Irish Language Act calls grow louder


A CAMPAIGN in support of the Irish Language Act in the North of Ireland—backed by Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú —has resulted in a cross-party group of MPs in Westminster (above) pressing for its introduction.

The campaign, which has been coordinated by Irish language groups in Britain called on people to engage in some practical actions to help support the the campaign and ensure the British Government upholds their commitment to the act, one of which involved contacting MPs to express support for the act.

Members of Conradh na Gaeilge were joined in Westminster by MPs from Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Alliance Party, the Labour Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru in calling for the introduction of the act. The Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, said in June of this year that if Stormont didn’t pass the legislation by the end of September, then Westminster would enact the legislation in October.

Supporters of the legalisation have been assured that the British Government would introduce an Irish Language Act soon, while the DUP has warned it not to, which could mean that another potential political crisis is on its way
However, Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland and Stormont’s Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, said her party expects Brandon Lewis to deliver on his commitment.

“The Irish Language Act is something that was promised as far back as the St Andrew’s agreement and now it needs to be delivered upon. The British Government have time and time again reneged on political
commitments that have been made, that’s why it’s my job to hold their feet to the fire.

“I have engaged with Brandon Lewis twice. I also have it in writing. I’ve engaged with them numerous times since the period of June when we actually secured a political commitment. I expect them to deliver that now. I’m not working on the basis of failure. I’m working on the basis that there will be an Irish Language Act, that the legislation will be published in the coming weeks, and I will hold the British Government to that.”

British Government officials were due to have talks about the matter with the parties in the Stormont Executive as The Irish Voice went to press. Brandon Lewis has written to all Stormont parties to say that legislation will be put before Westminster as soon as there is parliament time.

In the meantime, Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú has encouraged supporters of the act to keep the pressure on by writing to their local MP. A template letter will be put up on the organisation’s website: for people to download.

The act’s supporters are also being invited to speak about the Irish language act to friends and family in Britain, to let them know its importance and the influence they could have as well as sharing the letter on for those willing to write to their local MP.

Social media is another important battleground in terms of supporting the act and those on social media platforms should endeavour to use the following hashtags: #AchtAnois, #SeasAnFód #DeargLeFearg and #TacaíochtDonAcht. Dressing in the Dream Dearg’s red and white colours and sending pictures and tweets in support of the campaign have also been suggested.

Supporters of the Irish Language Act are also being invited to back two fundraising campaigns too, namely: Linda Ervine’s Naíscoil na Seolta—the first Irish Language Nursery school in East Belfast and an important new player in the tradition of Irish language in Unionist communities—currently fundraising here: and also, both Conradh na Gaeilge and PPR are taking two landmark cases—one on the Irish Language strategy and PPR on Homelessness—and seeking support for legal fees. There is additional information via this link: https://www.
, but financial support is also being sought for this too.

For more information on the campaign and the template letter, contact Evin Downey, Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú’s Irish Language and Development Officer via e-mail: