There Is No Escape Stormont’s Vicious Circle

ANALYSIS : This morning on ‘Meon Eile’ I give my analysis of the latest Stormont crisis and an overview of how it has come about.

In contrast to other commentators I argue this is in fact quite normal and is in fact unavoidable given local circumstances.

The article is in Irish but if should be readable with Google Translate as I have stuck to Official Standard Irish.

Polaitíocht an Chnoic i Sáinn Arís Eile


No change in South East Ulster

South Down / Newry and Armagh Round up by Ciarán Dunbar

It was the election campaign that seemed to go on forever but whilst the results in Newry and Armagh and South Down were never really in doubt there certainly were talking points.

The introduction of GAA star Justin McNulty to the political field in Newry and Armagh surprised many but there is no doubt it did inspire his party.

In the end it was too high a ball for the novice to field but he gave a spirited performance and increased the SDLP vote by 2,000 votes.

But there are still doubts over his political future following comments to Q Radio in the after the result in which he seemed non-committal.

He told Q Radio’s Peter Taggart he is “very disappointed” with the result.

Sinn Féin’s Mickey Brady romped to victory in that seat last night adding 2,000 votes to the Sinn Féin majority.

But despite that he is clear – he will not be sitting on the green benches.

The gap between Sinn Féin and the SDLP was 8,462 votes – a slight increase.

That is despite Mickey Brady being a new candidate for Sinn Féin.

But he was only 4,000 votes or so in front of the joint unionist candidate, Danny Kennedy who got just over 16,300 votes.

The SDLP’s Justin McNulty was in third with just over 12,000 votes.

Turnout figures are in for Newry & Armagh and it’s 64.76% – significantly up from last time round.


Jim Wells provided the main talking point in South Down.

He was at the centre of a political storm prior to the Westminster poll due to his comments linked same-sex couples and child-abuse.

But the controversy does not seem to have affected his vote.

He polled 3,486 votes – a mere 158 less than in 2010.

He was beaten however into 4th place by the UUP’s Harold McKee.

But the seat was always the SDLP’s Margaret Ritchies.

“Its all down to hard work” – she revealed the recipe to her political success

Her vote was down by 6.1% but it was still a resounding victory.

Interestingly she was quick to point out that in her view her vote put an end the the “myth” that unionists vote for her tactically to keep Sinn Féin out.

Despite losing to the SDLP by a margin of 5,891 Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard says he is not disappointed with how Sinn Féin performed in South Down

His share was slightly down – as was the SDLP’s – but he didn’t manage to get more votes than Caitríona Ruane got in 2010 as some had expected.


Upper Bann MP David Simpson claims his family suffered online abuse during the election campaign.

And there was uproar when the DUP man directed his comments towards rival unionists in the count centre in Banbridge…


In other electoral news Camlough man Conor McGinn ‏has won a seat for St Helens North in England for the Labour Party.

Its #gameon in Newry and Armagh – result not in doubt but is it all about the final score?

Ciarán Dunbar in Newry

There is no doubt that the battle for the Newry and Armagh Westminster Seat is more interesting than say South Down as a number of factors leave it (slightly) less predictable.

Justin McNulty
Justin McNulty

Sinn Féin’s decision to stand MLA Mickey Brady rather than the sitting MP Conor Murphy was only a slight surprise as unlike the other parties, becoming an MP is not a promotion in Sinn Féin.

The other factor, which was a big surprise, was the SDLP decision to stand former Armagh Gaelic footballer and All-Ireland medal winner, Justin McNulty.

McNulty has no background in politics at all though the party say he is a long standing member of their local branch.
That said, to use a term stolen from southern politics, he certainly is ‘gene-pool’ SDLP; his father is a long-standing member of the party in South Armagh.

The introduction of McNulty has certainly shook things up, but it is highly unlikely that Sinn Féin will lose this seat.

Here are the current odds from Paddy Power …

Sinn Fein 1/14
SDLP 9/2
UUP 16/1
Alliance 66/1
The odds have shortened as one would expect but they tell a stark story.

