“The Northern Ireland input is still being considered by the Deputy First Minister.”

Not just the basis of our political system, in its operation too. The BBC report that our devolved administration has “failed to contribute to a major European report on minority languages” because, after a reported ten month delay, “The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister cannot agree on the report about what is actually happening here in respect of the European charter”. Apparently the NIO threw together a few pages instead. From the report

In a statement Stormont’s Department of Culture said a report had been produced but has not been agreed by the Executive. In a written answer to the Stormont Assembly the Culture Minister Gregory Campbell laid the blame with the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

He said: “The Northern Ireland input is still being considered by the Deputy First Minister. “I raised this issue at the Executive meeting on Thursday 23 April but agreement has still not been achieved. “At this stage I am unable to specify when the report might be finalised. “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised my Department that the UK Report will issue to the Council of Europe in the near future, including input from the Northern Ireland Office, but without input from the Northern Ireland Executive.”

, , , , ,

  • GGN

    Statement from Pobal on the implemention and failure to implement the European Charter :

    The British government and the Assembly are incapable of meeting international law
    on the Irish language

    The NI Assembly is incapable of meeting its commitments under international law. This is the message from POBAL, the umbrella organisation for the Irish speaking community, following the admission in a written answer to Sinn Féin MLA Barra Mac Giolla Dhuibh, by the Gregory Campbell, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure that the British government has been unable to provide an agreed report to the Council of Europe on the implementation during the last three years of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

    Janet Muller, POBAL’s CEO said, ‘This is the second time within a week that the British government has come under severe criticism at the European level because of its failures in respect of Irish, including the Irish language Act, broadcasting and the use of Irish in the courts. POBAL has been raising the lack of proper protection for the Irish language with the Experts on the International Convention for Social, Economic and Cultural Rights for some time and at hearings in Geneva last week, the British government were brought to book for their failure to fully answer the questions we had raised through the Experts.

    ‘Now Gregory Campbell has had to admit that the report on the European Charter could not be completed either. This is a sign that the British government cannot meet its commitments under the Charter in respect of the North and in respect of the Irish language. It is an extremely serious matter when any government breaks international law, and it proves what POBAL has been saying for a long time – the European Charter is not enough to protect the Irish language in the North. It must now be acknowledged that there is not adequate protection for Irish in the North and that the British government must act rapidly to bring in appropriate legislation for Irish at Westminster. ‘

    The British government is legally bound to provide a comprehensive report every three years to the Council of Europe on developments arising from the Charter for all the languages under its protection. Among these languages are Welsh in Wales, Gaidhlig in Scotland and Irish in the North of Ireland. The latest report should have been submitted by the British government in July 2008, and after a delay of more than 10 months to the official monitoring process, the British government has still not fulfilled its reporting duty in full. This has happened because the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister could not agree on the contents of the report in particular in relation to the failure to enact the Irish language Act. Now, the British government has announced that it will submit a report on the implementation in Wales and Scotland, and on reserved matters in respect of Irish, but without any reference to the Charter responsibilities that fall to the Assembly.

    Janet Muller said, ‘This is an historic failure that shows the extent to which the protection for the Irish language has deteriorated since the re-establishment of the Assembly.’

  • The reality is that the DUP minister, keen as he purports to be on maintaining the North’s ‘British’ identity, is seeking to ensure that Northern Ireland doesn’t accord the same protection to this ‘British’ language in this part of the UK as is afforded to Welsh in Wales and Scots Gaidhlig in Scotland.

    In a word Gregory Campbell is anti unionist thanks to his bigoted attitude towards the Irish language….;

  • fin

    strange post from Pete, almost devoid of links, I wonder is it because historical ILA links generally include the words ‘victory’ ‘dead’ ‘won’t happen’ ‘DUP’ and ‘defeat’

    are we going to see the DUP snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

  • Greenflag

    Dear Mr Gregory Campbell ,

    Thank you very much for your efforts on behalf of the Irish language . The more you put forward your bigoted views the more you strengthen the committment of Irish language activists in Northern Ireland .

    Your name in Irish or Scots Gaelic means ‘twisted mouth ‘ Perhaps ‘twisted’ mind might be more accurate .

    Is there any helping these gobshites from shooting themselves in the foot /head every time they get a chance ?

  • loki

    Jus tofr info-it was Tories got Welsh off agenda as political hot potato in Wales- let’s see if they can do that here.

    Also, just goes to show how well DUP are serving the people- NOT!

  • “The Northern Ireland input is still being considered by the Deputy First Minister”

    Is Comical Marty struggling with the English or the Irish version of the report – or both? 😉

  • RG Cuan

    The DUP are really showing themselves up in Strasbourg, for all the world to see.

    Not only are they refusing to cooperate on this European Charter, their refusal to recognise the Irish language community in NI has come to the attention of the United Nations.

    Cam Béal needs to go.

