Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the report by the Council of Europe into the Irish language in the north.
Mr. Adams said:
“I welcome the publication of the Council of Europe’s report into the Irish Language in the north and its recognition of the ‘persisting hostile climate’ that exists in some official circles in the north and from the DUP which has blocked efforts to deal with these issues.
“The Council of Europe report criticised the failure to promote the use of the Irish language in public life, including in education, in government administration, and in the media. I also welcome its criticism of the British government’s refusal to end the ban on using the Irish language in the courts.
“The British government committed in the St. Andrew’s Agreement to an Irish Language Act. Sinn Féin raised the introduction of an Irish Language Act in the recent Haass talks and in every other recent negotiation. Unionists opposed it.
“There is an onus on the British and Irish governments to support the Irish language and to ensure the introduction of an Irish Language Act.
“The Irish language threatens no one. It is a right and entitlement of citizens and I hope that those who currently oppose its use and accessibility will support new legislation that the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ni Chuilín plans to introduce.
“Access to, funding for, and official status for the Irish language is about equality and the right and entitlement of citizens who wish to use the Irish language to be able to do so and for the state to support them in this.
“The Irish language is the property of all of those who live on this island, including unionists. The recent establishment of an Irish language centre on the Newtownards Road is evidence of this.
“I would urge and encourage all relevant agencies and bodies, including the Executive and Assembly, to implement the recommendations in the Council of Europe report.”