Language politics

Via a chain of colleagues, from April 7th, this story on the UTV site: “Man charged for speaking Irish to police”:

A man has appeared in court on anti-terrorism charges after he gave his name and address to police in Irish.

Dermot Douglas of Mellows Park in Dublin appeared in Londonderry Magistrates’ Court charged with not giving his details to the best of his ability under the Justice and Security Act on 6 March.

Defence solicitor Brian Stelfox told the court his client had come out of a house in the Creggan area of the city and had been stopped by police and gave his details in Irish.

The case was adjourned until May.

Some  crucial facts. Londonderry, or Derry, is in Northern Ireland, in the UK — very crudely, the Orange, strongly Protestant, and English-speaking state. Eire, or the Republic of Ireland, the Green, very strongly Roman Catholic, also English-speaking, but strong encourging of the use of the Irish language.

Another report, from the 9th, via John Wells, this time from BBC news for Northern Ireland: “Irish President Michael D Higgins at Downing Street”:

what [the BBC story] doesn’t tell you here is that the Irish president spoke a few sentences in Irish as he addressed the British parliament yesterday. I think this may have been a first. MPs have spoken Welsh and Scottish Gaelic in the House of Commons from time to time — but Irish?


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