Official Language and Symbol: Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement

Strand Three

Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity:

Economic, Social and Cultural Issues:

4. In the context of active consideration currently being given to the UK signing the Council of Europe Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language, where appropriate and where people so desire it:

• take resolute action to promote the language;

• facilitate and encourage the use of the language in speech and writing in public and private life where there is appropriate demand;

• seek to remove, where possible, restrictions which would discourage or work against the maintenance or development of the language;

• make provision for liaising with the Irish language community, representing their views to public authorities and investigating complaints;

• place a statutory duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate Irish medium education in line with current provision for integrated education;

• explore urgently with the relevant British authorities, and in co-operation with the Irish broadcasting authorities, the scope for achieving more widespread availability of Teilifis na Gaeilige in Northern Ireland;

• seek more effective ways to encourage and provide financial support for Irish language film and television production in Northern Ireland; and

• encourage the parties to secure agreement that this commitment will be sustained by a new Assembly in a way which takes account of the desires and sensitivities of the community.

5. All participants acknowledge the sensitivity of the use of symbols and emblems for public purposes, and the need in particular in creating the new institutions to ensure that such symbols and emblems are used in a manner which promotes mutual respect rather than division. Arrangements will be made to monitor this issue and consider what action might be required.

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