1998 The Good Friday Agreement

The aspirational commitments to the Irish language contained in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 were to herald a new era of equality for the Irish language community. The British Government promised to take ‘resolute action’ to promote the Irish language.

2001 The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

The British Government ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages for the Irish language in 2001. This meant that they were duty-bound to implement certain commitments to the Irish language in social, cultural and economic life, as well as within administrative authorities, in the media, education and transfrontier exchanges.

2006 The St. Andrew’s Agreement

Eight years of unfulfilled commitments of the Good Friday Agreement preceded the St. Andrew’s Agreement.

2014 The First Lá Dearg

In 2014, there was plenty of talk around the concept of an Irish Language Act. The absence of domestic legislation had long enabled certain Unionists to disrespect and ignore the Irish language community, and this kept us on the edge of society.

2016 Elections and Líofa Bursary Scheme

In the 2016 election, a DUP MLA (Peter Weir) was appointed as Minister for Education for the first time. Immediately after his appointment, all Irish text was removed from the Department’s website; this set a clear precedent for the treatment of Irish and the Irish language community that year.

2017 Foundation of An Dream Dearg

The way in which the Líofa decision was delivered was no accident. It was done directly before Christmas, with the hope that people would have forgotten about it over the Christmas break, and that this would avoid any confrontation.

2020 New Decade, New Approach

The publication of the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ legislation in January 2020 was hugely significant, and it was a result of long-standing campaigning at grassroots level.

2021 Public commitment from the British Government

In June 2021, the British Government publicly committed to implement the language legislation that was promised in January of 2020 through Westminster in October 2021, if the NI Executive failed to do so by September.

2022 2022

Language legislation introduced at Westminster