United Nations Calls Out London For its Failure to Support Gaelic in in the North

The Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaelige) are the main voluntary community organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad, The Gaelic League’s main aim is to reinstate the Irish language as the common tongue of Ireland.  Since its founding in 1893, members have been actively promoting Irish in every aspect of life in Ireland, from legal and educational affairs to the development of media and services through Irish.  Members of the Gaelic League are in the forefront of campaigns to strengthen the rights of the Irish speaking community.

News from the Gaelic League –Conradh na Gaeilge call on British Government and Irish Government to address International Obligations to Irish-language Act

The 6th Periodical Report from the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which investigates the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (E/C.12/GBR/6), was published yesterday (27 June 2016). As part of the enquiry, the Committee examined the role of the British Government in fulfilling its duties around the implementation of Covenant (ICESCR). Although a representative for the British Government refused to answer the question regarding Irish-language legislation at the CESCR meeting last week (15-16 June 2016), it is clearly stated in the ICESCR Report that the “Committee remains concerned about the lack of effective measures adopted by the State party to promote the use of Irish Language” in the north.

Alongside this, “the Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the State party adopt an Irish Language Act”, as was clearly stated in the 5th ICESCR Periodical Report from June 2009.

Niall Comer, Tánaiste of Conradh na Gaeilge says: “Seven years after the previous Report, which specifically recommended that the British Government adopt an Irish-language Act here, we seem to be no further forward. It is obvious that this is now an issue of basic accountability, and it seems that the British Government are refusing to implement the Committee’s recommendations, as well as neglecting their own international commitments to the Covenant. The fact that the ICESCR Committee is even monitoring this is a reason for hope, given that they have clearly identified and recognised, at a global level, that the British Government are failing to fulfil their duties to the Irish-language in the six counties.”

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge says: “We welcome the recommendations made in the ECESCR Report, stemming from the United Nations, which informs people that the Irish-language people are continuously being discriminated against. As we all know by now, the introduction of Irish-language legislation is a central part of the 2006 St. Andrew’s Agreement. Ten years down the line and the Irish-language community are still calling for their basic human rights. Both the British Government and the Irish Government, as joint-signatories of the St. Andrew’s Agreement, have a central role and a legislative duty to fulfil their commitments in this instance."

Mac Giolla Bhéin continues:

“The north of Ireland is the only region on these Islands that does not have protective language-based legislation for the native language; it is high time that this is recognised and amended. Conradh na Gaeilge call on both Governments to become fully accountable to the commitments they have made and to address international obligations to an Irish-language Act."

Conradh na Gaeilge are calling upon both the British and Irish Governments, as joint-signatories of the St. Andrew’s Agreement, to fulfil their role in introducing Irish-language legislation in the north, as was agreed and promised ten year ago, and fulfil all other commitments to international agreements and covenant and to fully adhere to the recommendations made by ICESCR in this significant report.


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