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Political promises must be met to go forward

The current round of crunch talks about devolution shows the need for all of the parties to work together.

In the pressure-cooker atmosphere, it is easy to forget the role that international standards on human rights and language rights can play.

In every other part of these islands, for instance, there is already broad acceptance of the need for language legislation to protect and promote the primary indigenous languages.

There are long-standing language acts in Wales, Scotland and the south of Ireland.

That such legislation does not already exist in the North is the curiosity - not the fact that its implementation should be a central part of the talks agenda.

In November 2009, talking about the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights (another solely needed protection), the British Government said that it recognised that the Irish Language Act it promised in 2006 should be introduced.

In December 2009, the Irish Government restated its commitment to ensure that the British Government did, in fact, fulfil its St Andrews's commitment.

The United Nations and the Council of Europe have both called for positive action on the legislation.

There are many pathways open at the moment, but the only real way forward to a better society and to progressing the business of living together is to meet governments' political promises, in line with sound human rights principles that already apply in other parts of these islands and worldwide.

JANET MULLER

Pobol