Sunday, November 12, 2006

No Irish Spoken Here?

Kathryn Price NicDhàna's blog, Pàganachd Bhandia, tipped me off to the sad and horrid case of Máire Nic an Bhaird, who was arrested on the streets of Belfast for the crime of using Irish to say goodbye to her friends within earshot of a police officer.

A link to the PDF describing the case from the Celtic League is here. And if you think people are all rallying around this woman and her usage of Irish, guess again. DemiOrator also cites a discussion with Nic an Bhaird in which she explained her side.

This must have sent a few shock waves through the growing Gaeltacht in Northern Ireland. The devolution talks have been making all official attempts to express and support NI as a multilingual society, but this attitude has apparently not sunk in with the constabulary. I hope that whatever else happens, some education takes place so that the police remember there's no good reason to assume "oíche mhaith duit" means "up the Rah." (For the record, it means, "good night.")

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