Linda Ervine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Linda Ervine is a language rights activist from East Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a supporter of the Gaelic Irish language and Ulster-Scots. Ervine has gained some media attention because of her coming from a Protestant Unionist background and supporting an Irish Language Act (a position generally regarded as unconventional).

Unionist Gaeilgeoir[edit]

Ervine comes from a British Protestant background and herself supports Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom; her family supported socialism and trade unionism when she was growing up.[1] She is the sister-in-law of David Ervine, a former member of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and later political thinker who led the Progressive Unionist Party.[2] Her husband Brian Ervine also led that party.

Ervine began her involvement with language issues through a six-week introduction to Gaeilge and Ulster-Scots with the East Belfast Mission (a community development organisation founded in 1985) and Short Strand cross community women’s group. She then joined a beginners class at An Droichead on the Ormeau Road. From November 2011 onwards she set up her own beginners class in Newtownards Road[3] which became the Turas Irish-Language Project. She stresses the Protestant history of association with the Gaelic language and the Presbyterian communities of the Hebrides today (in Northern Ireland some unionists tend to associate the language exclusively with Irish republicanism).

Ervine has urged politicians from the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (as well as the Orange Order) not to view the Gaelic language and culture as exclusively the domain of republicanism.[4][5][6] In December 2014, along with Alasdair Morrison; a member of the Scottish Assembly for 1999-2007, standing for British Labour Party; she visited Stormont urging "fair treatment and respect for the Irish language."[7]


  1. ^ "Linda Ervine: Language and Country belongs to us all". Vixens with Convictions. 26 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Ervine to open Gaelic centre in Republic". News Letter. 26 January 2015.
  3. ^ "A New Protestant Beginning for the Irish Language in Belfast". PRI. 26 January 2015.
  4. ^ "McCausland accused of politicising Irish language". The Irish News. 26 January 2015.
  5. ^ "UUP councillors 'walk out' on Irish speaker Linda Ervine". BBC. 26 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Visit our Irish class in loyal east Belfast... challenge to Orange chief who hit out at language". Belfast Telegraph. 26 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Linda Ervine: "respect the Irish language"". Slugger O'Toole. 26 January 2015.

External links[edit]