Ironic and Pathetic

Guest writer Dee Fennell with a critical look at British micro minister John O'Dowd's stance on the Irish language

As a parent of three children attending Irish medium schools, and another two when they are old enough, it was an honour to help lead yesterday's An Lá Dearg march with parents, teachers and pupils campaigning for a bus to bring pupils directly from North Belfast to Colaiste Feirste. North Belfast children account for 20% of all pupils at the school now, with the hugely popular local Bunscoileanna adding to this number every year.

Not only are pupils denied a bus (despite the Treacy court ruling of 2011 that obligated the Department of Education to provide transport for Downpatrick pupils attending the same Colaiste, a ruling John O'Dowd still won’t implement three years later and counting), but many are also being denied bus passes that would ensure they get to school free, ensuring they wouldn’t have to pay for four buses a day. Why, you may ask? Because the Sinn Fein Education Minister says they can either walk or get a bus through the Shankill, thus it is less than 3 miles "as the crow flies".

This one example of discrimination against young Gaeilgeoiri is not being carried out by direct rule British ministers, the NIO or Unionists. It’s not even being carried out by the Alliance Party that wants us to all pretend we are the same, CRC style. It is being carried out by a Sinn Fein minister. There is no getting away from it. His name is John O'Dowd.

Add to this their endorsement if cuts that will effectively cripple many arenas of Gaelic development and their signing away of an Irish Language Act and their presence at a march opposing both the cuts and the non implementation of said Act is very, very puzzling.

Ask yourselves this, if SF were not implementing and endorsing cuts to the Irish Language sector would there have been as much need to march yesterday? If they had delivered on their promise of an Irish Language Act rather than abandoning it at St Andrews and Weston Park, would there have even been a march yesterday?

Put simply they were like Israelis at a Hamas march yesterday. Their positioning to lead the march was pitiful and the organisers are to be commended for putting them at the back despite senior SF "enforcers" angling for the front, though I’d have told them to go home. They were the very reason for the march, and the only thing they brought that was red was their agaigh dearg.

As a sidenote, it is ironic that a party that tells Republicans the days of street protests against sectarian marches, internment and political policing are over, due to the power they supposedly wield in the background on these issues with a nod and wink to British Government reps, were so eager to take to the streets of West Belfast yesterday.

Ironic and pathetic.


  1. So John O'Dowd PSF told a father of young children, his children have a more direct route to school via the Shankill Road and they aren't entitled to a bus pass. Fcuk you. Next.

    This is the same Shankill Road that connects to the Woodvale Road/Twadell Road protest camp where live rounds have been used, a police man was slashed in the face, the same Shankill Road where not long ago Mairtin O MuilleoirPSF was subjected to vile, violent and vitriolic abuse and actually feared for his life..But it is ok to send young children down the same road? ...

    Would either the Lord mayor of Belfast or John O'Dowd grace the TPQ and explain the rational behind that line of thought.

  2. Dee,
    It's part of Sinn Fein's , on paper only policy.
    O Dowd is to education what Mc Guinness is to Republicanism.
    He's worse at the job than Ruane and we all thought she was as bad as it got.

    Hopefully people like yourself well soon be elected and people will see a genuine turnaround.

    1. Good on you Dee for keeping the Runners to the rocks, and the heat just means your goon at good traction .. Ya keep on loosing the road """"" ( :