‘Rights delayed are rights denied’

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More than 1,000 people have signed a letter expressing their “deep concerns regarding the persisting failure” to introduce the Irish Language Act following decades of delay.

The open letter by An Dream Dearg calls on the Dublin and London governments and the Stormont political parties to “recommit” to supporting Irish language rights. The letter is published in both Irish and English.

It comes after the British government said it has no plans to advance Irish language legislation at Westminster before May’s assembly election.

 

A Chairde,

Táimid ag scríobh chugaibh mar phobal domhanda de shaoránaigh agus de chairde de gach cearn d’Éirinn agus níos faide i gcéin. Ba mhaith linn ár n-imní a chur in iúl maidir leis an teip leanúnach ar ghealltanais sheanbhunaithe a chur i bhfeidhm, gealltanais a bhaineann le cearta an duine agus le comhaontuithe atá ceangailteach go hidirnáisiúnta í leith na Gaeilge.

I gComhaontú Aoine an Chéasta 1998 tugadh gealltanas “gníomh diongbháilte” a dhéanamh i gcur chun cinn agus i gcosaint na Gaeilge. In 2006 ag Cill Rímhinn thug Rialtas na Breataine gealltanas eile reachtaíocht Ghaeilge a thabhairt isteach, mar chuid de chomhaontú síochána idirnáisiúnta, ‘a léiríonn eispéiris na Breataine Bige agus na hÉireann’.

Tá na gealltanais sin agus na dualgais Idirnáisiúnta fós le réiteach. Ní féidir cur suas leis seo.

Tháinig An Dream Dearg chun cinn mar fhreagra ar na hionsaithe millteanacha agus córasacha ar ár gcearta. Rinne an síormhagadh naimhdeach ar an Ghaeilge, magadh a rinne ionadaithe tofa go poiblí agus go minic, an scéal níos measa. Tá an pobal seo íós thíos le hidirdhealú agus le heisiamh dleathach toisc nár cuireadh Acht Gaeilge i bhfeidhm.

In 2017, bhailigh 15,000 duine le chéile i lár chathair Bhéal Feirste ag éileamh go ndiúltódh páirtithe polaitíochta, a thacaigh lenár bhfeachtas, gan a bheith mar pháirtí in aon Fheidhmeannacht a rinne an t-eisiamh seo a éascú.

Cúig bliana ina dhiaidh sin, i ndiaidh feachtas poiblí ollmhór, géarchéim pholaitiúil agus athdheimhniú na ngealltanas, níor tháinig aon athrú ar an scéal. Go deimhin, léirigh cinntí a rinneadh le déanaí maoiniú ó chlubanna óige Lán-Ghaeilge a laghdú, an mhoill ar dhul chun cinn na Straitéise Gaeilge agus roinnt tuairiscí criticiúla ó eagraíochtaí maoirseachta idirnáisiúnta arís eile, go bhfuiltear go fóill ag caitheamh le cainteoirí Gaeilge mar a bheadh saoránaigh den dara grád, inár dtír féin.

I mí Eanáir 2020, leagadh amach i gComhaontú Ré Nua, Cur Chuige Nua, forálacha mionsonraithe do reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge. Bhí an reachtaíocht sin ina bunchloch den chomhaontú sin agus d’éascaigh sí go bhfeadfaí filleadh ar an chomhroinnt cumhachta. Tá tacaíocht thraspháirtí aici, mar reachtaíocht, i Stormont, Westminster agus Baile Átha Cliath.

Chuaigh an DUP siar ar a fhocal ar an chomhaontú sin, go sonrach ar reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge a thabhairt isteach. Mar thoradh air sin, thug SoS na Breataine, Brandon Lewis, gealltanas i mí an Mheithimh 2021 reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge san NDNA a thabhairt isteach in Westminster faol Dheireadh Fómhair 2021, reachtaíocht a chuirfí i bhfeidhm ansin faoi dheireadh na mandáide..

Arís, tá gealltanais pholaitiúla agus reachtacha dár bpobal go fóill gan réiteach. Ní féidir cur suas leis seo.

Tá Tionól Stormont ar ceal anois, rud a chuir deireadh leis an sainordú pholait iúil reatha. Níl aon Acht Gaeilge i bhfeidhm. Tá sé go hiomlán réasúnta do dhaoine a bheith ag súil go gcoinneodh rialtais a gcuid gealltanas agus go gcomhlíonfadh siad na gealltanais agus dualgais sin.

