Call for Taoiseach to stop challenge to Irish language ruling

Advocacy group claims ‘explicit hostility’ within State agencies to providing language rights

Irish will receive full working status in the European Union from January 1st next year. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy/The Irish Times

Irish will receive full working status in the European Union from January 1st next year. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy/The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been called upon to seek the withdrawal of an appeal by the State of a High Court ruling which said earlier this year that citizens seeking certain planning documents in Irish should be able to do so.

Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon ruled in May that the State was obliged to provide an Irish version of certain Statutory Instruments required by Siobhán Denvir-Bairéad, Gleann Mór Céibh Teoranta and Gleann Mór Cuan Teoranta in a case they were taking against Irish Water in relation to a proposed development in An Cheathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht.

Delivering her judgment Ms Justice O’Hanlon stated: “There are people in this country, particularly those in the Gaeltacht, or those who are not living in the Gaeltacht but who speak the Irish language, who want to use the language on an everyday basis.

“They have constitutional rights to do so and the State has a constitutional obligation to facilitate the use of Irish by citizens on an equal footing with English.”

The State lodged an appeal against the ruling last Wednesday.

Irish language advocacy group Conradh na Gaeilge said the decision to appeal showed there is “explicit hostility” to the provision of language rights to Irish speakers.

The organisation said it is “appalling” that state agencies are seeking to deny, instead of uphold, the language rights of the Irish-speaking community.

Peadar Mac Fhlannchadha, deputy secretary general and advocacy manager with Conradh na Gaeilge said “so-called official support” for the Irish language is of “no use” while the state system is simultaneously denying language rights.

Pointing out that Irish will receive full working status in the European Union from January 1st next year when all legislation enacted from that date will be translated into Irish, Mr Mac Fhlannchadha said: “It is indeed incredible, but true, that Irish citizens will have more language rights from the European Union from the beginning of next year than our State is willing to offer us. This is completely wrong and our elected public representatives, who are elected to uphold our rights, must act immediately,” he said.

Mr Mac Fhlannchadha said Conradh na Gaeilge is calling on the Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, “to stand up and to show leadership, for the rights of the Irish language community, and to ensure that the appeal from the Department of Housing is withdrawn immediately.”

Comment has been sought from the Department of Housing and the Department of the Taoiseach.