Derry Irish language activist Proinsias Ó Mianáin has passed away

editorial image

Life-long Derry Irish language activist Proinsias Ó Mianáin passed away at his home in Ballymagroarty on Thursday, September 8.

Mr Ó Mianáin, a tireless Irish language rights campaigner, was a founding member of the Cearta Geal and fought for recognition of Irish in schools, churches, the courts and health system.

Ahead of his time, he led peaceful pickets throughout the 1970s and 1980s, demanding the institution of Irish-only road signs throughout the Donegal Gaeltacht.

He is mourned by his wife Róis, and four children Phádraig, Róisín, Nóirín agus Ghearailt.

His funeral mass will take place at the Holy Family in Ballymagroarty at 11.30am tomorrow, Saturday, September 10.

Mr Ó Mianáin left a huge legacy.

He was the driving force behind the establishment of an Irish language mass at Nazareth House 50 years ago, sowed the seeds for the demands for an Irish Language Act today, while one of his sons Dr Pádraig Ó Mianáin edited the first major English-Irish dictionary since Tomás de Bhaldraithe’s over 50 years ago with ‘ghost estates,’ ‘cyberbullying,’ ‘retweet,’ ‘defriend’ and ‘cloud computing’ amongst words now included in the lexicon.

In 1983 Mr Ó Mianáin led a Cearta Gael delegation to the local Council demanding that the name of the Carnhill estate be restored to the original Irish name, Ard a Chairn.

Two members of the DUP, John Henry and Willie Hay, walked out of the meeting due to Mr Ó Mianáin’s use of Irish.

Also during the 1980s Mr Ó Mianáin objected to local Conradh Na Gaeilge premises in Rosemount being used

for a political meeting between Sinn Féin and NorAid.

And in 1985 he went on hunger strike in Mountjoy after being jailed for demanding “spiritual and cultural rights” at Mass in Cnoc Fola, sparking protests across the country.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.