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A new Cross-Party letter is being published today, Tuesday 15 June 2021, calling “on the Executive to urgently agree and publish a timetable to ensure the adoption by the Assembly of the Irish language legislation before the current mandate expires, as published in the New Decade New Approach Agreement in January 2020”.

The letter has been signed by Party leaders from 5 Party leaders representing a majority of 50 MLAs in the Assembly; Naomi Long MLA, Leader, Alliance Party; Clare Bailey MLA, Leader, Green Party; Gerry Carroll MLA, People Before Profit; Colum Eastwood MP, Leader, SDLP; Michelle O’Neill MLA, VP, Sinn Féin.

Stormont. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, said “This cross-party letter represents a majority of parties and MLAs in favour of implementing the Irish language legislation. The letter calls for a new timeline to be agreed ensuring this legislation is on the statute books before the end of this mandate. For that to happen, the process must begin immediately. New Decade New Approach ensured the accompanying language legislation was time-bound to 100 days. That deadline was missed. The letter and spirit of the agreement was to ensure the legislation was in place before the upcoming election. To delay, frustrate or deny that legislation would in practice be to renege on the agreement. Any efforts to do so must be resisted. If the DUP cannot bring themselves to honour their own agreements in a reasonable and modest timeframe within this mandate, then both Governments, as co-guarantors and co-authors of the agreement, must step in and convene dialogue focused on producing an agreed timetable. The only party in the Executive standing in the way of progress is the DUP. The legislation has been agreed and published. The preparatory work within the Executive Office has been completed. This is ready to go. There is no legitimate or reasonable excuse for this delay. The issue of Irish language rights is now an immediate litmus test for the DUP.”

The Letter

A Cross-Party letter to the Executive and the British & Irish Governments - 15 June 2021

We, the undersigned, call on the Executive to urgently agree and publish a timetable to ensure the adoption by the Assembly of the Irish language legislation before the current mandate expires, as published in the New Decade New Approach Agreement in January 2020.

The New Decade New Approach agreement contained a time-focused commitment that the language legislation would be implemented within 100 days. Due to the pandemic, we can all appreciate the reasons for the initial deadline being missed. The legislation, however, is now ready to go and simply awaiting the political green light to proceed.

Furthermore, we recognise that Irish language legislation was indeed a core-component of this Agreement and of previous agreements. Any attempt to renege on agreed Irish language legislation, or indeed frustrate it’s progress, must be resisted. If this legislation is not passed within the current mandate, much of the progress we have made in recent years may be undone.

We also call on the British and Irish Governments to intensify their efforts in their roles as co-guarantors and indeed co-authors of the New Decade New Approach Agreement to facilitate all-party agreement on a timeline for implementation of this legislation within the current mandate.

The timely passage of this legislation into law will herald an historic moment for the Irish language community. We stand with the Irish language community and those with an interest in the language in their efforts to secure language rights through legislation. This follows on from the “resolute action” promised to the language community in the Good Friday Agreement and indeed the British Government commitment to introduce an Irish language Act at St Andrew’s. Now is the time to honour those commitments. Now is the time for #AchtAnois


Tá litir thraspháirtí seolta foilsithe sna meáin inniu, Máirt 15 Meitheamh 2021, ag éileamh “ar an Fheidhmeannas mar ábhar práinne clár ama a aontú agus a fhoilsiú maidir le glacadh le reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge mar a foilsíodh sa chomhaontú in Eanáir 2020, Ré Nua Cur Chuige Nua, le cinntiú go mbeidh sí i bhfeidhm roimh dheireadh na mandáide seo.”

Tá an litir nua sínithe ag ceannaire Pháirtí na Comhghuaillíochta, Naomi Long CTR, ceannaire an Chomhaontais Ghlais, Clare Bailey CTR, Gerry Carroll CTR Phobal Roimh Bhrabús, ceannaire SDLP Colum Eastwood BP, agus Leas-Uachtarán Shinn Féin, Michelle O’Neill CTR. 

