Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure


European Charter

The European Charter is an international convention designed to protect and promote regional and minority languages. The Charter does not establish any individual or collective rights for the speakers of regional or minority languages. The Charter’s overriding purpose is cultural. It is designed to protect and promote regional or minority languages as a threatened aspect of Europe’s cultural heritage.

The UK Government signed the Charter on 2 March 2000 and it was ratified on 27 March 2001. The Charter came into force on 1 July 2001.

The Charter is binding upon each of the ratifying states. It therefore has implications for all Northern Ireland departments and associated bodies, Whitehall departments operating in Northern Ireland and for Local Government.

In Northern Ireland the Charter applies to Irish and Ulster-Scots but does not cover sign languages or the languages of minority ethnic communities.

The UK Government must provide periodic reports to the Council of Europe Committee of Experts (COMEX) who report on each state’s compliance with its Charter obligations.

Since signing the Charter, an Inter-departmental Charter Implementation Group (ICIG), hosted by DCAL, has been working to help the public administration in Northern Ireland meet its Charter obligations. The ICIG has representatives from all Northern Ireland Departments, and also from all Whitehall departments that operate in Northern Ireland.

The ICIG has taken the following action:

I. 1n July 2001 published interim Guidance on meeting the UK Government's commitments to the Charter for public servants (dealing with Irish). Further Guidance (which also deals with Ulster-Scots) came into effect in August 2005. The Guidance is subject to periodical review.

2. Hosted visits from the Council of Europe Committee of Experts (COMEX), and responded to the COMEX reports (published in early 2004 and September 2006). The reports have praised the willingness of the Northern Ireland administration to support Irish and Ulster-Scots and have made particular recommendations about the use of Ulster-Scots in the public realm, and the development of a comprehensive Irish Language Policy. A response to the 2006 report was made in December 2006 by Northern Ireland Departments and returned to the Council of Europe for consideration by its Committee of Ministers.

3. Set up a subgroup (the ‘Article 9 subgroup’, run by the Court Service) to consider how Irish might be used in the legal system in Northern Ireland.

4. Worked with DCAL to set up a quality controlled Irish language translation service. All Government translations are now sourced from this list.

5. Set up an Irish and an Ulster-Scots voicemail service to allow users of these languages to contact the civil service in their language of choice.

6. Set up a subgroup to plan how staff training requirements that the Charter will create will be met.

7. Acted as a forum to share experience, ideas and best practice about encouraging Irish and Ulster-Scots in the public realm in Northern Ireland.

An Chairt Eorpach

Is coinbhinsiún idirnáisiúnta í an Chairt Eorpach atá deartha chun Teangacha Réigiúnacha agus Mionlaigh a chosaint agus a chur chun cinn. Ní bhunaíonn an Chairt aon chearta aonair nó comhchoiteanna do chainteoirí na dteangacha réigiúnacha nó mionlaigh. Is cuspóir cultúrtha é cuspóir sáraitheach na Cairte. Tá sí deartha chun teangacha réigiúnacha agus mionlaigh a chosaint agus a chur chun cinn mar ghné d'oidhreacht chultúrtha na hEorpa atá faoi bhagairt.

Shínigh Rialtas an RA an Chairt ar 2 Márta 2000 agus rinneadh í a dhaingniú ar 27 Márta 2001. Tháinig an Chairt i bhfeidhm ar 1 Iúil 2001.

Tá an Chairt ceangailteach ar gach ceann de na stáit daingnithe. Dá bhrí sin tá impleachtaí aici do gach roinn rialtais agus comhlacht gaolmhar i dTuaisceart Éireann, do ranna Whitehall a oibríonn i dTuaisceart Éireann agus don Rialtas Áitiúil.

I dTuaisceart Éireann baineann an Chairt leis an nGaeilge agus le hAlbainis Uladh ach ní chlúdaíonn sí teangacha comharthaíochta ná teangacha pobal eitneach mionlaigh.

Ní mór do Rialtas an RA tuairiscí tréimhsiúla a chur ar fáil do Choiste Saineolaithe Chomhairle na hEorpa (COMEX) a thugann tuairisc ar ghéilliúlacht gach stáit le hoibleagáidí na Cairte.

Ó síníodh an Chairt, tá Grúpa Idir-Rannach um Fhorfheidhmiú na Cairte (ICIG), arna óstáil ag an RCEF, ag obair chun cabhrú leis an riarachán poiblí i dTuaisceart Éireann a chuid oibleagáidí faoin gCairt a chomhlíonadh. Tá ionadaithe ó gach Roinn i dTuaisceart Éireann ar an ICIG, chomh maith le hionadaithe ó na ranna Whitehall go léir a oibríonn i dTuaisceart Éireann.

Ghlac an ICIG na bearta seo a leanas:

I. In Iúil 2001 d’fhoilsigh sé Treoir Eatramhach d’fhostaithe sa tseirbhís phoiblí  ar thiomantais Rialtas an RA don Chairt a chomhlíonadh (ag plé leis an nGaeilge). Tháinig tuilleadh Treorach (a phléann le hAlbainis Uladh freisin) i bhfeidhm i Lúnasa 2005. Tá an Treoir faoi réir athbhreithnithe tréimhsiúil.

