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Irish speakers in the Irish Freestate



  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 146 ✭✭ Marco23d

    Mick Tator wrote: »
    Of course? Not!

    In 1926 a total of 543,511 asserted that they could speak Irish.
    In 2016 the figure was more than three times that number, at 1,774,437. Whether or not the people behind the 2016 figure actually could speak Irish (beyond lá brea and Jams O'Donnell is ainm dom) is open to question.

    I was about to dive on that figure calling it rubbish but everyone has already seemed to have agreed that it is.

    I've met quite a few people who have claimed to be able to speak Irish and none of them were in anyway actually able to have a conversation, with me being one of the few people in Ireland who can actually speak Irish I can easily put anyone who claims they can to the test.

    Those figures do seem quite bizarre to think that that many people would bother lying about it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,796 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    I think the answers to the census question ("Can you speak Irish?", which can only be answered "yes" or "no") is probably coloured by the question which comes immediately afterwards:

    "If 'yes', do you speak Irish —

    - daily, within the education system

    - daily, outside the education system

    - weekly

    - less often

    - never

    That possibly contributes to an understanding that a very basic level of Irish, consistent with very infrequent use, still counts as a "yes".

    Also worth noting that, of the 1.77 million who say that they speak Irish, about half are accounted for by pupils in primary and secondary education, who are nearly all actively studying Irish and presumably have at least some grasp of the language. Add in another quarter of a million, say, who completed secondary education with the last five years and haven't forgotten everything yet. So that leaves roughly 650,000-700,000 who say that they have have retained the ability to speak some Irish into adulthood. The population of Ireland over the age of 25 is about 3.3 million; by this rough calculation about 20% of them are saying that they can speak at least some Irish.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach

    With regard to the census the key metrics are with regard to language community are:
    - daily, outside the education system: 73,803 (1.55% of census 2016 population)
    - weekly, outside the education system: 111,473 (2.34% of census 2016 population)

    This would give a maximum language community of around 185,276 on those metrics, the truer number is probably somewhere in between figure of daily/weekly speakers (outside of education system)

    Here's map from 2011, unsurprisingly when it comes to daily speakers the Gaeltacht and surronding areas stand out:

    However it should be noted that only 20,586 of the daily speakers live in the Gaeltacht. Given the current trajectory it's probable that Irish will cease to be a community language within the Gaeltacht within the next 20-30 years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    I'm a Republican & I'm probably the only (maybe not) who thinks it was terrible idea to try & force the language on people, I think it Joyce who was sickened by Patrick Pearse idea that it should be mandatory to speak Irish in a independent he went & learn't Norwegian instead out of spite.

    So much time wasted on bringing back a dead language when you could be spending time trying to improve the economic situations of the day & help get Dublin out of being one the 10 poorest cities in Europe. I'm sure the children in the slums would have much preferred a pair of shoes & some bacon to eat instead of learning how to beg for a penny in Irish.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 465 ✭✭ Mick Tator

    Waaaay off the truth there!! Get your facts right.

    Joyce learned Norwegian to better understanf what Henrik Ibsen was saying in his writings. It had nothing to do with his view onIrish.

    Your comment on Dublin being poor is equally incorrect, it is very far from that, being one of the richest cities in Europe ( and also one of the most expensive and (importantly) innovative.

    I hate the way Irish was (and still is) controlled by zealots and used by some from Sinn Fein to 'prove their Irishness'. As for slum kids, none begged for a penny 'as Gaelge' - few (extremely few in the 20's and 30's) would have understood them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    Well, actually "poor" is probably the wrong term, I suppose St. Petersberg would have been worse, but inequality was certainly one of the highest in Europe, you had a few hundred barons who controlled industry & media & who ruthlessly crushed their workers in 1913.

    Well that lie about Joyce & Pearse has been propagated by right-wing revisionists trying to discredit the Easter Rising like Ruth Dudley Edwards, Kevin Meyers & Fergal Keane, but also strangely by Socialists who were arguing the Rising was a good thing.