Mickey Brady
Mickey Brady

Mickey Brady is a Newry man, a Ballybot man to be exact. He has a reasonably high political profile across the North but locally Newry will be his stronghold.

But he has worked for 25 years in welfare rights across Newry and Mourne and that work would have brought him into contact with people in South Armagh – but he would be less known in the areas around Armagh City.
He is a solid candidate but he does not have the profile of Conor Murphy and the SDLP will hope to close the gap (8,331 votes in the last election).

Mullaghbawn man Justin McNulty was brought in politics to the elation of SDLP supporters.

Optimism rocketed and the SDLP seemed to genuinely believe that McNulty was going to sweep to victory, I even heard him mentioned as the next leader of the SDLP.

Those hopes faded quickly as it was realised that Justin was only beginning his political apprenticeship and his performances in the media were not impressive.

He has since been prominent at the launch of the SDLP manifesto but not in terms of television and radio appearances.

But the inspirational speaker has energized the SDLP locally, there is no doubt about that.

His All-Ireland medal, sporting profile and personality have been the main thrusts of his campaign with politics and policy almost completely ignored.

He has no political record at all, neither has he expressed any strong political beliefs, strangely this has made him difficult to attack politically and Sinn Féin seem to prefer to ignore him.

No journalist or analyst I have met is taking Justin McNulty seriously – I personally do.

The constant GAA references and the regular appearance of a football in the campaign is quite bizarre to journalists – but journalists do not decide elections, the voters do.

I take him seriously as is is my understanding that yes, all politics is local but more importantly it is personal and an all-Ireland medal and a long county career count for a lot in rural Ireland.

How many votes is an all-Ireland medal worth? – we are about to find out.

The medal is from 2002, it is a while back but most voters will remember it.

The candidacy is extraordinary and the campaign is unprecedented and very unconventional, in the north at least, being rooted in Gaelic football.

So much so that the GAA appear to intervened though they say they were just reminding politicians of their rules, not targeting any particular candidate.

But a recent picture of Justin McNulty in Croke Park with the Sam Maguire Cup seems to have disappeared from Social media though his profile pic on twitter is still himself in Croke Park.

The one clear political idea that McNulty is pushing is that he will attend Westminster – “I won’t stand by the sidelines.”
He has stressed throughout the campaign that the constituency has been left “unrepresented” through 10 years of Sinn Féin abstentionism – Sinn Féin would of course deny that.

He has refused to answer questions on the Oath of Allegiance to Queen Elizabeth but that is something that SDLP core supporters will have to problem with.

I find Sinn Féin’s “attitude of revolt” is inextricable to the SDLP.

But it is clear that McNulty’s campaign is aimed at getting lapsed SDLP voters out, not converting republicans.
The reactivation of Séamus Mallon would seem to back up that theory.

Having said that he will get votes from discontented former Sinn Féin supporters despite the ideological chasm – as I said, all politics is personal, not just local.

At the end of the day, for Justin McNulty, it comes down to whether their is a + or – sign beside his name after the election.

There are wider issues with the SDLP brand but I doubt of that if that will trouble McNulty – his branding is fundamentally based on his GAA background rather than in politics or with the SDLP.

I personally predict he will close the gap but will that be enough to keep him in politics?

And that will the SDLP find for him to do in the meantime to put food on the table?

The SDLP, characteristically it must be said, underestimate Mickey Brady. He is from a working class background and has worked in welfare advice rather than having a so called professional background.

He also is hate figure for former members of Sinn Féin; He comes from a ‘stickie’ background and must be seen as very much representative of ‘new’ Sinn Féin rather than a foot-soldier of the ‘Long War’.

Interestingly, is an interview with Q Radio, Brady was more resolute on the ‘Oath’ issue than many other Sinn Féin candidates – “We do not owe allegiance to a foreign government nor indeed a foreign Queen.”

Danny Kennedy is a strong candidate for the UUP and the joint candidate, in theory if the unionist turn-out was very high and the SDLP and Sinn Féin were evenly spilt he could slip through – but this is highly unlikely if not near impossible.

