Wide range of parties support Irish language commitments in local elections

Parties indicate support for local council Irish language services and policies as Conradh na Gaeilge announce #GaelVóta commitments

In total, six parties are supporting Irish language commitments in the upcoming local elections in the north. Alliance, Aontú, SDLP, Sinn Féin, PBP and Green Party have committed to ensuring local councils adopt Irish language policies that recognise and ensure the implementation of the Council’s obligations as laid out under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages and include measures around taking ‘resolute action’,  as laid out in the Good Friday Agreement. Furthermore, they have agreed that Irish language policies in local councils should be designed to assist in tackling prejudice and promoting tolerance and understanding of the Irish language.

Most of the parties also committed to support the provision of services through Irish in local councils, including the appointment of an Irish language officer in councils. In addition they have committed to promote visibility of the language through progressive policies on bilingual street signage that ensure the linguistic choice of local residents is facilitated.

Julian de Spáin, Ard-Rúnaí le Conradh na Gaeilge, said:

Conradh na Gaeilge are greatly encouraged by the broad range of support from parties for the Irish language in the upcoming local elections. It is significant that now 6 parties are supporting the community in calling for an Irish language policy at local council level and now a majority of those parties are standing with a commitment for basic service and policy provision supporting the Irish language, which includes bilingual street signage. If implemented, this will go a long way in supporting local communities who continue to use and promote the Irish language daily.

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, said:

“In March this year the Welsh Language Commissioner launched research jointly compiled by Conradh na Gaeilge, CAJ and Ulster University ‘Local Councils, Obligations and the Irish Language: A Framework for Compliance’. The local election commitments we have laid out have all been identified as key fundamental actions in ensuring compliance with the relevant international and domestic treaties and agreements, namely, the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (2001), the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, The Good Friday Agreement (1998), and the St Andrew’s Agreement (2006). These commitments will ensure Local Government compliance with treaties that have been ratified and will greatly enhance the protection and promotion of Irish at local council level. We thank those parties for their continued support for the Irish language and we look forward to meeting with them in the coming days and weeks to further build on these commitments and to discuss future cooperation regarding the language.”

The list of the commitments from the parties can be found at this link and further information on policies and party responses are available at www.cnag.ie/gaelvota.

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge