Northern Ireland

Gaeltacht councillor condemns 'cupla focal' at King Charles' coronation

The King leaving Westminster Abbey following a rehearsal for his coronation on Wednesday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
The King leaving Westminster Abbey following a rehearsal for his coronation on Wednesday (Stefan Rousseau/PA) The King leaving Westminster Abbey following a rehearsal for his coronation on Wednesday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A Co Donegal Gaeltacht councillor has branded the use of the Irish language in the coronation service for King Charles as a “cynical PR stunt”.

Independent councillor and Irish language champion, Micheál Mac Giolla Easbuig said Irish speakers and the “wider Gaeltacht community” would “see through#” the royal family’s use of Irish on Saturday.

For the first time in history, the Irish language is to be used in the coronation of a British monarch. The Church of England announced last month that the choirs singing the hymn Veni Creator (Come Creator Spirit) would be sung in the four languages used in Britain and Northern Ireland, English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish. One of the verses of the hymn will be sung in Irish.

In 2011, in the first visit to the Republic by a British monarch, the late Queen Elizabeth was praised for speaking a number of words in Irish during a speech.

However, independent councillor, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said the use of Irish in Saturday’s service was a “patronising weasel ‘cupla focal’ (couple of words)”.

“We are wise to the fact that British imperialism sought to systematically obliterate spoken Irish on this island as part of their brutal colonial agenda which necessitated the demise of our ancient language and culture in order to facilitate their political, economic, social and cultural subjugation of Ireland,” Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said.

Activists in Gaeltacht communities in Donegal and other parts of Ireland were still dealing with the legacy of a “cruel onslaught” on Irish culture and language as it was still starved of crucial resources, he said.

Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig called on Irish people to stand against the “cynical” use of the Irish language at Saturday’s coronation.

“As Gaels, we must retain our integrity and independence rather than become willing pawns in a political agenda,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) has criticised Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey and Michelle O’Neill after they confirmed they would be travelling to the coronation.

"The very principle of republicanism is in opposition to monarchy," RSF said in a statement.