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Good Friday Agreement Committee - O'Clochartaigh

14 June, 2013

As part of the Agreements arising for the Good Friday Agreement, both the Irish and British Government agreed to implement an Irish Language Act in the North to protect rights and promote Irish Language.

The meeting was addressed by various Irish Language Activists form the North.

Speaking after the meeting, Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh said,

‘Both governments committed to implement an Irish language act for the north as part of agreements arising from the Good Friday Agreement. The act would safeguard the rights of Irish Speakers and the promotion of the language in common with the approach adopted in the south and for native languages in Scotland and Wales.

The Irish Language belongs to all our people and is part of our common heritage This is an issue of equality and test of the commitment of parties to respect the cultural diversity of society. Equality and respect are the principles that must underpin our society.’

Conor Murphy MP said,

‘Today we had a very good and wide-ranging discussion on the outstanding issue of an Irish Language Act for the North. We heard of the concerns of unionist community and the expectations and hopes of the Irish Language Activists. The safeguarding and promotion of Irish cannot and should not be seen as a threat to any other identity. It is simply about developing equality and respect. The issue of an act was agreed by the governments and if the agreements are to be of value they need to be fully implemented. 

It is clear that those opposed to an act must engage, must outline their concerns and must be part of the discussion on the type of Act that is required to make good the agreement of the governments. Such progress cannot and should not be allowed to be vetoed by any one community.

Senator O’Clochartaigh called on the Taoiseach to raise the issue with the British government and to develop a strategy to ensure that the Bill is legislated for in either Westminster or the Assembly.

He further called on the Irish Government to ensure that funding is continued to the Irish Language Broadcast Fund as per the Good Friday Agreement.

Senator O’Clochartaigh raised the issue of funding from Peace Funds to promote understanding and acceptance of Irish Language.


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