  • fin

    Is Comical Marty struggling with the English or the Irish version of the report – or both? 😉

    Nevin, I think its just old twisted mouth who’s struggling –

    So when the DUP where claiming a victory of not passing an ILA where they:

    a) Been dishonest to unionists
    b) Ignorant as to how UK and EU legislation work

  • Dave

    Pobal can’t decide if they want Irish classified as a national language in Northern Ireland under the United Nation’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right (Articles 1.1 and 1.3) or if they want it classified as a minority language by the Council of Europe under the ECRML. The classifications of minority language and national language are mutally exclusive under the ECRML. It cannot be argued that Irish is “in danger of eventual extinction” and therefore requires classification in Northern Ireland as a minority langauge under the treaty for protection. This is a quango trying to get the taxpayer to fund employment for members of the quango.

    [i]For the purposes of this Charter:

    a “regional or minority languages” means languages that are:

    i. traditionally used within a given territory of a State by nationals of that State who form a group numerically smaller than the rest of the State’s population; and

    ii. different from the official language(s) of that State;

    it does not include either dialects of the official language(s) of the State or the languages of migrants;[/i]

    Irish, in addition to being the national language of Ireland, is also its official language, so it is not a signatory to ECRML. The ECRML is simply a charter that contains a set of aspirational principles that operate “within the framework of national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” so it is not a set of rights that impose a binding legal obligation on parties to an applicable treaty.

    Under Article 1.1, it is up to the people of Northern Ireland to determine whether or not Irish is to have any status other than the status of a minority language. That is what self-determination means. Pobal need to respect the will of the people and stop trying to circumvent the democratic process by appealing to external authorities to impose a status against the will of the citizens of Northern Ireland.

    This is the same socialist mentality that underpinned the proposed Bill of Rights where social privileges that should properly be at the discretion of the government and electorates are classified as ‘rights’ and thereby imposed upon the people without democratic debate or sanction. That’s an anti-democratic process to indulge beyond a minimum set of universal rights as agreed by the nations at the UN in the case of external authorities and beyond the constitutional mandate of negative rights internally. These socialists, having only contempt for democracy, seek to circumvent the democratic process and have their agenda imposed without a mandate.

    The majority of the citizens of Northern Ireland do not regard the Irish language as their national language and do not wish it to have any status beyond the status of a minority language. Incidentally, that latter status isn’t within their democratic remit anyway, since the applicable sovereignty resides with the UK government who have ratified the ECRML treaty.

  • Dave reminds me of DeValera because of his uncanny ability to tell us what the ‘majority’ in Northern Ireland want or do not want. Has he conducted a survey on this question or does he merely look into his heart to divine this startling fact.

    The Irish language in Northern Ireland already has the same status as Scots Gaelic in Scotland and Welsh in Wales under the ECRML – the UK signed up for Part 3 status for Irish in 2001. Interestingly for Dave Scots Gaelic is a national language of Scotland, which has the protection of the Gaelic Language Act, and Welsh is a national language of Wales – so there’s no conflict between these languages being both national languages and minority languages but the conflict suddenly arises in the case of Irish?

    The problem is that the British Government have failed to live up to their commitments under the Charter wrt Irish. The British Government have also failed to live up to their commitments under the GFA and latterly the St Andrews Agreement where the British Government specifically committed to introduce an Irish Language Act.

    How is it ‘socialist’ to demand that a sovereign government to live up to commitments it entered into freely?

    The reason people want a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland is because they do not want to run the risk of what happened before, when NI was a Protestant state for a Protestant people, happening again. The Bill of Rights – including language rights – is intended to be a charter by which people agree to a certain basic set of values, values which the permanent unionist government did not adhere to during its reign of discrimination.
    The Bill of Rights would then be the backdrop for all legislation – including the Irish Language Act when it is eventually enacted.

    The mindset displayed by Dave is similar to that of leading unionist politicians – they want to return to the old days, when they ruled the roost and when uppity nationalists didn’t say to them: by the way, the old ways don’t apply anymore. You have to live by a set of values agreed with us and rules based on those values.

    The fact that the ECRML isn’t legally binding and that the British Government hasn’t adhered to it is evidence of bad faith on their part and therefore all the more reason for language rights to be included in the Bill of Rights and an Irish Language Act to be introduced.

    The British Government and Unionist politicians may complain that this is too much protection for Irish – but they themselves cut the stick with which they’re now being beaten.

  • Pete Baker


    I know some are campaigning for an Irish Language Act, but you need to look again at the detail of this report.

    All it proves is the inability of the devolved administration to agree on a report about what is actually happening here.

    Which is hardly a surprise given the level of political psychosis evident..

  • fin

    Pete, Janet Muller from Pobal seems to read the situation differently

    “‘This is an historic failure that shows the extent to which the protection for the Irish language has deteriorated since the re-establishment of the NI Assembly,”

    the issue is the reasons why they’ve not agreed the report, and I imagine the DUPs previous noises on an ILA is at the heart of it.

  • Crooked Mouth Crooked Profession

    “The NI Assembly is incapable of meeting its commitments under international law.”

    Maybe we should be spared our commitments to pay them while they are not doing their jobs?

  • Laird.ie

    ““The Northern Ireland input is still being considered by the Deputy First Minister”

    Is Comical Marty struggling with the English or the Irish version of the report – or both? 😉 ”

    Nat, its da Oolster-Scods fersion he trite ta red!