Tuesday, 20 October 2009

“Iechyd Da”

…de Paul Flynn, MP:

Gerry Adams was welcomed to Swansea this morning. He had a message of hope with bitter edges.

He reacted warmly to the questions in the Welsh language.

It's the only Celtic language that is used fully, naturally and fluently in the political life of a nation. But Gerry had one one startling story of the prickly jagged edge to the relationship between Wales and Ireland.

When he was in Long Kesh as an uncharged prisoner Gerry Adams took part in an escape plot. The result was that a close friend, also an uncharged prisoner, was shot dead by a Welsh Guardsman. It was in Long Kesh where Gerry first heard the expression 'Iechyd Da' Welsh for 'Good health'.

When the Welsh Guards finished their tour of duty at Long kesh, the IRA prisoners lined up to chant 'Iechyd da' in a derisive farewell. Later I asked Gerry whether I got the point of his story right. The farewell was not a friendly 'Good luck to our fellow Celtic brethren?'. "No. It wasn't" said Gerry.

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