Languages and cultural diversity

Information relating to what the Department plans to do to recognise languages and cultural diversity in Northern Ireland.

Recognition and respect

We recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity. There are many languages used in Northern Ireland, including indigenous minority languages (Irish Language and Ulster Scots), minority ethnic languages and British and Irish sign languages.

Good Friday Agreement

The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement committed the Government to 'recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic minority communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.'

St Andrews Agreement

The St Andrews Agreement (October 2006) committed the UK Government to work with the incoming Executive to protect and enhance the development of the Irish and Ulster-Scots languages. This commitment was consequently included in amendments to the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Promotion of languages

The Department promotes the use of Irish and Ulster-Scots in order to safeguard them in an important part of our shared cultural heritage.  The Irish Language Strategy 2015-35 and Ulster-Scots Language, Heritage and Culture Strategy for 2015-35 set out how the Executive will enhance and protect the development of the Irish language and Ulster-Scots culture, heritage and language.

Budget and funding

The Department  jointly sponsors the North/South Language Body along with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht (DAHG). The North/South Language Body was established on 2 December 1999 following the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. It comprises Foras na Gaeilge, (Irish Language Agency) and Ulster-Scots Agency (Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch). DAHG funds 75% of the budget of Foras na Gaeilge and the Department the remaining 25%. The Department funds 75% of the budget of the Ulster-Scots Agency and DAHG the remaining 25%.

UK government recognition

Irish and Ulster-Scots are recognised by the UK government under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages.  This places obligations on all Executive Departments to safeguard, facilitate and encourage the use of both languages.  The Department is responsible for reporting to the European Commission on the implementation of this charter and chairs an Inter-departmental Charter Implementation Group (ICIG), comprising all Government departments that operate in Northern Ireland.

Joint British/Irish declaration

The joint declaration by British and Irish Governments in April 2003 committed the British Government to take steps to encourage support to be made available to an Ulster-Scots Academy.  This commitment has been reinforced in the Department's Ulster-Scots Language, Heritage and Culture Strategy 2015-35.  In March 2011 the Ministerial Advisory Group - Ulster-Scots Academy was established to advise the Minister for the Department on how to progress an Ulster-Scots Academy.

The Department also aims to help people who use British and Irish sign Languages (through the establishment of the Sign Language Partnership Group).

Irish translation

Teanga/Éagsúlacht Chultúrtha

Aithnímid an tábhacht a bhaineann le meas, tuiscint agus caoinfhulaingt maidir le héagsúlacht teanga. Úsáidtear go leor teangacha i dTuaisceart Éireann, ina measc teangacha dúchasacha mionlaigh (Gaeilge agus Albainis Uladh), teangacha eitneacha mionlaigh agus teangacha comharthaíochta de chuid na Breataine agus na hÉireann.

I gcomhaontú Bhéal Feirste/Aoine an Chéasta thug an Rialtas tiomantas chun ‘an tábhacht a bhaineann le meas, tuiscint agus caoinfhulaingt i leith éagsúlachta teanga a aithint, lena n-áirítear i dTuaisceart Éireann, an Ghaeilge, Albainis Uladh agus teangacha na bpobal eitneach mionlaigh éagsúla, a bhfuil siad go léir mar chuid de shaibhreas cultúrtha oileán na hÉireann.’

D’fhógair buiséad 2005, a foilsíodh i Nollaig 2004, buiséad athphróifílithe de £12m thar 5 bliana do Acadamh Albainis Uladh. Bhí sé sin ina chuid de phacáiste £24m a thug £12m freisin do Chiste Craoltóireachta na Gaeilge.

Déanann an Roinn Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta (RCEF) comhurraíocht ar an bhForas Teanga i dteannta leis an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta (REOG). Bunaíodh an Foras Teanga ar 2 Nollaig 1999 tar éis Chomhaontú Bhéal Feirste/Aoine an Chéasta. Tá sé comhdhéanta de Foras na Gaeilge, agus Gníomhaireacht na hUltaise (Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch). Soláthraíonn an REOG cistiú do 75% de bhuiséad Fhoras na Gaeilge agus soláthraíonn an RCEF cistiú do 25% de. Soláthraíonn an RCEF cistiú do 75% de bhuiséad Ghníomhaireacht na hUltaise agus soláthraíonn an REOG cistiú do 25% de.

Déanann an RCEF cur chun cinn ar úsáid na Gaeilge agus Albainis Uladh chun iad a chosaint mar chuid thábhachtach dár gcomhoidhreacht chultúrtha. Aithníonn Rialtas an RA an Ghaeilge agus Albainis Uladh faoin gCairt Eorpach um Theangacha Réigiúnacha nó Mionlaigh.

D’fhorbair an Grúpa Idir-Rannach um Fhorfheidhmiú na Cairte (ICIG), a dhéanann an RCEF cathaoirleacht air agus atá comhdhéanta de na ranna Rialtais go léir a oibríonn i dTuaisceart Éireann, Treoir d’fhostaithe sa tseirbhís phoiblí chun cabhrú leo a gcuid oibleagáidí a chomhlíonadh faoin gCairt Eorpach um Theangacha Réigiúnacha nó Mionlaigh.

Freisin tá sé mar aidhm ag an RCEF cabhrú le daoine a úsáideann Teangacha Comharthaíochta na Breataine agus na hÉireann (tríd an nGrúpa Comhpháirtíochta do Theanga Chomharthaíochta a bhunú).

I gComhaontú Chill Rímhinn (Deireadh Fómhair 2006) thug Rialtas an RA tiomantas d’oibriú leis an bhFeidhmeannacht a bhí ag teacht isteach chun forbairt na Gaeilge agus Albainis Uladh a chosaint agus a fheabhsú. Ina dhiaidh sin áiríodh an tiomantas sin i leasuithe ar an Acht um Thuaisceart Éireann 1998, a leag dualgais ar an bhFeidhmeannacht chun glacadh le straitéis a leagfadh amach an chaoi a bhfuil sé beartaithe aici forbairt  cultúir, oidhreachta agus teanga na Gaeilge agus Albainis Uladh a fheabhsú agus a chosaint.

 

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