2. D’óstaigh sé cuairteanna ó Choiste Saineolaithe Chomhairle na hEorpa (COMEX), agus d’fhreagair sé tuairiscí COMEX (a foilsíodh go luath in 2004 agus i Meán Fómhair 2006). Mhol na tuairiscí riarachán Thuaisceart Éireann as a bheith sásta tacú leis an nGaeilge agus le hAlbainis Uladh agus rinneadh moltaí faoi leith iontu maidir le hAlbainis Uladh a úsáid sa réimse poiblí, agus Beartas cuimsitheach i leith na Gaeilge a fhorbairt. Thug Ranna Thuaisceart Éireann freagra ar thuairisc 2006 i Nollaig 2006 agus cuireadh ar ais chuig Comhairle na hEorpa le go bhféadfadh a Choiste Airí machnamh a dhéanamh air.

3. Bhunaigh sé foghrúpa (‘foghrúpa Airteagal 9’ atá á reáchtáil ag an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna) chun na bealaí ina bhféadfaí an Ghaeilge a úsáid sa chóras dlí i dTuaisceart Éireann a mheas.

4. D’oibrigh sé leis an RCEF chun seirbhís aistriúcháin Ghaeilge faoi rialú cáilíochta a bhunú. Faightear na haistriúcháin go léir de chuid an Rialtais ón liosta seo anois.

5. Bhunaigh sé seirbhís ghlórphoist in Albainis Uladh agus i nGaeilge chun ligean do lucht labhartha na dteangacha sin teagmháil a dhéanamh leis an tseirbhís phoiblí sa teanga dá rogha féin.

6. Bhunaigh sé foghrúpa chun pleanáil a dhéanamh ar conas a chomhlíonfar riachtanais um oiliúint foirne a chruthóidh an Chairt.

7. Ghníomhaigh sé mar fhóram chun taithí, smaointe agus dea-chleachtas a roinnt maidir le Gaeilge agus Albainis Uladh a spreagadh sa réimse poiblí i dTuaisceart Éireann.

European Chairter

The European Chairter bes an international convention airted aa bieldin an’ heftin locail an’ minoritie leids.  The Chairter dusnae set ap onie individual ir collective richts fer thaim at spake locail ir minoritie leids.  The owreridin purpone o’ the Chairter bes adae wi’ heirskeip.  Hit’s mintet tae bield an’ heft locail ir minoritie leids es a threatened pairt o’ Europe’s heirskeip.

The UK Government signed ap tae the Chairter oan Mairch 2nd 2000 an’ hit wus ‘greed oan Mairch 27th 2001.  The Chairter cum intae force oan Julai 1st 2001.

The Chairter bes bindin’ oan ivry yin o’ the states at ‘greed tae hit.  Oan accoont o’ thon hit hes implications fer aa Norlin Airlan depairtments an’ boadies adae wi’ thaim, Whitehaa depairtments waarkin i Norlin Airlan an’ fer locail government.

I Norlin Airlan the Chairter applies tae Airish an’ Ulster Scots bit dusnae cover sign leids ir the leids o’ minoritie ethnic communities.

The UK Government maun gie reports fae tim’ tae tim’ tae the Cooncil o’ Europe Committee o’ Experts (COMEX) wha report aboot ivry kintra’s gaein alang wi’ hits obleegements unner the Chairter.

Sine signin’ ap tae the Chairter an Inther-depairtmental Chairter Implementin’ Curn hosted bae DCAL, hes wrocht tae heft the public administration i Norlin Airlan cairry oot hits obleegements unner the Chairter.  The Chairter Implementation Curn hes representatives fae ivry Norlin Airlan Depairtment an fae aa Whitehaa Depairtments waarkin i Norlin Airlan forebye.

The Chairter Implementation Curn hes tuk the ections ablow:

  1. I Julai 2001 hit brocht oot furst Steerins oan metchin the UK Government’s commitments tae the Chairter fer public servants (Dalin wi’ Airish).  Farder Steerins (at dale wi’ Ulster Scots forebye) cum intae effect i Ageest 2005.  The Steerins ir leuked aa fae tim’ tae tim’.
  2. Hit hosted visits fae the Cooncil o’ Europe Committee o’ Experts(COMEX) an’ reponed tae COMEX reports(brocht oot earlie i 2004 an’ i Sictimmer 2006).  The reports hae praised the Norlin Airlan administration fer shewin willin’ tae heft Airish an’ Ulster Scots an’ hae maide peerticular recommendations aboot uisin Ulster Scots i dalins wi’ the public, an’ aboot the forderin o’ a comprehensive Airish leid policie.  A repone tae the 2006 report wus maide i Decemmer 2006 bae Norlin Airlan Depairtments an sent beck tae the Cooncil o’ Europe tae bae leuked aa bae hits Committee o ‘ Meenesters.
  3. Stairted ap a subcurn (The ‘ Airticle 9 subcurn’) rin bae the Coort Service) tae leuk aa hoo Airish micht bae uised i the Norlin Airlan laa system.
  4. Wrocht alang wi’ DCAL tae stairt ap a qualitie controlled Airish Leid owresettin service.  Aa Government owresettins ir noo gat fae thon leet.
  5. Stairted ap an Airish an’ Ulster Scots voicepoast service fer tae alloo thaim at uise thae leids tae get oantae the civil service i the leid they chuse tae uise.
  6. Stairt ap a  subcurn tae plen hoo staff trainin’ needs maide needfu’ bae the Chairter wul bae met.
  7. Ected es a forum tae shaire experience, notions an’ bes’ prattick aboot heftin Airish an’ Ulster Scots i the public realm i Norlin Airlan.

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