UK ‘failing minority language pledges’ on Gaelic – Council of Europe
In a paper released on the 8th of September, the Strasbourg-based body listed failings over the provision for and promotion of the language Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Cornish.
While the paper acknowledges that the administrations encourage minority language-medium and minority language education in almost all territories “there is still a need to raise the awareness of the English-speaking majority population about the United Kingdom’s regional or minority languages as an integral part of the United Kingdom’s cultural heritage, in particular as regards Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Cornish”.
The wide-ranging paper makes 20 different recommendations, with many of these relating to the use of Irish in Northern Ireland. The Council said it was removing political tensions from the promotion of Irish – still prohibited in Northern Irish courts under laws set in 1737 – was “essential” and more must also be done in education and the media to promote Ulster-Scots, which was created by the migration of Scottish people in the 1600s.
It also called for Cornwall Council to gain full membership of the British Irish Council to aid the use of Cornish, with the funding for this to be devolved to that region from London. On Scots, the Council said measures are needed to “promote mutual understanding between all the linguistic groups of the country” and on the “respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to Scots”, particularly in education and the mass media.
It also criticised the “lack of newspapers in all regional or minority languages” in the UK, including Manx Gaelic.