Ironically, as a high profile and respected politician he could have picked up Catholic votes in the constituency, but being joint unionist candidate has put paid to that.

I predict Sinn Féin will hold the seat by around 5,000 votes but I do predict a low turn out.
Here is a full list of candidates.

Sinn Féin -Mickey Brady
UUP – Danny Kennedy
SDLP – Justin McNulty
Alliance – Kate Nicholl

NI Conservatives – Robert Rigby

Dóchas nó Dúchas, cé acu is fearr?

 Seo alt ó mo chartlann.

Sríobhadh an t-alt seo don nuachtán ‘Lá’ nua tuairim ar 6 bhliain ó shin, tháinig athrú ar chorr-rud ar an tsaol (agus ar mo chumas scríbhneoireachta!) ach seasaim leis i gcónaí.

Ní cainteoir dúchais mé, bhál déanta na fírinne is cainteoir dúchais Béarla mé ach thuig tú go láithreach caidé a bhí i gceist agam mar gheall ar an ómós a thugann muid don fhriotal cainte sin i saol na Gaeilge.  Ar ndóigh, cha bhím i mo chainteoir dúchais choíche, ní féidir a fhoghlaim, dúchas atá ann.
Cha cainteoirí dúchais Gaeilge an mórchuid againn faraor, fiú i measc an 100,000 nó mar sin a bhaineann úsáid as an Ghaeilg mar ghnáth-theanga is mionlach iad a thugtar ‘cainteoirí dúchais’ orthu.
Sin uilig ráite, tá mé sásta go leor de bhrí gur ‘cainteoir dóchais’ mé agus chomh tábhachtach is atá an dúchas is tábhachtaí an dóchas i gcónaí dar liomsa.
Ar ndóigh, is féidir a bheith i do chainteoir dóchais agus i do chainteoir dúchais ag an am ceánna ach is léir domhsa cibé ar bith gur doiligh an rud é a dhéanamh.
Creidim go bhfuil galar an éadóchais i réim i gcuid mhór de na Gaeltachta dá bhfuil fágtha againn. Ní ghabhaim aon leithscéal as sin a rá agus cuirim an cheist : caidé is fiú an dúchas gan dóchas?

Más féidir cainteoir dúchais atá saor ón éadóchas ceánna, ní féidir an duine sin a shárú mar ghníomhaire Gaeilge nó mar chainteoir dóchais ach is é fáth mo bhróin  gur doiligh a bhfáil in amanna.

Creidim go bhfuil barraíocht ómós againn don chainteoir dúchais in amanna, daoine a bhfuil an Ghaeilg acu trí thimpiste i ndeireadh na dála. Bíonn meas as cuimse againn mar fhoghlaimeoirí ar chainteoirí dúchais agus ar bhealach ba chóir – Tá an cheart acu, ó thaobh an teanga de.
Ar cheart dúinn mar ghníomhairí meas as cuimse a bheith againn ar leithéidí Séamas Ó Grianna cuirim i gcás? Fear a dhiúltaigh labhairt lena chomh-Éireannaigh i nGaeilg dá mba rud é nach raibh an teanga ó dhúchais acu, fear a throid in éadán na Gaeilge mar bhall den ‘LFM’, fear a bhí gafa leis an éadóchas. Muise, cha raibh mórán de mheas aige ar ár leithéid!
Ba chóir meas a bheith againn do dhaoine mar dhaoine, de thoradh ar charachtar s’acu, mar gheall ar thuairimí s’acu agus mar sin, chan de bhrí go bhfuil Gaeilg ó dhúchas acu amháin.
Cad chuige a bhfuil seo tábhachtach dar liomsa? Títear domhsa go bhfuil dlúthbhaint eadar cáil Gaeilgeoirí san iarGhaeltacht agus le háiteanna nó le daoine áirithe sa Ghaeltacht, baint atá tábhachtach leis an dúchas a thógáil ach is minic a thógtar an éadóchas leis.
Tá aithne agam ar dhaoine mar shampla a dhiúltaigh Gaeilge a labhairt liom de bhrí gur thosaigh daoine sa Ghaeltacht ag labhairt Béarla leo le blianta beaga anuas. Amadáin a deirimse. Táthar ann a  chreideann gur rud dúchasach an éadóchas ag an phointe seo!
Dar liomsa, is fearr Gaeilg chrua lochtach ghránna bhriste má tá sí a labhairt mar theanga bheo ná an Ghaeilg is binne blasta má luíonn an Ghaeilge sin ina codladh istigh in intinn duine nach bhfuil sásta í a úsáid tríd náire nó trí an éadóchais fhéin.

