The usual prize of a glass of something or other [and I know the last two prizewinners still have a claim on me] for the best non-libellous caption for this photo, taken today at the launch of WI’s education programme for primary school children. I understand that the materials on WI’s e-learning page are complemented by “an off-line teachers resource pack”, which is what the besuited ones are clutching.
Starting at the back, the four chaps are Éanna Rowe, Waterways Ireland’s Marketing Honcho; John Martin, Heid Fector o’ Waterwyes Airlin [as we say in Ulster Scots]*; Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills; Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht but, on the other hand, a strong personal supporter of the Lartigue Monorail, which is a point in his favour.
Update 4 December 2012: the press release is now on the WI site.
* In its 2008 Annual Report, Waterways Ireland was, in Ulster Scots, Watterweys Airlann on the cover but Watterwyes Irelan in the Foreward bae the Cheif [sic] Executive, who signed himself as Chief [sic] Executive. By 2009, though it was still Watterweys Airlann on the cover, it was Waterwyes Airlan in the Foreward bae the Chief [sic] Executive, who signed himself as Heid Fector, a title I rather like. By 2010, though the cover remained unchanged as Watterweys Airlann, the body was Watterwyes Airlan in the Foreward, but the Heid Fector title had been dropped, alas, and John Martin was Chief Executive in two languages.
But 2008 was not the Heid Fector’s first appearance: in 2007 John Martin signed himself thus, though the foreword was called Twarthy words bae tha heid yin and the body was referred to in the text as Wattherweys [sic] Irelan.
Back in 2006, the foreword was Innin wi tha Heid Fector, and the body was Watterweys Airlann, with an accent, which I can’t reproduce, over the first e. That was the same as in 2005; in both years John Martin signed himself as Heid Fector.
I’m not sure whether I prefer Heid Yin or Heid Fector, but either seems better than Chief or Cheif Executive. But the real problem is the difficulty that this inconsistency causes for us eager students of Ulster Scots. I realise that change is inevitable in a thriving, developing language or dialect, but perhaps the cross-border bodies could give a lead in standardising the vocabulary and spelling.