The law, language and identity debate in Northern Ireland: some thoughts on the on-going struggle to find consensus

We are delighted to welcome this guest post by Verona Ní Dhrisceoil. Verona is a Fulbright Scholar and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex.

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This post is cross-posted with the CCRL Blog.

If language was merely a communicative tool it would pack a much lighter emotional punch (J Edwards, 2003)

On the 17th January the Committee of Experts (COMEX) published the Fourth Report on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) by the United Kingdom. In it, the COMEX chastised the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA) for the lack of progress made in relation to the protection and promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland since the previous monitoring round and also for the complete failure to comply with the reporting requirements under Art.15 of the Charter. On the basis of the findings of the Fourth Report, the Committee of Ministers (CoM) have now recommended (CM/RecChL(2014)3) that the authorities of the United Kingdom “as a matter of priority”:

“adopt and implement a comprehensive Irish language policy, preferably through the adoption of legislation providing statutory rights for Irish speakers.” Continue reading “The law, language and identity debate in Northern Ireland: some thoughts on the on-going struggle to find consensus”

The law, language and identity debate in Northern Ireland: some thoughts on the on-going struggle to find consensus

Austerity and Irish language rights

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Verona Ní Dhrisceoil. Verona is currently completing a PhD in the area of law and language rights in University College Cork, under the supervision of Professor Siobhan Mullally. Her PhD has been funded by the Higher Education Authority.  Verona has worked as a legal researcher for the Law Reform Commission of Ireland and the Irish Penal Reform Trust, and in 2010, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.

Recent government announcements proposing a Review of the Official Languages Act 2003 and a merging of the Office of the Language Commissioner with the Office of the Ombudsman have brought Irish language rights issues to the forefront of public and academic debate. The two separate but related proposals arise as part of the government’s National Plan for Recovery.

In March 2011, the government published an economic recovery plan titled Towards Recovery: Programme for National Government 2011-2016. In it, seven pledges were made to the Irish language under the An Ghaeilge agus An Ghaeltacht section. With specific reference to legislative protection, the Programme stated that a review of the Official Languages Act 2003 (OLA) will be carried out “to ensure expenditure on the language is best targeted towards the development of the language and that obligations are imposed appropriately in response to demand from citizens.” On this basis, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, launched A Review of the Official Languages Act, in November 2011. As part of the review process, the Department has invited submissions evaluating the implementation of the Act, from interested parties. Submissions are to be made to the Department on or before the 31 January 2012. As part of the consultative process, the Department has also published a bilingual survey on its website to afford respondents the opportunity to indicate their views on the provision of public services in the Irish language.

Continue reading “Austerity and Irish language rights”

Austerity and Irish language rights