Tá an Ghaeilge ag meath (ag fáil bháis?) sna Gaeltachta de bhrí go gcreideann daoine go bhfuil sí ag fáil bháis, dá mba rud é gur creideadh go forleathan go bhfuil sí ag fás, bheadh sí ag fás, tá sé chomh simplí sin. Easpa dóchais.

Is féidir comparáid a dhéanamh eadar cás na Gaeilge agus cúrsaí eacnamaíochta agus muinín an tomhaltóra. Go bunúsach, bíonn cúlú eacnamaíochta ann de bhrí go gcreideann daoine go mbeidh sé ann.

Is é sin an rud atá ag titim amach ó thuaidh sna Sé Chontae dar liomsa : creideann daoine go bhfuil an Gaeilge ag fás, mar sin de, tá sí ag fás, fiú in áiteanna iarGhaeltachta inar mhair rian de ghalar an éadóchais go dtí blianta beaga anuas. Maireann an éadóchas níos faide ná an teanga fhéin de réir cosúlachtaí.
Is trua go mór liom nár tógadh le Gaeilg mé agus tá éad orm le cainteoirí dúchais go cinnte ach i ndeireadh na dála is fearr dóchas ná dúchas.

Tógann an cheist seo thuas ceist eile, is é sin ‘caidé is cainteoir dúchais ann?’,

