Re: Irish Language Legislation


We represent a Miss Clare O’Donnell, whose children are being educated through the Irish language medium. We have been in correspondence with the British Secretary of State and the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure on her behalf since February 2015 in relation to the failure to implement the Irish Language Act.


Our client is disappointed that the proposals brought by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Caral Ní Chuilin for an Irish Language Bill were not endorsed by the Executive Committee today. This decision  is contrary to the recommendations of  both the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It also flies in the face of the 94.7% of responses to that consultation indicating support for Irish language legislation.


It is our clients view that responsibility for the implementation of this legislation now rests with the British Government who committed to such a course through the St. Andrews Agreement of 2006. 


Miss O’Donnell has now instructed us to request confirmation from the British Secretary of State when the British Government intends to introduce of an Irish Language Act, provide details of the steps that will be taken to ensure the implementation of that legislation notwithstanding today’s decision by the Executive Committee, and to outline the timetable for such implementation.  


A failure by the British Government to ensure that the commitment to introduce an Irish Language Act will result in judicial review proceedings being commenced by our client.’





The British Government commitment to introduce an Irish Language Act is set out in Annex B (Human Rights, Equality, Victims and Other Issues) in the following terms: “The Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.”