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


Memorandum submitted by Brendan Carson

  We are extremely concerned that Irish is not so much as mentioned in the draft Communications Bill in spite of the British Government's commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to "provide financial support for Irish language film and television production in Northern Ireland", and to "provide more extensive access" to TG4, the Irish language channel broadcasting from the Republic.

  There will be legislation for Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, but it appears that there is no intention of making provision for the Irish language in the most far-reaching broadcasting legislation in the UK in recent years.

  We regard this neglect as discriminatory, and believe it to be a grave dereliction of the responsibilities undertaken by the Government in the Good Friday Agreement.

  We propose that, as a matter of urgency, the British Government prepares legislation in the Communications Bill which recognises the cultural importance of the Irish language in this community, and which ensures that Irish-speakers in Northern Ireland have access to an adequate broadcasting service.

  In particular we urge that legislation be passed to ensure:

    —  access to the Irish language television station broadcasting in the Republic for the entire population of Northern Ireland;

    —  the establishment of a training and production fund for Irish language television in Northern Ireland.

June 2002

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