Dúirt an Dr Niall Comer, Uachtarán Chonradh na Gaeilge:

“Faightear leis an litir seo tacaíocht ó chúig pháirtí, rud arb ionann í agus tromlach na gComhaltaí tofa ag Cnoc an Anfa, ar son na reachtaíochta don Ghaeilge. Éilítear sa litir seo go n-aontófaí clár ama nua a chinnteoidh go dtabharfar isteach an reachtaíocht roimh dheireadh na mandáide reatha. Má tá sin le tarlú, ní mór tús a chur leis an phróiseas sin láithreach bonn. Bhí spriocdháta de 100 lá luaite leis an reachtaíocht sa chomhaontú Ré Nua Cur Chuige Nua anuraidh. Cailleadh an spriocdháta sin. Fós féin tá idir fhorálacha agus fhís an chomhaontaithe sin ann le tabhairt isteach na reachtaíochta a chinntiú sa mhandáid reatha. Is ionann aon iarrachtaí moill nó frustrachas a chur ar an phróiseas seo agus cúlú ó na bhun-choimitmintí féin. Níor cheart glacadh leis na hiarrachtaí sin ar bhealach ar bith. Munar féidir leis an DUP seasamh lena gcomhaontuithe féin agus beart a dhéanamh de réir briathair laistigh de chlár ama atá réasúnta ann féin, ní mór don dá Rialtas, ag an phointe sin, agus iad mar chomh-shínitheoirí agus mar chomh-údair ar an chomhaontú, seasamh isteach agus comhchainteanna a ghairm atá dírithe ar chlár ama nua a shocrú. Níl ach páirtí amháin san Fheidhmeannas atá ag seasamh i gcoinne na reachtaíochta, is é sin an DUP. Tá an reachtaíocht aontaithe, tá sí foilsithe agus réidh le dul. Níl aon leithscéal réasúnta fágtha gan seo a dhéanamh. Tá ceist seo na reachtaíochta Gaeilge anois mar chroí-scrúduithe litmis don DUP sna laethanta beaga amach romhainn.”

An Litir

15 Meitheamh 2021

Éilionn muidne, a bhfuil ár n-ainmneacha leis seo thíos, ar an Fheidhmeannas mar ábhar práinne clár ama a aontú agus a fhoilsiú maidir le glacadh le reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge mar a foilsíodh sa chomhaontú in Eanáir 2020, Ré Nua Cur Chuige Nua, le cinntiú go mbeidh sí i bhfeidhm roimh dheireadh na mandáide seo.

Gealladh sa chomhaontú Ré Nua Cur Chuige Nua go mbeadh an reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge curtha i bhfeidhm faoi cheann 100 lá. De dheasca na paindéime, tuigeann muid na cúiseanna nár comhlíonadh an choimitmint seo faoin am-scála sin. Anois, áfach, tá an reachtaíocht réidh le dul agus níl muid ach ag fanacht leis an toil pholaitiúil.

Anuas air sin, aithníonn muid go raibh an reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge mar chroí-chuid den chomhaontú seo agus de chomhaontuithe eile. Níor cheart glacadh le haon iarrachtaí cúlú ó na coimitmintí don Ghaeilge nó le haon iarracht moill nó bac a chur orthu. Ar an drochuair, mura gcomhlíontar an choimitmint seo le linn na mandáide reatha, déanfar dochar mór don dul chun cinn a rinneadh le blianta beaga anuas.

Chuige sin, éilíonn muid ar Rialtas na Breataine agus ar Rialtas na hÉireann dul i ndéine lena gcuid iarrachtaí mar chomh-shínitheoirí agus mar chomh-údair ar an Chomhaontú agus tacú go gníomhach le hiarrachtaí comhaontú trás-pháirtí a shocrú a chinnteoidh tabhairt isteach na reachtaíochta teanga le linn na mandáide seo.

Beidh teacht isteach na reachtaíochta seo iontach stairiúil do phobal na Gaeilge anseo. Seasann muid leo, le gach duine a bhfuil suim sa Ghaeilge acu agus iad ag brú na ceiste seo chun cinn le fada an lá. Leanann an t-éileamh seo “an gníomh diongbháilte” a gealladh don Ghaeilge mar chuid de Chomhaontú Aoine an Chéasta agus an choimitmint a thug Rialtas na Breataine chun Acht Gaeilge a thabhairt isteach in 2006. Anois an t-am le beart a dhéanamh de réir briathair. Anois an t-am le haghaidh #AchtAnois.

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