It is important to grasp that fact if we hope to understand what Sinn Fein is about as regards its Irish language strategy.
We don't hear much in Northern Ireland about the concept of 'affirming identity' but it is a fairly common concept in the field of cultural studies and central to any understanding of Irish language politics.
Certainly there is not much equity in the field of broadcasting when it comes to our cultural traditions and the cultural identities of the indigenous communities that make up Northern Ireland. How are those other traditions reflected in broadcasting, if we use Irish language broadcasting as a benchmark?
Moreover the Belfast Agreement provided a basis an enhanced status for the Irish language and greater support for Irish-medium schools. Irish medium education certainly affirms and validates a distinctively Irish Gaelic identity. The Belfast Agreement actually increased the cultural imbalance and that has been left to us by the architects of the Belfast Agreement.
For too long the equality and human rights industries have pandered to the demands of the Irish language lobby while at the same time ignoring the cultural interests and cultural rights of those of us who embrace other cultural traditions. Sinn Fein talk about a lot about equality so what about some equality for the rest of us.
George Orwell said that his book Animal Farm reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, for which this year is the 100th anniversary. That book contains the memorable sentence, 'All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.' It's a bit like that with Sinn Fein who seem incapable of coping with equality.