Friday, June 01, 2007

Consultation to Irish Language Bill

Margaret O'Keeffe
Irish Language Bill Team
Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure
3rd Floor Interpoint
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ

Friday, 01 June 2007

Dear Margaret O'Keeffe,

Re: Irish Language Bill Consultation

The Officers and Members of the Ulster Society would like to express our distress at the current legislation proposed for the promotion of the Irish language.

We believe that it has been proposed only for political reasons as a sop to republicanism in the current process. It will only act as a further tool, used by those politicians, to create and advance a distinct and separate ‘Irish’ identity, quite contrary to the “shared future” ideas generally pursued by the government.

The divisions caused by the legislation, though resentment of the preferential treatment of Irish over Ulster-Scots, and in the association of the Irish language with Sinn Fein / IRA will only insure that this bill will undermine community relations and be detrimental to the progression of the Irish language in a non-political sense, such as is seen with Scots Gaelic in Scotland. Within that jurisdiction (and largely with Welsh in Wales) it is not associated with nationalism, or with particular ideologies or communities and thus cannot be perceived negatively by the community at large. This is not the case in Northern Ireland.

The only possible solution is to have parity of esteem, funding and legal protection for both Irish and Ulster-Scots. Only this equality would stop resentment and fracturing within the community.

Yours sincerely on behalf of the Ulster Society,

Graham Steven Barton
President, 06/07


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

We as a nation deserve to exist...

An open letter to the politicians of Northern Ireland
as requested at the last society meeting.

Dear Messrs,

In years gone by we have seen great change in the identity portrayed by the people of Northern Ireland. We have seen our identity of ‘Britishness’ follow a steep and narrow road.

The symbols of our nation have been removed and dismantled to make way for a greater sense of ‘Irishness’, now alien to this province.

We ask you in your endeavours to reverse this change. The Britons of Ulster are more than just a geographic entity; they are a nation of peoples, separate and distinct from the ‘Irish’ nation, yet part of a greater British nation.

This Ulster-Britishness must be preserved and protected, and not allowed to be subjugated under the cultural fascism of Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s identity is under threat with the Irish Language Act, as proposed under the St. Andrew’s Agreement (2006). Whilst we acknowledge that this was an agreement between our government and that of the Irish Republic, we do not believe it is to the benefit of the British population in Ulster. It will only act as a further tool, used by the nationalist population of Ulster, to create and advance a distinct and separate ‘Irish’ identity.

Caution also has to be upheld to advancing North-South bodies. Any such bodies must not be used to further undermine our Ulster-British identity.

Our politicians, while using North-South bodies to enhance the well-being of peoples of both nations, must not allow Ulster to be submerged into an all-Ireland identity which has never existed.

For thousands of years Ulster has been separated geographically and culturally from the rest of the island.

We as a nation deserve to exist and be respected.

Yours faithfully,

The President, Officers, Fellows and Members of the Ulster Society of The Queen’s University of Belfast

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Monday, November 13, 2006

A Open Letter to the Union Executive

Monday, 13 November 2006

Dear Executive,

It has come to our attention that plans have been proposed at executive level which would allow for the use of university/union property for the launch of a book glorifying the life of Bobby Sands, the IRA terrorist.

It is with the strongest terms possible that we must object to this usage. Bobby Sands was a terrorist, he committed crimes and was punished for them. It is simply republican propaganda that has turned him into the idol he is today for nationalism.

For these reasons his image is regarded as one of the worst examples of rewriting of history in the troubles by the unionist community and thus totally unacceptable.

If it is indeed the policy of the union to be inclusive and non-sectarian as the constitution, university calendar and many other publications state, then it cannot possibly allow this event to take place. To do so would be a slap in the face of anyone from the British community at Queen’s, not to mention those with respect for the rule of law, and intolerance for the glorification of terror.

We demand that this event be barred from taking place on university property, to allow it to continue would be an insult to the our society and a severe dent in the burgeoning culture of mutual respect at QUB since the dark days of republican dominance and violence.

Yours faithfully,

Graham Steven Barton
President – Ulster Society

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