High Court finds the DUP and Sinn Fein government in breach of promise over Irish strategy…

I saw this story tweeted when I was in the count centre in Belfast, and only how have a chance to blog it. The journalist I was sitting next to did think it was relevant to the business in hand (he had copy to file, and thanks to Gary on the live blog I didn’t).

Irish language group Conradh na Gaeilge took the last administration to court over their failure to bring forth an Irish language strategy as agreed via the St Andrews Act. Mr Justice Maguire held them in breach of decade-old legislation:

“It cannot have been the intention of Parliament that, after nearly 10 years from the coming into force of the Act in 2007, this obligation would remain unfulfilled.”

When you look at the detail however, the breach is failure to bring forward an Irish language strategy, not an Act. And there was no sign of one emerging from OFMdFM in almost ten years largely because SF’s on acceptable strategy was an Act.

Between 2011 and 2016, although public opinion was sought, no proposals were forthcoming from the SF Minister of Culture Caral Ni Chuilin. In its place came Liofa, which began as a public campaign and eventually became a modest bursary scheme.


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  • Gavin Smithson

    I often think it peculiar that an Act of Parliament does not contain a strict timetable of events and activities on the ground to ensure its actual enactment

  • mickfealty

    It generally relies on the willingness of parties to comply with its ordinances. The failure here is at political and policy levels.

  • ulidian

    How could the ruling say anything about an Act? As per the agreement, that was a responsibility of HMG.

  • mickfealty

    It doesn’t say anything about an Act. Just the non existent strategy.

  • mickfealty

    Don’t start that crack again.

  • Jag

    SF “welcomed” the judgement against the Executive of which it was part!

    It seems to be SF position that it was blocked by the DUP with introducing a strategy.

    I actually thought there was a strategy for 2015-2035 and indeed, SF’s Caral ni Chuilin published a progress report on that strategy.



  • Gingray

    Eh? Sorry, have you missed me agreeing with you re SF being useless over the Irish Language?

  • burnboilerburn

    We have no idea what exactly went on behind closed doors in discussion between SF and the DUP on most issues including an ILA. But what has become clear since the RHI scandal broke is the level of hostility Arlene and the DUP held towards their SF partners. It appears now that no matter what idea, notion, plan or initiative SF came up with or suggested, the answer they got back was a big fat No.

  • Jollyraj

    Hmmm…. presumably the SF strategy with this, as with their UI strategy and indeed with most of their schemes, is not actually to ‘deliver’ for their electorate – just to make a lot of noise, create a lot of friction and hope it never actually happens.

    One wonders if the problem is that they are making too much money with the status quo, and don’t want that jeopardized.

  • Gingray

    Or perhaps SF just ignored the matter, paid lip service, and when the time came saw they could use it to cynically exploit the support base!

    We don’t know what happened because its quite apparent nothing happened.

  • mickfealty

    Free money, when it never gets reported like that.

  • mickfealty

    No. That’s not what I’m referring to.

  • burnboilerburn

    Maybe you are correct but it seems according to Jag above that SF were indeed trying to pull something together. In any event, whatever the SF approach was, it worked.

  • Katyusha

    Off the top of my head, a TDs salary is about 50% more than an MLA’s. Disrupting the status quo wouldn’t do them any harm at all 😉

  • lizmcneill

    But how many TDs would the six counties have? Aren’t constituencies larger in the South?

  • Katyusha

    They are larger in the south, but as to how many TD’s the six counties would have, I’ve no idea. Someone more inclined to electoral mathematics than I am has probably worked it out. I guess that means a smaller leech pool with richer leeches ;p

    There’s no need for NI to have 90 MLAs in any case, its absurd.

  • lizmcneill

    And that 90 is after a 16.7% reduction….

  • Gavin Crowley

    1,868,700 / 25000 = 74.8 seats in the Dáil. To keep within the limits it would have to round down to 74.

  • Jag

    The judgement has now been published and is available here.
    It looks to me that SF, in the person of Caral Ni Chuilin did in fact produce a strategy and submit it to the Executive office, but it required cross-community support and themmuns refused to support it.
    Seems unfair therefore to jointly blame SF and the DUP above, Mick, it looks to be the fault of the DUP entirely.