Caidé is cainteoir dúchais ann?
Tuigtear don teangeolaíocht gurb ionann do theanga dúchais agus an chéad teanga a labhair tú riamh agus gur cainteoir dúchais an teanga sin thú, ach ní mar sin tá sé in Inis Fáil.
Is é an dóigh a bhfuil rudaí in Éirinn inniu ná gur féidir le páiste a bhfuil Gaeilg amháin acu a bheith ann, gan focal Béarla ina a p(h)luc, ach gan a bheith ina c(h)ainteoir dúchais Gaeilge ag an am ceánna de bhrí go bhfuil an tuigbheáil ann go forleathan nach féidir cainteoir dúchais taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht.
Más fíor buan an ráiteas sin, ní féidir athbheochan na Gaeilge ar chór ar bith. Smaoinímis air ar feadh soicind.
Muna féidir linn cainteoirí dúchais úra a chruthú taobh amuigh de Ghaeltacht ag cainteoirí úra Gaeilge. Tá an cath caillte go hiomlán. 
Caidé is fiú an teanga a fhoghlaim mar dhara theanga sa cás sin fiú. Caidé is fiú an Ghaeilge a theagasc do na mílte i rith an ama gan iad a spreagadh leis an teanga a úsáid sa bhaile?
Caidé is fiú gramadach fhoirfe a bheith ag duine muna bhfuil a chuid pháiste ábalta ‘caidé mar atá tú’ a rá?
Creidim go dtuigeann cuid mhór daoine a bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu mar chéad teanga an deacracht seo.  Cha mhaíonn an chuid is mó de na daoine a tógadh le Gaeilg a bhfuil aithne agamsa orthu cibé ar bith gur cainteoirí dúchais iad.  Mothaíonn siad nach bhfuil siad cáilithe, fiú na daoine a bhfuil cuimhin acu ar a bheith gan Béarla!
Títear domhsa gurb fearr leo, ‘tógadh le Gaeilg mé’ a rá ná ‘is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé,’ de bharr nach nglactar iad mar chainteoirí dúchais iad i gcónaí.
Mar sin de, tá na mílte daoine ann a tógadh leis an teanga agus cuid acu a bhí aonteangach fiú tráth dá raibh, nach féidir a rá gur cainteoirí dúchais iad de bhrí nach labhraíonn siad canúint thraidisiúnta Ghaeltacht éigin, fiú dá dtógadh iad sa Ghaeltacht!
Anois, má chreideann tú fhéin nach cainteoirí dúchais iad, caidé atá iontu mar sin? An bhfuil teanga ar bith ó dhúchais acu? An bhfuil siad fágtha i liombó teanga?
Caithfidh muid stop a chur leis an dóigh smaointeoireachta seo. Dá mba rud é gur tógadh le Gaeilge thú, is cainteoir dúchais thú. Sin an chiall atá leis an téarma go hidirnáisiúnta agus is é sin an chiall ab chóir a bheith leis in Éirinn.
Seans nach cainteoirí dúchais Ghaoth Dobhair, Dhún Chaoin, nó Ros Muc iad ach is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge iad go fóill.
Níl mé a rá nár cheart idirdhealú a dhéanamh ó thaobh cúrsaí acadúla nó scoile de, ach sin iad na haon áiteanna ab chóir go mbeadh sé.  
Beatha teanga í a labhairt le páistí
Caidé as a bhfuil an cheist áistíoch seo tábhachtach domh ar scór ar bith? Má tá, is é mo thuairim ná go dtugann an idirdhealú seo leithscéal do ‘ghníomhairí’ Gaeilge nach dtógann a gcuid páistí le Gaeilg, ‘sure I’m not a native speaker’. Sin seafóidis dar liom.
Is furasta a aithint nach gcuidíonn an nós seo le hiarrachtaí leis an teanga a athneartú.
Ní gnaithe s’agamsa ar chór ar bith ar ndóigh cén teanga a labhraíonn teaghlach ar ndóigh agus ní teanga an rud is tábhachtaí i dteaghlach ná baol air,  ach mar ghluaiseacht, más gluaiseacht sinn go seadh, caithfidh muid líon na bpáistí a bhfuil Gaeilge acu a mhéadú. Is é sin mar a mhaireann gach teanga eile sa tsaol seo.
‘Níl mé i mo chónaí sa Ghaeltacht’, ‘Ní cainteoir dúchais mé’, ‘Níl Gaeilge ag mo fhear’, ‘Níor mhaith liom mo pháiste a bheith difriúil’, ‘Níl mo chuid Gaeilge maith go leor’.  Is leithscéalta iad seo.
Deirtear ‘Beatha teanga í a labhairt’ go minic, ach ní minic a deirtear an seanfhocal ina hiomláine – Beatha teanga í a labhairt le páistí.  Agus má thógtar páistí le Gaeilge, is cainteoirí dúchais iad.
I ndeireadh na dála, ní ach ‘aguisíní’ iad na gníomhartha eile. Is féidir a bheith ag eagrú rudaí beaga, ag crochadh comharthaíochta, ag teagasc Gaeilge, ag ól trí mheán na Gaeilge, ag reáchtáil coláistí Gaeltachta, ag bunú Gaelscoileanna fiú ach ní dhéanann sé agus ní dhéanfaidh sé pioc difear ar bith má theann duine abhaile chun páistí a thógáil le Béarla.
Theip ar athbheochan na Gaeilge, a bheag nó mhór, go dtí seo de bhrí nár thóg na mílte daoine a d’fhoghlaim an Ghaeilg a gcuid páistí le Gaeilg. Má leantar ar aghaidh ag déanamh an rud ceánna, ní féidir go mbeadh aon toradh difriúil ann.
Seans go bhfuil sé sin conspóideach, ach an féidir a bhréagnú?

Cén canúint a labhraíonn tú le do pháiste?

Seo alt a scríobh mé i mí Feabhra 2010, foilsíodh é ar an tUltach. Foilsím in athuair é anseo mar tá sé ar intinn agam filleadh ar an ábhar seo go luath, ábhar atá ábhartha is tábhachtach do dhaoine a thógann páiste i dteanga mionlaithe. CD.

