Congress briefed on Irish

By Irish Echo Staff

A congressional briefing on discrimination against the Irish language in the Northern Ireland has been told action from America is needed to ensure Irish speakers are given equal rights.

Domhnall O Cathain of the Brehon Law Society told the hearing, initiated by the society, Irish American Unity Conference, Irish American Democrats, Irish American Republicans and the AOH, that when "America talks, Ireland acts."

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Citing the ban on the use of Irish in the Northern Ireland courts under a 1737 statute, O Cathain said the prohibition was created at a time when Irish people had no rights in their own land. "Its perpetuation today is an indictment of the British government and the Northern Ireland assembly," he said.

Janet Muller of the Irish language rights group, Pobal, said American support for the civil rights struggle and peace process had transformed the landscape in Northern Ireland and urged Congress to pass a resolution calling for an Irish language act and the repeal of the 1737 court ban.

Also addressing the briefing were organizer Kate McCabe of the IAUC and Irish Echo publisher, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.