Northern Ireland news

Global language commissioners back role for counterpart in Northern Ireland

Conradh na Gaelige president Niall Comer. Picture by Picture Mal McCann

A GROUP representing language commissioners across the world has voiced support for a corresponding role to be established in Northern Ireland.

The members of the International Association of Language Commissioners outlined their support in a letter to Irish language advocacy group Conradh na Gaeilge.

The establishment of a Irish language commissioner is a key element of a proposed Irish language act.

Negotiations to re-establish the devolved institutions broke down last year after the DUP refused to agree to an act.

One of the five working groups set up to work alongside the current Stormont talks process focuses on rights, languages and identity.

Eleven language commissioners from the Republic, Spain, Kosovo, Canada, Wales, and Belgium signed the letter of support.

The signatories to the letter include five commissioners from regions in Canada, alongside counterparts from the Basque region, Catalonia and Spain.

It says language commissioners bring many advantages.

"In our view language commissioners can be central in the protection and preservation of a language that is spoken by a minority," the letter states.

Conradh na Gaelige president Niall Comer commissioners were vital in protecting language rights.

"Language rights and rights-based legislation are afforded to minority and indigenous language communities across these islands and indeed across the world," he said.

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