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
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 OpportunityEconomic,
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