So yesterday (Thursday) Pobal, the Irish language advocacy group for Northern Ireland, had its critique of the failures of the Stormont Assembly and Executives regarding the Irish language strategy endorsed by no less an organisation than the Council of Europe.
But today the cross border body, Foras na Gaeilge, announces the new ‘lead organisations/ceann eagraiochtai’ for the promotion of Irish on an all Ireland basis and none of the NI based organisations, including POBAL, Iontaobhas ULTACH, Forbairt Feirste or Altram are included.
This is in spite of 25% of the Foras na Gaeilge budget coming from Northern Ireland. While some are inclined to blame Foras na Gaeilge, the blame for this latest turn of events goes to the North South Ministerial Council who signed off on this policy back in July 2013.
I recently submitted an essay which gave a more detailed account of the circumstances of this turn of events and there’s no point in repeating that here. If you want to learn more, have a read.
In the final analysis, this process was heavily weighted against the northern organisations. The organisations which won the gigs are only marginally concerned with matters north of the border, a fact illustrated recently by a press release listing the demands of Conradh na Gaeilge which hardly paid lip service to the concerns of the North’s Irish speakers.
If anyone thinks that Sinn Féin or the DUP or the Stormont bureaucracy will be sad to see the back of POBAL, they’re mistaken. This is a black day for the Irish language community in the north.