“Best-practice and advice from international experts must guide language policy going forward”
“Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes latest CoE recommendations on Irish language protection and promotion”
The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Advisory Committee has this week published it’s 5th Monitoring Report on the UK’s implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM). The FCPNM, ratified by the UK Government in 1998, contains strong guidance regarding the promotion of regional minority languages. In its latest report, echoing previous monitoring rounds, the Advisory Committee has made the following recommendations in respect of Irish in the north:
Best-practice, including thresholds and policy guidelines, regarding dual-language (Irish - English) signage and street signs, recommending dual signs in public spaces promote “shared territory”.
A series of recommendations regarding Irish Medium Education, the provision of teachers for IME and the need for increased support for special educational needs (SEN) in IME;
Recommendations for the immediate and full implementation of the 2022 Language & Identity Act alongside the development of further Irish language policies and an Irish Language Strategy, as promised in NDNA;
Guidance for further legislation to protect the Irish language aimed at bridging gaps identified in the 2022 Act, especially relating to education, media and signage.
Paula Melvin, Uachtarán, Conradh na Gaeilge said:
“Conradh na Gaeilge were more than happy to meet the Advisory Committee last year during their most recent monitoring visit. We were able to provide the Committee first hand with examples of many of our ongoing concerns regarding Irish language protections in the north. We raised several objections regarding gaps in the new Irish language Act, the blocking of the Irish language Strategy, including reports from two successful Judicial Reviews on that issue, and feedback on Irish Medium Education and local council policies, specifically on the issues of policy development and dual-language signage. We are happy that many of our concerns have been endorsed by the Advisory Committee in their final report and we call on our elected representatives, the British Government and all relevant public bodies to consult, consider and implement the recommendations without delay.”
Conchúr Ó Muadaigh, Advocacy Manager with Conradh na Gaeilge, added:
“As has been the case for the best part of two decades, between Committee of Expert (COMEX) reports on the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, and monitoring reports such as this from the Advisory Committee for the Framework Convention, the Council of Europe has consistently criticised the UK Government, state party to the Framework, regarding it’s failure to comprehensively comply with duties in international charters on the promotion and protection of Irish here. The Committee has published a broad series of recommendations, all of which echo our own ongoing concerns that the state has to do more, has to be stronger and more progressive when developing and implementing Irish language laws and policies. As we move forward with the new language legislation here, we believe strongly that best-practice and advice from international experts must guide governments, politicians and public bodies on the issue of language policy.”
The full CoE report can be accessed here: https://rm.coe.int/5th-op-uk-en/1680ab55b4