Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Promoting the Irish Language through TV and film is an appropriate initiative

To dissent from Lord Laird’s opinion, I do not believe that £6 million funding secured for the Irish Language Broadcast Fund (and seemingly announced on behalf of the government by Gerry Adams!) is either ‘disgusting’ or ‘despicable’. The means by which the funding was secured is certainly a concern. It seems that in the Labour Party old habits dies hard, and Sinn Féin’s threats have once again been rewarded with a dividend. Noteworthy also, is that the linkage between the Irish language and the Provisionals becomes once again implicit, with SF portrayed as the language’s champion.

But actually, funding broadcasting initiatives for this language seems to me to represent precisely the type of cultural support which it should receive. With some justification unionist politicians might argue that there are other ways in which the money could be spent to the greater good, but these types of arguments arise wherever cultural initiatives receive funding. Governments must always balance competing interests which require money, and whilst healthcare and homes are a high priority and should frequently be given precedence, there has to be room for cultural projects which are not purely practical. The emotive argument of the kidney dialysis machine vs. the art exhibit may pull at heart strings, but it offers a disingenuous and simplistic view of public finances.

The Irish Language is part of the cultural fabric of the British Isles. It is therefore worth protecting and indeed funding. It is not appropriate to promote the language through public services, government documents and the like, but to provide cultural initiatives surrounding the language with funding is entirely appropriate. The reflex to oppose anything which Sinn Féin support should not be allowed to obfuscate this fact.

3 comments:

Aidan said...

Nice to see somebody with unionist opinions taking a balanced view on something like this. It is sad when a language becomes politicized. Luckily anybody who can speak Irish will know that the new wave of television, magazines and books in the language are more about using Irish as a medium than linking it explicitly to Irish cultural pursuits (like GAA or traditional music) or political positions.
At the end of the day Irish speakers tend to speak more more languages than just English and Irish because it is much easier to pick up third and subsequent languages if you already have two. Ironically enough Irish speakers often tend to be more 'European' than monoglot English speakers so that's why this link between nationalist politics and the Irish language is off the mark.
I like your blog by the way. It is good that people like yourself are putting moderate unionist viewpoints out there. Even if people don't agree with you it is good to at least see where you are coming from.

Chekov said...

Thanks Aidan. Much appreciated.

RG said...

Irish speakers often tend to be more 'European' than monoglot English speakers so that's why this link between nationalist politics and the Irish language is off the mark.

Exactly!