    Like Chomsky says .... it's hard to break out of two strong propaganda systems when they agree on the same thing for different reasons.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    But anyway, I still think forcing Gaelic Language on a unwilling population was a stupid idea & a idea who energies went into could have so much been better served controlling income inequality.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,796 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    No offence, but I think you are choosing two completely unrelated policies and presenting them as a trade-off against one another. This is silly.

    The Free State governments didn't pursue conservative economic policies because they were preoccupied with restoring the language. They pursued conservative economic policies because they were economic conservatives. That wouldn't have changed if they had lost, or had never had, interest in the language.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    Well I wouldn't say it as a trade off, it was just a waste of time pursuing cultural issues so vigorously that had no bearing on the well being of how the state performed economically or on social issues like education or international politics. Of course the Catholic Church really decided a lot of these issues.

    It's a strange contrast, the revolutions in France, Russia & Spain the church was seen as (and was) an enemy of the revolutionaries in Ireland because of it's status as a oppressed church it was seen as ally of the more "respectable" elements of the revolution.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,796 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus

    If your criterion for success is exclusively economic or social, then pursuing cultural objectives is always a waste of time, in the sense that it won't deliver the economic or social outcomes that you value — it's not designed to. But this is a trite circular argument; pursuing cultural objective is a waste of time because, and only because, you attribute no value to cultural objectives.

    As regards the role of the church, there's no law of God or nature that says that churches are always on the side of the ruling class, or alternatively that they are always on the side of the oppressed; examples of both abound. In Russia, France and Spain the church was aligned with the establishment, and the revolution accordingly was hostile to the church. But it's not difficult to find other examples where the church was more identified with the oppressed, Ireland being one (and maybe Poland another?); those revolutions play out differently, so far as churches are concerned.

    I think you get this a lot where the revolution is an anticolonial, rather than anticonservative, one; where the church is the church of the colonised rather than of the colonisers, it tends to become bound up with community or national identity, and will not be threatened by a national liberation movement — it may in fact do rather well out of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    I agree with most of that.

    Another example of the church on the side of the weak is some Central American countries. Archbishop Romero of San Salvador executed by right-wing US backed death squads in 1980 & by the same sort of group at the end of decade who murdered the six Jesuit priests again n El Salvador. I'm guessing the right in Washington & Central America viewed Liberation Theology as a form of Christian Socialism.

    And the Los Horcones massacre in Honduras in which 15 religious leaders executed in 1975

    Also in Guatemala were dissidents were tourched, raped & murdered.

    The experience of a Texas Ursuline nun Diane Ortiz sums up the horror.


    Chomsky wrote a really great piece on this....

    "The Crucifixion of El Salvador

    Noam Chomsky

    Excerpted from What Uncle Sam Really Wants, 1992

    For many years, repression, torture and murder were carried on in El Salvador by dictators installed and supported by our government, a matter of no interest here. The story was virtually never covered. By the late 1970s, however, the US government began to be concerned about a couple of things.

    One was that Somoza, the dictator of Nicaragua, was losing control . The US was losing a major base for its exercise of force in the region. A second danger was even more threatening. In El Salvador in the 1970s, there was a growth of what were called "popular organizations"-peasant associations, cooperatives, unions, Church-based Bible study groups that evolved into self-help groups, etc. That raised the threat of democracy.

    In February 1980, the Archbishop of EI Salvador, Oscar Romero, sent a letter to President Carter in which he begged him not to send military aid to the junta that ran the country. He said such aid would be used to "sharpen injustice and repression against the people’s organizations" which were struggling "for respect for their most basic human rights" (hardly news to Washington, needless to say).

    A few weeks later, Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying a mass. The neo-Nazi

    Roberto d’Aubuisson is generally assumed to be responsible for this assassination (among countless other atrocities). D’Aubuisson was "leader for-life" of the ARENA party, which now governs El Salvador; members of the party, like current Salvadoran president Alfredo Cristiani, had to take a blood oath of loyalty to him.

