Unionist Voices in Irish Politics Are Needed, More than Dublin or Belfast May Know

Living in Belfast during my early twenties had a profound effect on how I see Irish identities and politics, and it was an experience I look back upon with fondness. Living just off the Dublin Road in a loyalist part of south-central Belfast, however, meant that there were some flags, murals, and other emblems that would’ve made the inexperienced southerner (as I was when I moved there first) pretty nervous.

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Ireland’s Language Divide Needs a Solution. Fast.

This is the English version of an earlier blog post in Irish: Líonfaimis an Bhearna idir Gaeltacht is Galltacht.

I’ll try to avoid every typical phrase used about the Irish language or the Gaeltacht that you might see from school essays to the comments section on certain news sites. The matter is far too serious to use such platitudes. Instead, I’ll try to tackle the issue head-on to find a potential solution.

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Collaborating Celts: The Need for a New Celtic Union

When I went to university, I was in a very lucky and privileged position. I had been encouraged by my parents to choose a degree course that I would enjoy, and not just one which may contribute to my career (which, at the time, I was certain would be in broadcasting). My first choice on my CAO form was Business through Irish, a course which I thought would combine my passion for the Irish language with a supposedly practical business degree. When I got my Leaving Cert results, however, I didn’t pass the minimum requirement in maths to get a place on that course, so I went with my second option of Arts at University College Dublin.

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A Cynical View on Irish Politics?

Most of us have, at some point in our lives, heard the advice: The three things you should never discuss with people are politics, religion, and money. I’ve often thought that the Irish never got the memo on such a rule, because for a country which almost makes a national sport out of referenda and elections, we often discuss the actions, statements, and flaws of our politicians. We’ve seen debate on whether or not certain manifestations of local or national government should even exist; in Ireland, those debates have recently ranged from having directly-elected city mayors to whether or not we abolish our Seanad. We so often hear dismissive statements in the pub or on the street that politicans are “all the same”; they’re “only interested in lining their pockets” or “getting their cushy pension” and they’re “all a shower of wasters”. The same lines have been exclaimed by frustrated citizens for generations, yet rarely is an alternative to the situation proposed, let alone one agreed upon.

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Birthday Parties & Book Launches (on Zoom)

The last week of staying at home, officially Week 7 of self-isolation, was probably the strangest. We were the most used to the ‘new normal’, with our routine of daily walks within two-kilometre limits, weekly grocery trips to Aldi, SuperValu, or the local off-licence. We’d notice – but become accustomed to – the deathly silence on the roads during an evening walk; it would only be around 9 o’clock, but it would feel like 4 in the morning, stumbling home from a night out. The idea of going out for a treat is now a takeaway coffee in the nearby petrol station, and I’ve almost forgotten when Cork city centre looks like, whatever about travelling to the rest of the country.

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