The issue of equality for Irish language speakers continues to be a stumbling block in the ever-evolving Irish peace process. What was once the primary language spoken in Ireland is now at the heart of talks for political parties engaged in restoring Northern Ireland’s powersharing government.
Why is the Irish language such a seemingly intractable matter of contention? Éist recently spoke with Janet Muller, director of POBAL, the umbrella organization for the Irish language community. In the following interview, Muller discusses the history of the language, organizing for Irish language rights and the power relationships at play within the struggle for equality. [May 2016]
Raiders of the Lost Archives: Irish author/activist Ciarán MacAirt on Paper Trail & the pursuit of truth
Ciarán MacAirt is the founder of Paper Trail, a family-led organization and social enterprise that works to uncover archival evidence in support of family-centered truth-recovery efforts in Northern Ireland.
In December 1971, MacAirt’s grandmother and fourteen others were killed when a bomb planted by loyalist paramilitaries exploded in a Belfast bar. Though the tragedy took place more than three years before MacAirt was born, the impact of his family’s loss would eventually inspire him to play a leadership role in the McGurk’s Bar Massacre Campaign, write a book about the families’ pursuit of truth and start Paper Trail as a weapon in the war against disinformation by the British state.
Éist spoke with MacAirt about his motivation and Paper Trail’s unique approach to accessing critical information. [November 2016]
In early 2016, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates ignited a national conversation about reparations for slavery after asking Congressman Bernie Sanders about his position on the issue and then critiquing his response. More recently, the Movement for Black Lives included reparations as part of their platform of demands.
Éist took the opportunity to gain some insight on reparations programs and policy by speaking withRuben Carranza, the Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice‘s Reparations Program. Read more about what is meant by the term and how reparations policies have been applied in various contexts around the world. [October 2016]
The Ferguson-based Truth Telling Project (TTP) implements and sustains grassroots, community-centered truth-telling processes designed to share local voices, to educate America, and to support structural change as a form of reconciliation for the purposes of eliminating systemic violence and racism against Black people in the United States.
Éist director Kate McCabe spoke with TTP co-founder Dave Ragland this spring about the inspiration behind this critical endeavor. [September 2016]