    Thousands of peasants and urban poor took part in a commemorative mass a decade later, along with many foreign bishops, but the US was notable by its absence. The Salvadoran Church formally proposed Romero for sainthood.

    All of this passed with scarcely a mention in the country that funded and trained Romero’s assassins. The New York Times, the "newspaper of record," published no editorial on the assassination when it occurred or in the years that followed, and no editorial or news report on the commemoration.

    On March 7, 1980, two weeks before the assassination, a state of siege had been instituted in El Salvador, and the war against the population began in force (with continued US support and involvement). The first major attack was a big massacre at the Rio Sumpul, a coordinated military operation of the Honduran and Salvadoran armies in which at least 600 people were butchered. Infants were cut to pieces with machetes, and women were tortured and drowned. Pieces of bodies were found in the river for days afterwards. There were church observers, so the information came out immediately, but the mainstream US media didn’t think it was worth reporting.

    Peasants were the main victims of this war, along with labor organizers, students, priests or anyone suspected of working for the interests of the people. In Carter’s last year, 1980, the death toll reached about 10,000, rising to about 13,000 for 1981 as the Reaganites took command.

    In October 1980, the new archbishop condemned the "war of extermination and genocide against a defenseless civilian population" waged by the security forces. Two months later they were hailed for their "valiant service alongside the people against subversion" by the favorite US "moderate," Jose Napoleon Duarte, as he was appointed civilian president of the junta.

    The role of the "moderate" Duarte was to provide a fig leaf for the military rulers and ensure them a continuing flow of US funding after the armed forces had raped and murdered four churchwomen from the US. That had aroused some protest here; slaughtering Salvadorans is one thing, but raping and killing American nuns is a definite PR mistake. The media evaded and downplayed the story, following the lead of the Carter Administration and its investigative commission.

    The incoming Reaganites went much further, seeking to justify the atrocity, notably Secretary of State Alexander Haig and UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. But it was still deemed worthwhile to have a show trial a few years later, while exculpating the murderous junta-and, of course, the paymaster.

    The independent newspapers in El Salvador, which might have reported these atrocities, had

    been destroyed. Although they were mainstream and pro-business, they were still too undisciplined for the military’s taste. The problem was taken care of in 1980-81, when the editor of one was murdered by the security forces; the other fled into exile. As usual, these events were considered too insignificant to merit more than a few words in US newspapers.

    In November 1989, six Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter, were murdered by the army. That same week, at least 28 other Salvadoran civilians were murdered, including the head of a major union, the leader of the organization of university women, nine members of an Indian farming cooperative and ten university students.

    The news wires carried a story by AP correspondent Douglas Grant Mine, reporting how soldiers had entered a working-class neighborhood in the capital city of San Salvador, captured six men, added a 14-year-old boy for good measure, then lined them all up against a wall and shot them. They "were not priests or human rights campaigners," Mine wrote, "so their deaths have gone largely unnoticed"-as did his story.

    The Jesuits were murdered by the Atlacatl Battalion, an elite unit created, trained and equipped by the United States. It was formed in March 1981, when fifteen specialists in counterinsurgency were sent to El Salvador from the US Army School of Special Forces. From the start, the Battalion was engaged in mass murder. A US trainer described its soldiers as "particularly ferocious….We’ve always had a hard time getting them to take prisoners instead of ears."

    In December 1981, the Battalion took part in an operation in which over a thousand civilians were killed in an orgy of murder, rape and burning. Later it was involved in the bombing of villages and murder of hundreds of civilians by shooting, drowning and other methods. The vast majority of victims were women, children and the elderly.

    The Atlacatl Battalion was being trained by US Special Forces shortly before murdering the Jesuits. This has been a pattern throughout the Battalion’s existence-some of its worst massacres have occurred when it was fresh from US training.

    In the "fledgling democracy" that was El Salvador, teenagers as young as 13 were scooped up in sweeps of slums and refugee camps and forced to become soldiers. They were indoctrinated with rituals adopted from the Nazi SS, including brutalization and rape, to prepare them for killings that often have sexual and satanic overtones.