Cén canúint?
Tuairim ar mhí ó shin, shuigh mé síos chun scéal a léamh do m’iníonsa. Pléisiúr ar leith atá ann agus tá lúcháir orm a rá go gcuireann sí an spéis ann cé go bhfuil sí iontach óg ar fad.
Shuigh mé síos mar sin agus thóg mé leabhar a bhí lámh liom, Dhá Scéal Reachlann agus Eile, a chuir mé féin in eagar, agus chuaigh mé i mbun ársaíochta. Thosaigh mé ag léamh an bunleagan Reachlann ar an ábhar gurbh mar sin a d’inis an scéalaí an scéal agus gur mór an dámh agamsa do Ghaeilge Reachraidh.
Triocha soicind ina dhiaidh sin, stop mé. Rinneas mo mhachnamh ar feadh soicind eile agus thosaigh ag léamh an leagan caighdeánta. Rinne mé cinneadh mór ansin i nganfhios dom féin ag an am.
Ba mhinic iontas orm nuair a dúirt tuismitheoir úr go mbíonn siad ag iarraidh a gcuid Gaeilge a choinneáil go caighdeánta ó thaobh na gramadaí agus ó thaobh na fuaimeanna de agus iad ag caint lena gcuid páistí. Níor thuig mé sin riamh. Shíl mé go raibh rud éigin mínádúrtha faoi agus go raibh sé dul a bheith níos deacra orthu Gaeilge mhaith a labhairt lena gcuid páiste gan titim siar ar chanúint éigin.
Chan ionann sin is a rá nár cheart a bheith beacht ó thaobh gramadaí is fuaimeanna de ar ndóigh, ach ní dóigh liom féin go bhfuil an caighdeán oifigiúil nó Lárchanúint na Gaeilge[i] ag teacht salach ar sin ar chor ar bith.  
Pé scéal é, is mó mo ghrá do mo leanbh ná mo ghrá don Ghaeilge, má tá mé chun í a thógáil leis an Ghaeilge, mionteanga amach is amach, ba mhaith liom an Ghaeilge sin a bheith chomh feidhmiúil agus is féidir.
Beidh uirthi a bheith ábalta ceithre theanga a labhairt go luath ina saol agus idirdhealú a dhéanamh eadarthu, rud atá doiligh a dhéanamh agus daoine ag mixeáil leo i dtólamh. Sea, ba fhéiríní na teangacha seo ar fad ach ba uallach oibre iad do pháiste chomh maith.
Chaith mé féin níos mó ama ag déanamh staideár ar Ghaeilge Ó Méith Mara, nach maireann, ná mar a chaith mé ar chanúint ar bith eile, beó nó marbh. Tá súil agam go raibh tionchar aige sin ar mo chuid Gaeilge. Gaeilge mhaith a bhí ann ach tuigim féin go maith, má deir mo pháiste ‘tá mé cosúil maith’, ‘cha ligeann tú a leas’, ‘ ’dé as nach dtearn tú sin,’ agus mar sin de,  ba ise an t-aon pháiste ar an domhain seo a thuigfeadh cad a dúirt sí. Ní bheadh sé sin cothrom is dócha.
Creideann cuid mhór páistí atá á thógáil leis an Ghaeilge gur teanga rúnda príobhaideach í an Ghaeilge a labhraíonn siad lena gcuid tuismitheoirí nó le duine amháin acu fiú. Má tá canúint Ghaeilge acu nach labhraíonn ach dís bheadh an ceart acu.
Ag an am ceánna áfach, is iomaí focail nach bhfuil agam ach i nGaeilge Ó Méith, nó i gcanúint Oirthear Uladh eile. Cad é a dhéanfaidh mé sa cás sin? Ní bheidh an darna suí agam ach an fhocal a bhfuil agam a rá. Seo focail atá ‘marbh’ ach nach bhfuil muid ag caint fá athbheochan na Gaeilge? Nó an bhfuil muid ag caint fá leathnú canúint áirithe ar fud na tíre?
Tagann an mhír-dhiúltach ‘cha’ níos easca chugamsa ná ‘ní’ ach tuigim nach dtaitníonn úsáid an fhocail sin le cuid mhór Gaeilgeoirí agus cuireann sé isteach ormsa go mór nuair a bristear isteach ar mo chuid cainte chun gearán a dhéanamh faoi. Caithfear cinntiú mar sin go bhfuil ‘ní’ agus an gramadach a théann leis ag an leanbh.
Ní hé nach bhfuil mé ag iarraidh uirthi a bheith ábalta gach canúint a thuigbheáil is a mheascadh le chéile fiú chun a cuid Gaeilge féin a chruthú, ba mhaith liom Gaeilge chros-síolrach hibrideach láidir a bheadh a labhairt amach anseo  – ach tá mé ach tá mé ag caint fán bhunús áfach, tá mé ag caint fán Ghaeilge mar mhódh cumarsaide seachas mar ábhar scolartha.
Caithfidh mé a admháil fosta nár mhaith liom cloí go docht daingean le canúint amháin de bhrí gur ionann sin agus a bheith ag seanadh Gaeilge mhaith ar an pháiste. Ba mhaith liom cur lena cuid Gaeilge, chan a bheith ag rá léi; ‘O, cha dtigidh leatsa sin a rá,’ och! deacracht gach deacrachta an ní a chleachtar a chur i ndearmad! Mar sin de; ‘ní thig leat sin a rá – ní bhaineann sin le canúint s’againne!’
Mar dhuine a rinne cuid mhór staidear ar chanúintí idir bheó agus marbh is a thug cuairt ar gach Ghaeltacht sa tír taobh amuigh de Chiarraí agus Oileán Acla, dar liomsa teanga amháin is ea í. Agus mé ag caint fá chanúintí anseo tá mé ag caint fá chanúintí sa ghnáth-chaill, i. Gaeilge na Rinne, Gaeilge na Rosann agus srl. Ach déanta na fírinne, creidim nach bhfuil ach trí fhíor-chanúintí ann sa Ghaeilge – Gaeilge na hÉireann, Gaeilge na hAlbain agus Gaeilge Eilean Mhanainn. Is beag difear atá le fáil idir na canúintí seo nach dtiocfadh le cleachtadh is teagmháil a sharú, sin mo thaithí féin cibé ar bith ach tuigim go bhfuil Gaeil ann in Ultaibh nach dtuigeann Gaeilge na hAlbain ar chor ar bith.
Chomh maith leis an ábhar thuas go léir, cá bhfios cá háit a mbeidh muid ag stopadh in Eirinn amach anseo, b’fhéidir go mbeidh uirthi canúint eile ar fad a fhoghlaim chomh maith, cén canúint a bheas ag an múinteoir ar scoil? Cad fá TG4?
Scéal casta go leor, nach é? Bainimis triall as cibé ar bith!