Gan amhras, masla a bheas ann do na glúnta de chainteoirí Gaeilge a chuaigh i mbun feachtais agus a rinne stocaireacht ar son cearta agus meas teanga. Sa deireadh thiar thall, bheadh an teip ar Acht Gaeilge a chur í bhfeidhm ina neamart do na mílte teaghlach, cairde, múinteoirí, daltaí agus mic léinn, oibrithe, clubanna óige, clubanna spóirt, gnólachtaí nach dteastaíonn uathu ach gníomh reachtach a thabhairt.

Tá muinín an phobail as cumas na rialtas agus as ár n-institiúidí cineachta, reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge a sheachadadh thar a bheith íseal anois. Arís eile, fágtar muid le tuilleadh comhaontuithe ardphróiffle agus geallúintí níos íolmha. Is linn go léir an Ghaeilge. Ní féidir cead a thabhairt d’aon rialtas, Aire ná páirtí polaitíochta imeallú leanúnach ár bpobail a éascú. Tá laethanta de bheith ag plé le cainteoirí Gaeilge mar a bheadh saoránaigh den dara grád thart. Iarraimid ar na comh-ráthóirí comhpháirteacha, agus ar na páirtithe áitiúla, a gcomhaontuithe a chomhlíonadh.

Inniu, thar aon ní eile, iarrann na daoine ainmnithe thíos ar Rialtas na Breataine an reachtaíocht seo a mholadh láithreach in Westminster gan aon mhoill eile agus iarrtar ar na páirtithe áitiúla tacú in athuair le cearta teanga sa mhandáid atá amach romhainn agus ar aghaidh.

Is ionann cearta gan chomhlíonadh agus cearta a bheith séanta.

#AchtAnois

 

A Chairde,

We write to you as a global community of citizens and friends from across Ireland and further afield. We express deep concerns regarding the persisting failure to implement long-standing human rights commitments and internationally binding agreements made in relation to the Irish language.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement gave a commitment to take “resolute action” in the promotion and protection of the Irish language. In 2006 at St Andrews the British Government gave another unambiguous commitment to introduce Irish language legislation, as part of an international peace agreement, ‘reflecting the experiences of Wales and Ireland’.

These commitments and international obligations remain outstanding. This is intolerable.

An Dream Dearg emerged in response to a catalogue of egregious and systemic attacks on our rights, compounded by frequent, public and hostile ridiculing of the Irish language from elected representatives. Tills community remains subject to legalised discrimination and exclusion as a result of the failure to implement an Irish language Act.

In 2017, 15,000 gathered in Belfast City Centre demanding that political parties who supported our campaign refuse to he party to any Executive that facilitated our exclusion.

Five years later, after a huge public campaign, political crisis and the reaffirmation of commitments made, nothing lias changed.

Indeed, recent decisions to cut funding from Irish Medium youth clubs, stalled progress on the Irish language Strategy and a number of critical reports from international oversight bodies have demonstrated once again, that Irish speakers continue to be treated like second class citizens in our own country.

in January 2020, the New Decade New Approach Agreement, outlined detailed provisions for Irish language legislation. That legislation was a cornerstone of the NDNA agreement and facilitated the return to power sharing, it enjoys cross-party majority support at Stormont, Westminster and Dublin.

The DUP quickly reneged on that agreement and specifically on the introduction of Irish language legislation. As a result, the British SoS, Brandon Lewis, made a commitment in June 2021 to introduce the NDNA Irish language legislation at Westminster by October 2021, which would then be implemented by the end of tile Assembly mandate.

Again, political and legislative commitments to our community remain outstanding. This is intolerable.

This Stormont Assembly lias now been dissolved, ending the current political mandate. There is no Irish Language Act in place. It is entirely reasonable for people to expect governments to keep to their word and deliver on commitments and obligations.

Anything less is, without doubt, an insult to the generations of Irish speakers who have campaigned and lobbied for language rights and respect. The ongoing failure to implement an Irish language Act is ultimately a dereliction of duty to the thousands of families, friends, teachers, pupils and students, workers, youth clubs, sports clubs, businesses who require the support that only legislative action can bring.

Community confidence in the ability of the governments, and our devolved institutions, to deliver Irish language legislation is now incredibly low. Once again we are left with more high profile agreements and more empty promises.

The Irish language belongs to us all. No government, Minister or political party can be allowed to facilitate the continued marginalisation and exclusion of our community. The days of Irish speakers being treated as second class citizens are over.

We call on the joint co-guarantors, and the local parties, to honour their agreements.

Today, above all else, the named individuals below, call on the British Government to immediately move this legislation at Westminster without any further delay and on all local parties to recommit to supporting Irish language rights in the upcoming mandate and beyond.

Rights delayed are rights denied.

#AchtAnois

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