Northern Ireland news

Irish language activitist who was jailed three times laid to rest

Irish language campaigner Proinsias Ó Mianáin
Seamus McKinney

AN Irish language activist imprisoned three times during a life-long battle for greater rights for speakers will be buried today.

Proinsias Ó Mianáin passed away at his home in Derry’s Ballymagroarty area on Thursday.

He was a founding member of Cearta Gael which campaigned for language rights in education, law, health and from the Catholic clergy. He was also a frequent letter writer to the Irish News.

Mr Ó Mianáin worked in Dublin before moving to Gweedore in Co Donegal to bring up his family in the Gaeltacht.

Among the campaigns fought by the Derry man and Cearta Gael was a demand for Irish to be used in Gaeltacht courts and for all road signs in the area to be in Irish only.

In 1984 Mr Ó Mianáin also protested against the use of English by a priest saying Mass in Gweedore.

Some people prevented the activist from entering the church and his home was later attacked and he was assaulted. Three men were convicted of the attack.

In Belfast in 1957, Mr Ó Mianáin was imprisoned after refusing to speak English to security forces when he was stopped on the street.

He was also jailed twice in the Republic as a result of language campaigning, although the cases were overturned at the High Court.

Mr Ó Mianáin’s funeral takes place at Holy Family Church, Ballymagroarty today with burial afterwards at Derry city cemetery.

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