POBAL, the independent advocacy organisation for the Irish language has said that a number of prominent Westminster MPs have written to Karen Bradley, the NI Secretary of State to express support for an Irish language act and to call for action at Westminster if the issue cannot be resolved by local political parties. The MPs’ call for the introduction of language legislation in the north of Ireland follows on from a visit of a POBAL-led delegation which included Cairde Teo representatives, Gearóid Ó Machail and Réamonn Ó Ciaráin.
Janet Muller, POBAL’s Director said, ’POBAL travelled to Westminster late last year and held a number of meetings with Westminster MPs. This letter is the result of that delegation and our ongoing work on the issue of legislation for the Irish language, intended to bring it into line with the protections for the primary indigenous languages of every other part of these islands. The letter has been signed by Conor McGinn, Labour Party; Liz Saville-Roberts, Plaid Cymru; Angus Brendan Mac Neil, SNP; Guto Bebb and David TC Davies, Conservatives and POBAL should like to acknowledge the work and effort which these politicians have already put into this matter.
Janet said, ‘The letter states that the commitment given by the British government in 2006 to introduce an Irish language act should be fulfilled at Westminster if there is continued failure to agree the way forward on the Irish language at a local level. Given the current political vacuum in devolution here, the MPs consider that Westminster itself must bridge the democratic gap. They point out that in three government run consultations since 2007, the overwhelming majority of responses supported the POBAL proposals as the basis of the Act. We are grateful to the Westminster MPs who have closely examined this issue and who have resolved to urge the British government to renew efforts for the protection and promotion of the Irish language.’