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
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.