Agóid in aghaidh Ciníochas cultúrtha in Ard Mhacha / Protest agaist cultural racism in Armagh

Forbairt News

Aós óg Ard Mhacha ag an agóid

Seasann Gaeil Ard Mhacha  in éadan ciníochas cultúrtha an Comhairleora Speers  /  Irish language community in Armagh take a stand against cultural racism of councillor Speers


Gaeilge


Bhí scaifte breá, bríomhar, dathúil i láthair ag picéad a d’eagraigh gníomhaithe teanga in Ard Mhacha oíche luan seo caite(22/8/11). Bhí an picéad ar siúl ag geataí na comhairle ar an oíche chéanna is a bhí cruinniú den chomhairle iomlán.  Eagraíodh an picéad le freagra a thabhairt ar na tuairimí deistíneacha a nocht an Comhairleoir Jim Speers agus roinnt comhghleacaithe leis faoin teanga nuair a bhí diospóireacht ar siúl i mí Iúil fá chomharthaí dátheangacha. Bhí pobal na Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha ar buile nuair a chuala siad go raibh cuid de na comhairleoirí ag maslú Gaeilgeoirí as úsáid na teangan. Ba é an Comhairleoir Speers a bhí chun tosaigh ar na comhairleoirí eile ó thaobh ciníochais agus biogóideachta de nuair a nocht sé a thuairim fein gurbh é “the only place the Irish language will take you is back to the bog”.


Bhí teaghlaigh agus páistí ó ghaelscoileanna an cheantair ann in éineacht le ceoltóirí agus gníomhaithe teanga ó Ard Mhacha féin, ó Bhéal Feirste, ó Mhuineachán, ón Iúir agus ó Nua Eabhrach agus chuir lucht na hagóide fáilte roimh na comhairleoirí ag geataí na comhairle. Shiúl an scaifte mór chuig oifigí na comhairle agus bronnadh litir ar an t-uasal John Briggs,  príomhfheidhmeannach na Comhairle, chun fearg phobal na Gaeilge a chur in iúl do na hionadaithe tofa a bhí istigh san fhoirgneamh cheana féin.


D’iarr Gearóid Ó Machail, gníomhaí Gaeilge in Ard Mhacha, ar an Chomhairleoir Speers an ráiteas a thug sé a tharraingt siar láithreach agus leithscéal a ghabháil:


“Léiríonn ráitis mar seo ón Uasal Speers agus ó chomhghleacaithe leis ar Chomhairle Ard Mhacha, léiríonn siad leibhéal aineolais agus éadulaingthe nach bhfuil spás ann dó i saol poiblí na cathrach. Léiriú d’fhéiniúlacht chultúrtha, naisiúnta agus stairiúil na ndaoine atá i dteanga ar bith.


“Tá an Ghaeilge á labhairt sa chathair agus sa cheantar seo le breis agus 2000 bliain agus tá earnáil na Gaelscolaíochta faoi bhláth i dtuaisceart na hÉireann. In Ard Mhacha féin, tá níos mó na 400 páistí ag freastal ar ghaelscoileanna, idir an naíscoilaíocht, an bhunscolaíocht agus an mheánscolaíocht. Tá éileamh as cuimse ar an ghaeloideachas seo nó tuigeann tuismitheoirí na buntáistí breise a thugann an dátheangachas d’fhorbairt an pháiste.


“Ba chóir don Uasal Speers agus dá mhacasamhail  comhionannas cultúrtha a chothú agus an Ghaeilge a úsáid mar sheoid luachmhar le níos mó cuairteoirí a mhealladh chuig ár gcathair.


