Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Language

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the discussions he has had with Members of the Northern Ireland Executive in relation to the Irish Language Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57552/12]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

All parties to the Good Friday Agreement recognised the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language and the languages of the various ethnic communities, as part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland. In the St Andrews Agreement, the British government committed to introducing an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and to working with the Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish Language.

It also called on the incoming Northern Ireland Executive to work to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language. The British legislation giving effect to the St. Andrews Agreement included a specific requirement on the Executive to adopt a strategy setting out how it proposed to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.

Since the restoration of the devolved Institutions on 8 May 2007, the question of an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive. In that regard, my colleagues the Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan T.D. and Minister of State Dinny McGinley T.D. have had ongoing discussions on the matter with his counterpart, the Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Ms Carál Ní Chuilín MLA. On 11 July 2012, Minister Ní Chuilín launched a consultation process which concluded on 27 November on strategies for the Irish language and Ulster Scots.

I recently visited An Chultúrlann in Belfast which is a very impressive Irish language and cultural centre. I had the opportunity to meet with some of the city’s leading Irish language activists and to hear their concerns regarding the promotion of the Irish language including their views on an Irish language act for Northern Ireland.

The Government continues to follow developments closely in relation to the proposed Act, as well as the overall enhancement and protection of the Irish Language in Northern Ireland. We remain fully committed to the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement, including the provisions relating to the Irish language.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.