POBAL launches new publication: Fifteen years from the Good Friday Agreement: are the promises made in respect of the Irish language being kept? Personal views from the Irish speaking community?
According to many Irish speakers, the Good Friday Agreement had the potential to be a great step forward for the Irish language, but its commitments are not being met. These are the conclusions from a collection of personal views and a survey collated by POBAL, the umbrella organisation for the Irish speaking community. The new publication contains 15 chapters – one for every year since the Agreement was signed. It is a varied and interesting cross section of views from Irish speakers, ranging from veteran Séamus Mac Seáin through TV and film producer, Pilib Mac Cathmhaoil, academic Dónall Ó Baoill, reporters Eoghan Ó Neill and Robert McMillen to writer and full-time parent, Máire Zepf. POBAL also carried out a survey with 140 educationalists and teachers, which found very high levels of support for legislative, policy and strategic action on behalf of Irish and Irish Medium Education, and high levels of dissatisfaction with how the GFA promises are being met.
The publication was launched on Tuesday 23rd April in the Coláiste Feirste library, in West Belfast. Joe McHugh (TD) and Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement launched the document, and Réamonn Ó Ciaráin one of the contributors to the publication spoke about his own views.
Janet Muller, CEO of POBAL said, ‘It seems appropraite to launch this publication in Coláiste Feirste. Some of the older Irish speaking pupils in the school were toddlers when the Agreement was signed, younger ones were not even born. But their future and the future of the language depends on how the promises that government makes are kept. Today’s politicians owe it to these young people to make the vision of the Agreement come true for Irish speakers.’