[i] Lárchanúint don Ghaeilge (Baile Átha Cliath: Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann, 1987)

Why would anyone write in Irish?

Is iriseoir Béarla mise go príomha ach is fearr liom feidhmiú i nGaeilge.
Is maith liom scríobh agus smaoineamh inti mar is maith liom an teanga mar theanga cé nach purist mé in aon chor agus tá tuairimí agam ar scríobh na Gaeilge nach bhfuil sa lár-sruth.
Ach seo an rud, is beag daoine a léann Gaeilge, fiú iad siúd a labhraíonn í gach lá.
Ach tá a fhios agam nach léifidh mórán daoine mo shaothar inti murabhfuil baint aici leis an teanga í féin.
Seo an rud, thiocfadh liom mí a chaitheamh ag scríobh píosa sa Ghaeilge nach mbaineann léi agus fios maith agam go léifidh 20 duine é – cad is fiú?
Nó thiocfadh liom tuairim sheafóideach a scríobh, taobh istigh de 20 bhomáinte, agus léifidh 1000 duine é – b’fhéidir 4,000.
Cuirimse an cheist orm féin ar maidin,
Why would anyone write anything not linked to the language itself in Irish?
Níl freagra ar an cheist sin agam.
Is é an t-aon dóchas atá agam don teanga scríofa ná na comhráití a bhíonns ag dul ar aghaidh ar Twitter.

