Jim Allister has called on DUP Minister Edwin Poots to stop the present consultation process for an Irish Language Act but Janet Muller of Pobal is claiming injustice.Jim Allister argues that the process thus far has not followed proper procedures:
“I believe the process by which things reached this far has been corrupted by political decisions which rode roughshod over fundamental equality law requirements. I invite you to agree. In consequence, I contend the present consultation process is irretrievably tainted and flawed, being the product of a corrupted process, and thus should be withdrawn.”
Janet Muller argues an injustice on the basis of the claim:
“It is a clear expression of an injustice done to the Irish-speaking community and all of the other indigenous languages in the UK and Ireland have protection in legislation, it is only in Northern Ireland that it is not the case.”
This claim misrepresents the position in the UK and RoI of indigenous languages. The UK government recognises seven indigenous languages through the Council of Europe Charter for Regional and Minority Languages – Cornish, Irish Gaelic, Manx, Scots, Scots Gaelic, Ulster-Scots and Welsh. The Charter is not proper legal protection. Only two have specific legislation – Welsh and Scots Gaelic. In the Republic of Ireland, Irish Gaelic enjoys constitutional and legislative protection while the refusal of the RoI government to sign the European Charter means Ulster-Scots and Shelta do not enjoy the most basic protection.