Why Unionists Oppose The Irish Language Act


Irish Language And Unionists ❌: Why do you think do the unionists in Northern Ireland (Ulster) strongly oppose the Irish language act? Let us discover in this blog. Read on to learn more.


More than a month ago, we have gone on and talked about the latest news on the Irish language act in Northern Ireland, in which we have delved deeper into its history and current events that transpired. The unionists’ fears, in other words, have finally come about. In that particular blog, we have mentioned the ongoing dispute between those who favour and oppose the act such as the Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), respectively.


Now in this blog, we will talk more about the unionists who openly oppose the Irish language act. To those who do not really listen to this particular news, this might seem strange as to why they oppose this act. Not to worry, we will share useful and interesting information you should know.



>>Check out the latest podcasts on FluentIrish.com – and start improving!


Reasons why unionists oppose the Irish language act


Before anything else, let me give you a recap on who the unionists are.


Basically, unionism in Ireland has already been around for a very long time. It all started in the 19th century and still exists today. What they are known for mostly is their never-ending efforts to keep the link between Northern Ireland and the UK intact. Therefore, they very much abhor the Irish language itself.


I, myself, do not find anything wrong with the Irish language – and it would certainly not affect my political views as the unionists say it would. You read that right – the unionist community pretty much reject the language and even considers it as a foreign one! Everyone would be surprised to see how they can get offended over plenty of things. Irish Times reported in the recent past the following:


Earlier on the show, hosted by Stephen Nolan, former Ulster Unionist Assembly member, and later Ukip leader in Northern Ireland, David McNarry argued with Mr Mac Giolla Bhéin about the language. But first he took his opportunity to describe the new Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald as a “foreigner”, just to set the necessary dour tone that applies so often in Northern Ireland.


Mr McNarry said he was normally a law-abiding man, but if anyone erected an Irish language road sign in his neighbourhood he would take it down, irrespective of any Irish language act. And he couldn’t care less if the signs were trilingual to include Ulster Scots – there would be no Irish sign on his street. “What I am advocating is unionism taking a stand, saying that enough is enough; we don’t need Irish language signs at the bottom of my road. I know the name of my road.”


Easily offended, as mentioned


What could be offensive about a language, wondered Mr Mac Giolla Bhein.


“There are people in Northern Ireland who would walk out their front door to be offended, and that is just who we are,” said Mr McNarry with considerable accuracy.


Other causes of concern as mentioned by unionists about the Irish language


As mentioned above, it all stems from their belief that NI will become unrecognisable as part of the UK when incorporating the Irish language in official documents and becoming equal with the English language in Ireland.


Moreover, they believe that the language is pushed down their throats. It seems to unionists that the Irish language act is forced on them as an identity instead of a language. “We can use the money allotted on Irish language road signs on something more useful!” one member of the unionist would think and say. An excerpt from a News Letter article stated the following:


My understanding is that the executive are overseeing preparations to process Irish language signs through instructions to the respective departments and local councils.


Millions of pounds will be spent on signage on streets, roadways, motorways, train and bus stations and all government sponsored buildings including Belfast City Hall.


In another New Letter article, it was stated that:


We have a complete lack of respect from republicans and many civic nationalists who deliberately insult the unionist community by referring to Northern Ireland as ‘the North of Ireland’.

There continues to be an ongoing campaign by republicans and nationalists against our traditional loyal order and band parades including many church services.


Any unionist who facilitates Irish language legislation will have to face the electoral consequence at the next election.


In addition, the unionists think that when the Republicans get their way and achieve what they want, they become greedy and want more. They really do not have a problem with the language itself, but how they (i.e., the Republicans) will use it.




Basically to sum it all up, if you did not already know, the unionist community wants no part of an Irish parliament. They pride themselves being a part of the UK, hence having a problem with the Irish language act.


Learn Irish through Fluent Irish


Now that we have shared with you more on the unionists who strongly oppose the Irish language and Irish language act, we want to discuss how we can help you in everything Irish-related.


ba mhaith linn plé leat freisin conas is féidir linn cabhrú leat i ngach rud a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge.


If you can understand simple Irish, you will want to improve. Fluentirish is here for you. Listen every day to get on with Irish.

Má tá tú ábalta Gaeilge shimplí a thuiscint – beidh tú ag iarraidh biseach a dhéanamh. Tá Fluentirish anseo faoi do choinne. Bí ag éisteacht gach aon lá chun a bheith ag gabháil ar aghaidh i nGaeilge.

We provide informative blogs and helpful podcasts that can help in your quest to learn the Irish language.


>>Which level?: Find out which level of spoken Irish you understand!