[lg policy] SDLP criticises NI Assembly Commission=?windows-1252?Q?=92s_?=Language Policy on Irish

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 21 15:42:04 UTC 2012

SDLP Spokesperson criticises NI Assembly Commission’s Language Policy on Irish

20 January 2012 by micheailin

Paul Malone
Newry Times
Via Newshound

SDLP Spokesperson on the Irish language, Dominic Bradley has said that
his party finds the Assembly commission’s draft Language Policy
unacceptable in relation to the Irish language. Commenting on the
draft policy Mr Bradley said, “Whilst the SDLP welcomes the
publication of the NI Assembly Commission’s Language Policy we find it
disappointing in the extreme in relation to the position of the Irish
language in the Assembly.”

“The draft policy as it stands gives no greater recognition than
formerly to the Irish language and fails to recognise the rights of
Irish language speakers both within the Assembly and in the community
in general. Nor does it take account of the growing Irish medium
sector in our education system, both primary and post primary levels
and of the growing Irish language community in Northern Ireland,” he

Bradley also believes the Assembly Commission’s policy totally ignores
the fact that Irish is the second most frequently used language in the
Assembly chamber. He said, “It shows little vision around the
development of services through the Irish language. In the view of the
SDLP the policy falls below the standards flowing from the European
Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Belfast Agreement
1998, the St Andrews Agreement 2006, and Human Rights legislation. The
SDLP believes that the policy should commit to the provision of
simultaneous translation equipment and of an adequate translation
staffing complement for the Irish language and should ensure that such
equipment and service is available in the Assembly Chamber and in a
suitable Committee venue such as the Senate Chamber.”

On how the Commission can improve Bradley continued, “We want the
Commission to ensure that the Irish language is more visible in
signage throughout the environs of Parliament buildings and to promote
bilingual announcements there in both English and Irish. The
Commission should increase the amount of Irish on the Assembly website
with a view to having a fully bilingual site in the future related to
Assembly business. We would also like to see bilingual agenda and
other papers relating to Assembly business provided in Irish.”

‘With a growing Irish medium sector we need to provide an Irish
language education service to Irish medium schools both at primary and
post primary levels and to facilitate the sale of gift items branded
bilingually including an Irish language history of Parliament
Buildings. As well as developing the facility to offer tours of
parliament buildings in the Irish language we will be seeking the
Commission to facilitate an Assembly Road Show for Irish speakers. We
will be including all these points in our response to the draft policy
and our representative on the Commission, Pat Ramsey MLA, will pursue
these vigorously,” the SDLP MLA added.


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