All eyes on DUP vote tonight as discriminatory TUV motion against Irish-language rights goes before council

Cearta TeangaCouncil motion all too common example of widespread hostility to Irish Language at local government level and once more highlights pressing need for legislative provision 

A motion proposed by TUV councillors, to oppose any form of Irish-language legislation or official status, is to be put forward to tonight’s meeting of the Mid and East Antrim Council:

10.1 Notice of Motion proposed by Cllr T Gaston, seconded by Cllr R Wilson

"That this Council, noting the existing lavish provision for Irish language interests, opposes any attempt, under any legislative guise, to make Irish an official language in Northern Ireland or to require to be treated on a par with English, either in the council or elsewhere, believing such would create massive public expenditure, and a clear disadvantage to the non-Irish speaking majority and prove needlessly divisive across the community".

Dr Niall Comer, President of Conradh na Gaeilge, says:

“The proposed TUV motion for Mid & East Antrim highlights the total lack of respect and understanding for a prominent part of our shared heritage. This motion is a cause of both disappointment and anger to the Irish-language community, especially since the DUP has claimed the language ‘is for everyone’ and stating their support for ‘legislative provision’ for the Irish language.”

"The fact that this motion is even being proposed is concerning for the Irish-language community, after a year in which the campaign for Irish-language rights has raised this issue to the heart of political discourse and almost a year since the Líofa cuts and highlighted the need for legal protections. This is unfortunately a common example of the widespread hostility to Irish language at local government level and reminds us once more that there are those who wish to actively oppose and oppress the language and it’s community. If ever a clearer example was needed as to why we need legislative protection for the Irish language, surely this is it.”

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge, says:

“Conradh na Gaeilge is once again challenging the DUP on the Irish-language; if they are sincere that there should be legislative provision for the Irish language, if they are genuine in saying that the language does not challenge or undermine the British identity, and if they are resolute in their efforts to reach a solution in terms of legislation for the Irish-language as a means to restore the political institutions here, then they must, as a party, oppose this motion and denounce it clearly as another discriminatory attempt to block Irish-language development. This motion also clearly contradicts the guidance given to local government under the previously ratified European Charter for Regional and Minority languages.”

“As we are aware, from research we have carried out, Mid & East Antrim Council have totally failed to fulfil or engage with their own responsibilities and obligations regarding the Irish language. This motion refers to the ‘lavish provision’ for the language, which in itself is a false claim. This council actually practices the exact opposite, and does not spend a penny on Irish-language promotion or policy and actively block any progressive Irish-language actions. We recommend that the Mid & East Antrim Council, and the represented parties, reflect and act on the already existing international Irish-language obligations, instead of following the trend of ongoing attacks on the language regarding legislative proposals that they have no control over. The only solution to the legislative questions around the Irish language is the implementation of a rights-based, stand-alone Irish language Act, as was promised over ten years ago.”

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge