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Minority rights: Promote Irish language in Northern Ireland

A minority rights report published today urges the authorities in Northern Ireland to fulfill the recommendation of the Good Friday Agreement and take stronger action to promote minority languages.

After its visit to the country last year, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) signalled its “regret” at the lack of measures to promote the visibility and use of Irish.

The report states: “The authorities have failed to adopt comprehensive legislation on the Irish language and the general climate is not conducive to promoting the use of this language in public life.

“It is regrettable that measures to promote the visibility and use of this language have often been opposed with the justification that they constitute a discrimination against other groups of the population.

“It is regrettable that the legislative process seems to have stalled with regard to the preparation of a Single Equality Act, and a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, as well as legislation on the Irish language.

“The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement of 1998 as well as the St Andrews Agreement (2006) introduced a duty for the authorities to develop and adopt such a legislation and the lack of progress on these issues, due to a lack of consensus within the devolved executive, is to the detriment of persons belonging to minorities.”

FCNM report

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