NORTH OF IRELAND: IRISH LANGUAGE ACT - FULFIL OBLIGATIONS CULTURE MINISTER TOLD

-- Cultures --

Rapport de Celtic League
Porte-parole: Cathal Ó Luain

Publié le 13/10/08 8:02 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

The Culture Minister in the Stormont government has been urged to stop 'dragging his heels' on the implementation of an Irish Language Act (see below):

Minister Gregory Campbell MP MLA Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure 20-24 York Street, Belfast, BT15 1AQ

Dear Gregory Campbell MP MLA

Irish Language Act (North of Ireland)

It has been two years since the Irish and UK Government's published the St Andrews Agreement, which committed the UK Government to introduce an Irish Language Act for the north of Ireland. The website of the Northern Ireland Government's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure clearly states that the:

«Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish Language».

However, the people of the North of Ireland and elsewhere are still waiting for the Government to fulfil its promise.

During this time there have been two public consultations to seek views on the nature and content of possible Irish language legislation, which showed that people were overwhelmingly in favour of further legislation for the language. In addition to this, Belfast represents the fastest growing centre of Irish language usage on the island and there is even a Gaeltacht Quarter of Belfast. The number of schools that teach through the medium of the Irish language or include it as part of their curriculum is rapidly growing and yet despite this your Department has consistently denied the people's demands to have their rights codified in law, as is the case in Scotland, Wales and the south of Ireland.

At our AGM in Dublin in August, the following resolution was passed unanimously:

«Tacaionn an Chruinniu Chinn Bhliana seo leis na hiarrachtai le hAcht Gaeilge a bhaint amach sa Tuaisceart.

This AGM supports the efforts to achieve an Irish Language Act in the North of Ireland.»

On the 11th October, representatives from the Celtic League will take part in the planned march in Belfast for fair treatment and a rights based Irish Language Act for the North. To date, in our opinion, your Department has held up the progress of the Irish language in the north of Ireland and we urge you, as the new Minister, to take a fresh lead by enacting an Irish Language Act. It is only by fulfilling past obligations in this way that a new society can be created in the North of Ireland; a society where the Irish language is promoted and protected in line with the conditions set out as part of the peace process.

This weekend and over the coming months, many people, throughout Europe will be waiting to see if the Northern Ireland Government is able to take the peace process forward and is serious about the political agenda that it committed itself to, two years ago. By making an Irish Language Act a reality, you have the opportunity to show Europe and the wider world that change is possible.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League

cc Brian Cowen, Taoiseach"

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J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

10/10/08

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)

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