Mar sin féin, le seirbhís nuachta as Gaeilge ó RTÉ ar a bhealach, ar na bacáin (le seoladh ar an 17 Meán Fómhair, eagrán na aghaidh na seachtaine a chuala mé) iris nua ‘trom’ beartaithe ag an Fhoras agus ar ndóigh deontas nua ag Nós – tá go leor ábhar dóchais ann.

Anawa, am away here t’write suthin in Irish about Irish – it just market economics and I have to make a living.  

On the Irish of Dublin

I have been contacted recently by a gentleman who is doing some fine research into the Irish dialect of Dublin, now extinct.

He contacted me as the result of work I do highlighting East Ulster Irish and Kilkenny Irish.

I know little of the Gaelic dialect of Dublin though I would be very interested in finding out.

Although I fear one may never get a definitive answer to this question and that it could produce unnecessary wrangling without real result as has battered the Cornish language movement.

I think the most important aspect of study into Dublin Irish may not be the precise nature of its vowels and consonants but perhaps the fact that it could educate people as to how late the dialect was spoken and by whom.

Dublin Irish survived well into the 19th century but is not recorded nor transcribed phonetically but of course historical linguistics (based on isoglosses and place-names historical forms) may be able to lay down the fundamentals.

We have recordings of Louth and Kilkenny Irish and have a lot of material from Meath, Louth (including Drogheda) and from Kilkenny. We also have some (modern) Gaelic material from Wexford, Westmeath, Kildare if only snippets.

Close study of this archive may be vital.

These are the important sources for those trying to piece the clues together :
Labhrann Laighnigh by the late Daithí Ó hÓgáin.

Piatt, Donn S.: “Gaedhilg na Midhe”, An tUltach 14:7 (8/1937) 5 (Tomás Mac Eochagáin).
 Piatt, Donn S.:
____: “Giotaí de Ghaeilg dhúchasach na Midhe”, An tUltach 29:6 (6/1952) 11-12.
 Laoide, Seosamh: “The Leinster dialect”, An Claidheamh Soluis 12:40 (10/12/1910) 21; 12:43 (31/12/1910) 5-6; 12:48 (4/2/1911) 5-6.
 Piatt, Donn S.: Gaelic Dialects of Leinster (1933) (inc. South Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Laois, Offaly, North and West Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow; North Dublin, Westmeath).
Piatt [Ps. Laighneach]: “Áth Cliath is Cill Mhanntain”, An tUltach 10:5 () 6; 10:7 () 4.
Piatt “Gaeilge na Mí”, An tUltach 44:9 (9/1967) 9-10.
Williams, N J A: “The Irish language in County Offaly”, Offaly: history and society (c1999).
Williams (Nicholas): Gaeilge na hIarmhí.
In Féilscríbhinn do Chathal Ó Háinle (2012), pp. 1009–1058.
Includes a Liosta focal (Irish-English) of words likely to have been used in Westmeath Irish.
Williams (N. J. A.): Téacsanna foghrúla ó Chontae na Mí.
In SHib 31 (2000–2001), pp. 277–291.
Based on material collected by Seosamh Ó Laoide (1865-1939) from native speakers from Moynalty (Lower Kells) and Somerville (Upper Slane).
And of course …

Williams (Nicholas): Na canúintí a theacht chun solais.
In SnaG (1994), pp. 447–478.
On a personal note I have not the slightest doubt the Irish still spoken in Mayo would be the most similar to that once spoken in Dublin though I would not be prepared to contest that assertion as it is not important to be personally.

However I would study carefully the Irish of Omeath and Kilkenny to set the dialect in its proper place in the continuum.

I would also suspect that given Dublin’s status as a port and as a Viking settlement in its history that is may well have be influenced by Munster Irish more than the surrounding dialects and I suspect it would have had many similarities to Manx.