MISNEACH being inspired by a new group of Gaels

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There was an inspirational energy and positive atmosphere in the air at the public meeting organised by language activists in Dublin last week. It was announced that a new campaigning group has emerged with the aim of providing a radical voice to Irish speaking community in Ireland.

Over 50 people listened to myself and renowned historian, Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh speak on the most suitable means of struggle to achieve the reconquest of language in the new millennium. This was followed by a lively discussion amongst the crowd in attended who were widely agreeable to the proposition there was a need for a language movement that was independent of state funding and free of party politics.

It was when these language activists chose the name MISNEACH, however, that they paid homage to the powerful symbolism and politics that was championed by the brave pioneers that went before them. When MISNEACH was founded in the sixties with Máirtín Ó Cadhain et al rising to prominence and announcing forthrightly how the ‘reconquest of Irish and the reconquest of Ireland’ were inseparable, it was clear from the outset that they were willing to challenge both states on their continual failure regarding the reclamation of the language and equality for the Gaeltacht regions.

They proved that radical actions could both ignite a spark of courage in the next generation and put positive pressure on the authorities to be true to their word. This showed how the most significant developments in the Irish language revival come from the bottom up. It inspired a cohort of young Belfast Gaels to set up their own urban Gaeltacht and Gaelscoil from which derived the community based language revival in the six counties. Ó Cadhain’s dictum was reverberating in the ears of young Gaeltacht activists, as well, when they founded their own radio station in shaming the Free State government to attend to the needs and rights of the Irish speaking community.

Despite the progress the language struggle has undergone in recent years, there clearly remains a long and arduous road to travel with the dangers of globalisation and the tendency towards a piecemeal tokenism amongst the establishment in this country as explicit impediments to our vision of reconquest.
Even though the Free State government, for the first time in its history, announced ‘a comprehensive policy’ for the language, through the 20 year strategy, they immediately sullied these commitments with savage cuts to the budget of Údaras na Gaeltachta; the rationalisation of core-funded Irish language organisations; the

government proposal to close the office of the language commissioner as an independent office and to transfer his responsibilities to the Ombudsman; as well as the decision to end the grants for trainee teachers who were attending 3 week immersion classes in the Gaeltacht.

In the northern statelet, the Irish language community have repeatedly learned that the promise of a ‘new dispensation’ was nothing more than ‘hot air’ with the minimum protection, support and development for the language within the boundaries of the conflict resolution agenda that stemmed from the peace process in the north. A place where Gaels are treated like second class citizens and democratically elected councils can be threatened with the removal of funding by the Tourist board unless their tourist signs are in ‘English Only’. A place where transport services can be denied to Irish medium schoolchildren regardless of a judicial review demanding that the executive fulfil its ‘legislative duty’ in relation to the language.

This current context opens a unique space for a campaigning group that is willing to raise its voice, 0ffer solidarity to Gaels on the margins, and ask the tough questions when required.

Activists at the meeting in Dublin agreed, however, that the campaigning approach that worked in the sixties may not be suitable for the 21st century. This approach should be open, flexible and attractive for the next generation who’ll be able foster their creative canvas for our language and our future.

MISNEACH á spreagadh ag grúpa úr Gaeil

Bhí fuinneamh spreagúil agus atmaisfeár déarfach le mothú ag an chruinniú poiblí a d’eagraigh díograiseoirí teanga i mBáile Átha Cliath an tseachtain seo caite. Fograíodh go raibh grúpa úr feachtasaíochta tagtha ar an tsaol agus aidhm acu guth radacach a sholáthar do phobal na Gaeilge in Éirinn. D’éist timpeall leathchéad daoine liomsa féin is an staraí iomráiteach Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh ag caint ar na modhanna streachailte is oiriúnaí d’athghábhail na Gaeilge sa mhílsaois úr. Bhí plé fonnmhar ina dhiaidh i measc an tslua agus ba shoiléir go raibh aontas forleathan ann go bhfuil gearrghá le gluaiseacht Gaeilge atá neamhpléach ar mhaoiniú stáit, is saor ón pholaitíocht pháirtí.

Is nuair a roghnaigh na díograiseoirí teanga an t-ainm MISNEACH, gur léirigh siad ómós don siombálachas agus polaitíocht chumhachtach a craobhscaoil na ceannródaithe cróga a chuaigh roimpú. Nuair a bunaíodh MISNEACH sna seascaidí le Máirtín Ó Cadhain et al i lár baire agus ag fógairt go neamhbhalbh gurb ionann ‘athghabháil na Gaeilge agus athghabháil na tíre’, bhí se le tuiscint go soiléir go raibh siad toilteanach dushlán an dá stát a ghlacadh maidir leis an teip leanúnach i dtaobh athréimniú na Gaeilge agus cothrom na féinne don Ghaeltacht.