Arsa Seán Ó Maoilste, Oifigeach Forbartha Gaeilge le CAIRDE Teo in Ard Mhacha: “Tá borradh faoin Ghaeilge faoi láthair mar gheall ar an ghaelscolaíocht agus cionn is go bhfuil daoine ag cur suime ina gcultúr féin arís. Léiríonn an agóid seo go bhfuil todhchaí na Gaeilge slán leis an iliomad páistí agus teaghlaigh a bhí i láthair. Cuireann sé gliondar orainne mar Ghaeil an tacaíocht sin a fháil ach léiríonn sé fosta go bhfuil cuid mhór oibre le déanamh againn lena chinntiú go leanfar le fás na Gaelscolaíochta agus forbairt na Gaeilge. Sheas an Comharleoir Speers ag an doras ag amharc orainn, agus cé nach raibh sé sásta labhairt linn, chonaic seisean agus chonaic na comhairleoirí ar fad an pobal bríomhar, gealgháireach, muiníneach atá i bpobal na Gaeilge. Ní féidir leo neamhaird a thabhairt dúinn níos mó.


Ag tréisliú le Gaeil Ard Mhacha, dúirt stiúirthóir Forbairt Feirste Jake Mac Siacais, ‘Ba mhaith linn tréisliú le Gaeil Ard Mhacha as an seasamh láidir seo a ghlacadh in éadan an ciníochas cultúrtha samhnasach seo agus tacaíocht Gaeil Bhéal Feirste a léiriú daofa. Léiríonn an agóid seo nach bhfuil pobal na Gaeilge sásta luí siar agus glacadh leis na hionsaithe ciníocha seo a thuilleadh. ‘


Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais ar an agóid déan teagmháil le Feargal  feargal@forbairtfeirste.com nó scairt air 07841101630


English


There was large, colourful and exuberent crowd present at a picket organised by Armagh Irish Language activists last Monday evening (22/8/11). The picket was organised at the gates of the city council on the same evening as the meeting of the council. It was a response to the disgraceful views regarding the Irish language espoused by Councillor Jim Speers and some of his colleagues at a debate about bilingual signage in July. The Armagh Irish language community were furious when they heard that councillors were insulting Irish speakers and the use of the language. Councillor Speers was to the fore amongst these councillors in terms of racism and bigotry when he gave his view that ‘the only place the Irish language will take you is back to the bog’


Families, and children from the Irish schools in the area were present along with musicians and language activists from Armagh itself, Belfast, Monaghan, Newry and New York and the protesters also welcomed the councillors at the gates of the council. The large crowd walked to the offices and Mr John Briggs, chief executive of the council, was presented with a letter expressing the anger of the Irish language community to the elected members, who were already in the builiding.


Armagh Irish language activist Gearóid Ó Machain, asked that councillor Speers retract his statement immediately and apologise:


‘Statements like this from Mr Speers and his colleagues in Armagh Council, show a level of ignorance and intolerance that has no place in the public life of this city. All languages are an expression of the cultural, national and historical identity of a people.


‘The Irish language has been spoken in this city and this area for over 2000 years and the Irish Medium schooling sector is flourishing in the North of Ireland. In Armagh itself, there are over 400 children attending Irish schools, from nursery and primary school, right through to secondary education. There is a huge demand for this Irish medium education because parents understand the additional benefits that bilingualism provides to the development of the child.


‘Mr Speers and his ilk should be promoting cultural equality and utilising the Irish language as a valuable jewel to attract more visitors to our city’


Seán Ó Maoilste, Irish language development officer with CAIRDE teo in Armagh, added, ‘The Irish language is flourishing at present because of Irish medium education and because people are again expressing an interest in our culture. This protest shows that the future of the Irish language is safe with so many children and parents present. We are delighted as Gaels to receive such support but also recognise that much work is required to ensure that the growth of Irish medium education and the devlopment of the language continues. Speers stood at the door looking at us, and although he wasn’t prepared to talk to us, he nevertheless saw, as did all the councillors, that the Irish language community is exuberent, happy and confident. They cannot ignore us any longer.’


Congratulating the Armagh Gaels, Forbairt Feirste Director Jake Mac Siacais, stated:  ‘We would like to congratulate the Armagh Gaels for taking this strong stand against this despicable cultural racism and register the support of Belfast’s Irish language community for their cause. This protest shows that the Irish language community are no longer willing to lie back and accept such racist attacks anymore. ‘


For further info on the protest, contact Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh on feargal@forbairtfeirste.com or call 02890438597/ 07841101630



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