As everyone knows, POBAL has been to the fore in the campaign for the Irish language Act for many years. We have specific expertise and experience in this matter and we are aware of how difficult and contentious the language can become in the context of the Assembly and in dealings with Westminster. We have followed developments in the latest round of talks in relation to legislation for Irish through media reports, and the publication of projected costings and other documents by politicians and others. We welcome the ongoing discussion on this issue.
BUT although POBAL’s influence is clear to see, the type of legislation put forward in these documents leaves out key areas, proposes weak solutions to complex issues, and projects the costs of the act at what may be unrealistically low levels. If politicians accept it, Irish speakers would have significantly fewer rights, protections and services than POBAL has proposed in our document Acht na Gaeilge TÉ Eis II / The Irish Language Act Issue II.
It’s time to make our voices heard! You can write to politicians and make the following points:
- The POBAL proposals published in Acht na Gaeilge TÉ Eis II / The Irish Language Act Issue II are the best way forward
- These proposals were drafted with generous and continuing advice from some of the world’s most renowned experts in language rights and law.
- The proposals themselves are grounded in unparalleled expertise. They are reasonable and realistic and capable of meeting the needs of the Irish speaking community within its specific context here
- They have been agreed with the community through a series of public community consultations and have been consistently awarded overwhelming support by the public during government consultations, including in 2006, 2007 and 2015.
- We understand that the costs of future legislation must be considered and that there is a need for strategic forward financial planning to ensure best value for public expenditure. However, the Irish language Act is about more than costs, and so we are concerned to see how low some of the projected figures under discussion appear to be. In our view, quoting figures which may prove to be unrealistic could have detrimental impact later and result in a greatly reduced and restricted approach to protection, services and rights.
- We ask all the parties to strongly and publicly support the POBAL proposals as the best model for the Irish Language Act.
James Brokenshire, Sec of State, SOS.Brokenshire@nio.gov.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Flanagan, Dept of Foreign Affairs, email@example.com
Naomi Long Alliance, Naomi.firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Colum Eastwood SDLP firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Michelle Ó Neill, Sinn Féin, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Steven Agnew, Green Party firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Arlene Foster, DUP Arlene.Foster@mla.niassembly.gov.uk
Mike Nesbitt, UUP Mike.Nesbitt@mla.niassembly.gov.uk
Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit, Gerry.firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Claire Sugden, Independent, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Allister, TUV, email@example.com