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Irish speakers treated with ‘total disrespect’ compared with Welsh and Scots speakers says campaigner

03 Mar 2021 2 minute read
The Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Picture by Conradh na Gaeilge.

Irish language speakers are being treated with “total disrespect” compared with Welsh and Scots speakers, a campaign has said.

Dr Pádraig Ó Tiarnaigh from Irish language body Conradh na Gaeilge said the Irish Assembly’s failure to introduce a language act as others parliaments had done was “hugely frustrating”.

Speaking to the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, he juxtaposed the situation with how the Welsh language was treated in Wales and Scots in Scotland.

He told the committee than CnaG were seeking meetings with Northern Ireland Office ministers and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD.

“You’re getting treated with total disrespect in terms of how Welsh speakers are treated and how Scots speakers are treated,” he said.

“The main bulwark of our work going forward is getting the legislation on the books.

“There would be a huge crisis of confidence if this current mandate finished and those cornerstone issues weren’t implemented.”

Dr Ó Tiarnaigh said he understood that the coronavirus pandemic had led to delays at Stormont and that also meant there would be no Irish language demonstrations in the near future.

“That said, normal legislative procedures are up and running, Stormont is up and running, the assembly is up and running, the executive is up and running,” he said.

“We are hamstrung a bit with Covid. It would be irresponsible of us to take 10,000 people with us to the streets of Belfast for an Irish language march.”

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