    The nature of Salvadoran army training was described by a deserter who received political asylum in Texas in 1990, despite the State Department’s request that he be sent back to El Salvador. (His name was withheld by the court to protect him from Salvadoran death squads.)

    According to this deserter, draftees were made to kill dogs and vultures by biting their throats and twisting off their heads, and had to watch as soldiers tortured and killed suspected dissidents-tearing out their fingernails, cutting off their heads, chopping their bodies to pieces and playing with the dismembered arms for fun.

    In another case, an admitted member of a Salvadoran death squad associated with the Atlacatl Battalion, Cesar Vielman Joya Martinez, detailed the involvement of US advisers and the Salvadoran government in death-squad activity. The Bush administration has made every effort to silence him and ship him back to probable death in El Salvador, despite the pleas of human rights organizations and requests from Congress that his testimony be heard. (The treatment of the main witness to the assassination of the Jesuits was similar.)

    The results of Salvadoran military training are graphically described in the Jesuit journal America by Daniel Santiago, a Catholic priest working in El Salvador. He tells of a peasant woman who returned home one day to find her three children, her mother and her sister sitting around a table, each with its own decapitated head placed carefully on the table in front of the body, the hands arranged on top "as if each body was stroking its own head."

    The assassins, from the Salvadoran National Guard, had found it hard to keep the head of an 18-month-old baby in place, so they nailed the hands onto it. A large plastic bowl filled with blood was tastefully displayed in the center of the table.

    According to Rev. Santiago, macabre scenes of this kind aren’t uncommon. People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador-they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disemboweled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones, while parents are forced to watch.

    Rev. Santiago goes on to point out that violence of this sort greatly increased when the Church began forming peasant associations and self help groups in an attempt to organize the poor.

    By and large, our approach in El Salvador has been successful. The popular organizations have been decimated, just as Archbishop Romero predicted. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered and more than a million have become refugees. This is one of the most sordid episodes in US history-and it’s got a lot of competition.



    Post edited by BalcombeSt4 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,237 ✭✭✭ rock22

    I shouldn't continue off topic but, to at least put it in an Irish context, there were a lot of demonstrations regarding US central American actions when Reagan visited Ireland in 1984. To the point that Reagan dispatched a senior official, i think the Secretary of state, to Central America days before landing here. Apparently the administration were totally unaware of the interest in Ireland, and Europe generally, in the US policy in El Salvador and Nicaragua

  • Registered Users Posts: 23 DANMAN2016

    Who is actually pursuing policy aiding the Irish language so vigorously? Very few people really... The Irish language is barely mentioned in the Dáil, various news publications or daily discussion. Most people don't give a s**t about the language, and a lot of people actually have disdain for it, as is well displayed by some posters here. I can't fathom why they want to live in the country if their only appreciation of it is living in a little economic bubble of services and entertainment with no bearing or concern for their own history and heritage, or that of future generations. 'Just let it die out sure, whats the point' It is both defeatist and self loathing, and no 'economic argument' can hold up to scrutiny, you cannot argue 'value' in regard to intangible cultural heritage and what is brought with it. (Of course quality of education is an issue with the language, but it is not an argument against teaching the language all together, nor greatly reducing it.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭ BalcombeSt4

    The more cultural nationalist leaders of the 1912 - 1924 period pushed for it for it to be the national language.

    When Joyce heard Pearse say everyone would 'have to' speak Gaelic in a free Ireland he was so disgusted he left his class & learnt Norwegian instead.

    Dev brings it up in nearly all his speeches around that time, and when he came to he made mandatory to be learned in schools.

    But your right, it was a big failure & a waste of time, which was my point. A while ago Varadkar was asked a question in English in the Dail from a PBP member who didn't speak Irish, Leo knew this & only responded in Irish so the PBP guy couldn't understand, he kept asking the question in English & Leo with a big smeark on his face, just such a waste of time.