Courts Must Act When Executive Doesn’t

Court Case Taken Against NI AssemblyFull Hearing of Conradh na Gaeilge Judicial Review in Belfast’s Highcourt as Executive Fails to Implement Irish-Language Strategy

Belfast’s High-Court today (8 February 2017) today heard the Conradh na Gaeilge case against the NI Executive regarding their failure to adopt an Irish-language Strategy (2015-35) as was promised in St Andrew’s Agreement (2006) and the Executive’s programme for Government 2011-2015.

‘Application for Leave’ for the case was granted to Conradh na Gaeilge in May 2016 and is a Judicial Review regarding Executive’s failure to adopt an Irish language Strategy, and the Executive’s failure to comply with its duty pursuant to section 28d of the NI Act 1998.

Pupils from local Irish medium schools joined An Dream Dearg outside the high court to support the case for an Irish language strategy.

Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill, President of Conradh na Gaeilge says:

“Conradh na Gaeilge engaged pro-actively with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure when the strategy was being consulted on, as did many others within the Irish language community. We have been waiting for this to be implemented for over 10 years and there is a great deal of frustration within our community at the failure of the executive to bring this forward. We are talking about simple measures relating to children, Irish at home, visibility of the language; things that will make a demonstrable difference to the increasing numbers of people living their lives through Irish. The Courts must Act when the Executive doesn’t”.

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Conradh na Gaeilge, and spokesperson for ‘An Dream Dearg’, says:

“We welcome the Court’s decision and the opportunity to challenge the executive's failure to adapt an Irish language strategy. Stormont cannot simply overlook a key legal duty introduced as part of an international agreement which forms part of the peace process and which formed a central part of the Executive's own Programme for Government 2011-15. It is particularly important that there is a strategy to enhance and protect the development of the language as the Irish speaking community continues to grow and asserts its rights. Stormont can no longer turn a blind eye to the Irish language community – it is time to legislate.”

Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge