International Association of Language Commissioners issues support for Irish language rights

The International Association of Language Commissioners, founded in 2013, is made up from 11 international Language Commissioner Offices. The Association’s mission refers to their aim “to support and advance language rights, equality and diversity throughout the world… by advising or assisting the establishment of Language Commissioners offices.”  The letter (attached below) has been unanimously signed by all member organisations and was issued to Conradh na Gaeilge recently.

The letter reads:
‘ of our aims is “to support regions that wish to create a position of language commissioner or advance language rights”... In our view language commissioners can be central in the protection and preservation of a language that is spoken by a minority. One of our most important values is that language commissioners be independent in fulfilling their duties.’

Dr Niall Comer, President, Conradh na Gaeilge, said:
Conradh na Gaeilge welcomes this letter of support from the International Association of Language Commissioners and we wish to thank the 11 language commissioners for their support and advice as the campaign for an Irish language Act here continues. The campaign for language rights are not unique to this part of Ireland. If anything, we are the anomaly. Language rights and rights-based legislation are afforded to minority and indigenous language communities across these islands and indeed across the world. Language Commissioners both protect and promote those language domestically whilst ensuring communities are provided satisfactory services through the language of their choice. Vitally, the Commissioners play a vital role through there independent status ensuring the languages are removed from party political bias and discrimination. If anything, we need that more than ever here.

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, Advocacy Manager, Conradh na Gaeilge, said:
“This fantastic support from the International Association of Language Commissioners and their members only reaffirms the widespread support, both locally and internationally for an Irish language Act here, from the majority of MLAs, 5 parties, to the Council of Europe and the United Nations. An Irish language Act was promised to us in the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement. Both the British and Irish Government are co-guarantors of that Agreement and have a duty to ensure the implementation of this outstanding commitment. Let’s listen to the experts. Let any new legislation be guided by linguistic need, by recognised human rights standards, and by international best practices already rolled out across the world.”

A copy of the letter is attached below or can be accessed here:


Associated Organisations of Conradh na Gaeilge