Columnists

Jake O'Kane: And they call it puppy love... except I wanted to call our Border Terrier 'Protocol'

Sharing a sofa with Nigel Farage, Arlene Foster was introduced to GB News viewers as having ‘stepped down' as leader of the DUP, which is akin to saying she'd ‘stepped off' the plank of a pirate ship

And they call it puppy love... Jake with his family's new border terrier Ted, though he preferred the name Protocol
Jake O'Kane

WHEN it was announced that an Irish language school was to open at Braniel Primary School in east Belfast, it felt like an incrementally small but positive change.

Sadly, this week, we learned that Naíscoil na Seolta, which was to open to 16 children, had been forced to move location due to a concerted online campaign of hate, abuse and lies.

To the credit of Braniel Primary School, the principal and board of governors issued a statement saying: "A social media campaign was started and fuelled by those who are not connected to the school, nor are parents of our school and who are not interested in facts and truth."

I made an educated guess that the online comments which forced this decision came from illiterates barely competent in English, much less Irish.

As someone who has regularly come under attack from such idiots, I'm continually astounded by their ignorance of basic grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Having experienced a fractured early education, I fully accept how some people can miss out, but I managed to catch up - why can't they? For while there should be no shame in being academically challenged, neither should that be celebrated, something I find common amongst online trolls.

Proudly spouting their own version of patois English, they argue they can 'rite wativer way they's lik, so thire'. And of course they can, but in doing so they completely undermine any argument they're trying to make.

While the cadre of cretins whose hatred has forced three-year-olds to move school will no doubt celebrate, they should understand their victory is pyrrhic, for while they will continue to struggle to express themselves intelligibly, the children they've displaced will soon be fluent in not one, but two, languages.

****

I thought it laudable Arlene Foster said on leaving as First Minister that she intended campaigning against online abuse. I was bewildered, then, when she appeared on Andrew Neil's GB News channel which many regard as a home for the sort of fringe, and sometimes offensive, views found on social media.

Sharing a sofa with Nigel Farage, Arlene was introduced as having 'stepped down' as leader of the DUP, which is akin to saying she'd 'stepped off' the plank of a pirate ship.

We on this side of the Irish Sea know she had been unceremoniously dumped after her disastrous handling of Brexit negotiations led to the NI Protocol and the first-ever border between NI and Britain.

Arlene's own explanation for joining the UK's tacky version of Fox News was "...to have space for civilised discussion in a meaningful way and to bring Northern Ireland very much into the mainstream of UK politics".

This aspiration to 'bring NI into the mainstream of UK politics' has come somewhat late as, during her tenure as First Minister, her party blocked both gay marriage and abortion legislation, leaving Westminster to enact both.

Arlene, beaming with pride whilst being introduced to the GB News audience, said she was "thrilled to be among such august company", despite sitting beside Nigel Farage.

Thinking about it though, having spent 20 years with the likes of Sammy Wilson, Jim Wells and Gregory Campbell, Nigel Farage probably would feel like a step up...

****

THE O'Kane household welcomed a new addition during the week. No, not that, I'm 60 for God's sake. We got a new Border Terrier pup.

And before the virtue signallers explode, I would have considered a rescue dog but as I'm allergic to dog hair, I needed a breed which didn't shed. Also, I love Border Terriers, so there.

This is our second Border, and we returned to the breeder of our first dog as we had previously checked his operation and knew we weren't buying from a puppy farm.

The man we settled on was Donald from Lurgan. Donald is an expert on the breed and is very selective about who he'll allow to purchase his beloved pups; I just about passed muster. I won't give any other details as he's a man in no need of advertising.

Sadly - as on so many other occasions - I was outvoted when it came to naming the pup, with the Protestant and my two halflings settling on Ted.

Being a Border Terrier, I thought my name was much more original - I wanted to call him Protocol. I was looking forward to the fun I'd have walking him; if he did something wrong, I'd scream, "No Protocol, no Protocol, stop". I'm wasted on this family, I really am.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Columnists