Love thy neighbour
Is this a good time to catch up with Nathan and Breandán, you ask.
It’s always a good time to catch up with the twins who first appeared on this blog back in 2014.
I enountered the boys and their mum Emma when carrying out constituency duties in Belfast. They were preparing to start secondary school, having completed their primary education in Scoil na Fuiseoige in Twinbrook.
This week, they completed their third year at Coláiste Feirste, where numbers continue to expand beyond the wildest dreams of those who set up the pioneering Irish medium college over 20 years ago.
Next year is a biggie when the twins will start studying for their GCSE exams. We wish them well.
When bumped up to Stormont, I put a picture of the boys on my office wall to remind me that when it comes to an Irish Language Act and issues of dignity and respect, we are talking about real people.
And yet the language they love and speak — and which makes us especially proud of them — still enjoys no official recognition in the north of Ireland.
Surely what’s good enough for Welsh in Wales, Gaelic in Scotland, and for all south off the border is good enough for Nathan and Breandán Ó Miadhiadh?
Matters of love thy neighbour brought me to the city centre this week to join the mammoth rally for marriage equality.
It was a day for celebrating diversity and welcoming change.
My fave speech of the day was from a young man who would like to marry his partner. Pointing to the City Hall behind him, he said: “We live here. These are our streets. The building behind me is ours and we are going to get married there.”
Now that will be a special day in the Registry Office.
Finally, bon voyage to the bridge-builders of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church who head for Uganda tomorrow to work with their sister parish.
When the faithful at Fitzroy were refurbishing their own church in 2014-15, they decided to raise funds to build a school at the same time in Onialeku in northwest Uganda. That school has since been built and the Belfast church has continued to work on development issues with its Ugandan colleagues, dispatching Team Uganda from Belfast each summer. Those are impressive values.