The letter is addressed to the co-guarantors of the New Decade New Approach Agreement, the British and Irish Governments, and also to all of the political parties in the Assembly.
More than 1,000 people have added their names to an open letter calling for the immediate implementation of Irish language legislation here. The move follows the British Government publicly reneging on a clear commitment given to move the legislation in Westminster by October 2021 and again by the end of the Stormont mandate. The letter has been signed by a wide range of leading figures from across society, from academia, law, business, from education, media and from the community.
Signatories include boxer Michael Conlon, GAA stars Neil McManus, Cathy Carey, and Rory Grugan; singer Gráinne Holland; 2021 Turner Prize winners Emma Campbell and Stephen Millar from the Array Collective; community Irish language activist Linda Ervine; alongside renowned academics Professor Alan Titley and Professor Phil Scraton.
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, spokesperson for An Dream Dearg, said:
“Our community was promised a new era of equality in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. That “resolute action” for the Irish language has never been realised. Time and time again our rights have been denied, vetoed and obstructed by the DUP and others who have yet to accept Irish speakers as equal members of society. Today’s letter is a firm display of community support for our campaign for language rights. People have had enough of the empty promises and false dawns. It is entirely reasonable for people to expect governments to keep to their word and deliver on commitments, deadlines and obligations they have given.
Our campaign is calling time on the continuous marginalisation of our language and our community. The British Government must fulfil their own promises and commitments without any further delay. Not only are they co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrew’s, they, alongside the Irish Government, are also co-authors of this Irish language legislation published as a cornerstone component of New Decade New Approach. This issue remains an urgent litmus test for the British Government and our political institutions. Language rights originally promised in 2006 must finally be delivered, implemented and respected.