Léirigh siad le gníomh radacach go dtiocfadh splanc mhisnigh á spreagadh sa chéad ghlúin eile agus brú déarfach a chuir ar an húdárais beart a dhéanamh de réir a mbriathair. Thaispeáin siad gur ón bhun aníos a thagann na forbairtí is suntasaí in athbheochan na teanga. Spreag siad baicle de Ghaeil óga feirsteacha ó Chumann Chluain Aird a bhunaigh Gaeltacht Uirbeach agus

scoil dá gcuid féin ónar eascair an t-atbhbheochan pobalbhunaithe sna sé contae. Bhí mána an Cadhanaigh i gcluasa Ghaeil Óga na Gaeltachta, chomh maith, nuair a bhunaigh siad staisiún Raidió dá chuid féin is iad ag náiriú Rialtas an tSaorstáit chun freastal ar mhianta is cearta phobal na Gaeilge.

Ainneoin an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag streachailt na teanga le bliantaí beaga anuas, is léir go bhfuil bóthar fada corraitheach le taisteál againn go fóill le contúirtí an domhandaithe is nosmhaireacht an bhéil bháin i measc bunaíochta na tíre seo ina mbagairtí fhollasacha ag fís athghabhála s’againn.
Bíodh is fhogair Rialtas an saorstáit ‘polasaí cuimsitheach’ i leith na Gaeilge frí stráitéis 20 bliain don teanga, don chéad uair i stair an stáit, bréagnaíodh na committmintí láithreach le ciorruithe tromchúiseacha ar bhuiséad Údarás na Gaeltachta; cuíchoiriú ar eagraíochtaí Gaeilge; moladh ón Rialtas chun oifig an choimisinéara teanga a dhúnadh mar oifig neamhspleách agus a cúraimí a bhogadh chuig oifig an Ombudsman agus deireadh a chur le deontas na nÁbhar Oidí a bhí ag freastal ar chúrsaí tumoideachais 3 seachtaine sa Ghaeltacht.

Sa Staitín tuaisceartach, tá se feicthe ag pobal na Gaeilge go mion minic nach raibh ach ‘aer te’ sa ‘ré úr’ ar gealladh dúinn leis an t-íosmhéid cosanta, tacaíochta agus forbartha don teanga taobh istigh de theorainneacha an tionscadail réitithe coimhlinte a d’eascair ó phróiseas na síochána anseo ó thuaidh. Áit a gcaiteár le Gaeil mar shaoránaigh den dara grad is bhagrófaí ar Chomhairle daonlathach go gcaillfídís maoiniú stáit ón Bhord Turasóireachta murach go bhfuil comharthaí turasóireachta i ‘mBéarla amháin’. Áit a ndiúltófaí seirbhisí taistíl do lucht an Ghaeloideachais beag beann ar athbhreithniú cúirte a chuir iachall ar an Fheidhmeannas ‘dualgas reachtúil’ s’acu i leith na teanga a chomhlíonadh.

Tugann an comhtéacs reatha seo spás soiléir do ghrúpa feachtasaíochta a bhéas sásta guth s’acu a ardú, dlúthphairtíocht a léiriú le Gaeil faoi chois agus na ceisteanna deácra a chur nuair atá is gá. D’aontaigh díograiseoirí an cruinnithe i mBáile Atha Cliath, áfach, nach mbeidh an modheolaíocht feachtasaíochta a d’oibir sa seascaidí oiriúnach don mhílaois úr. Ní mór don chur chuige a bheith oscailte, solúbtha agus meallacach don chead ghlúin eile a bhéas in ann lorg cruthaitheach s’acu féin a mhúnlú don teanga s’againn agus don todchaí s’againn.

One Response to “MISNEACH being inspired by a new group of Gaels”

  1. Concubhar O Liathain Says:

    Bhí Rialtas FF/na PDanna ag cur giorruithe i bhfeidhm ar an Údarás ó 2002 i leith. Cuts were being imposed by FF/PD government on Udarás na Gaeltachta since 2002, during the reign of the ‘best Gaeltacht Minister’ ever, Eamon Ó Cuív (according to Foinse). Cinnte tá scrios á dhéanamh anois ar an nGaeilge agus an nGaeltacht ag an Rialtas ó dheas – agus ag an ‘Rialtas’ ó thuaidh – ach seo cuid de pholasaí leanúnach….. Ní Fine Gael/an Lucht Oibre a thosnaigh é. Léiríónn sé seo, dar liom, gur fadhb córasach é seo chomh maith le fadhb ‘pholatúil’.


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