Languages Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland Assembly Commission – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 29th November 2016.

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Photo of Oliver McMullan Oliver McMullan Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 29th November 2016

2. Mr McMullan asked the Assembly Commission for an update on the development of a languages policy. (AQO 803/16-21)

Photo of Stewart Dickson Stewart Dickson Alliance

Mr McMullan, thank you for your question. The Assembly Commission's 'Good Relations Action Plan 2016-2021' was agreed by the Commission in October. It includes an action to agree a languages policy in 2017. That action was carried forward into the 'Good Relations Action Plan 2016-2021' from the previous action plan, which covered the period 2012-16. In November 2012, following consultation with political parties, the Commission considered a draft languages policy and associated guidance. However, the Commission was unable to reach political consensus on the matter in the last mandate.

At its September meeting, the Commission requested that a paper on the languages policy be presented to it in January 2017. Secretariat officials are currently preparing that paper. Once the Commission has had the opportunity to consider the matter and agree a way forward on languages, the detail will be developed. The development process will include consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Members, political parties and staff.

Photo of Oliver McMullan Oliver McMullan Sinn Féin

I thank the Member for his answer. What is the Commission doing to fulfil its obligations under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages?

Photo of Stewart Dickson Stewart Dickson Alliance

I thank the Member for his supplementary question. The Commission is aware of the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and is represented on the interdepartmental charter implementation group. The Commission will consider any guidance that arises from that group.