2007.

The HSE states that the investigation is in
the early stages and no conclusive findings have yet been

As a precautionary measure, the HSE would like to identify
anyone who visited, stayed in, or ate food in Enniscrone,
Co Sligo between 20 July and 20 August and who subsequently
became ill with diarrhoea or vomiting or abdominal pain.

All of these people are requested to contact the HSE
helpline at 1890 200 548. The helpline will be open from
4pm to 8pm today and 9am to 6pm everyday until Friday 31

According to the HSE, E. coli is a cause of gastroenteritis
that may lead to vomiting and diarrhoea and sometimes
severe abdominal pain.


Opin: Bands Hit Sour Note

With depressing inevitability, loyalist bandsmen passing
the Short Strand on Saturday gave a two-fingered salute to
the Parades Commission by blatantly flaunting that body’s
ruling that the only sound that they could make when
passing the East Belfast nationalist enclave was a single

It’s hugely disappointing as we try to leave our dark past
behind us and move together into a shared future that
certain people remain unwilling or unable to show the kind
of compromise and goodwill that is required to make

This is not the first time that this Apprentice Boys parade
has thumbed its nose at the Parades Commission. Last year
the same restrictions were placed on the bands and what
music they could play, and last year they were ignored as
well. As far as we can make out, the penalty that they paid
for last year’s behaviour was zero, and there’s no reason
to suppose that they will be punished this time either,
even though the Parades Commission acknowledged the breach
yesterday, saying it had monitors in situ who witnessed the
bands ignoring their determination.

There’s no reason that the march should happen in the first
place, as the bandsmen get off a bus on the way to
somewhere else just so they can swagger past the Strand.
Given that fact, the people of the area have shown great
forbearance in maintaining their dignity and calm. But if
the march must take place, the nationalist people who put
up with it must be assured that some control is being
exercised over it by the relevant authorities, otherwise
chaos will soon prevail. In this case the Parades
Commission has been seen to have no control whatsoever, and
that is an unfortunate state of affairs. The Parades
Commission must act now to censure the organisers of this
march in some meaningful way, otherwise they are storing up
endless trouble for the future.



'World Class' Derry Men In New TV Series

By Staff reporter

Two Derry men are to feature in a new television series
focusing on "world-class achievers".

Patrick Johnston, who is leading the world in cancer
research, and lawyer Des Doherty, who advised Saddam
Hussein's defence team, will come under the spotlight in
‘Thinking Big’, a new series from BBC Northern Ireland.

The first of the three-part series (Monday, September 3,
10.35 pm) looks at Professor Patrick Johnston, one of the
world’s top oncologists who is transforming the way in
which cancer is treated.

Born in Donegal, his family moved to Derry where he spent
his formative years. Johnston is now the Dean of Medicine
at Queen’s University and was the driving force behind the
new Northern Ireland Clinical Cancer Centre.

In the programme, Professor Johnston returns to America
where he spent 10 years studying oncology at the world
renowned National Cancer Institute in Washington DC. He
also visits Singapore, where the local administration has
enlisted his help in improving cancer care there.

In ten years he has transformed Northern Ireland to become
a true world leader in treatment and research.

The second programme looks at Des Doherty. Until now, the
Derry lawyer has refused to speak publicly about his most
famous client - Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Doherty became involved in the trial of the century after
forging an international reputation as a first-rate lawyer.

Born in Derry’s Creggan Estate, he failed his eleven plus
but never allowed this setback to hold him back. Apart from
the Saddam case, he has represented victims of the Dublin-
Monaghan bombings and the Omagh atrocity.

However, it was his work at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that
brought him to the attention of some of London’s finest

The BBC publicity surrounding the new series says of Mr.
Doherty: “This is a man who defies convention. Viewers will
see him as he wrestles with his role in defending a despot
and the moral dilemmas he faced in taking on the legal
world’s most difficult client.”

Trevor Birney, producer, said: “Northern Ireland has been
short of role models but each of these men are truly
inspirational. They have faced and overcome huge challenges
in their careers and have not allowed Northern Ireland’s
troubled history or geographic location to prevent them
from building global reputations and businesses.

“The series crosses all spectrums of age, religion and
social class and demonstrates that ordinary people in
Northern Ireland can be successful on the world stage
without leaving home.”

Last Updated: 27 August 2007 2:53 PM


World War II Mine Safely Detonated Off Cork Coast

28/08/2007 - 15:56:28

A World War II sea mine which was found off the coast of
West Cork today has been safely detonated.

The live device, which was designed to take out submarines,
was discovered this morning by a local fishing vessel.

Navy divers and the army bomb disposal unit have now
carried out a controlled explosion of the mine, which was
packed with up to 360 pounds of explosives.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces said it was a
dangerous operation.

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