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19 Aug 2016
POBAL, the advocacy organisation for the Irish speaking community has said today that the international instruments that protect the Irish language in the north are safe following Brexit. Janet Muller, Director of POBAL said, ‘Since the referendum, POBAL has been bringing pressure to bear on politicians north, south, across the water and in Europe to defend the rights of Irish speakers under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages or the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. We have now confirmed that these international instruments will continue in force. This is a great relief, because although the implementation of these instruments is far from perfect, without them, there would be little protection for the Irish language here. When the referendum decided to leave the European Union, there was a danger that the British government would renege on its human rights commitments, and this threat still remains, but at least now we have written confirmation that, this time,  the Irish language will not be pushed back as it has been so many times before.’
 
POBAL is seeking meeting with politicians to discuss the status of Irish, and as part of this work, the organisation succeeded in getting confirmation in relation to the continuing operation of the international instruments from Claire Sugden, Minister of Justice in the six counties.
 
Janet Muller said, ‘Brexit will not impact on the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages or the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. This shows the importance of the work POBAL carries out on these issues. But it must still be recognised that although we are not now further back than we were, nor are we much further forward either. POBAL will continue to press politicians to introduce the Irish language Act. This is the key action which would be capable of providing the protection and development of rights for the language in this society.’