News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

January 21, 2008

DUP's Anti-Irish Language Policies Damage Economic Investment


Contact: Kate McCabe (734) 657.2436


January 21, 2008—The Irish American Unity Conference today
condemned the recent anti-Irish language actions of DUP
Minister Edwin Poots, emphasizing the potential of such
blatantly discriminatory decisions to overshadow recent
attempts to attract foreign investment and promote fair
employment in the “new Northern Ireland.” In October,
Poots blocked the Irish Language Act promised by the
British government at St. Andrew’s despite receiving
overwhelming support, citing the belief that the promotion
of the language could “undermine good relations” and
“entrench patterns of antipathy and suspicions.” Now, the
Minister’s office has removed the funding for the Irish
Language Broadcast Fund from the budget. Poots’ stated
position on the promotion of Irish as divisive calls into
question his department’s ability to foster dialogue and
serves only to polarize community relations.

The IAUC believes that such decisions are a blatant display
of the sectarianism of the past, and not only work against
the encouragement of foreign investment, but run the risk
of replicating the problems of the past regarding resource
allocation and investment—thereby undermining any attempt
to build a solid foundation for just and inclusive social,
economic, and political change.

IAUC President John Fogarty said, “Rights-based Irish
language legislation would provide many opportunities for
the growth of the language and for the provision of
services to current speakers.

“We fear that the lack of funding and support from the
government has the potential to choke economic renewal
opportunities in the growth of the tourism industry related
to the Irish language, as well as in other community-based
development initiatives such as Fobairt Feirste.

“During their recent visit to the States, First and Deputy
First Ministers Paisley and McGuinness told American
politicians and businesspeople alike that the best way to
determine whether Northern Ireland is good for business is
simply to look at the political developments taking place
there,” Fogarty pointed out. “Anti-Irish language policies
operate as a deterrent to prospective investors who many of
us are working hard to convince that the days of
sectarianism and bigotry are in the past.”

Unionist politicians who stand in the way of Irish language
legislation are abdicating their responsibility to the
Northern Ireland community by undermining prospects for
increased investment and lasting economic change. The IAUC
pledges its full support for a rights-based Irish language
act and will continue to act as a watchdog to ensure fair
and equitable investment and employment in Northern
Ireland. To this end, the IAUC will seek meetings with key
members of Congress and all contenders in the Presidential


Irish American Unity Conference
PO Box 78
Selma, Indiana 47383
Irish American Unity Conference (800) 947-4282
I believe that John is right on the language point every Irish person should be able to converse in his or her birth language as an American-Irishman i would like to be able to speak my ancestors language someday without being forced to do something different, my point a country without their own language is not free.....
I.A.U.C. member John T. Evans
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