News Release - 12 February 2018
For immediate publication
‘High time Irish recognised as Official Language with legislative protections & services, visibility and an independent commissioner’ – Conradh na Gaeilge
Only a strong rights-based stand-alone Irish language Act can ensure sustainable government
As the negotiations draw to a close and the question of rights for the Irish language community once again take centre stage, Conradh na Gaeilge reaffirms essential criteria for any Irish language legislation; Official status, public services, visibility and an independent commissioner, as per existing legislation in Wales and across the world.
Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, says:
The Conradh na Gaeilge proposals for an Irish language Act are based on linguistic, legislative and international best practice; we have made our proposals to ensure the Irish language is protected and promoted for all in our society. As we have heard from many politicians, parties and commentators over the last 12 months, the Irish language belongs to us all, and so it must be protected for all. The Irish Language is an integral part of this society and until that is recognised officially, and until the appropriate provisions are in place, provisions recognised internationally by experts, the efforts to secure an independent Irish Language Act will not cease.
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, says:
At St Andrews, over eleven years ago, the Irish language community was promised 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.” To date that is a promise that is yet to be fulfilled. The community is waiting, we have had 3 public consultations on this and all returned majority support for and Irish language Act; the last of which in 2015 saw 94.7% of more than 13,000 respondents support Irish being officially recognised in legislation as an official language. We are ready to go. The Irish language community are no longer willing to be treated as second class citizens in this state, no longer willing to be left on the margins. The past year has witnessed a reawakening and the days of Irish no longer being seen or heard are over. Any new government, new settlement, or any new political arrangements must facilitate the rights and recognition of Irish speakers. Only a strong, rights-based, stand-alone Irish language Act can ensure sustainable government here. Now is the time.
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin will be speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Evening Extra, today and on UTV The View from Stormont later tonight.
The Conradh na Gaeilge discussion document can also be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/2uApcES
Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin
Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge
Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh
Communications Executive, Conradh na Gaeilge
Conradh na Gaeilge is the democratic forum for the Irish-speaking community. The Conradh has over 200 branches and numerous individual members registered around the world, members that work hard to promote the use of Irish in their own areas. Conradh na Gaeilge’s main aim is to promote the use of Irish as the standard language in Ireland. Conradh na Gaeilge was established by Douglas Hyde, Eoin Mac Néill, and their colleagues on the 31st of July 1893. The organisation runs Irish-language courses; advocates for the language rights of Irish-speakers; raises awareness about the language; hosts the international Irish-language festival Seachtain na Gaeilge; manages the Irish-language information hub PEIG.ie and the Irish-language bookshop An Siopa Leabhar; supports Raidió Rí-Rá; and much more. More information: www.cnag.ie