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Justice Minister should repeal anti-Gaelic 1737 Act - McCartney

13 January, 2011 - by Raymond McCartney

Sinn Féin deputy Chair of the Assembly Justice Committee Raymond McCartney MLA has called on Justice Minister David Ford to urgently look at repealing the discriminatory 1737 Act which prohibits the use of the Irish Language in Courts here.

Speaking after the Committee received a presentation from the Human Rights Commission in relation to the draft Justice Bill, today Mr McCartney said;

“The north’s Human Rights Commission have once again stated the unjust nature of this Act, which discriminates against Irish speakers by prohibiting the use of Irish in the courts.

To quote directly from the presentation we received today, in relation to the 1737 Act;

“Does not comply with Article 7(2) of the Charter. The continued existence of the 1737 Act is therefore clearly at odds with a treaty commitment the UK has entered into, yet is not dealt with by the present Bill.”

It goes on to say;

“The Committee may wish to explore further how the Department of Justice intends to deal with the 1737 Act and provide for the use of Irish in the Courts. Such a remedy could be referenced in, but need not await, the Executive strategy to enhance and protect the development of the Irish Language.”

Therefore the Sinn Féin members of the Committee will be seeking assurances from the Justice Minister that he will now heed the views of organisations like the HR Commission, POBAL as well as the views recently expressed by the Six Counties Attorney General and work to repeal the 1737 Act and ensure that the new Justice Bill provides equality for Gaeilgeoirí.” CRÍOCH

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