AN Irish language group is to legally challenge the Northern Ireland Executive over its failure to introduce an Irish language strategy.
Conradh na Gaeilge (CnaG) said the executive’s failure to implement a strategy left it with “little other choice”.
In 2017, a court ruled the executive had failed in its legal duty to adopt an Irish language strategy.
A commitment was also included in the New Decade New Approach (NDNA) deal.
In the 2020 NDNA deal, there was also a commitment to an Ulster Scots language, heritage and culture strategy.
Former culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín had launched a draft strategy in February 2015 but that was not adopted by the executive.
Separately, draft provisions for new Irish language laws were also included in the NDNA agreement in January 2020.
However, neither the new language legislation nor the strategies have yet been implemented.
CnaG said an Irish language strategy was to be brought forward within six months of the NDNA Agreement
“14 months have now passed and neither the strategy, nor the timetable for developing a strategy, have been progressed by the executive,” the group said.
“In the meantime, a series of other strategies have been progressed, their timetables published, and their delivery mechanisms implemented, with the support of the executive.”
CnaG has now issued a pre-action protocol letter to the executive informing it of its intention to take renewed legal action over its failure to implement an Irish language strategy.
In a statement, CnaG’s president Dr Niall Comer said the Irish language community could not be expected to wait any longer for a strategy.
“It is hard to believe that four years on from a historic High Court ruling declaring the Executive had failed to fulfil its duties regarding the Irish language strategy that we are now planning on returning to the courts due to non-compliance,” he said.
“Conradh na Gaeilge would prefer not to take legal action, but the inability of the executive to adopt a strategy leaves them at odds with their legal obligations and leaves us with little other choice.”
The organisation’s advocacy manager Conchúr Ó Muadaigh criticised what he called a “constant delay” by the Executive.
“Not only has there not been an Irish language strategy adopted as required by law, but the Executive have not even been able to sign off on a timetable for developing that strategy, something they achieved back in September for a suite of other strategies,” he said.
“We understand there have been efforts to ensure the Irish language strategy has been part of the executive’s agenda, but that those efforts have been in vain, meaning that 14 months on from New Decade New Approach the executive cannot agree to even discuss a timetable for such a strategy, never mind the strategy itself.”Tags: