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Love of Irish is no bad thing ... but I'm still a True Unionist

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

Pog Mo Thoin! That's my blunt message to Orange Geordie, the Order's Belfast County boss who has warned us Prods against learning the Irish language.

Orange Geordie's anti-gaelic rant really did make him look like a headless chicken in terms of responsible political leadership for the loyalist community.

Maybe George Chittick's memory is slipping, but does he remember a Belfast lodge known as Ireland's Heritage which existed in the 1970s?

Or perhaps Chicken Chittick has forgotten the role played by the North's largest Protestant denomination, the Presbyterians, in speaking and protecting the language when English colonists wanted it eradicated during the 18th century?

One point I will concede to Chicken Chittick; the Shinners have used the Irish language as a political weapon against Unionists in the same way Sinn Féin has tried to hijack our island's patron saint, Patrick.

Shinners need to remember that St Patrick brought Christianity – not militant republican socialism – to Ireland.

Unionists must stop making tits of themselves in combatting Sinn Féin's grip on the Irish language by trying to promote a broad Ballymena accent and north Antrim dialect as the mythical Ulster Scots language.

Ulster Scots extremists may have succeeded in getting the daft European Union to recognise this Ballymena accent as a minority language in Europe.

I grew up in north Antrim; I spoke the Ulster Scots accent through primary and secondary school until it vanished after a good dose of expensive elocution lessons.

As a former member of the Orange and Black orders, who donned the sashes for more than two decades, I am proud to say – as a Protestant of Unionist and Presbyterian descent – that I am learning Irish.

I am an unrepentant Radical Right-wing Unionist, but my love of the Irish language does not make me want to vote Sinn Féin in the slightest bit.

Republicans would speak Irish in my presence, knowing I was a Unionist, but thinking this was their way of making fun of me. They shut up when I answered them in Irish!

Imagine how republicans must laugh hysterically at Unionists who slabber away in that silly Ulster Scots lingo. Unionists must adopt the maxim – if you can't beat them, join them!

Sinn Féin has even out-gunned the rapidly dwindling Stoops as the nationalist champion of the Irish language.

You don't hear of many republicans queuing to join Ulster Scots 'language' classes. Chicken Chittick is correct when he talks about a republican agenda.

Sinn Féin has cleverly mastered the art of hood-winking Unionists into thinking that if republicans promote it, then it must be bad for Protestants.

Presbyterians were speaking Irish as their mother tongue generations before Sinn Féin emerged in 1905.

Perhaps I will see my dream become a reality one day – a senior Orangeman give the 12 July speech from the platform in Irish.

In the meantime, I'm off to class. Care to join me Chicken Chittick?

February 11, 2014

This article appeared in the February 10, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.



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