© Paula Caffrey

Language Transcends

Politics

(Tarchéimníon n Teanga Polaitíocht)
Background

Many thought the recent turbulent and violent past in the north of Ireland was over, however, preparations for Brexit now seem to threaten the restoration of a hard border, and hence a symbol of the old divisions. From a neutral viewpoint on the Brexit argument, I intend to identify the possible benefit the ILA (Irish Language Act) offers for the divided community of the north of Ireland.

Campaign

This is a campaign for the revitalisation of the misrepresented Irish language which is often stigmatised by the perception that all speakers of the language must be republicans. Language is one of the most important tools for expressing identity and cultural diversity and should never be divisive. The language’s recent reappearance in traditionally unionist areas reflects the historical importance of Irish as having associations with protestantism since the 17th Century. The Irish language has historically traversed religious and political divisions and should do so again. Disconnecting the language from politics and modernising the language starts with the creation of a new contemporary Gaeilge typeface. This is used as a means of illustrating a place in todays society for this language. After a long period of suppression, the Irish language needs the status it deserves, in keeping with long-standing European-wide protections for minority languages. Above all it needs a sense of ownership between the two communities so that those who feel it is part of their identity are represented and respected within the north of Ireland.