The Feb. 10 front-page article “Language barrier at heart of Irish rift ” shined a welcome light on the stalled executive body in Belfast. The United States played a critical role in securing relative peace in the six counties in the North of Ireland and has an ongoing interest in maintaining it. As one who works with human rights nongovernmental organizations in Ireland, I applaud The Post for highlighting the impasse.
The article’s focus on an Irish Language Act omitted one crucial detail. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) expressly requires that “the British Government will in particular in relation to the Irish language” take resolute action to promote the language, facilitate and encourage the use of the language and remove restrictions that would discourage development of the language. The Irish language is not simply another language, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is wrong in stating that it should not be elevated above others. The GFA, an international treaty between Ireland and Britain, recognizes that the Irish language is to be given elevated status. The British government, in collusion with its extremist allies in the DUP, is directly and primarily responsible for the impasse at Stormont because it has refused to meet its legal obligations under the GFA.
Peter C. Kissel, Washington
The writer is national president of the Irish American Unity Conference.