Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Foras na Gaeilge

  I am writing to you with regard to this Bill on behalf of Foras na Gaeilge. This is the Irish language agency of the North-South Language Body established by the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the Republic of Ireland in December 1999 on foot of the Belfast Agreement signed between them on Good Friday 1998.

  The Language Body is one of the implementation bodies jointly established and funded by the two Governments. Foras ne Gaeilge has a statutory duty to advise both the Westminster and Dublin Governments on matters relating to the Irish language, including broadcasting policy.

  In that context, Foras ne Gaeilge is mindful of the specific commitments on developing Irish language broadcasting in Northern Ireland made by the British Government in the Belfast Agreement 1998: (6) Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity—Economic, Social and Cultural Issues, Section 4.

  It appears to Foras ne Gaeilge that the passage of the Communications Bill represtents an ideal opportunity for the Government of the United Kingdom to provide a statutory basis and to establish specific measures to implement the commitments contained in the Belfast Agreement on these broadcasting issues.

  Foras is aware that the Communications Bill will deal with policy matters pertaining to Welsh language and possibly Scots-Gaelic broadcasting also and sees the issue of the other Celtic language, Irish, as germane to and worthy of inclusion in the provisions of the Bill.

  An Foras deems this initial letter to be a submission to your Pre-Legislative Scrutiny Committee and an indication that we wish to engage with you on this matter. We intend to table a more formal briefing document to you during the Consultation period between now and August 2002.

  Foras will be delighted to provide any further assistance you may require in this regard, including documentation or meetings/presentations.

June 2002

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