Thread on language rights

Given the events of recent days, there have been increasing calls for a return to Stormont. Important for us all to revisit what led us to this crossroads. Any return should be underpinned by rights for all, as promised in previous agreements.
Thread on language rights
Alt le fáil i mBéarla amháin

After years of community-led revival, despite opposition from state, Irish speaking communities have emerged from below and were finally The St Andrews Agreement signed in 2006 was the first commitment to an Irish Language Act. But still we wait.

After promises unfulfilled, the mobilisation of the Irish language community witnessed 12,000 on streets @ 2014 Lá Dearg #BusAnois.

We learned that we can affect change but the bigger questions of rights promised to us remained as far away as ever.

A lack of rights and recognition for Irish speakers was and is still compounded by outrageous and demeaning attacks on our community by the largest party in the state, you guessed it, the DUP.

During times of political crisis, those on the margins have been subject to petty and outrageous attacks. In 2016 the RHI scandal led to Paul Givan infamously removing £50K Líofa grant in the mouth of Christmas. (He did, however, go on to “find” the £££)

Only a few months later, the Education Authority threatened 4 IM youth clubs with closure by removing funding for core staff. These attacks were resisted but highlighted vulnerability of community to regressive and politically motivated decision making.

No Act = No Protection

2017 saw repeated attacks on our community from Arlene Foster, describing us as crocodiles, encouraging more & more support for an Dream Dearg, as Eamonn Mallie described:

“The demand for a free-standing Acht na Gaeilge is today’s “One man, one vote” of the Civil Rights campaign”

In May 2017, 15,000 people took to the streets of Belfast from all over Ireland in support of an Irish Language Act #AchtAnois and an Dream Dearg. This is to be known as An Lá Dearg the biggest show of support for Irish language rights in history.

The Irish Government came off the fence and played their role as co-guarantors of St Andrews by unequivocally calling for an Irish Language Act As Simon Coveney wrote to An Dream Dearg saying the Irish Government will continue to “advocate” “in favour of an Irish language Act.”

#Brexit Michelle Barnier acknowledged that full implementation of St Andrews Agreement formed key part of withdrawal agreement.

“…withdrawal agreement will include full implementation of GFA and St Andrews…Including the commitments in relation to the Irish language.”

Those opposed to language rights have claimed an ILA would lead to Cultural Supremacy. As we look back we can see the Irish language has systematically been targeted, attacked & banned. We ask is for the state to finally address this historic legacy.

Today, after years of campaigning a majority support the call for Irish language rights, including 94.7% of 13,000 responses to the 2015 consultation. Now, a majority of our MLAs (50/90) from 5 parties call for a standalone Irish Language Act.

To ignore that reality inevitably makes resolution much more difficult. Cross-party support for change is crucial to delivering a more tolerant and diverse society. This is the change we all want to see.

#AchtAnois has become the #barometer which society is now using to assess how sincere the DUP are about building sustainable & stable power sharing, as they continue to elevate the exclusion of Irish speakers over an executive for all.

“Being invisible is no longer an option”

An litir dhearg

Bí ar an eolas! Faigh ár nuachtlitir le bheith suas chun dáta leis na feachtais ar fad.