Downpatrick Councilor Cadogan Enright celebrated a successful end to a 5 year campaign last week to win local Irish speaking children equal access to education in line with all other educational sectors.Cadogan said “As a campaigner for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, I was particularly pleased that Judge Treacy ruled that the Agreement was not merely aspirational but was intended to have ‘practical consequences and legislative significance’. This case will be a landmark case not just for Irish language rights, but for the Peace Agreement as a whole”.Following a long and costly campaign, Cllr Enright persuaded his daughters school Coláiste Feirste to mount a Judicial Review at Belfast High Court. The Judicial Review challenged policy set by senior civil servants and resulted in a comprehensive victory for the children. “The Department was stuck in a pre-1998 time-warp on this issue and the Judge complemented us for attempting to resolve the matter over a ‘lengthy period in a thorough, considered and diplomatic manner in order to arrive at workable solution’” said Cllr Enright.Deputy Principal Colma McKee said “The Department maintained that the provision of transport had no effect on the success of any school. We pointed out that there were over 2020 dedicated buses taking children to school in other sectors over and above normal bus timetables, and none at all in the Irish medium sector. Judge Treacy ruled that ‘the provision of transport facilities to schools in any sector is critical to the development of that sector and the provision of genuine parental choice’. He directed that bus transport be provided in line with the Integrated sector.”Cadogan Enright maintained “In my view discrimination against Irish speakers goes to the heart of the Peace Process. A case like this could never occur in Wales for instance, as there is widespread acceptance of the acceptability of Welsh in Wales by all political parties. Many otherwise moderate, reasonable people seem to lose control of their faculties when faced with the Irish language in N.I. and this pervades officialdom. For instance Tourist Board refuse to fund signs in Down District if any Irish is used”. “Political opposition to the GFA provisions on Irish is not limited to the likes of Jim Wells of the DUP. or the The Alliance party but even affects the thinking of members of my own party, where individuals speak against the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement on Irish language rights and other aspects of the Peace Agreement.” “It’s a tribal thing. But I am old enough to remember when it was legal to discriminate against people because of their skin colour or sex, and it is only a few short years since Gay Rights were implemented in N.I… I am confident that international Human Rights law will triumph in the end.” Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright.