POBAL, the independent advocacy group for the Irish speaking community ion the North has welcomed the findings of the report of the Advisory Committee for the Protection of National Minorities today.
Janet Muller, POBAL’s Director, said, ‘POBAL was the only Irish language organisation to meet with representatives of the Advisory Groups during their on the spot visit to the North in 2016. We gave them a full verbal and written report on the application of the Convention in respect of Irish, and it was clear that they were shocked and disappointed at what we had to tell them about the treatment of Irish speakers here and our lack of rights under legislation. This has not been a pretty story by any means, and we are glad that the Advisory Committee has taken the evidence we presented seriously and has made such serious and detailed findings. In particular, we welcome the recommendation that the authoritrites,
‘Adopt appropriate legislation protecting and promoting the Irish language and take measures to ensure progress on language rights of persons belonging to the Irish minority; the UK Government should engage in a dialogue to create the political consensus needed for adopting legislation; the Northern Ireland Executive should endeavour to implementthe ‘good relations’ duty as provided under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in a manner that does not run counter to the equality duty and that does not prevent access to rights of persons belonging to all national and ethnic minorities;’
She continued, ‘The reference to the interpretation of Irish language rights in the context of ‘good relation’ is important since, if this recommendation is implemented, in combination with a strong, comprehensive Irish language Act, it would lead to a fairer framework for progress’