Irish speakers in Northern Ireland, and the Good Friday Agreement

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This essay begins with an exploration of the extent of the Irish language community in Northern Ireland and questions the validity of the census results of 1991. The author pays particular attention to the concept of a mother tongue and its relevance for speakers of Irish in the United Kingdom. Brief consideration is also given to the association of the language with the Catholic nationalist tradition. According to the Good Friday Agreement, linguistic diversity is an invaluable asset to society and this Agreement proposes some measures to improve the status of Irish. The merit of these propositions is assessed and set within the context of other Celtic communities in Britain. In conclusion, the use of Irish at the initial meeting of the new Assembly in Northern Ireland is reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-507
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2020


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